They call them the “New Atheists”, although they've been around for a while and they are assertive, educated and articulate spokespeople for disbelief in supernatural beings which rule the universe. You can find them on radio and tv talk shows, spread across youtube, philosophy forums and social media sites and they have little or no polite respect for the ideologies and posturings of religion. Some of them write best-selling books with provocative titles like God the Failed Hypothesis, God is not Great and The God Delusion....and chief among the popular authors of the movement are the charismatic Christopher Hitchens and the dryer but no less impressive Richard Dawkins.
A New Breed
Call this new vocal breed smug, superior or just irritating, atheism as a proposition appears to be gaining momentum, propelled as it is by slick performers and technological communication. The lonely atheist can now find a burgeoning community of commiserating disbelievers on the internet. The one salient feature that links all the New Atheists together is the idea that believing in God equates to living in an intellectual slum. In other words, to accept religion means abandoning rational thought and embracing the irrational and there is almost a sense of outrage in the New Atheist's response to theism.
Are they right...? Well yes..I believe they are, even though some of them might seem a little militant about it, at least to religious folk. God is a very hard proposition to prove, certainly a God with characteristic features as claimed by the major religions. Thus far, "God" has proven just too elusive a concept to define, let alone believe in. Defend theism if you will but as a byproduct of emotional need or some other factor, rather than a sound conclusion of rational thought. The New Atheists have heard every so-called rational argument argument there is, from first cause to Pascal's wager and not a single claim can withstand scrutiny.
A Personal View
I call myself an atheist, mainly as a kind of convenience, though I am certain of nothing regarding the existence of anything. We do not have a coherent definition of God - no-one can say with any surety what the word means, so I am an atheist in the sense that I don't allow for the possibility of any Gods that have been put forward as truths...in the same way I don't allow for the possibility of flying green pigs.
Of course I do wonder about many things, - such as, if there is some driving force behind our universe or whether we are an accident of happenstance.. Heaven knows in that mysterious realm, anything is possible. However, I have to reject the certainties of religion, not least because they are so often at odds with truths..ie; provisional ones that we have about the natural world and how it operates. It seems to me feeble, as well as limiting, to be content with comfortable myths when the truths are still out there, yet to be unravelled.
Bottom line-God/Religion just doesn't make sense.
For More on This Topic...
- Myth: All Atheists Are Agnostics
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- To My Fellow Atheists
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- My Secular Journey
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- My struggle with God
A very personal reflection on God in my life, or not, as the case may be!
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