The endless debate over the new atheism isn’t really about theology: it is about the failure of science to produce a post-religion that is not insane scientism. The broader views of Dawkins, for example, try to enforce bad biology as a foundation for atheism. That has to be the dumbest move yet in the campaign over misdefined ‘secularism’. So the issue is really the way the new atheists have produced still another brand of doctrinal orthodoxy to be enforced (here in the name of science). The doctrine of natural selection seems to be the new doctrine analogous to the resurrection, demanding faith. Culture is better served with a diversity of views without the shoddy demand that everything conform to bad scientism.
How did this nonsense gain such a foothold?
When I was in college I encountered the same circumstance as that of the new atheism, but the result was that I was thence an atheist AND a theist, a different moments. Is this inconsistency? In a subject as confused as a theology that is an entirely natural outcome. Who can define ‘god’? The reality is always that we are theists at some points and ‘atheists’ at others. The attempt to create an atheist cult is right on schedule in manufacturing stupid people. In the nonce true believers like Dawkins have spent an entire lifetime inside a ‘faith’ in darwinism that has collapsed around him. But he never studies critics of darwinism, and in general the whole science world is living in a cocoon of pseudo-science. My experience has taught me to be wary of the ‘god’ question. Noone can get it straight, and everyone ends up wrong no matter what they think.
These people have made it impossible for young scientists to think, and we find PHD’s in physics unable to grasp the simple warning of Fred Hoyle in the period when the Dawkins fantasy world took off (in sync with the age of Thatcher).
This said, I think theists fail to see what happens to religious minds in the modern age: the gospels suddenly fail to register and the result is an exploding reaction, unfortunately too often into still another confused belief system.
But it is not so easy to dismiss Xtianity in the name of science: it has a stubborn facticity in the evolution of religion in civilization, and it won’t be replaced with anything better unless self-style secularists sit down and study the issues in a more intelligent light. For one thing, it is essential to start over with a post-darwinian framework. Anything less is the fragile fantasy world of the Dawkins set. How Dawkins could have spent the last thirty years isolated from the expose of his fake science in Climbing Mt. Improbable is hard to fathom. And the end of this the reputation of science is going to suffer.