Utopia

Columnist compares New Atheists to religious extremists and asserts they are equally dangerous.

Heather Denkmire, a writer for Bangor Daily News, has made the claim that the “New Atheists” are equally dangerous as religious extremists, their ideological opponents. She starts with stating the beliefs that she believes are common to both.

If one goes by what Denkmire says, then both religious fundamentalists and New Atheists harbor a simplistic view of what is wrong and what is right. This creates a narrow vision of “us” against “them”. The two share completely different versions of a utopia, but a utopia for sure. The author says both of them are cartoonish avatars of contemporary Christians and atheists. There is irony in the fact that these new and vocal atheists, here Denkmire uses “fundamentalist atheists,” spend a lot of time to bolster their argument against the religious beliefs when their own worldview is just as harmful, misguided and fantastical, like religion, as the people who they claim to be the source of all the problems in the world.

Denkmire makes it clear in the later paragraphs that she does not think that individual Christians and atheists are the problem. Religion and atheism do not constitute a problem. The trouble starts when these views of the world are taken to their extremes like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins, leaders of the “New Atheists.”

The author references Chris Hedges' book, I Don't Believe in Atheists and makes the point that the problem lies in the false belief that human morality progresses in a collective manner. Whether exclusively through scientific knowledge or by being the perfect Christian who will be saved at Christ's second coming, the fallacy is that we must march towards the perfect world populated only by people achieving moral perfection.

The reality, however, is that the arguments offered by Denkmire are fallacious, according to a writer at Patheos. The foremost one is that two individuals with diametrically opposite views are equally wrong. The mistaken notion is best explained by a Sam Harris quote that no human society have suffered as its people have become excessively reasonable.

Atheists fight against a number of issues. These includes anti-LGBT and faith-based discrimination. Legislation dependent on faith force women to bear babies born from rape. Faith-centric privilege are for people who hold God-fearing beliefs. Atheists urge government to maintain neutrality in religious affairs. The religious extremists, on the contrary, try to impose faith on the unwilling.

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