The Roots of The New Atheist Movement

The Roots of The New Atheist Movement

Where did the new atheist movement originate?  I may not have all the answers to this question but one thing I do know is that you cannot start and organize a movement around a non-belief as some of the new atheists would have people believe. To create a movement, you must have specific beliefs and the emotions that will fuel the movement. The energy of any movement comes from the emotions that drive it. Likewise, every movement is a bearer of particular beliefs and the emotions that are generated by the beliefs as they are put forth by forceful leaders of that movement. So, whatever is driving the new atheist movement is also spreading it. But what is it?

The belief that is driving the new movement is naturalism[1]. Naturalism is a belief system that believes nature is the whole show, and  there is nothing outside of it. Therefore atheists believe that everything must be explained by natural causes. In pure naturalism[2], there is no room for faith in a God or even the belief there might be something more than nature. The truthfulness of naturalism is not a question that science can answer. Therefore it falls into the area of metaphysics and is a question for philosophers and theologians[3].

What about the emotions driving this new movement? This writer believes that much of the new atheist movement has come out of a well of anger and hatred. It reflects the nihilism of the French and Russian Revolution. The movement exists for the main purpose of organizing atheists’ hatred of religion, good or bad. Of course, to the new atheist there is no such thing as good religion; there is only religion and it is bad. One of the marked differences between the new atheists and those of the French and Russian Revolutions comes in understanding the real reason for their anger. During the period that these Revolutions took place, the Catholic and orthodox churches had sided with the rich and were oppressing the poor, i.e., the poor had a reason to be angry. However, the new atheist seems to be made up of white, middle-class, college educated males who are part of the system that suppresses the poor. So, what are they angry about? Could it be that they are angry about a meaningless existence, which they have inherited from their secular education? An education that promised them utopia and that is failing.

Furthermore, it is not beyond belief to see the hand of the Communist Party of America behind a lot of the funding of the new atheist movement. The hard-core socialists still see religion, especially the Christian religion, as their chief enemy and would like to eradicate it around the world. You really need atheists in order to have communism and socialism because you need a people who believe in so-called scientific planning and who have the state as their ultimate concern. That is their benefactor and Savior. Of course, planning by the few, spells non-freedom for the many, for in the end there can only be one planner.

Another reason for this movement and many other deconstructionist movements[4] is rooted deep in our culture, a mega culture in which men have lost their identity and meaning. The old atheist types were not organized, because they had an identity and a strong belief in Western ideology and values. However, in recent decades Western academia has emptied these ideologies and values of any meaning. This has led to an increasing number of people in our culture empty of meaning and purpose. These people are easily attracted to movements, which give their existence meaning and structure. Hollowed out people are easy prey for any ideology and cultic belief. These movements are the devil’s workshop and the people who get involved are, as Lenin called them, “useful idiots” for cult leaders and dictators.

The only practical reason I can see for the new atheist movement is that it has afforded a number of shrewd men the opportunity to get wealthy and gain status in the eyes of their followers, which strangely is one of the things they charge religion with. Of course, when there is money and power to be had, there will always be men willing to spread hate to obtain it, men like Karl Marx and Stalin. Some new atheists will respond that they are not spreading hate or hurting anyone. I will grant you that if you steal a man’s faith that he doesn’t  value or have a need for; you have done little harm or hurt. However, if you destroy a person’s faith that has a weak faith, but needs it, you have done harm. Even some of the new atheists who have told their story of losing their faith, talk about the hurt and the negative emotions they experienced. Like many atheists, the new atheists have hardened their hearts to the pain of others and begin to think of their movement as a bitter pill that will cure people of the disease that is hurting them. That is, faith in God. Like all mass movements of true believers, they believe the end justifies the means.

However, are the new atheists really Angels of light as they claim, delivering a bitter pill or are they really Angels of darkness? I will let one of the old atheist types answer that question. An honest unbeliever, Dr. E. Wengraf, once confessed, “Every piece of anti-religious propaganda seems to me a crime.  I surely do not wish it to be prosecuted as a crime, but I consider it immoral and loathsome.  This is not because of zeal for my convictions, but because of the simple knowledge acquired through long experience, that, given the same circumstances, a religious man is happier than the irreligious.  In my indifference and skeptical attitude toward all positive faith, I have often envied other men to whom deep religiosity has given a strong support in all the storms of life.  To uproot the souls of such men is an abject deed.  I abhor any proselytizing.  But, still, I can understand why one who believes firmly in a saving faith tries to convert others.  But I cannot understand propaganda of unbelief.  We do not have the right to take away from a person his protecting shelter, be it even a shabby hut, if we are not sure, we can offer him a better, more beautiful house.  But to lure men from the inherited home of their souls, to make them err afterward in the wilderness of hypotheses and philosophical question marks, is either criminal fatalisms or criminal mindlessness.” Need I say more?

[1] Atheism in itself is not a belief. However, the naturalistic and the materialistic philosophy that support it are ideologies and represent worldviews. The minute an atheist starts arguing for his non-belief he has embraced a belief system of naturalism and materialism and the burden of proof shifts to them.

[2] In naturalist world view one could believe in a god, which existed inside nature and had evolved with the universe.

[3]  Werner Heisenberg physicist and Nobel prize winner for physics confirms  this, “If anyone wants to argue from the indubitable fact that the world exists to a cause of this existence, then this assumption does not contradict our scientific knowledge at a single point.  Scientists do not have a single argument or fact with which they would contradict such an assumption, even if it was about a cause which–how could it be otherwise– would evidently have to be sought outside our three-dimensional world” Wermer Heisenberg quoted by Hans Kung Pages 79-80 in “The beginning of All Things: Science and Religion”.

[4] Deconstructionist movements would include the radical gay rights movement, radical feminists, and radical socialism. All of these movements question the traditional moral and family structure of Western culture.