So basically the group calling themselves “The New Atheists” has a seemingly superstar cast of intellectuals championing their cause. Many in the world would recognize the names Sam Harris, Laurence Krauss, the late Christopher Hitchens, and of course Richard Dawkins. The goal of these thinkers is clear: promote a conversational intolerance in both the public and private sectors to anything religious. According to The New Atheists, religion and people who practice any particular faith need to be challenged on their individual merits at every occasion in order to get religion out of the way. Here is their mission statement.
So according to this group, religion is “in the way” of progress. The obvious problem is that atheists and agnostics alike that engage in this issue have no idea how to even define what they mean by “progress” because they have no idea what the “goal” is. Without the obvious goal at the end of the road, you have no idea if you’re progressing or regressing. But that’s for another day. For now, let’s just examine the grosser fallacies in this crusade of the New Atheists. The falsehoods and flat out untruths I’m about to list are not untrue based on my perspective or opinion, but as a matter if logical fact.
1. Science: you’ll notice that in their mission statement, and certainly in almost every debate any of these people have been apart of, that the theme here is that religion is somehow corrupting objective science and education as a whole. This is completely untrue. While there are those in the religious world that deny evolution and haggle about the age of the earth, there is no verifiable evidence whatsoever that suggests religion is in any way shape or form blocking “progress” in science or education. As a matter of fact, Richard Dawkins, who made the claim “you can’t do science objectively if you have to account for miracles” said as such in a debate with John Lennox, a mathematician. I’ve addressed this in a previous post. Did Lennox’s math change because of his beliefs? Did Ian Hutchinson, the nuclear physicist at M.I.T. have his results corrupted because of his believe in the Bible? No. Christian physicians for that matter are of an overwhelming number and they practice medicine as good as any atheist. So the largest and most contentious point of the New Atheists is already proven false simply by observing the reality of humanity in this world.
2. Morality: Its fashionable for militant atheists to talk callously of Christian and Muslim violence, how much of the war and death humanity has suffered stems from religous belief and that without religious belief such violence would not happen. But why is it then that the 20th century was the bloodiest century in human history? Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, all atheists, and between the three of them the death toll sits currently at 134 million people. Hitler wasn’t even mentioned. Now Dawkins or Harris would point out that these murderers didn’t do it in the name of atheism, which is quite right. But the obvious fact is that they were atheists who killed more people than every death calculated in all the wars combined in human history collectively, and they did not do it in the name of a god or religion. Hitchens in a debate with John Lennox tried to confuse the issue with a convoluted rant about how the church was involved in some indirect way with Stalin but its a simple lie.
In the end, I challenge any atheist to show empirical evidence that religion is holding humanity back. I have no oppressive beliefs, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ freed me, He didn’t enslave me. The New Atheists can sit on their intellectual soap box and make blanket assumptions about people but they don’t speak for me. They don’t get to decide with any authority that I’m “oppressed” in my theism. Its interesting how they can demand those of faith to defend their positions while they feel they can make sweeping generalizations and obtuse speculations without a hint of verifiable evidence as if by simply the nature of being atheist that whatever declaration they make, the onus is on the theist to prove them wrong. Sorry Dawkins, sorry Harris, sorry Krauss, it doesn’t work that way. You make the claims, you back them up. This is absolutely a popularity contest, and groups like the New Atheist will continue to lose precisely because they can’t defend their own arguments on their merits, something they demand of everyone else.