A Portrait of a New Atheist

His name is Godless[1].  He is a young college educated white male with a high opinion of his intellectual ability.  Like most young white males in American he is angry, without knowing what he is angry about.  He has a thirst for  recognition, meaning and purpose and has little or none of any.  He was born into a liberal progressive society that promised utopia and has not delivered on the promise.  He is angry and empty, and he needs to blame someone for this fallen world which does not meet his bourgeois expectations.  He feels that he deserves better.  Because of his liberal ethos which represses anger, he is passive aggressive.  His continual attacks on religion are an outlet for his repressed anger at the world and the God who made it[2].

His passive aggressive anger comes out in his blogs where he projects himself as a truth seeker and often as a mild-mannered individual while at the same time using sarcasm and cynicism to belittle religious folks.  The majority of the time he stays anonymous because he is too timid to put his name on his writings and is afraid of the backlash which might come from his sarcasm and hubris.  In his private life he preys on average people who he feels he is superior to, he tries to draw them in to debate in order to destroy their faith and convert them to his non-faith.  I am sad to say there are some believers that behave in the same obnoxious way.  Of course, this behavior is the mark of most fundamentalist movements, whether religious or secular.

In his blogs Godless has a habit of stating rather than arguing his positions, which he does very well.  His favorite story is the tall tale of naturalism, in which he gives an account of the universe and the world as though his story was fact or history instead of theory and speculation.  His writing is an example of authoritarian rhetoric masquerading as explanatory argument.  Of course, he has no personal authority, which means that much of his thinking is nothing but his opinion or the bloviating of talking points from his atheistic websites.  Therefore, it is not surprising to see very few footnotes or references[3].  When he does quote someone, the references are vague and his inferences are embellished to reflect his position.  Like so many atheists, he uses rhetoric and assertions in the place of explanatory argument to the point that his opponents give up from exhaustion in any attempt to answer his rhetoric.  If they attempt to answer him, he accuses them with ‘using the same-old arguments’.  What can I say?  It is the same-old augments because it the same-old rhetoric.  How much can a man say about a so-called non-belief without repeating himself?  Godless is truly a sophist.

He uses negative rhetoric to belittle religion and its practitioners, often inferring that they are unethical, ignorant or even stupid.  Recently, Godless told me that I was lying when I told him that I had two neighbors that were atheist and that they would not talk to me about their atheism.  From then on, he inferred that I was a liar.  In his delusion, Godless seems to glory that he has x-ray eyes which can see things in religion and in people, that others cannot see. Even while ranting and raving he seems to be quite ignorant of the fact that theologians have been pointing out the same anomalies in religion that he does, for centuries.

He fails to see that anything that humans touch; whether it’s religion, science or even atheism, they will corrupt it.  This all tends to make Godless shortsighted and extremely narrow.  I do wish he would get a new set of glasses.  We could use someone with x-ray eyes to take a good look at our government.  However, the problem would be that Godless would see the corruption in government and conclude that all government is evil.  You see, Godless is an extremist like the fundamentalist that he criticizes.

Like so many of the new atheists, Godless’ whole self-esteem seems to depend on his ability to out argue the theists.  He has become his atheism.  He has no self, apart from his atheism.  In this, atheism has become his purpose, meaning and life.  He reminds me of the apostle Paul, who said, “For me to live is Christ”  However, for Godless it would be “for me to live is atheism”  Godless does not drink, smoke or party; he has no addiction other than atheism.  I know that Godless will respond by saying that all of this could be said about the theist as well.  I agree to a point.  There are some theists who are addicted to the wrappings of faith, which we call religion.  In fact, many ex-Christians were addicted to religion and when religion could no long satisfy their ego; they simply changed  addictions.

Godless could not be an agnostic because it would not help his self-esteem to say I don’t know.  How could being an agnostic set him apart from the herd and demonstrate his superiority?  Agnosticism would leave him without a self and quite empty.  You cannot be lambasting faith and be noticed by saying, “I don’t know.”

In a true sense of the word, Godless is not a skeptic for he is quick to accept any philosophy or science that comes down the pike as long as it supports his atheism[4].  In many cases, not all, Godless is so ill-prepared intellectually that he is incapable of discerning true science and philosophy from pseudoscience and sophistry.  He prides himself on being open-minded; however, his openness is often a smoke screen to cover up his hubris pride in assuming intellection superiority over all other world views and it also services as a smoke screen to cover his anger.  His anger and passive aggressiveness is the thing that separates him from the old atheist type.

He claims to be a seeker of truth, sometimes even professes an attempt at believing.  Yet, he continues to waddle in and feed at the trough of his atheistic propaganda.  He spends hours of his time perusing the Internet looking for talking points and arguments against religion.  He actually spends more time on his atheism than many people of faith who do on their religion.  Some even assemble regularly to learn and rehearse their negative beliefs.  Of course Godless justifies all of this by thinking of himself as an angel of light that is trying to save the world from religion, which he views as the ultimate evil[5].

You see, like all people Godless needs meaning and purpose in his life.  Yet, he has denied the most fundamental and ultimate foundation of meaning.  The result of this denial is that he must seek meaning in a lesser purpose and at the same time elevating this lesser purpose to his ultimate concern.  He fails to see that other people do not have the ability to create an illusion of ultimate purpose as he does and they really need faith to have meaning.

A friend was placing Bibles in the public schools of Russia and he was called into the office of education by the head administrator for the entire nation.  At first, he was afraid that he was  going to lose his visa for handing out Bibles.  Then to his surprise the administrator thanked him for what he was doing.  In their discussion, the administrator rehearsed the years of communistic atheism and their indoctrination and went on to say that as a result of it; the children had what he called “empty eyes.”  You see in Russia, the atheistic communist had their ‘thought police’; which did not want the people to even ask the question “why” because it would lead them to look for meaning, and in their search for true meaning, it would lead many to God.

I know the new atheist types believe they can find meaning in something less than God.  Maybe in their relationships or in spreading their belief, or should I say the lack of it?  Some may find meaning in the belief that they are saving the world from the ultimate evil of religion[6].  However, in view of the mindless universe they propose and their atheistic world view can any meaning be real?  Is it not really nothing more than an illusion?  I think it was Nietzsche, who said that if a person was brave enough to face reality (no God) that the reasonable thing to do would be to kill yourself or to go insane, for the alternative would be to live a life of despair or a life of illusions and dishonesty.  The majority of the new atheists are neither brave enough nor honest enough to take their belief to their logical conclusion, so they live in a world of self-created illusions[7].

Some may feel that I am being hard on the new atheist.  No, I am simply trying to get them to think outside of their world view and their talking points and to know that there is another way of viewing life, the world and God; which are all reasonable positions from within a theistic world view.  Assuming that they have a will to believe as many of them profess, here is what they must do to move toward faith.

They must recognize that there is a difference between religion and faith and that there is a difference between good religion and bad religion.  Yes, there are a lot of crazy things going on in the Christian faith, but they do not have their source in Christ and those that know Christ the best believe that much of American Christianity has little or nothing to do with Jesus Christ.  So, I would suggest that atheists and believers alike refocus their eyes off the Christian religion on to Jesus Christ.

An important step for those who would like to explore faith in Christ would be to stop acting like an atheist.  This would include not reading and writing the propaganda that is on the Internet and stop reading the books of the superstar atheists, who, by the way, remind me of the Televangelists who have made millions of dollars selling books on atheism.  Likewise, I would also encourage Christians to stop listening to the TV celebrity preachers and get serious about knowing your own faith.

Another step would be to start calling and thinking of yourself as an agnostic.  This will take the ego out of your belief system and at the same time make your belief more rational.  If you believe that theism is unreasonable because it cannot be proven, you will have to believe that the opposite is just as unreasonable, for both positions cannot be proved or disproved empirically to the other side.

[1]  In using the expression Godless I have no individual in mind, but am using it as a synonym for some, not all of the new atheist types. Many of the new atheists think they are all radical individuals and therefore cannot be critiqued as a group. However, like all movements there are many similarities of the people in the movement. This paper may not apply to the old atheist type some of which even view religion as good or at least a necessary evil.

[2] His passive aggressive anger is usually directed towards religion and government. This is all clearly seen in the poster boy of atheism Karl Marx, who was an atheist and hated religion and government and believed his system would usher in a new utopia free of religion and government. One thing which can be said of Karl Marx is that he believed his system would fix the problem, he erred in his analysis of what constituted the problem,  but at least he had an answer. However, Godless has no answer to the problem other than sucking all the air out of it and hoping it will collapse. He has no system to replace what he is trying to destroy other than putting him and his kind in command. Could you imagine what a world would be like following men like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens? If these men were believers I would not like them because of their hubris. Their demeanor and disposition makes me shiver.

[3] There are a number of reasons for this lack of references. Godless wants people to think that his ideas are original. This makes him look more intelligent and above the herd. It also denotes a person who has bought into the subjectivism of age while condemning religion for being subjective. He fails to see that subjectivism in the end destroys his idol of reason.

[4] He is likely to believe in aliens and in the string theory even though there is not one bit of scientific evidence for either.

[5] This is one of the hall-mark beliefs of the new atheists. Therefore, the extremist in this movement views believers as evil and if consistent, could treat believers as the communist atheist did in Russia and China.

[6] Are they really angles of light? “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 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.”

[7] If there is no God, humans have a  choice of living in a world of illusions or a world of despair. If they choose illusions, the question then becomes what is the best illusion? Is it the illusions of atheism or religion? What would be the criteria for making this choice? Would it not be happiness? If so the atheist loses because there have been a number of studies done recently that  demonstrate that people of faith are happier than those that have none.