GUEST COLUMN
The New Atheism: All the Rage

July-August 2012By Andrew M. Seddon

Andrew M. Seddon, a native of England, writes both fiction and nonfiction, with over one hundred publication credits, including three novels: Red Planet Rising, Imperial Legions, and Iron Scepter. He contributed a chapter to Staying Fit After Forty by Don Otis, co-authored the devotional Walking With the Celtic Saints, and is a current member of the Authors’ Guild. Dr. Seddon is a family-practice physician in the SameDay Care department at Billings Clinic in Billings, Montana.

Recently, a gathering of atheists, called the “Reason Rally,” was held in Washington, D.C. Sponsored by various atheist groups, it was hailed as a “coming out” for those who claim to believe in reason rather than God, an opportunity for them to counter distrust of their views. But if the rally accomplished anything, it was to show that reason is hardly the property of atheists and other nonbelievers; indeed, to judge from reports of the event, reason was sadly lacking.

To be sure, there are non-religious scientists and philosophers who conduct reasoned, civil discourse, and who, while disagreeing with theists, do not engage in wild, anti-religious polemics. There are plenty of agnostics, skeptics, and religiously indifferent people who live peaceably alongside their religious neighbors. But the opposite is also true: There’s no dearth of angry, militant “New Atheists” who throw reason and civility to the wind.

And it was this type that appeared to be on display at the Reason Rally, slinging four-letter words and blasphemous songs from the stage, and carrying offensive signs. (Admittedly not to the approval of all the attendees.)

Predictably, one of the rally’s keynote speakers was Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins. As detailed in his bestselling book The God Delusion, Dawkins equates faith with delusion: “a persistent false belief held in the face of strong contradictory evidence.” He claims that “faith is an evil precisely because it requires no justification and brooks no argument.” Dawkins and his ilk view religious people — especially Christians and, more specifically, Catholics — as deluded faith-heads whose minds have been taken over by irrational superstitions and who are no longer amenable to reason. Christians have, perhaps, been infected by a “God virus” — or, as Dawkins would say, a “meme” — and are no longer rational beings.


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Back to July-August 2012 Issue

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Considering the atrocious pornogramphic curriculums taught to youth in parochial schools, new barbarians are being formed. Absent of Catholic teaching, our youth are being used as fodder to destroy sound Catholic principles. Posted by: Philom
August 29, 2012 09:16 AM EDT
It is a fallcy to say that atheists are really Marxists, as j17ghs does. While true Marxists are atheists (notwithstnding the error of Catholic liberation theology), not all atheists are Marxists. That generalization just doesn't work. Ayn Rand, for instance, was an atheist and a libertarian. She thought that Christianity inculcated communist values in believers! Posted by: Anonymous
August 22, 2012 02:32 PM EDT
Atheism, by any other name, is Marxism, and, as Soviet socialist icon and mass murderer Vladimir Lenin once said, peace is the end of opposition to socialism. Atheists are therefore just another form of the Soviet propaganda tool known as the useful idiot. The peace symbol, as displayed by many people -- young and dumb and older people who will never learn (useful idiots all -- is Jesus taken down from the cross, turned upside and placed in a circle. It is based on the ACLU's "crossbusters" logo which superimposed the red-slash-with-circle over the basic cross design. Posted by: j17ghs
August 01, 2012 02:31 PM EDT
What has really surprised me , after reading Thomas Crean O.P. and Edward Feser and having studied a little Aristotle and Aquinas is... frankly... how dumb the not-so-new atheists are. Virtual illiterates in the subject matters they attempt to engage so terribly. Laughable boobs for the most part. What a curse when one removes the ultimate principle of intelligibility and meaning in the universe. One almost feels sorry for them. Posted by: P Boire
August 01, 2012 09:52 PM EDT
Re: Philom's post - HUH??? That's the most self-contradicting, unintelligible verbiage possible. I can't tell if he supports Christianity or opposes it.
Re: PBoire's comment - Bravo! Most behavior of the sort described in the article is committed by the ignorant, who are (mis)led by the fanatical. True, there are bad acts committed in the name of Christ, but true followers of Christ denounce those acts. Thank goodness, there are truly reasonable atheists who just want to live and let live. Why is love (respect, help, understand, honor) thy neighbor such a distasteful concept to the haters? I don't know how they can stand each other, with such a mindset.
Posted by: Hericane
October 30, 2012 07:16 PM EDT
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