Who does that leave? Christopher Hitchens was a prominent critic of religion. He was also a bombastic bully better at delivering witty zingers than compelling arguments. Stephen Hawking? He's too busy inventing black holes. James L. Grant? Nope, because I just made that name up.
Now that we have this newfangled Internet thing, everyday people are emerging as voices in atheism. YouTube keeps suggesting I watch videos by the Amazing Atheist, possibly because it's worried by how many hours I've wasted watching other people watch other people play video games.
If you have literally anything better to do than watch that video, he "answers 22 creationists" with all the smug condescension of a teenager who just discovered what communism is and won't shut up about how it's perfect in theory. In another video, he uses the same haughty tone to defend himself from accusations of having toxic attitudes toward women while doing impressions of them that sound like he plugged his nose and took a hit of helium.
Yes, I get that being a jerk is his shtick. But his videos have hundreds of thousands of views. Dawkins' The God Delusion has sold over 2 million copies. And this attitude is infectious. Reddit's atheism board and its 2 million members became such an infamous cesspool that Reddit removed it from its list of default subscriptions. Do you know what it takes to get censured by Reddit? That's like having the local rapist call you a pervert.
"You creeps make me sick."
I'm sure many of you can name atheists who express their arguments rationally and politely, but as a casual fan of intense religious discussions I can only recall the prominent people. I'm like the basketball fan who only knows LeBron. That means arrogant condescension has become the default tone. We're attracted to people, not because they make compelling arguments but because they're loud and abrasive. That's what we think someone who espouses our beliefs should sound like, but that's like letting PETA represent all vegetarians, or Die Antwoord represent all music.