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The new “anti-God” crusade: Further evidence of materialism’s failure?

O’Leary looks at the spate of anti-God books and other promotions for the new Church of Atheism, and suspects that atheism was way more fun in the days when it was just a quiet, Godless Sunday at home.

Now, the church – as we all know – is the weak point of any religion. And when all you’ve got is a church – and remember, these people are supposed to be “beyond” belief – well, to me, that sounds a bit like getting married and finding out that you have no spouse but two mothers-in-law … and more too, if you want them!

Part 1: What’s with the recent anti-God crusade, supposedly in the name of “science”?

Recently, spurred perhaps by the growing failures of materialism, materialist atheists have attempted to institutionalize their beliefs as a Church of Atheism. And they are full, chock full, of angst.

Part 2: Antireligious zealotry riffs off materialist science

Put simply: Materialist science is in trouble. And the trouble does not stem from traditional religions, though materialists are – as one might expect – quick to blame their troubles on traditional religions and to reassure themselves that – despite all the evidence – traditional religions are doomed. But, materialists are also smug and thus cannot imagine or respond to any source of trouble arising from their interpretation of the evidence.

They have apparently decided instead to target the Christian religion as the source of their problems.

Part 3: The Beyond Belief conference

Goodness, it’s hard to think of a single reason for joining these people’s sect unless you have a lot of hostility to vent! And$30 billion from Bill Gates isn’t going to change that.

Actually, it’s hard to tell whether some of these people hate Christians more than they hate each other. Thus I would argue against any atheist getting involved with them, on mental health grounds alone.

Part 4: The “Blasphemy Challenge”

As Jerry Adler’s Newsweek article admits, most theologians do not interpret blasphemy against the Holy Spirit as simply making a statement of that type, so most of the kids are probably doing it for a lark, but their atheist elders are deadly serious. Atheists don’t tend to have had many children, so they must recruit.

Part 5: Why the acclaim for atheist authors?

One thing I have learned from a lifetime in media is that most media people are unidirectional skeptics – they are very skeptical of non-materialism but not the least bit skeptical of materialism.

Two things follow: Journalists in the legacy mainstream media are regularly astonished by phenomena that better informed people might have predicted – for example the prevalence of religious belief in a high tech age.

Part 6: Profiles in militant atheists – Daniel Dennett and Breaking the Spell

In Dennett’s Breaking the Spell, as in the entire recent spate of atheist books, there isn’t a single new idea of any significance, as noted earlier. The two main things that the current crop of atheist books have going for them is the unperturbable certainty of their authors that they are conferring a great public benefit – a certainty that they uncritically project onto others – and the assurance of a good deal of flattering attention from the legacy media.

The flattering attention usually will usually not include references to the highly illiberal elements of the anti-God extremists’ message – elements that typically come to the fore whenever Darwinism is questioned, on whatever ground.

Part 7: Profiles in militant atheists – Richard Dawkins and the God Delusion

Ever since American Microsoft billionaire Charles Simonyi paid for his chair at Oxford in the Public Understanding of Science, zoologist Richard Dawkins has promoted atheism and an extreme form of Darwinism as the best way of doing science. In recent years, however, he has become best known for using his chair to promote atheism, rather than for promoting science ideas. His actual ideas, the selfish gene and the meme (a hypothetical mental variant of the hypothetical selfish gene) have not fared well under analysis, but no matter.

 

Part 8: Profiles in militant atheists – Sam Harris and Letters to a Christian Nation

From what I can tell, Harris is misplaced among professional materialist atheists. As David J. Theroux notes, he has bought into a variety of New Age and Eastern beliefs such as reincarnation. That has subjected him to many materialist attacks. Remember, materialists “know” that there is no soul.

Harris’s dilemma has a simple explanation: He is in neuroscience, and he knows perfectly well that neuroscience does not confirm materialism.

Part 9: Darwinism and militant atheism

Of course, some would argue, not every Darwinist is like that. Perhaps not, but it is a reliable indicator of the true state of affairs that the “moderates” tolerate the “extremists” quite well.

Indeed, the Beyond Belief conference makes the true direction quite clear: Those theistic or Eastern traditions that are willing to morph slowly into materialist atheism, treated as a religion can spare themselves many attacks by increasingly militant atheists, who have, in many cases, found public funding for their cause. Anyone who so much as wants equal time for evidence for non-materialist views faces a storm – made all the foggier by Christian clergy who wish to converge with the materialists. Perhaps such clergy hope to be eaten last?

Part 10: British atheists vs. ID-friendly Truth in Science group

Just what the beleaguered schools need. Caught between Islamic extremists, drug dealers, sclerotic administrators, antisocial unions, and irresponsible parents, they, um, need a whack of “anti-God” literature to mix into the swirl …

 

Part 11: So what are the actual trends in religion?

So far as understanding the anti-God crusade is concerned, the most useful thing to know is that the longstanding mid-twentieth century prediction that religious belief would wither away has been largely falsified.

Part 12: Unmasking the authoritarian intent of the militant atheist campaign

While some clergy are content to reassure their congregations that going along with materialism (especially Darwinism) is okay, many thoughtful Christians and Muslims are getting the picture pretty fast. The threat is not an intellectual one, but a political one.

Part 13: Theistic evolutionism and the new militant atheism

The underlying problem of accommodationist theistic evolution, of course, is the felt need to embrace Darwinism – and the materialism from which it springs. As I have suggested above, the most likely explanation, based on my encounters with theistic evolution accommodationists, is that they assume that materialism is basically true and that spiritual traditions must somehow accommodate themselves to its rule.

Put another way: Once you do think that materialism is not true, Darwinism is not true either. That raises the question of why any clergy should feel the need to sell “evolution” to their congregations, as part of their ministry.

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18 Responses to The new “anti-God” crusade: Further evidence of materialism’s failure?

  1. It may be that atheists have hard time since ID movement launched it’s ideas…

    I was recently visiting USA so I took the opportunity and bought two pieces of “Darwin’s Black Box”, one book for me, and one book for one of my relatives… This book is not available (yet) in Romania where I live, so I will encourage as much people as I can to read it, because I know it will have positive effects.

    My personal problem with atheism is that this ideology is extremely aggressive… Of course, Christianity is the first (and easiest) target, because of it’s peaceful doctrine… They wouldn’t dare to attack Islam on a large scale, IMHO…

  2. Denyse,

    While not an atheist manifesto like Dawkin’s “God Delusion”, what do you know about the “Lost Tomb of Jesus”. I’m sure this will add fuel to their fire (pardon the pun).

  3. Borne made a comment that messed up the formatting of the blog. Here it is:

    =====comment by Borne=====

    “They have apparently decided instead to target the Christian religion as the source of their problems.”

    Of course, as was already stated, they are far too cowardly to attack Islam.

    Wimps, poor losers and little sucks all.

    “The threat is not an intellectual one, but a political one.”

    Therefore, being weak in argument, they have no choice but to be strong in political manipulation.

    Indeed. The low-level, bugged and crippled intellect behind atheism is easily observable in any debate forum.

    The atheist formula is simple, “I don’t believe it. Prove it to me and I still won’t believe it.” (Doug Adams)

    The continued utterance of a lie does not make it true, but it does convince many that it is, particularly if you can squelch most efforts to expose the lie.
    —Shapley R. Hunter, 1992

    Just look at the glaring blindness of Darwinist “scientists” :

    Scientists are complaining that the new Dinosaur movie shows dinosaurs with lemurs, who didn’t evolve for another million years.
    They’re afraid the movie will give kids a mistaken impression.
    What about the fact that the dinosaurs are singing and dancing?
    –Jay Leno

    See!?

    They filter out a flea and then swallow an elephant.

  4. The Materialist reflects the lottery in reverse. When it comes to a lottery, each ticket purchaser is desperate to hold the one winning ticket in their sweaty palm. When it comes to life beyond the material, the Materialist is desperate to lose with as many people as possible. Comfort in numbers, somehow.

    And they claim to have a monopoly on rationality!!!!!

  5. “Once you do think that materialism is not true, Darwinism is not true either. ”

    Darwinism and contemporary scientific atheism (or materialism, or naturalism) are practically inseparable. Atheism depends on some form of evolution-by-accident theory. It depends on the creative power of pure error, guided only by natural selection.

    I strongly disagree with scientific atheism and I consider materialism illogical and at odds with the evidence. I think people are lured into atheism mostly because it gives them a sense of intellectual superiority, and also of security.

    Religious believers and mystics are called ignorant, gullible and intolerant. Theists and mystics represent the past, while scientific atheists are the enlightened, the “brights” leading us to a better future.

    So contemporary atheism has become a religion, since it offers consolation, certainty and hope to its followers. Sacrificing personal immortality makes them feel brave. But in losing heaven they also lose hell, so it’s an even trade.

    I do not have much intellectual sympathy with atheists, and I do not support their cause. But on the other hand, those of us who are theists and non-materialists need better arguments if we ever want to convince anyone.

    I always point to ID and parapsychology. And some of the many mysteries materialist science fails to explain. But they are never convinced by any of that. They say ID makes no falsifiable claims (as if Darwinism does!). They say parapsychology experiments are never replicable, and the Randi prize has never been won.

    I have not found a simple, straightforward, argument against materialism. I have many complicated, hard to summarize, arguments. But nothing quick and convincing.

  6. Denyse,

    I think that the sudden surge of militantly atheistic, anti-religious (and particularly anti-Christian) books is a reaction to the fact that ID has powerfully and convincingly challenged the materialistic “science” establishment as the arbiter of all truth, especially about origins and the nature of humanity. And it has done this on their turf, with evidence and logic. Most significantly, it has effectively poked a lot of holes in Darwinian theory, which is the sacred creation story of materialism and atheism. One can’t shoot holes in a sacred orthodoxy without expecting a violent reaction.

    Patrick Glynn, in his book God The Evidence: The Reconciliation of Faith and Reason in a Postsecular World, suggests that for 500 years since Copernicus, science progressively demystified the world and made the transcendent seem more and more irrelevant and unnecessary. Eventually, science would explain everything in purely materialistic terms. However, in the last third of the 20th century something strange happened — science started finding powerful evidence that led back to the transcendent. He marks the turnaround with the publication in 1973 of a paper by astrophysicist Brandon Carter about the strange fine-tuning of the universe for life. Glynn is a Harvard Ph.D. who was an atheist into his 40s (as was yours truly) but abandoned his atheism based on the turnaround mentioned above (not just in cosmology but in a number of fields).

    This, of course, is the militant atheist’s worst nightmare, that science might actually provide evidence that atheism is false. This is enough to drive them into a state of hysteria.

  7. Well, judging from what I have seen from the Church of Atheism, they could give Elmer Gantry’s congregation lessons in hysteria.- d.

  8. There was a time when I believed it was Christian fundamentalism that helped atheism to the forefront of herd-thinking.

    Then I thought the uncovering of horrific perversity deeply entrenched in RCism helped matters along even moreso. With the Ted Haggart scandal, and continuing reports of RC and Anglican perversity, the tendency was to blame the various Christian Church, churches.

    Now I think there is something much deeper (if that is possible!). Christian fundamentalism is nothing compared with liberal fundamentalism.

    Churches need to beg their congregations to come out on a Saturday night to hear the latest-in-town-Evangelist. Bible-study groups need to beg folks to come and discuss their 24-hour days of Genesis. Haven’t churches always needed substantial effort to get their messages across?

    We are now confronted with something quite different. Liberal fundamentalism hardly needs any encouragement at all. Folks from all walks of life gladly and willingly drop everything to jump on the band-wagon. Only the slightest suggestion brings on a deep and lasting commitment. No “Just as I am” pleas played over and over; flocks charge forward before they are called. Scientists, economists, historians, with their walls packed with carefully framed degrees and awards are no different from the garbage-woman. They all become instant disciples to the cause, whether it be global-warming or evolution or sexual-orientation. Now, this stuff has super-saturated every aspect of everyday life; it’s even changing the air we breathe and the languages we speak.

    If that’s not enough, consider that Christian fundamentalists usually bandy concepts far removed from the present. Liberal fundamentalists will distort and falsify data right before your eyes. I wouldn’t be surprised to find the supposed global warming is conjured from scandalously incomplete or error-filled fundamental data. And when that is brought to light it won’t even matter!

    Perhaps the Orthodox are (were?) the best at preserving some form of reasonable sense. At least they had the foresight at the beginning to be correct by definition! But even the traditional churches have their fundamentalists. Again nothing, compared to the mimetic, loony, left liberal fundamentalism.

    How far will the present onslaught go? Remember the lions and tigers? The fight between good and evil is not won by playing tiddly-winks, I think.

    Maybe the the problem relates to those decades of quiet, Godless Sundays at church.

    My bet is that it will get much worse before it gets better.

  9. Denyse,

    This was a wonderful read. I also enjoyed your recent radio interview.

    Salvador

  10. Does anybody notice the similarities between this sort of atheist hysteria and attacks and the acts Islamic fundamentalists ?

    In both cases you have world views that believe firmly that they should be on the rise and yet they seem to know nothing but set backs in reality. Not that they will admit as such.

    And as they go further into decline and enter their death throes they get more hysterical and more dangerous.

    Maybe the atheists don’t attack the Muslims, not out of fear of a target that wont fight back, but because they recognize a kindred spirit ;)

  11. @devilsadvocate

    “Denyse,

    While not an atheist manifesto like Dawkin’s “God Delusion”, what do you know about the “Lost Tomb of Jesus”. I’m sure this will add fuel to their fire (pardon the pun).”

    I will also try to answer this, may I ? :-)

    I found in one of our best sold news-papers in Romania a title and an article related to this new “breaking-news-kind-of” findings… The title says: “Anti Christian business”… And it is a business, isn’t it ?… Controversial things are sold well… If you mix them with religion, you get a bestseller… The lie behind doesn’t matter anymore…

  12. what do you know about the “Lost Tomb of Jesus”

    The experts are saying it is BS.

    The link: Scholars, Clergy Slam Jesus Documentary

  13. devilsadvocate & tribune7:

    Here is a 2004 book that contains many, many details about the tomb, including drawings of the inscriptions found on the ossuaries and a map of the tomb.

    My impression after reading a good portion of that is that Cameron and Jacobovici are either delusional or trying to perpetuate fraud.

    For instance, instead of 10 boxes, the book says they found 14, and the inscriptions on some of the boxes don’t fit the hyped narrative at all.

  14. Just in case my previous link got caught in a filter (tried to shorten the link with a well known shortcutting website):

    When Judaism and Christianity Began: essays in memory of Anthony J. Saldarini.

    Page 260.

  15. AOFM — thank you!

  16. tribune and AOFM,

    Thanks for the links. My 22yo daughter(who since colllege$$ is agnostic at best) was reading an article about the book/’documentary’and asked me about it and did not have any answers of substance for her.

    I found it interesting that there were two ‘Jesus’ in the tomb and that neither one was identified with any type of nickname that one would associate with the Christian Jesus such as ‘Jesus of Nazareth’as nicknames were apparently an important custom due to the commonality of names.

    The internet can help perpetuate false or misleading information but can also give one access to accurate information that would otherwise be difficult or impossible for the ordinary citizen to retrieve.

  17. Thanks also to Sladjo, always good to have an international perspective.

  18. [...] The reality is that, as the recent attempt to institutionalize atheism – sponsored by major ultra-Darwinists – demonstrates, there is a war on. People who can’t deal with that fact drone on about a “warfare thesis” and accept lionization for their cowardice. The time for pushback never comes, it seems. But what else is new? [...]

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