From the New York Times bestselling author of American Fascists and the NBCC finalist for War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning comes this timely and compelling work about new atheists: those who attack religion to advance the worst of global capitalism, intolerance and imperial projects.
Chris Hedges, who graduated from seminary at Harvard Divinity School, has long been a courageous voice in a world where there are too few. He observes that there are two radical, polarized and dangerous sides to the debate on faith and religion in America: the fundamentalists who see religious faith as their prerogative, and the new atheists who brand all religious belief as irrational and dangerous. Both sides use faith to promote a radical agenda, while the religious majority, those with a commitment to tolerance and compassion as well as to their faith, are caught in the middle.
The new atheists, led by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris, do not make moral arguments about religion. Rather, they have created a new form of fundamentalism that attempts to permeate society with ideas about our own moral superiority and the omnipotence of human reason.
I Don't Believe in Atheists critiques the radical mindset that rages against religion and faith. Hedges identifies the pillars of the new atheist belief system, revealing that the stringent rules and rigid traditions in place are as strict as those of any religious practice.
Hedges claims that those who have placed blind faith in the morally neutral disciplines of reason and science create idols in their own image -- a sin for either side of the spectrum. He makes an impassioned, intelligent case against religious and secular fundamentalism, which seeks to divide the world into those worthy of moral and intellectual consideration and those who should be condemned, silenced and eradicated. Hedges shatters the new atheists' assault against religion in America, and in doing so, makes way for new, moderate voices to join the debate. This is a book that must be read to understand the state of the battle about faith.
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1 . Oxymoronic without the oxy
Posted December 25, 2009 by Honest John , VancouverThe arguments presented are tired and have been refuted many times. 2 minutes on google is all the research needed, on any of the subjects raised in this book, to find well presented, logical, reasoned counter arguments. It's also all you'll need to find the same arguments (often described far better) on free to read blogs and religious websites. If you buy this book you'll be wasting your money, if you read it you're wasting your time.
March 08, 2009
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Excerpt from When Atheism Becomes Religion by Chris Hedges
CHAPTER ONE The God Debate "The shudder of awe is humanity's highest faculty, Even though this world is forever altering values..." -- Goethe, FaustWe live in an age of faith. We are assured we are advancing as a species toward a world that will be made perfect by reason, technology, science or the second coming of Jesus Christ. Evil can be eradicated. War has been declared on nebulous forces or cultures that stand as impediments to progress. Religion (if you are secular) is blamed for genocide, injustice, persecution, backwardness and intellectual and sexual repression. "Secular humanism" (if you are born again) is branded as a tool of Satan. The folly of humankind, however, is pervasive. It infects all human endeavors. Institutional religion or the cults of science and reason are not exempt.The greatest danger that besets us does not come from believers or atheists; it comes from those who, under the guise of religion, science or reason, imagine that we can free ourselves from the limitations of human nature and perfect the human species. Those who insist we are morally advancing as a species are deluding themselves. There is little in science or history to support this idea. Human individuals can make moral advances, as can human societies, but they also make moral reverses. Our personal and collective histories are not linear. We alternate between periods of light and periods of darkness. We can move forward materially, but we do not move forward morally. The belief in collective moral advancement ignores the inherent flaws in human nature as well as the tragic reality of human history. Whether it comes in secular or religious form, this belief is magical thinking. The secular version of this myth peddles fables no less fantastic, and no less delusional, than those preached from church pulpits. The battle under way in America is not a battle between religion and science; it is a battle between religious and secular fundamentalists. It is a battle between two groups intoxicated with the utopian and magical belief that humankind can master its destiny. This is one of the most pervasive forms of self-delusion, as Marcel Proust understood, but it has disastrous consequences. It encourages us to ignore reality."The soldier is convinced that a certain interval of time, capable of being indefinitely prolonged, will be allowed him before the bullet finds him, the thief before he is caught, men in general before they have to die," Proust wrote. "That is the amulet which preserves people -- and sometimes peoples -- not from danger but from the fear of danger, in reality from the belief in danger, which in certain cases allows them to brave it without actually needing to be brave."The wordutopiawas coined by Thomas More in 1516 from the Greek words for no and place. To be a utopian, to live for the creation of a fantastic and unreal world, was to live in no place, to remove oneself from reality. It is only by building an ethic based on reality, one that takes into account the dangers and limits of the human situation, that we can begin to adjust our behavior to cope with social, environmental and political problems. All utopian schemes of impossible advances and glorious conclusions end in squalor and fanaticism. The current "war on terror" by the United States is one such scheme. It is being fought so that evil can be violently uprooted. Its proponents promise a world that will become "reasonable," a "civil" world ruled by the "rational" forces of global capitalism. Those who support the war on terror speak as if victory in any tangible sense is possible. This noble vision of a harmonious world is used to justify violence and war, to turn us into criminals who carry out needless murder and torture in the name of human progress.The desire for emancipation, universal happiness and prosperity has a seductive pull on the human.