Previously in this space, we have noted the rise of militant atheism in our society (here, here, and here). Popular tomes by Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, and Hitchens aggressively market the skeptic’s philosophy to a culture that has a lot to be skeptical of.
This onslaught of unbelief has been met by a chorus of challengers. The latest is by Peter Berkowitz, who has written an excellent review of Christopher Hitchens’ God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.
Berkowitz takes up the major arguments in Hitchens’ book and exposes the fallacy of each. I was especially impressed with his observation that by painting all religions with the same black brush, Hitchens and his cohorts are sowing seeds that may someday wreak havoc with our fragile political system.
Playing into the anger and enmities that debase our politics today, the new new atheism blurs the deep commitment to the freedom and equality of individuals that binds atheists and believers in America. At the same time, by treating all religion as one great evil pathology, today’s bestselling atheists suppress crucial distinctions between the forms of faith embraced by the vast majority of American citizens and the militant Islam that at this very moment is pledged to America’s destruction.
The political ramifications of this aggressive atheism concern even some atheists, who acknowledge at least some benefit from America’s religious heritage, and wish their brethren would back off.