Reza Aslan on the New Atheism

Salon carries a substantive critique of the so-called “New Atheism” (the polemical atheism associated with figures like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris) by Scholar Reza Aslan.  Aslan suggests that these figures are best understood as anti-theists, not merely atheists, in their more generalized rejection of religion and all its institutions.  He argues that, at their worst, they represent a mere reaction to fundamentalism that mirrors all its worst traits:

Like religious fundamentalism, New Atheism is primarily a reactionary phenomenon, one that responds to religion with the same venomous ire with which religious fundamentalists respond to atheism. What one finds in the writings of anti-theist ideologues like Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens is the same sense of utter certainty, the same claim to a monopoly on truth, the same close-mindedness that views one’s own position as unequivocally good and one’s opponent’s views as not just wrong but irrational and even stupid, the same intolerance for alternative explanations, the same rabid adherents (as anyone who has dared criticize Dawkins or Harris on social media can attest), and, most shockingly, the same proselytizing fervor that one sees in any fundamentalist community.

Grant Potts

Professor of Philosophy and Religion, O.T.O. Initiate, Dad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *