A Quick Note: Our View on New Atheism

Paul Kurtz summarized our opinion on New Atheism before his death in 2009.

“militant atheism is often truncated and narrow-minded…it is not concerned with the humanist values that ought to accompany the rejection of theism. The New Atheists, in my view, have made an important contribution to the contemporary cultural scene because they have opened religious claims to public examination…What I object to are the militant atheists who are narrow-minded about religious persons and will have nothing to do with agnostics, skeptics, or those who are indifferent to religion, dismissing them as cowardly.”

“While I certainly don’t believe that we ought to abandon our criticism of religious fanaticism or allow religious doctrine to dictate public policy, the future of the secular humanist and scientific rationalist movements depends upon appealing to a wider base of support,”

Militant atheism risks alienating the moderately religious and if we are to ever make religion only a private matter we need their support. Militant anything nearly always backfires and makes people hold a negative view of whatever a person or persons is militant about. So this blog shares Kurtz’ opinion on the New Atheism movement.


2 thoughts on “A Quick Note: Our View on New Atheism

Add yours

  1. When I first became an atheist I was against the tactics of new atheism. Now I see some value in their techniques. Being in a devoutly religious area in the midwest US, I suffer ridicule and shunning on a daily basis as an open atheist. My ability to make a living was affected because employers demanded I pray while at work and so did our clients (I’m a RN). May the nonexistent god help you if you happen to be a gay or a lesbian in this area. If you don’t live in a place like I do, you might be able to convince yourself religion isn’t that harmful and doesn’t need a strong response.

    The question is: how much intolerance are we to tolerate from the religious?

    Maybe new atheism doesn’t have all the answers, but they tried to do SOMETHING. I think it’s a mistake to join with moderate Christians…or any christians at all. In my area I assure you they’d never consider joining with us, the godless, no matter how liberal they might be.

    I suspect the best way to stop the harm of christianity is to take them down legally like the “satanists” do (these satanists are actually politically active atheists). In the meantime I put up with enough christian bullshit that sometimes I enjoy doing a good Hitch-slap on them. Maybe it’s not the ideal response, but neither was being nice, logical, tolerant, or engaging with them on any level. IMHO.


    1. Thanks for the thoughtful response. It may depend of where you are. I support the criticisms but don’t support being militant. Definitely miss hitchens sometimes though


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