"My long experience with many student atheists -- faculty atheists too -- has taught me that the roots of atheism are often found in primitive, narrow views of the Divine picked up in preteen years." That is how Stafford Betty opens the third paragraph of his "A God for Atheists" February 28thth piece on Huffington Post. It is possible that he has met and interacted with more atheists than I have but I have little reason to doubt that his "experience" is very superficial. My own experience as an atheist and with other atheists clearly indicates that Mr. Betty is either really bad at paying attention, prone to gross exaggerations, or is completely full of shit.
I have come across very few atheists who don't understand that when people talk about God they are not all necessarily talk about quite the same thing. The God concept is not nearly as monolithic as theists often think it is. I admit I have met many non-theists who's initial objections/skepticism is focused on the scripture based version of the God concept. However, very few get stuck on that one narrow view. It is also interesting to note that even those theists who claim to believe in a more sophisticated abstract version of God frequently mix in traits from the "primitive" version.
Basically, Mr. Betty hasn't got a clue what he's talking about. All he really seems to be doing is maintaining yet another myth/stereotype about atheists. Whether this is out of simple ignorance or something more intentional I cannot tell from the piece. I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume his intentions are meant to be positive but am unwilling to let such blatant bullshit go without the criticism it deserves.