The New Atheists vs their bedfellows in the NCSE/BCSE

Recently, a public dispute broke out between two different ‘camps’ of atheists on the Internet. It was not very edifying, but it was illuminating. It illustrated some of the ‘fault-lines’ that run through today’s atheist movements. We need to know our enemy, and can often learn from them.

On one side were the so-called ‘New Atheists’ whose most public face is Richard Dawkins. The argument itself flared up on the websites of ‘New Atheists’ Jerry Coyne and P Z Myers,1 biology professors in the US. Their overall position is simple. They believe that science proves atheism, and that all religious or supernatural beliefs are anti-scientific. More than that, they believe that religion is positively evil and dangerous, and that the future progress of humanity requires a serious effort to eradicate religion.

As Westerners, they concentrate the bulk of their fire against Christianity, and especially evangelicalism. If you visit Dawkins’ website, you will find typical quotes showing Dawkins’ view of God, such as these: “The hypothesis of God offers no worthwhile explanation for anything” and “Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence” and “Who will say with confidence that sexual abuse is more permanently damaging to children than threatening them with the eternal and unquenchable fires of hell?”2

The last quote illustrates the insidious nature of their campaigning agenda. The ‘New Atheists’ are crusaders and our children are fair game. They believe that Christian doctrines are potentially more damaging than sexual abuse. The implications of that belief are frightening; we are all aware of the stigma and the force of the law deserved by and brought down upon crimes of paedophilia. The ‘New Atheists’ think that it’s reasonable to suggest that orthodox, biblical teaching and paedophilia should be treated the same way. This quote is not isolated or taken out of context; we can readily find articles in which ‘New Atheists’, including Dawkins, try to justify this position.3….

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