Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The "New Christian" movement?

Prior to Sam Harris' "The end of Faith", nobody in there right mind would ever call an atheist an idiot purely on the basis of their atheism. The informed Theist would know full well that most philosophers and scientists were atheists. Usually Theists regarded atheism as an emotional rejection of God- not an intellectual one. However, recently a whole slew of Christian apologists (see here and here) have been going around declaring atheism both an emotional AND an intellectual defect! They claim that the existence of God is so obvious that one would have to consciously lie to themselves to avoid believing in him. So, how did such an attitude begin? Okay, I'll stop being coy- we all have a pretty good idea of what happened. The New Atheists came into the picture and made us all look dumb. Don't get me wrong- Dawkins is a brilliant scientist, and Dennett is popular in the Philosophy of Mind. But they aren't authorities in the History or Philosophy of Religion; and to put it bluntly, they put no effort into trying to be. They chant catch-phrases and ignore their critics.

So, how did Christians counter the new atheists? Well- they practically joined them! Apologists wrote books responding to the New Atheists- books which  were highly polemical apologetics with little substance (see here and here). Other, less informed Christians bought these books under the influence that Dawkins and co somehow represented the best in Atheistic thought. After all, why else would a Christian waste their money on a book debunking literally useless arguments? Anyways, I guess some of these ignorant Christians decided to "stand up" against the New Atheists, using their new books, filled with equally poor arguments and rhetoric, and as a result ended up starting a new movement- one I like to call "New Christianity". Philos71 and KabaneTheChristian from YouTube would be a great examples of these "New Christians". Of course, there have always been aggressive atheists like Bertrand Russell- but they lived way before the reign of Plantinga- during a time in which the non-existence of God was practically a fact. Now, I agree that this enlightenment attitude against religion that the New Atheists have espoused is both embarrassing and inappropriate- but honestly, does that give Christians the right to be just as rude in retaliation? Maybe we could figure out a way to critique the New Atheists without all the collateral damage?

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