In Grog We Trust
Both Pandagon and Matthew Yglesias have blogged about this irritating anti-athiest article in Slate. I Agree that Jim Holt is entirely missing the point of atheism when he asks "Can you prove God doesn't exist". (Although I give him credit for using a phrase like "Judeo-Christian-Islamic" nowadays.) The burden of proof is not on the non-believer. The non-believer doesn't believe because religion has failed to prove anything to her. I also like Pandagon's point when he says
First, belief in any God or gods to the exclusion of others necessarily declares a nonbelief in the existence and/or validity of those entities. This is not to say that if I am a Christian, I believe that Jews or Muslims, etc., are bad, unworthy people - just that they don't believe the right thing. It's no more than what an atheist does, with the exception of the fact that no God has risen to the level of faith of the atheist.
Athiesm is a very personal thing. Most avowed athiests I know have come to this decision after a lot of soul-searching, and their beliefs mean more to them than most "Easter/Christmas Christians" (people who go to church only on Easter and/or Christmas). A friend of mine once described her athiest beliefs as "getting the same sensation looking through a telescope or studying biology that believers get sitting in church." To say that athiesm is somehow intellectually lazy is kind of offensive, and hardly column-worthy.
An article written by a Muslim saying that Christianity is somehow lazy because there is no attempt to "prove" that Jesus was the last prophet, or an article written by a Christian saying that Judaism is lazy for not attmepting to "disprove" that Jesus was the Messiah would be immediately decried as offensive. Atheists, however, are an easy and socially acceptable target.