Atheists Need Your Help

by Mitch Stokes

apologetics - Atheists Need_Your_HelpPerhaps you’re aware of a new version of atheists called, reasonably enough, the New Atheists. Like older versions, new atheists don’t believe in God and claim that religious believers are, if not downright stupid, at least intellectually cavalier. But the New Atheists’ complaints against believers aren’t merely academic. As they see it, the believer’s lack of intellectual responsibility is more than a matter of ideas; it is a thing of immense practical concern. Our irrationality, they say, makes us dangerous, not merely dolts. Naturally, this troubles the atheists, whose militant leaders Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, and the late Christopher Hitchens see religious belief as something to eliminate rather than merely ridicule. “We must find our way to a time when faith, without evidence, disgraces anyone who would claim it,” writes Harris. “Given the present state of our world, there appears to be no other future worth wanting.”

Of course, religious people can be dangerous. Most of us think of September 11, 2001, when Muslim extremists flew airliners into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon, killing thousands. We’re all aware of this kind of danger. Yet extremists aren’t the sole threat. The perils of religion surround us daily. According to Dawkins, you or your parents (or both) have probably committed horrific crimes in the name of God. In his article “Religion’s Real Child Abuse,” Dawkins approvingly quotes psychologist Nicholas Humphrey:

Children, I’ll argue, have a human right not to have their minds crippled by exposure to other people’s bad ideas—no matter who these other people are. Parents, correspondingly, have no god-given license to enculturate their children in whatever ways they personally choose: no right to limit the horizons of their children’s knowledge, to bring them up in an atmosphere of dogma and superstition, or to insist they follow the straight and narrow paths of their own faith. In short, children have a right not have their minds addled by nonsense…


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