More and more atheist groups are replacing antagonism with civility, motivated by human reason to do charitable work rather than spite against all things religious, said Greg Epstein, humanist chaplain at Harvard University and author of “Good without God.”
“We’re really not that interested in tearing people down anymore. We’re trying to tear down bad beliefs, but not the people who believe them,” he said. “What’s going to emerge from this is a more powerful and influential secular humanist community. There really are millions and millions of us. It was easier to dismiss us when they pigeon-holed us as anti-religious. We’re not. We’re millions of good people, working to build a better society for everyone.”
Declining membership and the graduations of Atheist Agenda leaders last semester precipitated the change, Schmidt said. Former leaders did not return repeated requests for comment. But former members, now active with the Secular Student Alliance, said the old guard encountered resistance last semester to its over-the-top methods.