I was an atheist in my sophmore year in college and I have been through all the dreary phases of the genre. Sophmoric is the right word for college level instant Nietzcheans who look down on primitive religion. I outgrew it, but the likes of the Dawkins cult will never get the point, they are sophmoric. But I was lucky: atheism didn’t yet have fanatics like Dawkins and Harris: one could be both a theist and an atheist at the same time. What’s wrong with that? the terms used are confused this is your only option. I have always applied both belief and skepticism to such questions. Nietzsche is a bad influence. Over and over the sophmoric mind discovers Nietzsche and is swept away. But Nietzsche is devious and he is also a very poor scholar of religion. His treatment of the jews is very poor scholarship. And the relationship to earlier Classical German philosophy is lost on those who study only science, but dip into Nietzsche for the disguised nihilism gambit.
It you want the classic case of going screwball here, look at the Zionists. STudy Leo Strauss to see the way men of high intelligence bite on the hook leaving neocons in their wake.
The action of atheism is to challenge the infantile versions of theism that become a burden for educated minds. But the real issue of ‘god’ can’t be solved and has little to do with theism/atheism.
The more canonical modern approach to these questions is via Kant’s critique of metaphysics. Science track obsessives who study only science have completely confused the issues.
If you must become an atheist, be tolerant: you can NEVER claim atheism is supported by science and that disbelief in god is open to proof without ‘faith’. But this is what muddleheads like Dawkins are determined to do. Dawkins still thinks that Darwin’s theory of evolution with its theory of natural selection gives a foundation for atheism. This stupidity have been criticized over and over but the new atheists won’t listen.
A movement starts to be dangerous when it creates a myth, here that of evolutionary natural selection, and closes around it as a foundational myth.
And there are all sorts of atheists in the world, yet the new atheists can’t even communicate there either. The new atheists fumble the ball when they confront budhists, who are religious atheists of great antiquity.
And these secondary issues are many: issues of consciousness, free will, ethical systems, scientism and reductionism have most remarkably been fumbles for the new atheists. Look at Sam Harris: a smart guy. Reduced to idiocy by his own movement platform. Harris is extending the confusion to include neuroscience as the arbiter of issues of consciousness, prematurely. The fallacy that is no fallacy is to try to work at the level of machine language, too complex, instead of the level of software. The ‘software’ of consciousness in man has been used for millennia by those ignorant of neuroscience…
The activities of these groups are destructive. They attempt to capture the academic sphere and then establish an orthodoxy. That’s why people like me arise: someone not inside the system. It is pathetic really.