The past few weeks I have rather unexpectedly found myself engaged within a significant number of “discussions” with various atheist bloggers. I am typically not one to be turned off by rigorous debate, or even a fair amount of internet snark, as I know how prone I am to using it myself, but after a while, sigh….. It just gets downright exhausting. Then recently I find myself listening to Like Flint Radio, as the hosts are interviewing Graham Veale, author of the book, “New Atheism: A Survival Guide”.
Graham begins the interview with this synopsis of “New Atheism”:
After 9/11, New Atheism really came into it’s own with the book “the God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins, joined by the other “Horsemen” of Sam Harris, who wrote “Latter-Day Christian Nation”, American philosopher Daniel Dennet, and Christopher Hitchens, author of “God is not Great”.
They essentially believe that Faith is always irrational, that it’s always blind, that it always disregards reason and evidence, and therefore Faith is dangerous, because it can become fanaticism as easily as it can become Quakerism. So, faith is always blind, so faith is therefore dangerous, and really needs to be opposed, and if possible, eradicated. Not through violent means, as they would see this being achieved through education, but also through aggressive political action, which is why we see various court cases and such, and also through aggressive rhetoric, and the thinking being that because Faith is irrational, you cannot reason with religious people, so therefore what you have to do is mock and ridicule religious people, you have to make them feel the pressure, to make them feel that they need to change to be accepted by an educated society, and mainly this strategy is used to not only knock religious people off their stride, but make anyone who would consider becoming religious, step away from their religion, so it’s used to almost embarrass those people in the middle. And then finally there would be what I would call dogmatic scientism, which is a particular attitude towards science. So that would really characterize the “New Atheism”, the online communities, the attitude towards Faith, and this rhetorical strategy of using ridicule and mockery instead of rigorous argument… (mostly word for word there, bit of paraphrasing)
Let me just tell you, this describes the tone of almost every single exchange I have participated in recently to a tee. And honestly, I think it is this specific point about religion (particularly the evangelical Christian variety…) being “dangerous” which has really captivated me so, kept me jumping back into the fray. Maybe it’s because, if you spend any time at all perusing the typical topics I delve into here on the blog, you’ll see that I spend a GOOD deal of energy and time talking about “danger, danger!” myself. I too see 9/11 as a very real touchstone in the shift of thinking of our society as a whole. I too believe that blind allegiances and lack of cognitive examination are what sets us up for disastrous manifestations of totalitarianism down the road. I too find that false beliefs, in false narratives, can indeed be “dangerous”.
So oddly enough, there are actually a lot of commonalities, a lot of areas in which I can genuinely empathize with the “New Atheist”, although getting one to see this at all is no small feat. The fact that I believe in God or the Bible at all is grounds to immediately chide me as being “indoctrinated” and “brainwashed”, (which I find hilariously ironic as they themselves parrot sayings and slanderings from the mouth of their Prophet-of-New-Atheism Richard Dawkins. But no matter..) In any case, the fact that my own perceptions and views on things like institutional religion, or using political avenues to “influence the morality of the culture”, do not fit their pre-configured stereotypes AT ALL, doesn’t seem to make much difference. They are convinced. I, am “dangerous”. 🙂
And so as this theme continues to repeatedly float to the surface in the course of these debates, I almost feel myself being compelled to FIRST formulate a staunch apologetic as to why this assumption/assertion is patently, demonstrably FALSE. I am no danger to you, as an Atheist. (nor as a Buddhist, or a Muslim, or a Wiccan, or whatever else you might be/not be…) What to me is also quite worthy of noting, is that YOU are not viewed as a danger to ME! I do not believe in fighting some “culture war”. I do not believe in trying to pass laws to tell you what kind of sex is right or wrong. I do not believe, at all, in trying to preserve even a hint of some “Christian heritage of America”. I really don’t. For every “new Atheist” I have spent time with, (trying to at least demonstrate that Faith in God IS in fact something that many people DO arrive at after years of questioning, research, contemplation, and religious criticism), I spend probably twice as much engaging with fellow Christians, pointing out, again and again, that indeed the things taught by Jesus and every one of His followers in the Bible in fact do not square up with the Ameri-centric, wave-the-Flag, fight-the-Commies, bomb-the-Terrorists, support-Israel-no-matter-how-many-innocents-they-kill, “God, Guns and Gold” narrative.
For generations now, Christians HAVE indeed been guilty of giving allegiance to a host of agendas which in the end have now become the fuel for the New Atheism fire. It makes it quite easy for a guy like Dawkins or Hitchens to come along, and declare that belief in God is tantamount to being clinically insane and that such beliefs really are what provide the impetus for things like perpetual war and American neo-colonialism. (Neo-wha…? Colonialism? Today? Indeed, most American Christians still scoff at this, oblivious…)
There is so much sad irony in all of this, all these different confused and twisted plot lines, all tangled up together like the huge ball of Christmas lights Clark Griswold pulls out of his garage…
The “Evangelicals” of America, having been convinced over the past decades to relegate themselves to being no more than just another voting block instead being salt and light as the Body of Christ, have helped write significant chapters of this religion-fosters-division-and-hostility narrative, sold by New Atheism, by doing things like rally around the “conservative Christian” George W. Bush, buying up his book during his first Presidential bid and hailing his “testimony” as proof-positive that he was going to get into that oval office and “bring Christian values back to America”…
That, as we all know, is not at all what happened…
“Born-again-Bonesman Bush” just happens to be the one at the helm when “ex”-CIA asset Bin Laden (whose family is also long-time friends of the Bushes…) finally decides to penetrate the most heavily armed and guarded military power ever to have existed in world history, using less than a dozen coke-sniffing student-pilots who navigate passenger aircraft (which they’ve never flown before) with stunning, limit-pushing maneuvers into World Trade Center complex buildings, whose security was provided by Securacom, where the POTUS’s little brother Marvin P. Bush, just so happened to be a principal owner. (There were sure a lot of those “just-so-happened’s on 9/11, weren’t there..?)
So instead of some “return to Christian values”, the son of pedophile-partying, Bohemian-grooving, Central-intelligencing Daddy-Bush only brought us further down the path towards the Luciferian “New Atlantis” rather than the Garden of Eden, complete with Draconian legislation such as the Patriot Act, invasions of multiple sovereign nations under false premises, drones which now fly around the entire globe striking targets without repercussion, and, oh yes, the NSA is now admittedly recording everything you say online, everywhere you go, everything you buy, etc., and storing it all in some idiotically massive database somewhere in Utah or Maryland or wherever else…
So, yes, my friends from the “New Atheism” movement, you are not altogether incorrect in ascribing a certain label of “dangerous” towards certain segments of people with a “religious persuasion”. There are a good many points where I will be amongst the first to stand up beside you and denounce the use of “Faith-based patriotic fervor” to propel one political agenda or another. At the same time, however, I will say that you as well need to be willing to stop, and look deeper into the “subtle nuances” between the alleged “danger” of the family down the street who prays before every meal and thanks God or their food, and the REAL dangers of men and women in positions of extreme power, whose “religion” in fact involves the precise OPPOSITE of what Jesus of Nazareth taught. The Constitution has all but been put through the shredder, but you don’t realize that this is not the work of those darned “fundamentalist Christians”! These other folks, (many of whom parade and pose as “Christians” in the daytime…) however, do not believe in “turning the other cheek”, or “loving your neighbor as yourself”. They DO believe in a manifestation of “Evolution” as well, but when you start to actually look at it through their Lucierian, globalist lens, you will start to realize that in fact they see YOU and I as equally being the mosquito, while they are the T-Rex.
If you want to understand who and what the REAL “dangerous” believers are, you need to look a little further than the explanations already pre-packaged for you by guys like Richard Dawkins, do a full investigation of the matter on your OWN, and eventually realize that this demonization of Christians (which is really who is primarily meant by the term “religion”) is in fact part of a larger agenda being pushed by people who believe in the “nonsensical magic” you constantly mock and despise! Get acquainted with their “god”, their creeds, their rituals, and perhaps you might start to think the little church down the street, where everything they believe and do is all open for all to see, ain’t that bad or “oppressive” after all.
The irony is, “New Atheism” mirrors precisely the same hatred for God that the ancient, gnostic narrative has always held, elevates man to the same position of seeking divinity for himself, puts the same faith in our own ability to become masters of our own universe. It essentially IS Gnosticism, only on the level that it doesn’t even recognize it’s own origins. Like some introductory level of a “mystery school”, they are still in the stage of holding firmly to the tenets of scientific materialism. Eventually, this adherence to materialism is left behind (if you are so “initiated”), while the “dogmatic scientism” remains, only to be re-applied towards a broader scope of natural and mystical reality. All wizards consider themselves “scientists”, after all, and all are very much striving to Evolve in every sense of the word. Ask yourself, do you really want to be the unsuspecting dupe of propaganda being applied by people who embrace belief in the very spiritual realm you find laughable?
When one puts achieving god-hood at the center of their purpose in life, then there becomes no dark path they will not be willing to follow to achieve it, for who, in the end, is going to stop them, or judge them, when all is said and done, if they are the ones sitting on the throne…?
“Bent creatures are full of fears” ― C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet