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The atheists looks down on the theists...

It's very difficult to count as equally valid a view which is based upon nothing but the wish that it were true.

There are many cases in which it's legitimate to "look down" upon others. I have no problem "looking down" on the Taliban, because there's no question in my mind that they are a group of thugs, who treat their own people abominably and are prepared to treat people not of their own kind even worse. I have no problem "looking down" on the Ken Lays of this world, because they seek to profit, even at the ruin of others' lives. I make no quibble about "looking down" upon men who beat their wives, priests who molest children, those who commit genocide, and individuals who burn crosses in the lawns of those of a different race.

Whether or not "looking down" on someone is a good or a bad thing depends a great deal on the reason we "look down" upon them. When we do so for trivial reasons, or for reasons which have no legitimacy, we're attempting to assert a kind illegitimate power over others. When we do so for serious reasons -- because those we "look down" upon deserve our contempt -- we are exercising our moral judgment.

The cases AM cited were all examples of expressions of contempt based upon trivial differences among people. The case you cite, I believe, is not. I think it's a mischaracterization to say that atheists "look down" upon theists. It might be better expressed that atheists tend to "look down" upon those who adopt a philosophy which they cannot rationally defend, but who wish to impose that philosophy through legislation on everyone else. I, for one, certainly tend to "look down" on those who do this, and who -- when presented with contradictory evidence -- respond only with "I believe this thing; therefore, this thing is true."

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