Byzantine Empire 555AD
Byzantine Empire 555AD

Debunking the New Atheists

by Lewis Loflin

Surveys show that the nations with the highest degree of atheism 'include most of the nations of Europe, Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, and Israel', whereas 'it is virtually nonexistent in most of Africa, South America, the Middle East, and Asia'.

Let's take this first statement. The atheistic nature of Eastern religion explains Taiwan and Japan. Many of the remaining countries have huge numbers of socialists/Humanists. (Socialism is a Humanist philosophy.) To say these people have no religion is false. Environmentalism, dogmatic Humanism, and socialism in all its forms tend towards pseudo-religions in their emotional impact on their followers.

If atheism is simply defined as a rejection of traditional religion such as Judaism and Christianity, then the statement might be true, but in reality they simply substitute something else. Atheism doesn't mean no religion, just a rejection of theism.

There have been various attempts to explain this unequal distribution...(atheists) have argued that high levels of atheism in a society are strongly correlated with high levels of societal health, such as low poverty rates and strong gender equality. Societies with adequate food distribution, good public health care, and accessible housing generally show a waning of religiosity, while societies where there is inadequate food and shelter and life is less secure show much higher levels of religious belief.

There is a direct correlation between higher education and atheism, but seems the polar opposite to rational thinking. Because the university system in the West is dominated by Humanist/socialist dogma, much if it based in unproven and in fact unproven assumptions, we have little more than indoctrination into secular pseudo-religious thinking. They simply have blind "faith" in failed secular pseudo-religious philosophies.

With the exception of Vietnam (81% nonbelievers in God) and Ireland (4%-5% nonbelievers in God)...maintain that the results of the available surveys corroborate their theory.

My comment: then explain Vietnam, former Soviet Union, China, etc. where poverty is really widespread, but atheism is often the majority of people and often the result of force. (Is Japan atheist or is it atheistic Eastern religion?) As for Western Europe, etc. they in fact are religious, but the many substitute political style religions such as dogmatic Humanism, environmentalism, and socialism/multiculturalism. The second problem to note is many churches in Europe have been associated with governments, so is it rejection of the government churches or God?

North America would seem to constitute something of an exception here...only 6 percent of those in the US do not believe in God, although it is an advanced industrialized nation. However, they (atheists) argue that the high degree of religious belief in the US can nevertheless be accounted for by the theory, since it is 'one of the most unequal postindustrial societies', with many sectors of US society being exposed to a high degree of economic insecurity, threat of unemployment, fear of sudden illness without adequate health care provision, and vulnerability to crime. (It is doubtful how adequate an explanation this is if taken on its own: the exceptionality of the US case may be better explained by taking into account a variety of historical, cultural, economic, political and sociological factors).

Ref. Phil Zuckerman, "Atheism: Contemporary Numbers and Patterns," in The Cambridge Companion to Atheism, ed. Michael Martin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 57.
Ref. Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart, Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004).

My comment: then explain the growing number of affluent mega-churches in the US. These people are not poverty-ridden or uneducated. They (the atheistic' rationalists) as usual seek a scientific-rational analysis when human beings are simply not machines or robots to be programmed. They present ideas not based on empirical proof, but a philosophy based on faith.

Another factor is yes, formal church style religion is in steep decline, but many are still religious in their own way.

Another factor is in America the government doesn't exert the massive levels of control and influence as it does in other countries. America is not a uniform culture, but a vast number of cultures. There is no state religion and the attempted implementation of Humanism as a de-facto state religion is meeting enormous resistance from many quarters.

As far as crime goes, that is related more to race than poverty, in particular low-achieving non-Asian minorities. The massive and costly welfare state has done nothing to change any of this problem. There are far more poor whites by numbers, but they still commit little crime. To continue...

Atheism and Violence

Atheists who lay claim to the intellectual inheritance of the Enlightenment have traditionally presented religion as intolerant and the cause of much avoidable violence, and atheism as the best strategy for a maximally tolerant and violence-free world. However, the history of atheistic states (especially the ex-Soviet Union, China, etc.) has tended until recently to encourage a more sober assessment by atheists of the relationship between atheism and violence than was hitherto assumed.

The leading philosophical atheist Michael Martin, for example, speculating in 1989 about the likely consequences of a widespread growth in atheism globally, stated his belief that there would 'probably' be fewer wars and less violence than there is now; however, he also acknowledged (evidently with the still existent USSR in mind) 'the danger that if atheism became widespread, as it has in the Soviet Union and in other countries of the world, it would become the functional equivalent of a state religion with the suppression of theistic minorities'...

My comment: they failed to note the atheistic French Revolution, a direct product of the Enlightenment, was violent to the extreme. Here we had atheists (Jacobins) beheading people just as they do in Wahhabi Muslim Saudi Arabia does today. So it isn't just Marxist' Humanism, but Humanist' violence from the beginning. Yes state atheism does lead to tyranny and has been proven so.

Against the background of more cautious and historically informed judgments of the relationship between atheism and violence...the more recent pronouncements of the New Atheists generally appear by contrast to recall the optimism of atheistic materialists of the eighteenth century Enlightenment, for whom atheism seemed to offer the promise of bringing about a more violence free world. However, both the history of atheism and the political history of the West suggests that the optimism of eighteenth century atheists...was misplaced...which New Atheists like Dawkins, Dennett, Harris and Hitchens have generally preferred to underplay.

Enlightenment Optimism and Faith in Ill-Founded Reason

The strategy of the New Atheists has been to downplay the accusation that atheism has led to secular tyrannies (Marxism and Nazism), and stress the tradition of atheist secular humanism...a universal secular morality based on a common recognition of how we are determined by nature to seek our survival, well-being, and avoidance of suffering provided no such grounds for unnecessary conflict...

My comment: here is the failure of the Enlightenment. This is the fundamental flawed assumption of the Enlightenment was violence was related to religion (or lack of atheism) and that people are basically good. There's not a shred of proof to that nonsense.

The fundamental assumption underpinning their hope in the relatively violence free nature of a purely secular society was their belief that humans were inherently virtuous, and that religion represented a (corrigible) perversion of their inherent virtuousness...human beings' basic instincts are directed towards the achievement of well-being so that we were predisposed to love one another and enjoy a peaceful co-existence in this world; religion...(was/is) a war against those natural tendencies, and its claim to authority was that it spoke on behalf of 'a fierce God whom it presents as the Tyrant of the human race'.

Religion itself was born of fear, melancholy, ignorance, and a disordered imagination only a rethinking of the human relationship to nature and, consequently, to happiness could alter such a sad state of affairs. People would seek to understand and change the physical and social condition of mankind only after they understand that the 'force' governing phenomena was merely the 'necessary laws' of an amoral physical nature...atheism...

alone could lead us to seek the satisfaction of our needs and the diminution of our pains among their actual causes'. This optimism about pristine human nature unadulterated by religion may be said to be the fundamental conviction underpinning the hopes of enlightened atheists (both in eighteenth century France and in Britain and America in the following century) in a relatively violence free atheist future.

Once again they try to escape the violent outcome and tendency towards tyranny under atheist' philosophies. The problem is human nature and it's mostly not good.

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