Sam Harris and the new atheists have completely confused the issues of religion. It might help to tune out of new atheist noise and return to what ‘you’ were doing before such people began pounding their drum: religious reformation and the real meaning of secularism! That’s right, the new atheists have so confused everyone that many are actually regressing to hard core religious dogma.
But the tide of the secular is not easy to resist. But consider carefully that that does not mean something on the level of the toxic idiocy of the new atheism.
Despite the obvious impression otherwise I think there is a strong movement toward ‘reformation/secularism’ in the Islamic world, and the social forces for that have been present since the nineteenth century. This requires Moslems themselves to reflect on the issue of reformation (no imitation as such of the Protestant Reformation is going to work) and the real meaning of secularism. The rise of the modern was never about atheism until the nineteenth century, Spinoza being a seeming exception (in fact he was a crypto-pantheist, maybe). The issue of religion was pervasive to the early modern until the eighteenth century. But the real break, which almost seems an anomaly, occurred well after the modern transition. So religionists, if they so choose, can simply deny that secularism equates with atheism. I think the issue of theism/atheism is simply a distraction, and thrust of the secular is more toward the forms of idolatry than the actual issue of theistic mystery.
The issue of theology is a crisis of definition: no debate is real in the current environment of theistic gibberish, now confronted with the incoherence of the ‘new atheist’ growing fanaticism about ‘faith’ in atheism.
The onset of secularism isn’t really about belief systems so much as the epochal recycling of religious antiquity. It is a peculiar state of affairs. Why should the world have to go through religious change just because of someone’s theory about new ages? Answer: noone quite knows, but we can see it happening whether we understand or like it, or not!
The new atheists have based their new ism on a really insecure foundation: darwinian theory, rank scientism, and a whole set of superstitions about what religion is!