The difficulty here is that Hypatia was a pagan, not an atheist.<quoted text>
Your Hypatia of Alexandria (370 - 415 AD) simply proves that atheism is as old as belief and religion. It demonstrates that the curent crop of atheists have not made any forward progress in proving their disbelief than were they existened intellectually thousands of years ago/
Where does it take courage to defend a belief in God? Certainly not in the halls of Congress, in the Presidency, or in any political campaign.Your Jefferson quote fails because in the current intellectual climate it dosent take courage at all to question the existance of God. On the contrary it is defense of belief that takes courage in many circles. Jefferson himself of course found religious belief to be an indespensable part of the democracy he helped create, and fosaw that its diminishment would mean the end of a free peope in the U.S.
On the contrary, it is the easiest form of political suicide to say you are an atheist and attempt to defend that position.
Many people seem to find non-existence as even scarier than existence in the Christian hell.Carl Sagan paints the belief in an afterlife as far too comfortinga notion. Ignoring completley the doctrine of Hell and purgatory. A unconcious sleep and non-existgance would strike most people as nmore comforting a notion than a final judgment by an all knowing God that presuposses a verdictg that can send you to Hell for eternity or purgatory until your soul is cleansed.