Get Ready for the “Day of Reason”
by Tom Gilson
Thursday, May 7, is the National Day of Prayer in the United States. Atheists have an answer: the National Day of Reason.
I’m reminded of the morning about three-and-a-half years ago when I was laying awake in bed, mulling over the coming “Reason Rally” scheduled for March 24, 2012 on the Mall in Washington D.C. Atheists were proclaiming themselves the party of reason then, too. What was bothering me then, and still does now, is that on the Internet and in printed works published by prominent “New Atheists”—where the claim to Reason is trumpeted the loudest—actual excellence in reasoning is hard to find.
That morning’s thoughts led to a project in which several friends of mine and I collaborated to produce a book, True Reason contrasting atheist and Christian claims to reasonability.
Other friends—this time from Ratio Christi, with which I was not yet directly associated—and I went to the Reason Rally. Far from being a day of reason, it was a day of reviling religion and dehumanizing believers. A few examples will tell the story:
- My friend Blake Anderson and I ran into P.Z. Myers, biologist and famed atheistic blogger, who asked us, then added, “Are they ridiculing you here? They should be.”
- Pianist/comedian Tim Minchin sang a song mocking the Pope, with 72 instances of the F-word in it. (I didn’t count them, someone else did.) *
Richard Dawkins openly urged the attendees to mock Catholic beliefs.
I’m not Catholic myself, but I can see the difference between that and an actual reasoned approach to persuasion.
Some of the same was in evidence even before the Reason Rally. David Silverman, head of the chief organizing group, American Atheists, tried to intimidate us away. He sent me a fiery email with little desire for reasoning in evidence. It included…
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