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New Atheism is dead

The public has moved on from the anti-religious vitriol of the 2000s

By on Monday, 4 March 2013

Richard Dawkins (PA)

Richard Dawkins (PA)

Amid all the warm words expressed by public figures after Pope Benedict announced his retirement one comment rather stood out. “I feel sorry for the Pope and all old Catholic priests. Imagine having a wasted life to look back on and no sex,” wrote Richard Dawkins on Twitter.

Even with the generally low standards of decorum on the site, the 71-year-old biologist’s comment caused groans. For while he still has his fans and admirers, Prof Dawkins has been preaching to the choir for some time, and the choir shrinks as embarrassed followers slink away from the scene. New Atheism has finally had its day.

As atheist writer Douglas Murray recently noted, after sitting alongside Dawkins in a debate: “The more I listened to Dawkins and his colleagues, the more the nature of what has gone wrong with their argument seemed clear. Religion was portrayed as a force of unremitting awfulness, a poisoned root from which no good fruit could grow. It seems to me the work not of a thinker but of any balanced observer to notice that this is not the case. A new … dogma has emerged. And the argument has stalled.”

Dawkins’s 2006 bestseller The God Delusion was New Atheism’s bible, and the professor became known as one of the “Four Horsemen”, alongside Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett. Dawkins’s website became an immensely popular place for atheists, often living in religious parts of America, to express their anger and frustration. Dawkins has also taken enthusiastically to Twitter, which (among many downsides) can become a hateful echo chamber. Even to the many fans of books such as The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker he has became a dogmatic ranter. Meanwhile, Harris has been ostracised for speaking up in favour of racial profiling and gun ownership.

Despite Dawkins’s continual attacks on religion, the basic premise behind New Atheism has turned out to be weak. Dawkins’s grand idea, set out in a 1993 essay, “Viruses of the Mind”, is that religion is essentially a parasite that spread in human populations that had no other way of handling the daily toll of misery and grief that was our lot until recently.

Dennett, a philosopher of science, saw religion is similar terms, and knowledge as the inoculation. Hitchens, meanwhile, conflated religious and ethnic conflict which are often poisonously interlinked but have more to do with tribalism than faith. He downplayed or denied the Christian nature of progressive beliefs, even the
faith of Martin Luther King. In reality, anti-racists, like all modern liberals, are standing on the shoulders of saints.

The New Atheism rage exploded in a generation two degrees separated from religion who, unlike their semi-Christian baby boomer parents, were not interested in tolerating what they saw as religiously bigoted attitudes to sex. New Atheism was as much of a social phenomenon, an internet-led social network, as a philosophy:
an expression of solidarity for young, educated westerners. Like most such movements it was heavily white, and embarrassed about it. And while it was partly a reaction to the politicisation of Evangelical Christianity in America, fear of Islam also played a part. “Science flies you to the moon, religion flies you into buildings”, read one banner at the “Protest the Pope” rally during the papal visit to Britain. But like with all these denunciation of “religion”, it was one faith in particular that was feared. Dawkins once called Catholicism “the second most evil religion in the world”, and made no secret of what he believed to be number one.

New Atheism was also a response to the cultural relativism that came with multiculturalism, the idea that we must “respect” all cultures, and Europe’s failure to address practices such as forced marriages, honour killings and female genital mutilation.

This view was shared by many Christians, who after Muslims themselves are the biggest victims of Islamist atrocities across the Middle East. And although Christians continue to suffer there, “the War on Terror” has quietened down. Perhaps also the ire of internet debate in the Noughties has also burned out in Britain, while America, with its increasingly hysterical culture wars, is a cautionary tale.

Despite the millennial hopes of some atheists, religion is not going away. Angus Ritchie argued in the Church Times earlier this year that New Atheism has declined because “the profile of faith in public life has grown, not diminished”, citing One Nation Labour and the “practical and intellectual renewal” of religion. But it could also be a reflection of religion’s declining importance in British life. The culture war in Europe has developed not necessarilyto the Church’s advantage. One Nation Labour, while couched in the language of Christianity, is if anything post-Christian, keeping the warm, fluffy language of faith without any of the challenging aspects. Likewise, Christian campaigners on tax avoidance, debt cancellation and the living wage argue in secular language, playing down their faith.

Rather, New Atheism is in decline because more atheists see the social benefits of religion. Evolutionary psychologist Jonathan Haidt argued in The Righteous Mind that human groups practising moralistic religions would have had huge advantages over those that didn’t. For Haidt, religion binds us to the group and blinds us to the point of view of outsiders, which explains both its unfortunate sectarianism and also its incredible strength.

Even to non-believers, the argument that religion is a damaging parasite seems implausible. In their everyday lives people see that atheism does not explain the fundamental questions and a godless world doesn’t make us happier or even more questioning. The popularity of the Sunday Assembly, an “atheist church” in Islington, or Alain de Botton’s “10 commandments for atheists”, reflect the growing belief in secular Britain that religion is not just a beneficial thing but perhaps an essential one. Perhaps that is why New Atheism is as dead as Nietzsche.

Ed West is the author of The Diversity Illusion, published by Gibson Square

  • Benedict Carter

    When asked recently what he thought of Allah, Dawkins replied that he “didn’t know so much”. 

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2013/02/28/richard-dawkins-bigot-and-coward/

    (edited by moderator)

  • Jonathan West

    For Haidt, religion binds us to the group and blinds us to the point of view of outsiders, which explains both its unfortunate sectarianism and also its incredible strength.

    Maybe, but it doesn’t mean that the factual propositions of religion are true, it merely means that they are persuasive. Not at all the same thing, though there are many here that get the two confused.

    If you think New Atheism is dead, then take Chapter 4 of The God Delusion “Why there almost certainly is no God” and explain what error of fact or logic you think Dawkins has made in the chapter which renders his conclusions unreliable.

  • Mark

    Interesting piece but saying it is dead means very little to an atheist like me. Atheism has opened the landscape for people to stand confident without fear of ridicule from the religious organisations who would love to have the social growth of the non religious. If New Atheism is dead, then it will be replaced by something else, humanism seems to be a popular ideology at present. Eitherway, many people can live a nonreligious lifestyle while still claiming to be religious. It’s an issue that the church cannot abide when they see that their flock has broken through the fence and feeds on the luscious green grass of a godless field. However, life and death is the same for all the sheep, they all go to the same abattoir at the end!

  • teigitur

    Perhaps the phrase ” ALMOST certainly”

  • Sam

    Why do you scorn his intellectual honesty in admitting where his knowledge is lacking? 

    Would you have preferred that he asserted his opinions without sufficient evidence to back him up as is so often the case with believers of religions and the supernatural?

  • Sam

    Although this article is in its way interesting, I can’t help but feel that it is a little bold to assert that “new atheism is dead” without a single iota of data or statistical analysis to back it up. It simply appears to be a collection of opinions and qualitative observations rather than a serious assessment of the state of new atheism. 

    For this to be a serious piece I believe that, at the very least, we must be shown comparable surveys of numbers of new atheists that show a statistically notable decline.

  • Sam

    Although I agree with part of Brians original statement in that this particular article appears to have no grounding in statistics or evidence of new atheisms decline, I am baffled with his seeming lack of interest in backing up his own statement. It seems hypocritical in the extreme to criticise an article for lack of evidence and to then respond in such a way when asked, in a very reasonable way, to provide evidence himself.

  • Michael Q

    If I’d had to guess at the context for the phrase ” the choir shrinks as embarrassed followers slink away” in a publication about Catholicism, I wouldn’t have guessed it would be to describe atheism.

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    Hi Jonathan

    We’ve been round this before, but the problem with the chapter is not so much that it contains any explicit error, but that it is too imprecise and simply too introductory to provide a sound argument against God. When we discussed this last time, you continually resorted to your own explanations (and indeed projections onto the text) to fill out the incompletenesses in Dawkins’ account. (A very specific example of this is on p149 where Dawkins in discussing divine simplicity claims that God ‘has to decide continuously not to intervene miraculously to save us when we get cancer’. That might (and I stress might because I haven’t checked back to Swinburne here) be an adequate characterization of Swinburne’s theistic personalism but it isn’t an adequate characterization of the sort of classical theism you find in Thomism where God’s simplicity includes the simplicity of the will (STh 1a q19). Dawkins straightforwardly has no idea of what classical theistic claims of simplicity involve.)

    The inadequacies of Dawkins’ account is quite evident if you compare ch 4 with a rigorous (atheist) philosophical treatment of the issues such as Mackie’s The Miracle of Theism. 

    The main charge against New Atheism is that it is bombastic and shallow. Ch 4 is certainly both of these.

  • Mike

    Unfortunately for Catholics, “new” atheism may be going away but atheism certainly is not. More Americans identify themselves as non-religious than ever before* and before humans invented the idea of a god or gods there was no god to believe in.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/01/14/169164840/losing-our-religion-the-growth-of-the-nones

  • Drat

    New Atheism is not a movement and neither is it new.  It is governed by an ethic of cognition which in seeking to understand how things in this world work has no recourse to some other world: it makes an a priori exclusion of such (of sacred messages, of sacred messengers, of holy texts, of divine interventions and divine personages, of miracles etc., etc.) whereas the ethic of cognition underlying a religious understanding of the world makes precisely an a priori inclusion of such phenomena.  This former ethic of cognition characterized the Enlightenment (it has been around quite sometime) and is a most serious threat and contender when it comes to explaining the world.

    The relationship between the two ethics is at present decidedly asymmetrical.  The religious ethic of cognition is not able to counter all that easily the claims and queries which emerge from the scientific ethic of cognition.  Religion is not in a position to ‘hurt’ the ethic of rational fundamentalism but the ethic of rational fundamentalism is vicious in its implications for the religious ethic; it savages and ravages and in this regard has been highly influential in the western world.  It marks modernity and constitutes a knowledge beyond culture, beyond religion and does not sit happily with other worlds and mysterious super natures.  Its dictum is “Go not outside nature to explain nature!’

    What this ethic of rational fundamentalism cannot do (and never has done) is to endorse any religious or social vision of the world; it is cold, distant and not at all impressed; it cannot offer the cosy understanding of a meaning system such as those which handle the great perennial problems of human existence (death, suffering, reasons for living etc.) and in this regard is, perhaps rightly so, looked upon as inadequate, deficient.  Various ideologies, secular and religious have sought to seek validation from this powerful ethic of rational fundamentalism; they have failed.  

    The materialist ethic may sabotage religious claims (and does so) but is quite unable to offer anything comparable in their place.  Its success is evidenced in the growth of postmodernism where, goodness me, bless them all – a relativism of cultures prevails and it is then frowned upon when one meaning system attempts to dispute another (such is postmodernism) – Catholicism can claim no superiority over Islam and neither can these claim superiority over the animist adventures of such and such a tribe in the upper reaches of the remotest rivers of far-flung continents: they are all equal (whatever is meant by that!) 

    These two ethics of cognition, we are not yet done with; they function on irreconcilable epistemologies, irreconcilable paradigms – and there is absolutely no meeting ground.  That debate is still with us and is, for good or for ill, writ large.  It will be here for some time.   Ah, no NOMA, for NOMA is a misnomer for an acute condition.

  • Drat

    I would have thought that for writers like Dawkins (Tom Paine etc.,) theology does not constitute a genuine and valid style of thinking: there is, literally, for those of such a mindset, nothing to understand; theology does not rank as knowledge.

  • Sam

    No one individual can possibly know all there is to know about theology (or biology) however they can ensure that they point to the areas which they do understand and comment on those areas specifically.

    I believe that Dawkins does this exceedingly well and, quite rightly, refuses to comment on areas on which he has too little understanding. This is shown excellently in the case above in which he freely admits areas of theology which he has little understanding of, specifically the details of Islam.

    If there are holes in Richard Dawkins argument then they should be exposed through intellectual vigour. A non-specific attack on the man as a whole does nothing to endear theistic intellectuals to the wider community. If Dawkins’ argument is really so weak as to portray such a vast lack of understanding of theology as you say then show us the exact points he makes which are irrevocably false!

    Dawkins himself would be the first to shake the hand of an individual who thoroughly disproved any specific point he has made whilst constructing an argument.

  • Jonathan West

    That is not so. I’ve re-read the previous thread to be sure.

    The main argument offered was that God is defined as  non-contingent (i.e. beyond explanation). I pointed out that this is an even stronger reason for not believing in God than any that Dawkins deploys.

  • Ratzcat

    Dawkins was the cabaret act at the Papal Visit to England and Scotland.

    Notice how he laid low afterwards because he was out-shouted by the faithful and decent people?

  • Ratzcat

    The worship of a higher deity is as old as the world itself.

    The Roman Catholic faith is still a huge presence in the USA.

    The New Atheism-schm-atheism or whatever may have the numbers but it has no strong foundations like a sinkhole. Atheists have been credited with casting the most votes in getting Obama back in as US President for a second term.

    He performed no miracles. He didn’t click his heels to bring the US economy back to health. He walked the walk but that’s about it.

    Instead, he wasted his time on non-priority stuff such as forcing people to include provisions for abortion, contraception etc. in their health care policies with a total disregard to those both Roman Catholic or not and their rights to opt-out.

    He is pushing same-sex marriage in the US just like Cameron is doing here in the UK.

    And Atheisim is a force for good?

    Catch yourself on!

  • James M

    “New Atheism is dead”

    ## Not if the thousands of atheistic comments on YouTube are any guide. And that is just a corner of the Net. The rejection of theism is alive and well. There are real objections to Christianity – and they cannot be shrugged off as confusions of Christianity with Fundamentalism. Many of them are prompted by revulsion at the sins of Christians; & revulsion at sin is a healthy reaction – much healthier than the Christian sloth that shrugs them off. If the Church were not so addicted to navel-gazing complacency, it might see this.

    “Even to non-believers, the argument that religion is a damaging parasite seems implausible.”

    Only if one ignores the evidence. If we don’t set our own house in order freely, it will be set in order despite us. Atheists do Catholics a great service by pointing out the harm they (& the adherents of other religions) have done. When atheists do so, we should be very grateful, for they could not do so, if God Who works in all creation were not at work in and through them. The Church is not entitled to do evil, and it ignores the Righteousness of God at its peril. “God is not mocked” – not even by Christians, not even by His Church.

  • kwestion.all

    You are correct in so far as the publicity that accompanied the “New Atheism”, has certainly receded. Secular liberal unreligious attitudes however, are still strong on the ground, as you correctly identify in the rejection of cultural relativism. However, atheists need to state more clearly what they are for (not always easy), rather than what they are against (which is easy to do).

  • James M

     Dawkins’ appearance is not an argument against him. Ratzinger would not exactly win a beauty context – that is not remotely relevant to the quality of what the man says.

  • $20596475

    It is pretty ironic, given all that has happened within the last few years, (and again in spades in recent days), within the Catholic Church, that this piece tries to suggest that atheism is in decline. I often think that some Catholics live in a parallel universe and not the one that the rest of us occupy. This piece seems to confirm that. Many feel that Catholicism could implode if it is not careful. Whether true atheism, or a just general disinterest in things spiritual, is growing, is a debatable matter, but that active Christian belief, in the UK at least, is in decline cannot be in any doubt.It might cheer up a few hard line traditionalists to attack Richard Dawkins again at this time, but I would think a little internal circumspection would be more in order. 

  • Ratzcat

    All of them, quite frankly.

    He wants proof of God all the time – what on earth does he want? A man in a white beard with a thunderbolt?

  • James M

    “Any evidence, but it has to be actual evidence, not the bible.”

    ## The Bible contradicts itself because it is not (in origin) a book – it is a library; one written over many centuries. Not all at once. There is no more reason to expect all the writers to agree in all respects, than there is to expect the CH to agree with every word in the “Communist Manifesto”, or the last Tory election manifesto, or the complete works of Jane Austen.

    For the books not to contain any contradictions would not prove anything. Many purely human books are free of all contradiction – in no way is that even the ghost of an argument that they more than human. To expect the Bible to be free of contradiction, is to impose one’s own expectations on it – that atheists do this is understandable; what is really bad is that Christians do so.  What those who believe the Bible only if it is contradiction-free overlook, is that maybe freedom from contradiction is not important. The Bible is not an argument – only parts of it are set out as arguments. A lot of it is proclamation – not argumentation. A great deal is made up of stories: some mythological, some semi-historical, some short story-like, & so on. A lot of it is exhortation, and some is parable – there is no reason for it to contain only sentences that never contradict  any other sentences in it. A faith founded on the absence of (so far) undiscovered error, is not Christian faith.

    Not only are contradictions not a problem – that they occur in the Bible, just as in purely human works, suggests that they have a reason to be present. ISTM that their presence is a hint that perfect self-consistency is not necessary for the Bible to be a Divine message. Inconsistency is frequent in the Bible – God contradicts His own words on several occasions; this is very valuable, because it is a caution that God is not static non-self-contradictory perfection, but a dynamic, active Person, Whose freedom extends to being free from the logic of His own words. The Biblical portrayal of God would be much the poorer, if it were perfectly self-consistent. The Bible is inconsistent in some extremely important ways: the New Testament contains statements & ideas that collide head-on with parts of the OT. You say: “The Bible is not free of contradiction – so I reject it”. I say: “I accept the Bible as the Word of God in the words of men – therefore, the contradictions in it have a positive function in expressing that Word”.

    If there is evidence of God, man cannot call the shots; he has to accept the evidence God gives. If he doesn’t like the evidence, tough. The problem with your demand, is that it implies that man calls the shots – and God must abide by what man sees fit to require of Him. This is to ask for evidence of religion while having a completely non-religious attitude: the attitude is sufficient to destroy all possibility of accepting evidence when it is given. Such demands are not going to be met – if there is a God (& there definitely is), we have to come to Him on His terms, never ours. A God to whom we can dictate terms, is not God at all.

    What’s needed, is not evidence, but, a different way of seeing. Everything about us is able to be evidence of God, if we have eyes to see it. If we lack such eyes, no amount of additional info will make the slightest difference. The change has to be in us, in our hearts and minds and eyes – not in the external world.

    “This is the problem with religion, there simply is no evidence or there would be (1) no atheists and (2) only one religion.”

    ## That is an unrealistically rosy view of human nature. And it’s too intellectual. Therefore, incompletely human.

  • James M

     “The Roman Catholic faith is still a huge presence in the USA.”

    ## Almost as large in membership is the company of ex-Catholics. I think the stats are 65 M & 60M respectively. That’s 125M – more than twice the population of the UK.

     “He performed no miracles.”

    ## Do you know anyone who has ? I don’t. I thought the Catholic vote got Obama back in; it certainly played a part.

  • James M

     ## Non-contingent =///= beyond explanation.

    Did you mean “non-contingent and beyond explanation” ? That would be a stronger objection. How is being non-contingent a reason for not believing in God ?

    (I hope this does not distort what you intended)

  • James M

    Atheism has been around for a long time – it would be very remarkable if it went away. There is no reason why it should, because there will always be a gap between religion at its best & religion at its worst. Human nature would have be radically altered on a massive scale  for atheism to vanish.

  • James M

    “Why would Dawkins care what the Epicur[e]ans thought?”

    ## Intellectual curiosity, maybe ? Ignoring others sounds terribly self-absorbed -  in academics, intellectual curiosity in whatever is not oneself is surely to be expected. And he would not be where he is, if he were not an academic. To love only one’s own ideas, is unworthy of a human being; let alone a scholar. Academic work requires interest in others and in their ideas – not self-absorption.

    This video, the first of seven, shows he is not self-absorbed:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32qY_Bv3kBg

    If he and Fr. George Coyne can be civil to one another, kudos to them both. So atheists & Christians ought to be able to be equally civil.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    Not if it means he is wholly inconsistent, no.

  • vito

    by the way, I guess it is more common to make critical remarks and jokes about Christians, their values etc. than about Muslims because so very few Christians really believe and take their faith seriously. I live in a nominally Catholic country, where the Church even has an important role in political and public life, but in my 37 years of life, I have met maybe two or three people, clergy aside, who take their faith seriously and try to follow Church teachings. Others just observe Catholicism as a tradition: holidays, funerals, christenings etc. So when someone tells you for instance, that he or she does not use contraception because the Pope does not allow it or someone comes tells you they cannot eat meat on a certain day etc, you first assume the person is making a joke… Normally that IS the case.  So here’s the answer. There are very few Muslims in my country, but I’ve heard they still take their faith seriously (maybe I’m wrong), so I would be more cautious with jokes and snarky comments towards their faith. At least until I get to know them. No one wants an unpleasant confrontation or a violent reaction… No one, perhaps, wants to really offend anyone. But I have hardly met any Christians than CAN be offended in matters of their faith

  • vito

    This article has not a single piece of statistics to back up what it is saying. Of course, stats show that unbelievers are the fastest growing “religious” group in the world. There has never been as many atheists/sceptics/unbelievers/agnostics and this group is only bound to grow – in every place of the world that can be reached by a free word. Religion in the West, apart from the somewhat backward portions of the US, has practically lost its relevance. Yes, I guess (only guess) that in West Europe the “new atheism” (there are actually no ‘new atheists’, just the same old atheists, but your are no longer allowed to set them on fire) has somewhat lost steam in west Europe, but the only reason for that is the fact that people find the whole topic to be simply irrelevant. Most people don’t even waste their time thinking about or debating something that has no real meaning to their lives. The movement has therefore refocused on certain parts of the USA and the rest of the world.

  • Micha_Elyi

    Once upon a time atheists insisted that our universe had no beginning for if it did have a beginning there would have to be something – God – to begin it.  Atheists mocked an early 20th century physicist-mathematician’s discovery of a beginning of the universe by calling his theory “The Big Bang”.

    Science now accepts the Big Bang theory.

    The science is settled.  God exists.  QED.

  • AlanP

    The main characteristic of “new atheism” is to set up various simplistic caricatures of religion, and then proceed to demolish those charicatures.  The typical Dawkins-type argument is “the Bible says the world is 6000 years old” (which of course it doesn’t) “and this has been disproved, therefore the Bible is wrong and Christianity is false”.  This is child’s stuff, certainly compared with the more serious atheists we had in the past, such as Bertrand Russell (see the transcript of his famous radio broadcast with Fr. Copleston).  “New Atheism” is certainly dead, though a more sympathetic kind of atheism, personified by Alain de Botton, is gaining ground.

  • AlanP

    Wrong, most Christians have enough humility to admit that the more we think we know, the less we do know. 

  • Peter

    The late Antony Flew used to be a serious atheist before his conversion.

  • Acleron

    Oh to wish that people didn’t claim that the earth wasn’t 6000 years old or that evolution is a myth. Unfortunately they are still with us, we even have medical students walking out of evolution lectures in the UK. Oh to hope we could live in an equal world where everyone is treated equally but we still have people who treat women and homosexuals as second class citizens. Oh to live in a world of rational thought and decision but unfortunately we still have people who blindly believe we should conduct ourselves as the inhabitants of a 2000 year society which has no relevance to the problems we have today.

    Much progress has been made but much has still to be done.

  • Acleron

    The onus of proof is on you. Dawkins has carefully described how extremely unlikely is the existence of any of the described gods. No rational argument has been returned, again the onus is on you to provide equivalent intellectual argument but it has been lacking.

    Instead we have ad hominem, straw man attacks and simple restating of initial positions with no reference to the criticism.

    We expect those who have deeply succumbed to irrational belief to be beyond help although encouraging results are being found in the US where clergymen are financially helped when they leave religion and belief.

    The best result of new atheism is the increase of those who see no need of religion or of stone-age belief systems.

  • Acleron

    Your argument is factually wrong and logically inconsistent. Scientists not atheists or theists found the origins of the universe, LeMaitre stated that he compartmentalised his science and his religion. Scientists argued over the existence of Big Bang Theory and while there appears overwhelming proof for an origin there are still some doubts. That’s how science works.

    The existence of an origin in no way proves a god, but if you disagree, demonstrate where this god resides in the mathematics of the theory, otherwise you have no argument.

  • http://jabbapapa.wordpress.com/ Julian Lord

    The onus of proof is on you

    Of what ?

    Of Dawkins’ claims ?

    Hardly !!!

    The onus of proof of Dawkins’ claims is on Dawkins, and on his supporters — I personally feel no need whatsoever to “defend” the idiotic characteristics of the straw god that he’s trying to foist on everyone as being “the” topic of “debate”.

    Unless and until he can demonstrate that God must necessarily be material in nature, which his entire claim rests upon ; unless and until he can provide a plausible explanation for the origin of causality — the ball is no longer in our camp.

  • $20596475

    I think many Catholics lump “atheists”, “secularists” and “humanists” into one pile and think they are all the same. They share certain attitudes, but that is all. I speak as an agnostic humanist who believes in a secular society, but I have Christian friends who also are secularists.

    We believe in equal opportunities, and treatment, for those who hold a religious belief, and for those who don’t. We are for the right to worship, and for our right not to be impacted by that in any way. We are for the rule of law, as freely determined by the majority of us, and not by the imposition of anything held by a minority. We are for the right of every child to be able to reach their own conclusions about what they believe, free of the prejudices held by others, including their parents.   

  • Daydreamer1

    Atheism isn’t going to destroy religion; and nor will Dawkins. Of course it won’t. The only thing that ever could is economics, but even then it only tends to kill denominations. Larger churches can fail and often do, and even religions die.

    Here in the UK we have yet to see how the Church will survive the next 100 years. Local Churches often have as few as 4 people on Sundays. The organisation still needs to pay for itself somehow and is having to close and sell Churches to meet costs.

  • Daydreamer1

    I couldn’t agree more. This author is overlooking the fact that New Atheism caused a buzz and was new to many people. Atheism isn’t dying today, it is growing, settling in and maturing. Many have now heard the atheistic argument and are used to it.

  • http://jabbapapa.wordpress.com/ Julian Lord

    Faith quite deliberately takes no notice of evidence

    WRONG

    Please stop pushing this fallacy, it’s just tedious, serves no meaningful purpose, and simply shows you up as being yet another blinkered atheist dogmatist.

  • Peter

    Oh, to live in a world where pre-born babies aren’t treated as discardable biological matter!

    Sadly, no progress has been made, quite the reverse, in fact.   

    We are more barbaric and bloodthirsty now than at any time in human history.

    So much for our wonderful secular world of rational thought and  decision!