Monday, April 9, 2012

A Hard Left Atheist Critique of "New Atheist" Neocons

Jeff Sparrow aptly dismantles the popular "arguments for war and state repression, tricked out as scepticism" — The Weaponization of Atheism. "The weaponisation of atheism, then, becomes a possibility only with the mainstreaming of non-belief," the author explains and, after duly noting that "the front ranks of New Atheism consists almost exclusively of ‘elite white males from the scientific community,’" continues:
    If religion is an intellectual doctrine and nothing more than that, the persistence with which so many cling to God faith becomes explicable only in terms of their congenital inability to reason. Or, to put it another way, if religion is purely and simply a fairy tale, then ipso facto those who cling to it are little better than children.

    The smugness that so often accompanies New Atheist interventions is not, then, accidental but is bred into the movement’s DNA.
He goes on:
    The traditional Left approach to belief begins with a recognition that religion is not simply a set of ideas. Religion is a cultural identity; it’s also simultaneously an aesthetic, a system of feeling, a guide to social and sexual conduct, an organizational framework and many other things besides. These different functions contradict and complement each other in all sorts of ways.

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