I have encountered a few friendly statements from atheist on this forum. After sharing my story with them I find that they are not empathetic to my life, my struggles. They could care less. In fact I think they wish I had not been born at all. So much anger and hatred directed towards someone who has done them not 1 single wrong. How is that morally correct? You are not nurturing society but condemning it. If I am incorrect about the existence of God because I am too stupid to know better are you not obligated by morality to accept that, to empathize?
If they were empathetic we wouldn't need a shelter would we?
There's more empathy than you might have experienced. However, this forum itself is very gloves off, it makes no secret about it. I don't think it's lack of empathy but more how people prefer it here. I tend to say WWGHA is for the thick skinned. I don't think you can really judge folks for how they are in a debate, unless it gets real personal, but it rarely happens, it gets heated, heck people may even get offended, but I wouldn't say it happens very often that it gets personal. It can be intense, but actually there are folks that like it that way, whilst I am calm in discussions myself, I find when a debate is heated and I'm left on my toes I can see the real strength of my argument, if I am stumbling then it can't be a very strong argument, but if I'm holding my ground, there must be more to it. Also, I appreciate the raw honesty at times, sometimes I hate people trying to avoid saying what they really think because they're worried it may offend me. There are less intense forums out there.
I would say people on this forum have empathy, if you look for support here then people know how to give it. I made a thread in a personal advice section and found myself becoming a lot more comfortable talking about something that makes me really uncomfortable - out of all the places I could have gone to talk, I picked WWGHA, but it's not something I'd take to a debate, because anything you bring to a discussion will have somebody scrutinising it. Personal testimonies may perhaps fall into that category.
With The Shelter, it is meant to be the less intense part. People generally recognised some of the set backs to how WWGHA works. Generally I would say people who feel sore after a heated debate should actually find somewhere to cool off in the forum, the Shelter is one place, but my favourite would be 'Chatter', through chatter you'll get to know people here better and it might make you feel better about some of the discussions on the main forum. We get theists in chatter who seem to have a good time, in fact, I think Magicmiles prolly spends more time procrastinating in Chatter than arguing.
Anyway, I will often see the argument, "why are atheists angry?" there are reasons, many I would argue are justified, heck there are thinks in the religious world that make me angry. Personally I judge people person-to-person, but there are many bad things I would argue related to religion and religious belief, not that I would sweep everybody under that brush.
However, I always find Greta Christina's blog post to be an excellent summary of 'atheists and anger', she covers her own bases, but many atheists can relate to her own annoyances. http://gretachristina.typepad.com/greta_christinas_weblog/2007/10/atheists-and-an.html
But I think the angriness of atheists isn't something necessarily to be worried about. Usually it's just smart remarks, sarcastic responses and for some, ridicule. But one thing that does annoy is that actually, whether or not atheists are right is often sidestepped for how people feel they're arseholes, despite not really being a threat to anybody at all.