This is rather depressingly stupid, in a predictable conformist unthinking way. Same old thing – atheism is shocking, offensive, in need of explanation, rude, violent, extreme, naughty, whereas theism is just fine, natural, as it should be, nothing to question, no problem, nothing to see here folks go on home. Why is theism the default position while atheism is something to draw a crowd of open-mouthed horrified finger-pointing gawkers?
[T]he fact is that in the waning months of 2006, a kind of militant atheism was making itself felt across the land. There were two best-selling books declaring belief in God to be a kind of mass delusion, and a harmful mass delusion at that…
Uh…yes; and? Is it so blindingly obvious that belief in God is not a ‘kind of’ mass delusion? Not to me it’s not. Actually I would say that the belief that belief in God is not a mass delusion is, in fact, a mass delusion.
…occasioning a vigorous and often angry response from many people who believe the repeated announcement of the death of God to be wrong, spiritually deaf and dangerous.
What the flock does ‘spiritually deaf’ mean? Deaf to what? Deaf to what ‘spiritual’ noises? Chirps? Barks? Grunts?
But of course empty jargony meaningless decorative burble about spiritual deafness is precisely how mass delusions are dressed up as something Deep and Special and Reverent and Not To Be Questioned By Those Horrid Militant Atheists. It’s amazing what magic the right kind of jargon can do.
Atheism is nothing new, of course, and perhaps not even the militant, proselytizing atheism of the sort taking place just now.
Oh my god – militant, proselytizing atheism – can you imagine. The arrogance and, you know, proselytizing militancy of some people – it’s staggering. Militant, proselytizing theism, of course, is perfectly all right and normal and nothing to make a newspaper fuss about, but militant, proselytizing atheism is an outrage.
But at least a few atheists are now actively, angrily, passionately trying to persuade the religious to their point of view, none more conspicuously than Sam Harris,…whose book Letter to a Christian Nation portrays Christianity as a kind of malign nonsense. Harris is engaging in no polite parlor discussion, showing due respect to the views of others.
Yes, and? So what? Why is that a problem? But Bernstein is either so stupid or so habituated to this way of thinking that he (apparently) doesn’t even realize there’s anything to explain – it’s just self-evident that atheists are not allowed to try to persuade people to their point of view or to fail to show ‘due respect’ to the [religious, and religious only] views of others by not questioning them in any way.
Atheism as a necessary attribute of civilization – religion as the opposite of civilization – that argument is being stated more assertively and is being welcomed in some quarters more warmly now than at any time before. What is going on?
What do you mean, what is going on? What is all this foolish wondering? Why are you taking it for granted that theism is perfectly reasonable and sensible while atheism is bat-loony and calls for explanation?
This kind of fatuous unthinking is precisely why some atheists feel a need to do some persuading.
The best-sellerdom of books like those of Harris and Dawkins shows that there is a market for militant atheism, but the market for religious belief is bigger. I wouldn’t imagine any candidate for office winning on a platform of disbelief in God.
Well nooooo kidding, bub. And that’s one reason atheists are getting restless. It has to do with not wanting to live in a theocracy! Or even in a thought-world where theism is taken for granted and atheism is treated like a visitation from Mars.
The two movements are almost entirely dissimilar, of course, with Christian fundamentalism engaging in no violence or threats.
I beg your pardon??? Christian fundamentalism engaging in no – oh the hell with it, the guy must live under a rock. He wrote a not-bad book a few years ago, but maybe something has gone wrong since then.