As with any group, there is a spectrum of atheist attitudes and positions. I recognize a few general categories, however, and would like your input on this.
!. Natural atheists seem never to have believed in religious mythology or cared about religious historical claims, as they never believed in any god or gods and simply don’t care. Some were born into atheist families, others came by it of their own nature, but never did they consider believing in God/Allah/etc.
2. Reactive atheists push religion away in rebellion against whatever they feel is oppressing them. Anger is a common feature. An apparent sense of superiority, too, as in, “I’m better than those I left behind, because I’m not stupid, like they are! I don’t care what they say!”
3. Rational atheists realize, after years of education accompanied by development of strong critical reasoning skills and usually scientific logic, that religious claims just don’t hold water. They gradually let go, realize it one day, and think, “Okay, that works for me.” If any vestige of religious indoctrination remains, these atheists are most likely to research the issues and decide on a rational basis whether to keep the concepts or dispose of them for having no supportive data or logical basis.
Have you recognized any such distinctions or categories among the atheists you’ve met? Does any category seem to fit you? Did you, perhaps, start in one and move to another, i.e., reactionary to rational? Are there any broad categories of atheists you’ve recognized that are not mentioned, here? Please, let me know your thoughts, and if there is sufficient impetus, I might ask Dr. Dawkins to consider a new poll, this time of atheists, to see what comes up.
After all, if reactionary atheists, for example, missed out on the development of critical reasoning skills due to their early religious indoctrination, maybe rational atheists can develop some sort or program to help them catch up, and in doing so, provide the true empowerment of intellect, so that anger, particularly blind anger, fades out of uselessness.