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New atheism and the god obsession

November 26th, 2010 · No Comments

http://darwiniana.com/2010/11/26/kurtz-vs-the-new-atheists-2/,

and http://www.superscholar.org/the-future-of-secular-humanism/

I find the opposition to Kurtz to be a telling indicator of the New Atheist confusion. Paul Kurtz?! Are you guys kididng. If the New Atheists have a problem with Kurtz they are incompetent to a degree even I hadn’t suspected. It shows the way cults differentiate into doctrinal quibbling and sect subdivison.
Secular humanism is not an atheist religion (nor a theistic).
People need help with their religious confusions, and the New Athesits are totally unhelpful.
Secularism was always about a complex view of religion, witness thinkers like Hegel and Kant. This watered down canon of atheist allegiance is the best thing that happened to religion in decline. Religionists can actually point to people dumber than they are.

Arguing about the existence of god is a waste of time, that secularists could devote to more constructive pursuits.
I have often criticized the New Atheist movement, not least because many outstanding atheists (like Kurtz) are the object of doctrinal fanaticism and, amazing, are forced to find a new label for themselves, and in general because a resolution of the metaphysics of religion has backfired and produced a metaphysics of atheism.
Face it, Richard Dawkins is a box set mind and a menace to groupies hungry for simplifying consolations, and the epitome of bad leadership, leading his converted fans into a cultic true believer mode when the whole point of atheism was a fear of doctrinaire positions and beliefs, and a wariness about ‘god fixations’, theist, but also atheist. Let’s face it, atheism leads to delusive beliefs about the universe designed to make it true, e.g. natural selection pressed into service to ‘guarantee’ some kind of atheist perspective. It need not be so. The classic traditions of implicit atheism in Indian religion (which never flaunted their atheism) never let atheist beliefs dictate the laws of the universe, a syndrome sadly evident in Nietzsche who is too often the invisible influence behind the New Atheists.
Current culture in America needs to devote itself to something more productive than cramming atheism down everyone’s throats. The political situation is being perverted by the dumbing down of secularism around a kind of Mencken snottiness and Bryan-bashing.
A much more robust stance would be to realize that you can’t ever resolve the god question, and to stay within a toleran agnoticism that can also study the details of world religion, which is something far vaster than the theism question.

The problem is really the obsession with ‘god’ created by monotheists after the Axial Age. Then the issue is not ‘god’, but obsession. Look at Buddhists, they waster zero time on the god issue, for or against.

Look at current politics. It is being distracted by the New Atheists. We need to focus on cultural, economic and political issues in a generalized liberalism, and socialism, without this wild goose chase (visible to be sure in the first Marxists) of atheism. The secular is not a theistic or atheistic perspective. To bend liberal secularism out of shape on the atheism question (or theism question) is a disaster for practical efforts.

Tags: atheism · Science & Religion

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