Jacques Berlinerblau, on The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s Brainstorm blog, enumerates some of the prevalent misconceptions that inform what he calls “Pop Atheism”:

1) That the term “atheist” has a clear, agreed-upon meaning

2) That there are consistent, recognizable markers of atheist identity

3) That self-described “atheists” share common assumptions about what atheism is

4) That “atheism” and “secularism” are synonyms

5) That being an atheist necessitates a relentless hostility to all forms of theism

6) That atheism and theism are radically distinct, sharing little in common epistemologically, historically and even “theologically,” if you will.

Every one of these assumptions, I repeat, is either problematic or just plain wrong. In the coming months I will try to draw your attention to scholarly research on atheism and secularism which undermines these ideas. Much of this research has been sitting on the shelves of our libraries for decades; the reluctance of Pop Atheists or journalists to confront this work is deeply disturbing.

Read the full piece here.