What is “new” about the New Atheism?

Alister-McGrath 3An innocent reader might assume that this movement had discovered new scientific evidence or philosophical arguments that demonstrated that God was the arbitrary and meaningless construction of the human mind. Yet it soon becomes clear that there are no new arguments here. The old, familiar and somewhat tired arguments of the past are recycled and rehashed. What is new is the aggressiveness of the rhetoric, which often seems to degenerate into bullying and hectoring. It serves a convenient purpose, by papering over the obvious evidential gaps and argumentative lapses that are so characteristic of this movement. But it does little to encourage anyone to take atheism with intellectual seriousness.

–Alister McGrath

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3 thoughts on “What is “new” about the New Atheism?

    • I know only of one who lived a life of unswerving goodness, virtue and authenticity. Religious and secular leaders rose up and got rid of him with violence. He came back three days later because you can’t keep a good man down. No one else is truly good; we are all messed up. The world is not divided between the good and bad guys. The line dividing good and evil runs through every one of our hearts. We all desperately need redeeming. I know only of one who has any credibility on that score. We need Jesus.

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      • Getting back to your question…
        As a follower of a Christ who laid down his life for his enemies, at the very least, I am constrained to treat my opponents with courtesy and respect. When I fail in doing so, I am denying my faith, and you would do well to demand an apology.
        On the other hand, if an atheist fails to show courtesy and respect, he is not denying his faith—he is practicing it. In the absence of an absolute moral standard (like God), God deniers are basically free to do as they jolly well please (or as much as they can get away with, and at least until judgement day).
        However being that a total absence of any moral standards makes life unliveable, the atheist ends up borrowing some from theists. Thankfully atheists generally acknowledge the validity of these imported values, such as respect and courtesy, which makes some kind of civil discussion possible.
        God bless you.

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