I have no trouble understanding that some people cannot give intellectual assent to faith, and I have long known atheists and agnostics. But none of the atheists and agnostics I know are angry. In fact, they respect the role Christianity played in creating our civilization and plays today in the lives of millions. This attitude is unsurprising, since my nonbelieving friends are conservatives, and it is hardly possible for a conservative to hate the font of Western civilization. Not so the “new atheists” such as Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and PZ Myers, and their followers, who are defined by a bitter, all-consuming hatred of Christianity. We are a long way from the wistfulness of Dover Beach.
If anyone doubts the existence of this rage, I invite him to peruse the websites of Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers and such online forums as “Raving Atheists.” Once there, he will find a universe of people who regularly prattle on about how smart they are and how stupid believers are—there is a move afoot for atheists to identify themselves as “brights,” and Dawkins modestly bills his website as a “clear-thinking oasis”—and who think it a telling point to compare belief in God to belief in “the Flying Spaghetti Monster.” Not all the new atheists are equally angry—PZ Myers was taken aback when Christopher Hitchens called for the mass murder of Moslems at an atheist gathering—but none of them appears capable of approaching religion with equanimity. Only a disfiguring rage could lead the angry atheists to brand Benedict XVI, a gentle lover of felines and Mozart, who has also written dozens of books, a “sanctimonious monster,” in Myers’ phrase, or a “completely undistinguished human being,” in Hitchens’ words. This rage is directed at more than such unlikely targets as the Pope. Indeed, Dawkins’ website is now hawking a video in which he and Hitchens, Harris, and Dennett expore the question of whether religion is the “root of all evil.” More.
Grandma used to say that when people are that pointlessly angry, they are angry with themselves. But they can’t admit that, so they make it all about US. Thoughts?
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