The recent publication of four books—The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins; The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation, both by Sam Harris; and Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon by Daniel Dennett—has provoked great controversy and consternation.* The fact that books by Dawkins and Harris have made it to The New York Times best-seller list has apparently sent chills down the spines of many commentators; not only conservative religionists but also some otherwise liberal secularists are worried about this unexpected development. We note that the people now being attacked are affiliated with FREE INQUIRY and the Center for Inquiry. The editors of FREE INQUIRY, of course, are gratified that the views espoused in these pages have received a wider forum. What disturbs us is the preposterous outcry that atheists are “evangelical” and that they have gone too far in their criticism of religion.
Really? The public has been bombarded by pro-religious propaganda from time immemorial—today it comes from pulpits across the land, TV ministries, political hucksters, and best-selling books. Indeed, at the present moment, the apocalyptic Left Behind series, coauthored by evangelist Tim LaHaye, is an all-time blockbuster. Other best-sellers include The Purpose-Driven Life by Rick Warren and a slew of books attacking liberal secularists and humanists by religious conservatives such as Ann Coulter and Bill O’Reilly.
THEOLOGICAL VERSUS HUMANIST ETHICS
Sunni versus Shiite Muslims
The Iraqi Bloodbath
It is odd...no, it's damn irritating.
The bleat of religion is constant and ear splitting. It is near impossible to escape in total. But the moment someone questions it, suggests its validity, things have gone out of control. Things have gotten shrill.
Person 1: [Whisper] [Whisper]
Person 2: [Quietly] What? Did you say something?
Person 1: [Quietly] Oh, I was just speculating on something...
Person 2: What?
Person 1: [Quietly] Oh, nothing you need to worry about.
Person 2: No tell me.
Person 1: [Quietly] Well, I was just considering that their seems to be no logic to believing in a god.
Person 2: Jesus Christ! Why do you want to push your dogma on me?
Person 1: [Double take] Wha...What?
I remember having on one of CNN's talking heads shows years back. They started going on about God in politics. And it just struck me, what would they do if one of the talking heads had actually asked, what does this matter as their is no God? They would have blown their tops.
You can't say that in polite society. The ladies will faint and the men will need to defend their honor, or something.
It is important for the Secular community to deal with and face this intolerance. It cannot be taken as just the accepted status quo.
I know the above may seem obvious. But time and again we are hearing from Secular allies, and from moderates in politic s that it is important for us to shut up and just go sit in the back of the room.
I think most of us have a response primed on the tip of our tongues when we are next asked to go so this.