On the dangers of militant atheism

One of the themes in my recent book For God’s Sake is tackling the role of extremism in all its guises, including atheism.

I was interviewed this week by Jenna Price in The Canberra Times:

Australian journalist and atheist Antony Loewenstein, co-author of… For God’s Sake,… says evangelical atheism, or what is now called “new atheism”, is on the rise – and he believes it is a direct result of the al-Qaeda attacks on the US on September 11, 2001.

“There’s been a weird trend for people to overcompensate for what they perceive is a religious influence,” he says. “They mimic the extremism or forcefulness of how important it is to… not… believe.”

It is pretty unpleasant, bagging out all the other faiths in the most unpleasant way.

”It’s almost an insecurity and a hatred of religions without acknowledging the many benefits faith can bring, ” Loewenstein says. “[The new atheists] ignore the fact that for billions of people around the world, religion brings hope.”

Loewenstein is a Jewish-born atheist, so it is not as if he is carrying a flag for the God team. But, as he points out, atheist militants are not much of an advertisement for a world which, without God, is meant to be more tolerant and harmonious.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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