Friday, January 4, 2013

Some Thoughts about New Atheism

In another post, I wrote already about some of my observations regarding William Lane Craig vs. Anthony Flew and William Lane Craig vs. Christopher Hitchens debates.

The subject of the debates was the same - the existence of God. They both began in the same way: William Lane Craig presented the same 5 arguments for God's existence. Neither Anthony Flew nor Christopher Hitchens were able to refute them. However, the attitudes of Anthony Flew and Christopher Hitchens were completely different. Hitchens's speeches were just full of attacks on religion and hatred. Flew was much more respectful and avoided attacks. And he honestly admitted that he was unable to refute Craig's arguments. Hitchens did not do so. So, Flew made an impression of an honest and respectful person, unlike Hitchens.

Flew was an "old atheist" (later, he became a deist). Hitchens was a "new atheist." I also watched videos of other three "horsemen" (Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris).

According to my observation, "new atheists" are just unable to be respectful to religion and religious people. My impression of the "new atheism" is that it is just a hatred toward religion and nothing more. They use a lot of arguments and points from what was written long time ago. The only thing they added to the "old atheism" is their hatred. But actually hatred toward religion is not something new because communists also hated religion.

Well, somehow many people use hatred in order to gain popularity. In the past, some American televangelists used two things to make themselves popular: homophobia and anti-communism. Now they can use only homophobia. Obviously, homophobia and anti-communism are two forms of hatred. Communists used classism (class discrimination and poor people's hatred toward rich people) to gain popularity and get authority. Nazis used nationalism and especially anti-Semitism in order to become popular and gain authority.

"New atheists" use another form of hatred - hatred toward religion. But their purpose is the same: to gain popularity and authority. It is not something new. Just it seems that it is much easier to become popular, criticizing and hating others, than by making something really constructive and valid.

Another interesting thing is the use of terms. It is well-known that cults often change the meanings of the words. Communists did the same. According to the Soviet propaganda, the Soviet Union was the most democratic country in the world. They said that it was the country where people were really free. The progress was associated with the communist ideology. Those who rejected it, were considered reactionaries. And there were many other similar misuses of the terms.

I noticed the same tendency among "new atheists." For example, in their language, "critical thinking" is criticism of religion. They will never admit that theists may be able to think critically. But they do not want people to challenge them or to use critical thinking toward their ideas. They think that they have a right to criticize theists, but they do not like to be criticized or challenged by theists.

Then, they associate progress with their ideas. But who has ever proven that progress is possible only with atheism? I think no one among the Western people doubts that modern Russia is more progressive country than what the Soviet Union 30 years ago. However, 30 years ago, over 90% Russians were atheists. Now only 5% Russians are atheists.

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