Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The "New Atheists"

Here is an article (again from A&L Daily) pondering the publication of a number of anti-religious books over the last two years. I do not understand the distinction of the New Atheists--unless it is because they are no longer content to sit quietly.

What I find interesting are the correlations between higher learning and scientific fields with higher levels of atheism. Although the article includes agnostics in the percentage of unbelievers quoted, the number of non-believers is reassuringly high. Much better than the 5% number I read at The Volokh Conspiracy. Later in the article the statistic is that 49% of Americans believe the Religious Right has gone too far in imposing their beliefs on the rest of the nation.

The author of the article is not comfortable with the all out attack on religion profered by the most recent spate of anti-religion books. He also notes the necessity of some belief system being required--unfortunately he misses the boat and fails to mention Objectivism. He also mistakenly believes that to live without god would require complete security of body. It seems he feels that if people fall on hard times they must go back to begging to some supernatural force--which would never help anyway. Ultimately, the author of this article would prefer to have atheists bond with religionists who favor separation of church and state to support more secular government than to have atheists attack the very foundation of religion itself.

In some ways, of course, working to a common goal is legitimate. As long as there are no mistaken motives, sure--join a coalition. However, to give up the fight against the irrational in our society would be a major mistake.

Recent books published attacking religion:

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens

The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason by Sam Harris

Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris

Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon by Daniel C. Dennett

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