Militant atheists are wrong
By Lee Siegel
A flurry of literary attacks on God may also be closing the book on imagination.
Imagine one of the hot young up-and-comers of the Tory party - George Osbourne perhaps - announcing in his speech to the Conservative party conference that if they wanted to address their perception problems with the voters the best way forward would be to drop the word “conservative” entirely, because it sends all the wrong signals. Don’t worry, he assures the stricken party activists, all we’d have to do is change a few letter heads and business cards.
Religion as a force for good
By Ian Buruma
It has become fashionable in certain smart circles to regard atheism as a sign of superior education, of highly evolved civilization, of enlightenment. Recent bestsellers by Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and others suggest that religious faith is a sign of backwardness, the mark of primitives stuck in the Dark Ages who have not caught up with scientific reason.
Root and Branch
By Ian Hacking
...The people do not trust those who present themselves as elite. If you want a sense of the monstrous self-confident complacency of days gone by, read H.L. Mencken’s daily reports to the Baltimore Sun on the Scopes trial, now reissued under the title A Religious Orgy in Tennessee. Or read any of the self-indulgent, virulent atheists in circulation today—Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens being just two. Contrary to their professed intentions, such writers buttress the faithful; their loathsome arrogance shields evangelical churches from doubt. That part of the American population that believes God made man in His own image has a heartfelt contempt for know-it-alls. I am inclined to say, God bless the people, even when they get it wrong….
Are Sacred Texts Sacred? the Challenge for Atheists
By Carlin Romano
For a long time, religion had been doing quite nicely as a kind of minor entertainment. Christmas and Easter were quite unthinkable without it, not to mention Hanukkah and Passover. But then certain enthusiasts took things too far by crashing airliners into office towers in the name of Allah, launching a global crusade to rid the world of evil, and declaring the jury still out on Darwinian evolution. As a consequence, religion now looks nearly as bad as royalism did in the late 18th century.
By David Abel
An increasing number of young people in America - and adults around the world - don’t believe in God. Greg Epstein, who advises fellow atheists and agnostics at Harvard University, wants to create a kind of church for those who reject religion. But he’s encountering resistance from some of the very people he wants to unite.
Moral Psychology and the Misunderstanding of Religion
By Jonathan Haidt
...But because the new atheists talk so much about the virtues of science and our shared commitment to reason and evidence, I think it’s appropriate to hold them to a higher standard than their opponents. Do these new atheist books model the scientific mind at its best? Or do they reveal normal human beings acting on the basis of their normal moral psychology?...
Defender of the Faith?
By Mark Edmundson
A good deal of the antireligious polemic that has recently been abroad in our culture proceeds in the spirit of Freud’s earlier work. In his defense of atheism, “God Is Not Great,” Christopher Hitchens cites Freud as an ally who, he believes, exposed the weak-minded childishness of religion. Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins come out of the same Enlightenment spirit of hostile skepticism to faith that infuses “The Future of an Illusion.” All three contemporary writers want to get rid of religion immediately and with no remainder. But there’s more to Freud’s take on religion than that…
All in the name of God
By Ian O’Doherty
When Sam Harris first appeared out of the blue with his wonderful first book, The End Of Faith, it seemed that Richard Dawkins finally had someone else who could shoulder the burden of being remorselessly attacked by religious attack dogs in the mainstream media.
Think Again: Dangerous godlessness
By Jonathan Rosenblum
Without entering into fruitless debates about whether religious or non-religious people are more moral - fruitless since we lack even the common moral language the Decalogue once provided - there is one point even Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion), Christopher Hitchens (God Is Not Great), and Sam Harris (Letter to a Christian Nation) should concede: Religious people are better at defending themselves from threats to their survival.
Onward, Secular Soldiers
By Katha Pollitt
An amazing thing has been happening here in God’s own country: For the first time in living memory, religious skepticism is hot.
The smallest signs of retreat
By Madeleine Bunting
...There’s a fascinating debate to be had between atheists and people of faith and, often, they can find the gulf between them is not nearly as wide or unbridgeable as is often suggested. Even when there is a gulf, both sides can find the process helpful in clarifying their positions - Sam Harris and Andrew Sullivan’s exchange for example….
Secularists, what happened to the open mind?
By Tom Krattenmaker
Many of the leading voices among atheists and the ‘unreligious’ reveal a disdain for religion that can only damage today’s dialogue. Speaking with people of faith, instead of about them, would enrich both sides of this philosophical divide.
Rational Atheism: An open letter to Messrs. Dawkins, Dennett, Harris and Hitchens
By Michael Shermer
Since the turn of the millennium, a new militancy has arisen among religious skeptics in response to three threats to science and freedom…
God Bless Me, It’s a Best-Seller!
By Christopher Hitchens
The author’s book tour—for God Is Not Great—takes a few miraculous turns, including the P.R. boost from Jerry Falwell’s demise, a chance encounter with the Archbishop of Canterbury, and surprising support for an attack on religion.
The New New Atheism
By Peter Berkowitz
“There is nothing new under the sun,” proclaims the Book of Ecclesiastes. The rise of the new new atheism confirms this ancient biblical wisdom.
What Atheists Can’t Answer
By Michael Gerson
British author G.K. Chesterton argued that every act of blasphemy is a kind of tribute to God, because it is based on belief. “If anyone doubts this,” he wrote, “let him sit down seriously and try to think blasphemous thoughts about Thor.”
Am I a dwarf or a horseman?
By Christopher Hitchens
It’s an honour to be mentioned in the same breath as Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and Sam Harris. We could become known as the Four Horsemen of the Counter-Apocalypse
Is Religion Man-Made?
By Stanley Fish
Sure it is. Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens think that this fact about religion is enough to invalidate its claims.
Atheism and Evidence
By Stanley Fish
Atheists like Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens believe (in Dawkins’s words) that “there is nothing beyond the natural, physical world” and that “if there is something that appears to lie beyond the natural world, we hope eventually to understand it and embrace it within the natural.”
God, Politics and That Man
By Dwayne Booth
Like a cockfight, the event at UCLA’s Royce Hall seemed as if it had been put together surreptitiously to evade detection by anybody but the most ardent fans of the most uncomfortable Thanksgiving conversation imaginable: namely, one about God and politics.
Baptists Warned About Islam, Atheism
Watergate figure Chuck Colson warned a gathering of Southern Baptist pastors Sunday night against what he described as two dire threats: the deadly marriage of Islam and fascism and a new, militant atheism growing in popularity in the West.
By AC Grayling
To the annoyance of many, the alarm of some, and the satisfaction of others, the half dozen books recently published that powerfully set out the case against religion and religious beliefs - books by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett and Michel Onfray - have all sold in large numbers.
The Three Atheists
By Stanley Fish
Writings against God and religion have been around as long as God and religion have been around. But every so often an epidemic of the genre breaks out and a spate of such writings achieves the status of notoriety (which is what their authors had been aiming for).
By Lisa Miller
It may not be fair to call what’s happening in the atheist community a backlash, since atheists have always been and continue to be one of the smallest, most derided groups in the country. In a recent NEWSWEEK Poll, only 3 percent of respondents called themselves atheists and only 30 percent said they’d ever vote for an atheist. No, what’s happening in the “atheist, humanist, freethinkers” community is more like what happens to any ideological or political group as it matures: the hard-liners knock heads with the folks who want to just get along, and the cracks are beginning to show.
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