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Thread: Is the Tide Turning on Religious Belief?

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    Is the Tide Turning on Religious Belief?

    Is the Tide Turning on Religious Belief? detects a religious revival based on Justin Brierley’s new book, The Surprising Rebirth of Belief in God.

    The reasoning is based in part on the decline of the New Atheists. Their decline was recently discussed in New Atheism Is Dead. Here we take a look at some details.


    History.

    ...In the first decade of the 2000s, four authors came out with bestselling books that energized skeptics and brought atheists out of the closet. These so-called Four Horsemen were neuroscientist Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith (2004); philosopher Daniel Dennett, author of Breaking the Spell (2006); journalist Christopher Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great (2007); and biologist Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion (2011).

    These were “new” atheists because they did not just deny God’s existence in a philosophical way. They were forceful and aggressive. They argued that God, the people who believe in Him, and religion in general are evil. As Hitchens put it in the subtitle of his book, “Religion poisons everything.”

    Atheists rejoiced that their convictions were being aired in the public square. It appeared that atheism had become socially acceptable. With the help of the internet, conferences, and even “atheist churches,” they began to think of themselves as the “atheist community.” And this great awakening for atheists was accompanied by a new zeal for evangelism.

    In 2012, atheists organized a march on Washington, D.C., called the Reason Rally. In this “Woodstock for Atheists,” some 20,000 to 30,000 demonstrators heard from authors, bloggers, and celebrities, and listened to bands like Bad Religion. Richard Dawkins called on the crowd to confront religious people: “Mock them! Ridicule them! In public!”

    ...Thus, the New Atheists became, in the language of social media, cringe. The arrogance, smugness, and condescension of the Brights turned off the general public, the supposedly “not bright.” And mockery and ridicule, which became the dominant rhetorical tactic of the movement, is not an effective way to persuade people, much less create converts.

    Reaction.

    The old atheists—the serious scholars and professional philosophers—disassociated themselves from the New Atheists. One of them chastised the Four Horsemen for engaging with unsophisticated fundamentalist preachers while being unwilling to interact with serious Christian thinkers like William Lane Craig.

    Then, in 2011, at the World Atheist Convention, came “Elevatorgate.” One of the relatively small number of women in the movement gave a presentation on the inappropriate sexualization of women in the online atheist community. Afterward, as she was going to her room, one of the participants hopped on her elevator and sexually propositioned her! When she complained about the incident on social media, a large number of the Brights—including the most prominent of the Horsemen, Richard Dawkins—responded to her with characteristic mockery and ridicule.

    Others came to her defense. Soon there was a cascade of sexual harassment revelations about other prominent atheists.

    Elevatorgate led to a split in the atheist movement. One faction identified itself as “Atheism+”—that is, atheism plus social justice, feminism, LGBTQ+ rights, and other tenets of progressivism. Or, as Brierley calls it, an “atheism-with-moral-requirements.” Other atheists, standing on the principle of free thought, decried this woke agenda with its cancel culture, anti-scientific moralism, and suppression of individual liberty.

    Atheists began spending all their time—and their extreme vitriol—in attacking each other rather than religion....
    Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire. ― Gustav Mahler

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    The funny thing is that most atheists may know who Dawkins is, but they don't care a rats ass about what he has to say. He doesn't influence them in any way. The same is true of Hitchens and the others.

    Most atheists, myself included, feel the way they do because simply because the idea of a deity seems silly to them. That doesn't mean they don't respect the religious beliefs of others. Most do and take a "Live and let live, just don't try to shove your beliefs down my throat" attitude toward religion. The people you are talking about are such a small minority, they shouldn't even be considered as representing anyone but themselves.
    “Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue.” - Barry Goldwater

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    People turn to the gods when things are bad. So we can thank the Democrat-communists for the revival.
    Call your state legislators and insist they approve the Article V convention of States to propose amendments.


    I pledge allegiance to the Constitution as written and understood by this nation's founders, and to the Republic it created, an indivisible union of sovereign States, with liberty and justice for all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cletus View Post
    The funny thing is that most atheists may know who Dawkins is, but they don't care a rats ass about what he has to say. He doesn't influence them in any way. The same is true of Hitchens and the others.

    Most atheists, myself included, feel the way they do because simply because the idea of a deity seems silly to them. That doesn't mean they don't respect the religious beliefs of others. Most do and take a "Live and let live, just don't try to shove your beliefs down my throat" attitude toward religion. The people you are talking about are such a small minority, they shouldn't even be considered as representing anyone but themselves.

    That seems to be the general reaction of "old" atheists (what they're called in the article, the ones I grew up on).
    Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire. ― Gustav Mahler

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    Quote Originally Posted by MisterVeritis View Post
    People turn to the gods when things are bad. So we can thank the Democrat-communists for the revival.
    The new atheist certainly seem tied to the left. The "old" atheists not as much. The last atheist I read with any enthusiasm was George H. Smith a libertarian.
    Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire. ― Gustav Mahler

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    The new atheist certainly seem tied to the left. The "old" atheists not as much. The last atheist I read with any enthusiasm was George H. Smith a libertarian.
    I am an atheist, I suppose. I am unaffected by today's bad times. I was unaware I was a member of a group or tied to a political position.
    Call your state legislators and insist they approve the Article V convention of States to propose amendments.


    I pledge allegiance to the Constitution as written and understood by this nation's founders, and to the Republic it created, an indivisible union of sovereign States, with liberty and justice for all.

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    Something I said in the previous thread on the decline of the New Atheists:

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    I think ancient man had a better understanding of the whole. In the modern world everything gets divided up into specialities and while more details might be understood, we've lost perspective on the whole picture. We generally.

    On edit, I should credit it that to Rene Guenon, The Crisis of the Modern World.

    Guenon applies that to everything in modernity. Ancient science consisted mainly of an all-embracing physics but has been divided into fields and subdivided into specialties. Politics has gone from monarchy to democracy. Society from organic wholes to atomized and isolated individuals. Christianity as well has broken into schisms and sects with Protestantism leading to individual interpretation of the Bible. And so too atheism is splintering up.
    Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire. ― Gustav Mahler

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    Quote Originally Posted by MisterVeritis View Post
    I am an atheist, I suppose. I am unaffected by today's bad times. I was unaware I was a member of a group or tied to a political position.
    It is very much part and parcel, as they say, of the trend toward politicizing everything. Speak out about nearly anything these days and there will be someone there ready to pigeonhole you politically.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cletus
    ... Most atheists, myself included, feel the way they do because simply because the idea of a deity seems silly to them. That doesn't mean they don't respect the religious beliefs of others. Most do and take a "Live and let live, just don't try to shove your beliefs down my throat" attitude toward religion. The people you are talking about are such a small minority, they shouldn't even be considered as representing anyone but themselves.
    It's a common tactic by some to paint one's opposition as being a bunch of fanatics - to represent, in this case, all atheists as being anti-religious. (Someone on the board actually made that claim just days ago.) As I pointed out the other day in a thread on this exact topic, that because the individuals who've made money for decades preaching a militant form of atheism - one that IS genuinely anti-religious - have begun to fade from the scene, it doesn't logically follow that people in general are becoming more religious. If it suggests anything, it's that people are becoming less interested in religion both as a way of life and as something to target; more people are seeing religion as something irrelevant, and not worth either devoting one's time and money to or being angry about.
    "The first thing you want to do after being shot is make sure you are not shot again." - Ace Atkins

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    "As I pointed out the other day in a thread on this exact topic, that because the individuals who've made money for decades preaching a militant form of atheism - one that IS genuinely anti-religious - have begun to fade from the scene, it doesn't logically follow that people in general are becoming more religious."

    That argument is not really made in this thread. Why Justin Brierley sees a rebirth was deliberately left out of this thread on atheism.


    Let's note that it was atheists who turned on the New Atheists.
    Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire. ― Gustav Mahler

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    I do not see a decline in organized religion as a growing number of Atheists. What I see is more people who simply don't care for religion or have solid beliefs one way or another.

    That said if we get into a major Fox Hole situation I would watch where most people turn for comfort.
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