[I posted the following on Julia Sweeney's forum. I have made some minor edits for readability.]
Arrogance and atheism. Why do Atheists seem to many Christians so unforgivably arrogant?
I remember way back when I was an Evangelical -- it was about 27 or 28 years ago. I remember being struck by the audacity, the wanton recklessness of the atheists, nonbelievers, and assorted non-Christians that I encountered. It struck me as nothing short of hubristic arrogance to even dare to have one's own thoughts and opinions about life, the universe, and everything.
It was only later that I came to see the arrogance of those non-Christians differently. To someone who is systematically taught to devalue his own thoughts and opinions for the sake of some orthodoxy or another, a modicum of self-confidence in one's own abilities will appear to be nothing other than arrogance.
"Arrogance of atheists" is the flip-side of something often asserted of Christians and of all believers: believers are reluctant to form their own beliefs and opinions without first checking with the authorities. Christianity consists of interlocking beliefs and doctrines all of which work to devalue (and even slander) without any explicit acknowledgment that forming one's own beliefs and opinions is dangerous.
And before someone tries to explain that God guarantees Christian self-confidence, let me say that that is nonsense. The greater the glory attributed to God, the less that remains for human beings, until all good flows from the Deity, and all that is reprehensible flows from human beings. That is what the doctrine of The Fall of Man teaches.
If evidence for these assertions is needed, consider the near panic Christians fall into when atheism is seriously discussed: Man without God must mean a celebration of all that is horrid, immoral, and reprehensible in Human Beings, and the denial of God can only mean the denial and destruction of all that is good, noble, and admirable in Human Beings.
In a nutshell: typically "atheist arrogance" is another way of saying "Christians lack self-confidence and don't like thinking for themselves about important things."