Q: Are most atheists really contemptuous of believers?
A: I think that the answer is there are, per-capita, as many assholes on the Atheist side of the fence as there are on the Christian side of the fence.
So no, most atheists are not contemptuous of believers. Most just want to be left alone to not believe what they want to not believe much like Christians just want to be allowed to believe what they want to believe. I think we all are fine with that (by all I mean both Atheists and Christians.)
When atheists get contemptuous is when Christians try to force us to abide by your rules. Things like gay marriage and abortion come to mind as the biggest hot topics. Nationwide laws shouldn’t be passed that are based on any religion because not everyone in this country is the same religion. Heck even Christians do not all practice their faith the same or believe the same things. Case in point – Mormonism. Mormon’s are Christians. They just have additional scriptures they follow than other Christians. Most people would be very upset if we were passing laws that banned Coffee because the Mormon’s don’t believe you should drink hot caffeinated beverages (and FYI that belief is because caffeine is a drug and the high amounts you get from coffee are addictive, and drugs are abusing your body which should be treated as a temple – so not a ridiculous belief).
Another reason why it might seem that Atheists are contemptuous to Christians is media portrayal. Since the majority of the country are Christians it makes sense that when Atheists file suits against having another’s beliefs forced on them it makes headlines. There are rarely headlines that focus on the amount of money Bill Gates donates to pretty much everyone despite being an Atheist. The media likes to portray things in a way that will get them ratings. Compare the coverage of any news story on both Fox and CNN and you will get a different spin. It also gets blown out of proportion as if it is the Atheist plan to have a fully secular planet. Though some may feel that way most don’t.
Personally, I had been sucked into the internet vortex of Christians. The internet is a place where it is easy to become a jerk to others because you feel like you are just talking to a computer screen. So the worst of what people think and feel can come out on the internet. It is easy to decide that all Christians (or Atheists) are this or that and feel a deep sense of dislike for them as a group when all you have are stereotypes and the hate-filled ramblings of some.
Once you start putting names and faces to internet profiles its harder to dislike people who really are pretty much just like you.