Yarg yarg yarg, militant atheists, yarg yarg
Yes yes yes. We know. We’ve heard.
But some now say secularists should embrace more than the strident rhetoric poured out in such books as “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins and “The End of Faith” and “Letter to a Christian Nation” by Sam Harris. By devoting so much space to explaining why religion is bad, these critics argue, atheists leave little room for explaining how a godless worldview can be good. At a recent conference marking the 30th anniversary of Harvard’s humanist chaplaincy, organizers sought to distance the “new humanism” from the “new atheism.” Humanist Chaplain Greg Epstein went so far as to use the (other) f-word in describing his unbelieving brethren. “At times they’ve made statements that sound really problematic, and when Sam Harris says science must destroy religion, to me that sounds dangerously close to fundamentalism,” Epstein said in an interview after the meeting.
And behold, it worked – here he is with his name in the Washington Post. It’s a way to get attention, and Harvard’s ‘Humanist chaplain’ has been getting it. That’s a shame.
Atheism’s new dogmatic streak is not that different from the religious extremists it calls to task…The suggestion that atheists may be fundamentalists in their own right has, unsurprisingly, ruffled feathers. “We’re not a unified group,” said Christopher Hitchens…”But we’re of one mind on this: The only thing that counts is free inquiry, science, research, the testing of evidence, the uses of reason…
Free inquiry, science, research, the testing of evidence, the uses of reason – what could be more dogmatic than that?
The humanists are taking advantage of renewed interest in atheism — in effect riding the coattails of Dawkins and Harris into the mainstream — to gain attention for their big-tent model.
And doing it by pissing on them, and doing that by saying things about them that are not accurate. Triply contemptible – hitching a ride and pissing on the drivers by calling them names that don’t fit.
The article talks to much better people as it goes on, but I do wish journalists would get around to ignoring Greg Epstein.