Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I don't believe in atheists

The title of this post is the title of a new book by Chris Hedges. A reader pointed out this interesting interview with Hedges at Salon.com. He takes on "The New Atheists," who he accuses of preaching a fundamentalism as dangerous as the religious fundamentalist belief systems they attack, nudging the secular left to embrace the same kind of bigotry and chauvinism and intolerance that marks the radical Christian right. Both divide the world into "us" and "them" and fail to have empathy. One Hedges comment from the interview:

I write in the book that not believing in God is not dangerous. Not believing in sin is very dangerous. I think both the Christian right and the New Atheists in essence don't believe in their own sin, because they externalize evil. Evil is always something out there that can be eradicated. For the New Atheists, it's the irrational religious hordes. I mean, Sam Harris, at the end of his first book, asks us to consider a nuclear first strike on the Arab world. Both Hitchens and Harris defend the use of torture. Of course, they're great supporters of preemptive war, and I don't think this is accidental that their political agendas coalesce completely with the Christian right.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've read this book. Hedges, for all his merits in defending classical liberalism against the fascist Christian Right, has created a monumental strawman here; a caricature and nonexistent boogey-man. His misconceptions about atheists and atheism, wherever they came from, are profoundly mistaken, pernicious, and do not apply to me, nor to any atheist I've met in my 35 years of being one. He even has the gall to parrot that long-debunked, specious, and sophomoric canard: "Stalin and Mao were atheists and look where it lead us!!1!".

Caveat lector, sir.

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