Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Danger of New Atheists

I'll be busy for the next few weeks, so this will be quick, but something I've been looking at in depth is a total take-down of the Sam Harris style of doing philosophy, firstly, but more importantly of the New Atheists' propagation of bigotry.

I've had a few incidents in my classes that have illustrated the potential of the New Atheists' message to go down a dark path.  If my students are picking up on this ideology, then others are too.

Now three young students have died at the hands of a "New Atheist."  This group (including Harris, Dawkins, Maher...) is less about being atheistic, and more about being anti-theist.  And, ironically, it's extremist in its insistence of demolishing religious groups.

Any hate-filled group, zealous in its intentions, is a concern.  This group is no different.  


The Mound of Sound said...

I think this fiend was to atheists what the Ottawa gunman (whose name I refuse to commit to memory) was to Islam. He was plainly unhinged, something which makes it difficult to posit him as representative of "New Atheism". Dawkins, judging by his tolerance of 'mild pedophilia' is also a bit wobbly upstairs.

I believe that freedom of religion must be accompanied by freedom from religion, especially in the separation of church and state. Oh well, we're still slaughtering 'unbelievers' by the tens of thousands. One side uses Hellfire missiles and laser-guided 2,000 lb. bombs. The other prefers the scimitar to behead apostates.

I'm fed up with religion, especially in its murderous, fundamentalist strain. It's religious fundamentalism - Muslim, Jewish, Christian, even Hindu and Buddhist, that has been so murderous this century.

Marie Snyder said...

I think any fundamental, extremist group is damaging. I've been an atheist since I was four, and I absolutely insist on separation of church and state, but this faction of atheism that tells people Islam is to blame for atrocities of the world is just as bad as religious extremists saying Americans are to blame. It's the same type of argument, and I think it helps people justify their own bigotry.

I've seen religious people who spend their lives devoted to helping others, dedicated to acting like Jesus would have them act instead of following the prejudicial doctrines of their church, so I'm not as quick to demonize the religious as one unified entity. Religion is often a red herring in wars for land or resources or power. It obsfucates the issues - often intentionally. When any faction of any group suggests we obliterate an entire people, we need to clarify the problems with their reasoning.

I don't have time right now to do a better job of this discussion here, but I will within the next couple of months.

Anonymous said...

One must choose a play that appeals to the instincts of the audience.

Owen Gray said...

All kinds of atrocities have resulted from the conviction that God -- or no god -- is on our side.