Disclaimer: As I have said earlier, this post isn’t necessarily meant for Atheists. This isn’t meant to increase discussions. There are plenty of venues where that is being done. This is more for the readers of my blog to get familiar with New Atheism, and how I see it. I realize that I will say some things that may be contested, but I am trying to be as accurate and even handed as possible.
I know what some of you may be thinking.
1. “Wow, Tim’s writing a lot lately!” Yes, yes I am. I guess there has been more to write on, and since New Atheism has been so prolific with their writings, there will be plenty more to write on in the future. I do most of my blogging at work since we don’t have internet at home, so that is a reason I don’t get a ton of it done, but I’m trying to do some at home and then just post it when I get in. Now that the holidays are past, you’ll be seeing more consistent posting.
2. The other thing you are thinking is, “Wow! There is actually a Part II!” I feel like if I decide a post is too long and break it up into two posts, the second one is less likely to get written. Here’s to trying to break that habit!
Without further adieu, here’s the rest of the characteristics:
Reason to replace a biblical morality
I spoke a little of this earlier, but it is central enough that it bears more discussion. This is particularly the view of Sam Harris, from his interview with “Wired” magazine:
“There would be a religion of reason. We would have realized the rational means to maximize human happiness. We may all agree that we want to have a Sabbath that we take really seriously–a lot more seriously than most religious people take it. But it would be a rational decision, and it would not be just because it’s in the Bible. We would be able to invoke the power of poetry and ritual and silent contemplation and all the variables of happiness so that we could exploit them. Call it prayer, but we would have prayer without [expletive deleted].”
Again, the question that demands answering is who decides what is reasonable? One of New Atheism’s main attacks on Christianity is against Christianity’s supposed claim to be the source of morality. I don’t know who is making this claim, but I don’t think that the Bible exists to be the source of morality. The Bible exists to communicate who God is, what He has done for us, and what He expects of us. They love to point to religions such as Jainism and say that they have very similar moral directives.
Here’s my complaint with that supposed nail in the coffin against the unique nature of Christianity: Don’t you think that there is a reason that everyone basically agrees about what is right and wrong? Just because Jainism proposes similar morality doesn’t mean that it couldn’t have ultimately come from God. I’m not saying that God is working through other world religions, but morality is a reflection of God’s perfect holiness. And man, no matter what their religion, may be able to agree on what is good and right because there is a Creator who is the ultimate Good. Christianity doesn’t claim to be the source of morality in the world. If someone has a similar view as that which is written in the Bible, it means that there is a reason why we agree on what is generally good or evil.
Intelligence automatically leads to Atheism
Offended yet? Try this on for size. Richard Dawkins has this to say concerning Atheism and politics:
“Highly intelligent people are mostly atheists . . . Not a single member of either house of Congress admits to being an atheist. It just doesn’t add up. Either they’re stupid, or they’re lying. And have they got a motive for lying? Of course they’ve got a motive! Everyone knows that an atheist can’t get elected.”
In other words, if you aren’t an atheist, chances are you aren’t very intelligent. Atheists love to point to surveys that show that the more educated a person is, the less they are likely to believe in Creation or Theism. Of course, there are surveys that say almost anything you want to say, and there are surveys that show the inverse.
The key could be that when you get to public institutions of higher education, you are surrounded by more people who hate Christianity and espouse evolution. A 1998 survey of the US National Academy of Science shows that among them, a belief in a personal god or afterlife was at an all-time low. Only 7% believe in the existence of God. Liberal Universities are notorious for have professors who can’t wait to shatter the world view of freshmen who grew up in Christian homes. This leads us to the next point:
New Atheists love to see themselves as being repressed and shunned.
As seen in the Dawkin’s quote above, he believes that a government official could never admit to not believing in a god, lest he be shown the persecution of such a blatantly Christian nation. Well, the interview with “Wired” magazine was done in November, 2006. The month before that, the Secular Coalition for America, which represents atheists among other people, offered $1,000 to any elected official who admitted to being an atheist. And Rep. Pete Stark (D-California) stepped forward a few months later. Did you hear about he was asked to resign? Did you hear about how he was asked to step down from being a senior member of the Ways and Means committee? Did you hear about him being shunned by his fellow Representatives? No.
Atheists love to say things like Dawkins does here:
“The number of nonreligious people in the US is something nearer to 30 million than 20 million. That’s more than all the Jews in the world put together. I think we’re in the same position the gay movement was in a few decades ago. There was a need for people to come out. The more people who came out, the more people who had the courage to come out. I think that’s the case with atheists. They’re more numerous than anybody realizes.”
He acts as if they are experiencing so much persecution and unjust treatment. Sure, there are religious organizations who are going to oppose them, simply because they stand in opposition to their own view. But this opposition is no different than the American Heart Association’s opposition to the tobacco industry, or MADD against the breweries. They stand in opposition simply because that’s what they are, opposed.
As far as I know, there aren’t many cases of Atheists being slaughtered, hung, shot, burned, tortured, or drowned because of their lack of faith. But those are all things that have been done to Christians in the last year, never mind probably the last month.