Tuesday, April 01, 2008


i would like to imply i wrote this article on New Athiests. it's so good I wish I would have said it. but, you'd see through me. i could never write anything this fluid; this sharp. so let me admit up front, this is stolen from patrick mead. i don't think he'll ever miss it. if nothing more, at least consider me good at my choices for contemplated/activated thievery.

The New Atheists are those who have written best selling attacks on the faith over the last few years. After several years without much in the way of neo-atheist literature, Dawkins, Demmet, Harris, and Hitchens have all unleashed polemics against God, Christians, and other people of faith. Their attacks have been successful enough to sell a lot of books and make them media darlings. For the last two years it has been hard to pick up a book review or news magazine and not find an interview, commentary, or a guest editorial written by these modern day prophets of No One In Particular.

Knowing I was going to be asked about these new, powerful arguments, I took the time to read their books. I was absolutely amazed at what I found. There were hundreds of assertions masquerading as arguments, arguments without any merit, and arguments that they had to have known were false. There is not one single new, powerful thought in the entire pile of books. If anything, their polemics pale beside those of earlier atheists who truly tested our faith — men like Flew and Russell, for example. Dawkins, in particular, uses circular reasoning, arguments from false premises, slander disguised as argument, straw men, and so many previously exploded arguments that one can only conclude that he is intentionally being dishonest. His own dear friends, such as the esteemed scientist and theologian Alastair MacGrath, have publicly wondered about his mental state and published their concerns about their friend’s ability to form an argument.

Harris is not much better. While more engaging than Dawkins, his mind isn’t as sharp and, therefore, his arguments basically boil down to "everything bad comes from religion and everything wonderful comes from atheists, especially if they are scientists." Carl Sagan tried this tack, too, and was bulldozed by history and facts. Harris isn’t getting a free ride from historians, theologians, sociologists, or scientists. To defend himself, he writes the same book again but with a different title and rearranged chapters…

When our most powerful enemies are reduced to kicking at the slats of their cribs while screaming "there is no god, there is no god, there is no god!!!" we have nothing to fear from them. I confess a huge disappointment in these books. I expected to be challenged, I expected my faith to take a hit. I expected to be driven back to the books to see what answers I might give to these great minds (excluding Hitchens. While he has an interesting mind, it ceased being great about two thousand martinis ago). Instead, I kept asking myself "are these guys five year olds? They have to know better than this, don’t they?"

There is no evidence that their work — supported and cheered on by the progressives in our political arena and the mainstream media — has recruited many new atheists. That surprises me because we, as a species, aren’t very good at deep thinking or independent thought (which is one reason why we keep asking our "betters" in government to cuddle us at others’ expense). Here are two more cases in point.

1 comment:

Keith Roberts said...

Thanks for sharing Patrick Meade's thoughts.

All that atheists seem to be able to prove is that fathoming God with human logic is like measuring the air temperature with a yard stick. The equipment is all wrong.