You hear this often in media when an atheist or skeptic is going up against a believer…
Richard Dawkins is an unapologetic atheist.
Sam Harris is a outspoken non-believer.
James Randi is a strident skeptic.
Most recently I came across this on some christian radio program from Britain where PZ Myers was being interviewed. The moderator introduced the theist he was up against perfectly normally while PZ was introduced as an “outspoken atheist”.
But this is not about one example, or even a handful of examples. This is about what at least in my view seems to be the “norm” in the media today. Whenever the person being referred to is an atheist, skeptic, or non-believer, they are referred to with some adjective associated that typically has a negative connotation or an implication of some negative trait.
I think the answer to why is pretty straight forward. We are still one of the few minorities that it is acceptable to denigrate in public today. So we are left with the more important questions which are raised by this trend.
When will atheism/skepticism not need these qualifiers in the media?
What can we do to create a more positive image of the atheist/skeptical community in the public mind?
How do we go about making atheism/skepticism acceptable, normal, and in some sense, just “no big deal”?