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Atheist vs. Atheist: Mending Fences

After 9-11, some people started to realize that the terrorist attacks were faith based initiatives. Many of those same people then realized that America responded with faith rather than reason. As a result, atheists started to speak up and many became much more vocal about their lack of belief and their criticism of belief. The media has dubbed these atheists as “New Atheists.”

What separates the New Atheists from the old atheists? In the past, many atheists stayed in the closet and weren’t vocal about their lack of belief. Also, I guess before 9-11, some atheists didn’t really think religion was that dangerous… I guess. It isn’t like the Inquisition or the Crusades were religiously motivated, right?

Basically, the media likes to rename things to make it seem like there is news and conflict when nothing really has changed very much and there really isn’t a conflict. But I guess they have to fill the multiple 24/7 news channels with something and a boy doesn’t NOT get stuck in a balloon everyday, right? Oh wait, never mind.

So now there is Atheism 3.0. What does that mean? They are the atheists who want to criticize other atheists instead of criticizing religion. Now I understand that not all atheists want to criticize religion and that’s cool. Some atheists want to build a positive atheist community similar to the communities that religious people have. I am all for that. I think that is a great idea. But I don’t see why atheists can’t take both approaches.

Why is it that atheists either have to side with Chris Hitchens or with Greg Epstein? Hitchens claims that religion poisons everything and so he has no problem criticizing it and being vocal in his criticism. He doesn’t respect religion at all. I agree with Hitchens on that. Epstein admires the community aspects of religion and wants to build a secular replacement for that. He wants to work with religious people. I agree with him on those things.

I am a tolerant person, but there are things that I don’t tolerate. When theistic religion threatens human progress, human happiness, and human survival, I have to put my foot down and fight back. That is the essence of the so called New Atheism which finds religion to be a threat to those things. So I am with the so called New Atheists.

But I also think that we need to work with moderate religious people against the extreme religious people who are more dangerous. I also think that atheists should form positive communities and put a more positive face on atheism. So I am with the so called Atheism 3.0.

Why must we choose between them? Can’t we do both? Can’t Atheism 3.0 do their thing and the New Atheists do their thing? How did the theistic religions accomplish this feat of setting atheist against atheist? We are all on the side of reason here, there are just different approaches. I support taking both approaches and letting God sort it out.

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