New Atheists and atheists

This blog has grown significantly, so let me repost something I posted last March

I think it is important to distinguish atheists from New Atheists (who call themselves Gnus).  Atheist literally means “without God.”  In my book, an atheist is someone who does not believe God exists and then lives their life as if there was no God.  They can get in spirited debates with theists and remain entirely unconvinced of the theist’s arguments.  They see no evidence for God, so as far as they can tell, there is no God.

Now, I have no problem with atheists.  In fact, I am happy to acknowledge that atheism is a reasonable position to hold.  I don’t agree with atheists, but that does not mean I think they are unreasonable or stupid.

But the New Atheist is different.

 

A New Atheist is an atheist with an anti-religious agenda.   They attach so much certainty to their atheism that they think all religious people are either stupid, deluded, mentally ill, and/or dishonest.  They adopt a black and white perspective of the world, where religion is purely evil.  They claim to champion reason, but instead use propaganda to appeal to the darker side of human nature. And they have become part of a socio-political movement centered around anti-religious bigotry.

That last sentence is key.  The atheist is someone who does not believe in God and may even think God-belief is nonsense.  Fine.  We can agree to disagree.  But the New Atheist is part of a movement, which brings a whole added dimension.  And the agenda of this movement is inherently anti-religious.

So let’s make it clear.  I oppose the New Atheists, not the atheists.  I can live and let live with atheists.  I can’t do this with New Atheists.  Because they won’t allow it.

 

 

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6 Responses to New Atheists and atheists

  1. “I think it is important to distinguish atheists from New Atheists (who call themselves Gnus).”

    Just to be clear…I’m sure there are atheists who accept this ‘Gnu’ title, but I have never met any.

    ‘New Atheist’ is, mostly, a title taken on by a handful of writers and has, as far as I can tell, mostly been used by non-atheists to describe certain atheists.

    Which doesn’t mean your differentiation is wrong. Just that the naming conventions are going to be different depending on who you talk to.

    “A New Atheist is an atheist with an anti-religious agenda.”

    I think you should be careful here. Not that there aren’t atheists who feel as you suggest, just that they don’t seem to be the majority, nor would everyone who called themself a New Atheist fit your definition.

  2. Michael says:

    I think you should be careful here. Not that there aren’t atheists who feel as you suggest, just that they don’t seem to be the majority, nor would everyone who called themself a New Atheist fit your definition.

    I am being careful in not lumping all atheists in the same category. There are atheists who are part of an anti-religious movement and those that are not. The atheists themselves recognize this split, as the Gnus constantly attack other atheists as “accomodationists.” That’s an empirical fact.

    Which is the majority? For starters, the world’s most famous atheist is Richard Dawkins and the evidence clearly indicates he has an anti-religious/anti-Christian agenda.

  3. “Which is the majority? For starters, the world’s most famous atheist is Richard Dawkins and the evidence clearly indicates he has an anti-religious/anti-Christian agenda.”

    I also think there’s a difference between opposing Christian or religious bigotry and being a bigot yourself.

  4. physphilmusic says:

    I also think there’s a difference between opposing Christian or religious bigotry and being a bigot yourself.

    Are you suggesting that people like Dawkins only oppose the “religious bigotry” aspect of religion? That’s just simply incorrect. The main tagline of Gnu atheism has always been the superiority of ScienceReason, i.e. how baseless and irrational religious beliefs are. Perhaps with all this new Gnu+ stuff that will change to accommodate left-liberal-feminist priorities instead. But that has not been the case for the last five years or so.

  5. Michael says:

    I also think there’s a difference between opposing Christian or religious bigotry and being a bigot yourself.

    I would agree. But the fact remains that the most famous atheist in the world expresses anti-religious bigotry and it has helped make him a leader of the anti-relgious movement. Just because Dawkins expresses anti-religious bigotry does not mean all atheists do likewise.

  6. The Deuce says:

    Just to be clear…I’m sure there are atheists who accept this ‘Gnu’ title, but I have never met any.

    Really? You’re not familiar with any of the guys mentioned here?: http://pharyngula.wikia.com/wiki/Gnu_Atheists

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