pexels-photo-110854

How New Atheism can be saved from Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris.

According to the latest survey by Pew Research Center, the number of Americans not identifying with any religion has increased. The survey done among 35,000 respondents have also revealed that the religiosity of religious Americans have actually increased. This result comes at a time when political divisions are sharpened on religious issues. The stage is set for a new religious doctrine versus anti-religious philosophy, a fertile ground for a New Atheist movement. However, the new breeds of atheists are harming the movement.

A case in point is Richard Dawkins. The author of the best selling pro-atheism book The God Delusion called Ahmed, a school student falsely accused of having terrorist sympathies, a hoaxer and said that the kid is not as bright as he actually claimed to be.

Another New Atheist is Sam Harris, the author, neuroscientist and philosopher. He for reasons unknown said that Ben Carson had better understanding of the Middle East than Noam Chomsky. In his own admission, Harris said that he made his statement as Carson understood that Jihadists form the enemy. He also supports the proposal made by Ted Cruz that Syrian immigrants should be screened as per their religious disposition as a few Muslims will turn out to be Jihadists in the long run. It is sad that Harris and Dawkins, being the more recognizable faces of New Atheism, are behaving this way. They are now clearly Islamophobic.

Atheism's 20th century roots were forged around 1901 when it took courage to proclaim yourself as an atheist. Secularism was then present too. Fast forward to the 2000s, and non-belief has almost become a part of the mainstream. It is in this environment that New Atheism came into being. Brash atheism is followed by people now inside the system- giving them the confidence to air their beliefs.

The problem with New Atheists is they see religion as a cluster of ideas. They are quick to point out the contradictions or inconsistencies in the holy texts. The faithful are mocked for their gullibility.

It is not sufficient to simply denounce Harris and Dawkins. If one has to save atheism, then there is an urgent requirement to adopt a fundamentally different approach. The new way will try to understand religion and not mock it. It is good to adopt humility when trying to figure out why people do the things they do.

Resources

Follow the Conversation on Twitter