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New atheists hardly open-minded

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Camilla Paglia:

Salon:

You’re an atheist, and yet I don’t ever see you sneer at religion in the way that the very aggressive atheist class right now often will. What do you make of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and the religion critics who seem not to have respect for religions for faith?

Paglia:

I regard them as adolescents. I say in the introduction to my last book, “Glittering Images”, that “Sneering at religion is juvenile, symptomatic of a stunted imagination.” It exposes a state of perpetual adolescence that has something to do with their parents– they’re still sneering at dad in some way. Richard Dawkins was the only high-profile atheist out there when I began publicly saying “I am an atheist,” on my book tours in the early 1990s. I started the fad for it in the U.S, because all of a sudden people, including leftist journalists, started coming out of the closet to publicly claim their atheist identities, which they weren’t bold enough to do before. But the point is that I felt it was perfectly legitimate for me to do that because of my great respect for religion in general–from the iconography to the sacred architecture and so forth. I was arguing that religion should be put at the center of any kind of multicultural curriculum.

I’m speaking here as an atheist. I don’t believe there is a God, but I respect every religion deeply. All the great world religions contain a complex system of beliefs regarding the nature of the universe and human life that is far more profound than anything that liberalism has produced. We have a whole generation of young people who are clinging to politics and to politicized visions of sexuality for their belief system. They see nothing but politics, but politics is tiny. Politics applies only to society. There is a huge metaphysical realm out there that involves the eternal principles of life and death. The great tragic texts, including the plays of Aeschylus and Sophocles, no longer have the central status they once had in education, because we have steadily moved away from the heritage of western civilization. More.

But what chance new atheists are just looking for government jobs administering atheism? In many progressive regimes where politics is absolutely everything, that’d work out just fine.

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6 Replies to “New atheists hardly open-minded

  1. 1
    Silver Asiatic says:

    All the great world religions contain a complex system of beliefs regarding the nature of the universe and human life that is far more profound than anything that liberalism has produced.

    By liberalism here I think she means (or should mean) materialism/secularism.

    The great world religions give a complex system of understanding of human life, since they’re based on a structure that is purposeful and which references ultimate meaning. It’s something serious and ‘adult’ — the sort of thing that Ms. Paglia admires (and for some reason doesn’t recognize that her own atheism destroys). When ultimate meaning is lost, then all we have are the juvenile fantasies that she descries — childish fantasies like the multiverse, for example.

    There is a huge metaphysical realm out there that involves the eternal principles of life and death. The great tragic texts, including the plays of Aeschylus and Sophocles, no longer have the central status they once had in education, because we have steadily moved away from the heritage of western civilization.

    The huge metaphysical realm is simply denied by atheism. Thus, the heritage of western civilization is found to be nonsensical and disposable.

    It exposes a state of perpetual adolescence that has something to do with their parents– they’re still sneering at dad in some way.

    Ms. Paglia can see the problem. She is also somewhat aware of the solution. But it takes a personal choice and a risk – a leap of faith, to move beyond the adolescent sneering of atheism towards a full embrace of reality — the living God.

    I hope she gets there. Her own sexuality is an obstacle – but not one that can be overcome. She praises herself as the first popularizer of atheism, but this strikes me as self-aggrandizement and the kind of celebrity-status she (righly) criticizes in others.

    She remains the “always interesting” and “often truth-telling”, Camilla and deserves credit for her boldness.

  2. 2

    I don’t really think that what we’re seeing out of the “new atheism” militancy really has much to do with atheism per se. I think it’s largely part of the progressive social activism that’s leading towards statism/leftist fascism. New atheists use the same Alinksy tactics currently being used to marginalize and destroy other mainstream views and traditional culture/family values.

    After all, if you can destroy belief in god by defining much of it as hate speech and bigotry, shaming and ridiculing believers, and tear down/fragment the current culture, all you have left to put your trust in and protect you is the state, and toeing the party line.

  3. 3
    Axel says:

    I wonder if Dawkins is really an atheist fifth-columnist, as I’ve thought of another of his insanely ‘infantile’, rather than, ‘juvenile’, burblings, namely, his superfacile and transparently disingenuous evasion concerning the nature of ‘nothing’. I mean, really, to tout the fleetingly evanescent particles of the so-called, vacuum foam as nothing….!!!

    He’s given mankind a natural world of mind-blowing complexity and sophistication, right down to the encoded information relating to its design, which latter is actually just a chimera, simply appearing to be designed; a ‘blind watchmaker’ (No thank you. DIY is not a strong suit of mine, but I’ll take my chances), and a nothingness comprised of evanescent particles. I say, ‘comprised of’, rather than ‘consisting of’, because who knows what else ‘nothing’ might contain?

    And these are just from a few second-hand references to his delphic excogitations I’ve come across. I think I might push the boat out and buy one of his books. It might read like a Monty Dawkins Flying Circus.

  4. 4
    Seversky says:

    If we take faith to mean something like this usage as listed in this Merriam-Webster definition

    2
    a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion
    b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust

    then any campaign to undermine it should be ineffectual. If people are afraid that it could undermine belief then that fear could be taken as a measure of the fragility of their faith.

  5. 5
    cornucopian says:

    They remind of 12 year old kids who have figured it all out. These people are anti- theists. Religion is glorified myths that has oppressed man according to these geniuses.

    Their tactic is to harass, intimidate and use mockery to achieve their goals. They speak of old testament morality but if their claims are true, there is no difference between jews in gas chambers and me cooking chicken in an oven. There is absolutely no difference at all.

    Evolution is their secular religion.

  6. 6

    @Seversky

    Faith is by nature fragile, because it neccessarily has an emotive element, and emotions are by nature fragile. You are simply going out of your way to destroy people’s emotional life is what you are doing.

    And atheists are succeeding, the atmosphere for having an emotional life is simply not there anymore. Emotions are implicitly regarded as bullshit, because just like God, emotions can’t be measured. Rejection of God the holy spirit =>rejection of the human spirit.

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