New atheism

Those wacky atheists! They are always trying to top each other as to who is the most atheist among them. Recently, Austrian Niko Alm took his place in their virtual “hall of fame.”

Young Niko apparently wished to mock religion when he discovered that Austrian citizens are permitted to wear religious headgear for their ID photos. What an opportunity! The Church of the Flying Spaghetti (a favorite faux religion in atheist circles) would form the basis for the headgear he wanted to wear – a colander (pasta strainer). Niko waged a 3 year battle, including submitting to psychiatric examinations, before he was recognized officially as a Spaghetti Monster “pastafarian.” Congratulations Niko.

This young man is an example of the new atheism. Not only do they not believe, they feel called to work fervently in mocking the belief of those who do. Their intelligence and intellect is very impressive – to each other.

Interestingly, Niko’s subterfuge was necessary as atheism itself does not usually qualify as a religion. It is after all a non-belief, that there is “no god” or other supernatural power. “New” atheists feel compelled to oppose religion by every means possible.

Ironically, their fervent efforts could be seen as a religion itself. Consider:

  • deity: human reason and science, essentially the worship of self
  • doctrine: “self” came to be through the happy coincidence of random, natural events
  • moral code: live and let live with a sprinkling of helping others (more reciprocity than morality)
  • worship: wherever 2 or more atheists are gathered to discuss among themselves how smart they are / how dumb are they who believe in a magical sky fairy
  • saints: they have saints who lived exemplary atheist lives, worthy of imitation
  • clergy: many, such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Hawking
  • hymns: an example is John Lennon’s Imagine (this might also be their creed)
  • mission: government, not religion, and the separation of them

While their hearts appear to be closed tight, there are more converts than many people might assume. Sometimes, in their relentless study to prove the fallacy of the Church, they unexpectedly find truth. C. S. Lewis is one famous example of a Christian convert.

Jennifer Fulwiler converted from atheism to Catholicism and is also a popular blogger. Some of her pieces on this topic are How I researched my way into Christianity, Love and conversion, On having proof and Why I’m Catholic.

Jennifer is but one of several atheism to Catholicism bloggers listed in my Convert Stories database. Others include Julie Davis, Devin Rose (story here), Elizabeth Mahlou, Jeffrey Miller, Sarah Reinhard and Kayla Garry. Each is a unique, good read.

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Comments

  1. the austrian guy isn’t even being a true pastafarian. their religious garb are pirate clothes and their big feast day is “talk like a pirate” day. sheesh! if he’s going to do it, he could at least get it right!

  2. I’m glad to be able to access your blog again! This post is about one of my interests, atheism. The “New Atheism” has certainly been a shock to me because of its vitriol toward believers. I lived with an unbeliever, my mother, but she never ridiculed any believer, nor did she discourage her children from believing. She followed her conscience, and we followed ours. My mother was a good person at the natural level. I don’t think she ever had a dramatic conversion, but toward the end of her life, she softened. Often she asked me to pray for this or that intention. I entrust her to God’s merciful love.

    Your list of the religious characteristics of the New Atheism is amusing and so true. Since the publication of those books and articles you have cited, many knowledgeable Catholics and Christians have countered them. The one that comes to mind from the top of my head is Fr. Robert Barron. I also think Michael Novak’s book, No One Sees God, does a good job of defending the Christian worldview, but it’s tough reading—highly intellectual.

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