Christian Scholars Are Defending Me? Now I Know I'm Doomed! ;-)

In writing to Jeffrey Jay Lowder who is the co-editor and contributor to the best skeptical book so far on the resurrection of Jesus, Christian philosopher Victor Reppert used me as a contrast with the “so-called” New Atheists:
I think the New Atheists are doing things which are a fundamental betrayal of the basic rules which must underlie all discourse concerning matters so serious as religion. It affects people like John Loftus, who has some interesting ideas, but invariably ruins the possibility of serious discourse with him by propagandistic tactics. A kind of atheist fanaticism is brewing, which undermines the very process which makes atheist-theist dialogue at all rewarding. Link
David Marshall, a Christian apologist who has written several books defending his faith, said:
I personally have more respect for John than for PZ, in important ways. I don't much care about the barrage of vitriol and profanity that strikes a Christian, should he venture to dispute PZ's points, on Pharyngula. What amazed me during my time there was (1) the sheer hypocrisy of PZ claiming to dislike bullying of other groups, while cheer-leading his own little school of rubber-toothed baby lemon sharks in their feeding frenzies; (2) PZ's utter unwillingness, or inability, to response seriously to serious challenges from an informed Christian (meaning myself), and resort instead to name-calling, then when that didn't work, finding an excuse to kick him off the site....John, by contrast, may be guilty of all the weaknesses he confesses to, above -- and I think is, along with (publicly, at least) over-estimating the value of his own arguments. But at least he has overcome the timidity that seems to dog PZ Myer's every step, and does not make use of all the clever and cute mechanisms by which PZ protects himself from real engagement with people who fundamentally disagree with him. In the end, from the outside at least, FtB has the look of circled wagons, or a castle protected with a moat full of sewage around it, and the drawbridge drawn up to keep the Huns out. Link.
I don’t agree with what they said so much, except that what they said is noteworthy. Unlike some atheists I have the ears of Christians. They listen to me. It’s not that I can’t be bombastic at times when frustrated, because I can. It’s just that for the most part I treat their arguments seriously.

The reason is stated well by Lowder who wrote:
I disagree with the so-called "new atheists" about this. Not only is it adversarial, I don't think mockery and ridicule is an effective public relations strategy for a minority group who is already viewed negatively by a large segment of the population. Link
I think that should be our focus, although there are times when mockery is called for, as Richard Carrier wrote:
By and large the minds of the ridiculous can't be changed. It's their flock we're talking to. But even the ridiculous change under ridicule some respond by getting more ridiculous (and those are the ones who could never be swayed even by the politest methods), but others accumulate shame until they see the error of their ways (I've met many ex-evangelicals who have told me exactly that). Thus, ridicule converts the convertible and marginalizes the untouchable. There is no more effective strategy in a culture war. Link
One thing I am against is using of the Courtier’s Reply ad nausea. I think people who repeatedly use that reply are admitting they cannot answer a Christian argument. It confesses ignorance on their part. The more it is used then the more ignorance is admitted. I grant that we don't need to be experts in Zeus mythology to reject it. But if we want to help convince Zeusites they are wrong then we should become knowledgeable about Zeus mythology enough to engage those believers respectfully. That's the point. Very few believers in Zeus would ever have been convinced otherwise by the use of mockery in their day.

What PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins are counting on when they use the Courtier’s Reply are numbers. In a society where there are more non-believers than believers, that reply would take its toll on believers because people gravitate toward the opinions of others. That is to say, people are conforming creatures, most of us. We don’t want to be viewed as strange, weird, or people on the fringes of society. So if what we believe is ridiculed by a majority of people then we will seek to resolve our cognitive dissonance by reassessing what we believe because of this ridicule. Ridicule works, but only if there are large numbers of people who do it compared to the numbers of others who believe differently. Given the poll data I don’t think it works too effectively for skepticism though. In fact, it's not providing a good role model for skepticism, for skepticism is based on science and reasoning. How is the Courtier's Reply based on reasoning, except peer-pressure? Given Kant's Categorical Imperative, that reply is negated once we universalize it in a society of believers.

So if the question is how we can increase our numbers as atheists then the best way, the reasonable way, is to produce the arguments that treat the views of believers respectfully. I do that. So do others. To refuse to recommend the work of people like us is to fail as atheist leaders. But the Courtier’s Reply has boxed them in a corner and they cannot consistently do so once they have adopted it.

Should anyone conclude I am an accomodationist, as if that's what I am, then see this.

Edit: Oops, I misread Reppert. He used me as an example of a new atheist who utilized mockery. Oh, well. That's not the first time I've been wrong and won't be the last. I still stand by my claim that usually, most often, I treat the views of Christians respectfully. Reppert has been a special case since we have interacted for years. I have given up on him and his cadre of followers because of their obtuseness. Sometimes I have gone there to taunt them all. ;-)