Reza Aslan: Sam Harris and “New Atheists” aren’t new, aren’t even atheists

Via Salon.com: ‘The appeal of New Atheism is that it offered non-believers a muscular and dogmatic form of atheism specifically designed to push back against muscular and dogmatic religious belief. Yet that is also, in my opinion, the main problem with New Atheism. In seeking to replace religion with secularism and faith with science, the New Atheists have, perhaps inadvertently, launched a movement with far too many similarities to the ones they so radically oppose. Indeed, while we typically associate fundamentalism with religiously zealotry, in so far as the term connotes an attempt to “impose a single truth on the plural world” – to use the definition of noted philosopher Jonathan Sacks – then there is little doubt that a similar fundamentalist mind-set has overcome many adherents of this latest iteration of anti-theism.

Like religious fundamentalism, New Atheism is primarily a reactionary phenomenon, one that responds to religion with the same venomous ire with which religious fundamentalists respond to atheism. What one finds in the writings of anti-theist ideologues like Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens is the same sense of utter certainty, the same claim to a monopoly on truth, the same close-mindedness that views one’s own position as unequivocally good and one’s opponent’s views as not just wrong but irrational and even stupid, the same intolerance for alternative explanations, the same rabid adherents as anyone who has dared criticize Dawkins or Harris on social media can attest, and, most shockingly, the same proselytizing fervor that one sees in any fundamentalist community.’

 

 

 

One thought on “Reza Aslan: Sam Harris and “New Atheists” aren’t new, aren’t even atheists

  1. I’ve come to consider science to BE a religion. It’s all based on mathematics which starts with the act of faith involved in stating that A is always equal to A. As religions go, I find it the most useful and practical however. It also has plenty of fundamentalist true believers who frequently claim a priori knowledge of what is and is not true without even having to perform any experiments (see The New Inquisition by Robert Anton Wilson).

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