Some in the blogosphere have suggested that in this series I have moved closer to the new atheists. I'm not sure this is true. For a variety of reasons (including unfortunate headlines others gave to some of my pieces) the extent to which I have disagreed with the new atheists has probably been overstated because it is the disagreements that I have found more interesting to write about. I agree with them that literal belief is not a straw man, strongly expressed belief is not aggressive dogmatism, we should be as free to criticise religion as people have been to criticise atheism, and that science does pose difficult questions for many religious people. But I still maintain that much of the rhetoric has not been helpful and that in order to make progress we have to look more at the best that religion has to offer, not the worst, and find common ground with more liberal believers in order to counter the more pernicious forms of belief.Half-time report in the Guardian Comment is Free Belief series.