December 30, 2007 – Backlash within the freethought community against so-called New Atheism continues with journalist Brendan O’Neill’s essay published in The Guardian. He characterizesÂ the recent works of writers like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and novelist Philip Pullman as little more than “dinner-party disdain and moral revulsion for the stupidity of the religious.” O’Neill, himself an atheist, also says,”History’s greatest atheists…Â were humanistic and progressive, critical of religion because it expressed man’s sense of higher moral purpose in a deeply flawed fashion. The new atheists are screechy and intolerant; they see religion merely as an expression of mass ignorance and delusion. Their aim seems to be, not only to bring God crashing back down to earth, but also to downgrade mankind itself.” O’Neill’s views are countered by those nonbelievers who believe (as one commenter on his essay put it) that, “The ‘new atheism’ is nothing more or less than a response to the ‘new religiosity,’ the extraordinary re-emergence of religion in public life.”
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