A redated post.
One feature of freethought literature that has always annoyed me is the way in which nonbelievers tend to nominate themselves for intellectual sainthood. This is something I noticed going all the way back to reading Russell's "The Value of Free Thought," an essay that, in one sense, has influenced me more than any other piece of philosophy or theology that I have ever read. I have spent a lifetime working hard at being intellectually honest, with mixed results. Russell promises that you can be a free thinker if you just liberate yourself from the force of tradition and the tyranny of your passions, but from what I read of Russell's life, he wouldn't have been happy on Vulcan. "I thank God (figuratively, of course) that I am not as other men. I apportion my beliefs to the evidence."
It is all well and good to point out the emotional underpinnings of religous belief. But to suggest that unbelief has no emotional underpinnings is to indulge in a massive self-deception. This links to Telic Thoughts discussion of P. Z. Myers.