Sunday, November 23, 2014

Atheism vs Anti-Theism

Really terrific piece by Reza Aslan about why the "New Atheists" are neither new nor atheists.
In seeking to replace religion with secularism and faith with science, the New Atheists have, perhaps inadvertently, launched a movement with far too many similarities to the ones they so radically oppose. Indeed, while we typically associate fundamentalism with religiously zealotry, in so far as the term connotes an attempt to "impose a single truth on the plural world"—use the definition of noted philosopher Jonathan Sacks—then there is little doubt that a similar fundamentalist mind-set has overcome many adherents of this latest iteration of anti-theism.
Precisely. (Seen first on AlterNet.)

All reminiscent in some ways of a famous remark by Einstein, reflecting on the reaction to an article he wrote on religion in 1940:
I was barked at by numerous dogs who are earning their food guarding ignorance and superstition for the benefit of those who profit from it. Then there are the fanatical atheists whose intolerance is of the same kind as the intolerance of the religious fanatics and comes from the same source. They are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who—in their grudge against the traditional "opium of the people"—cannot bear the music of the spheres. The Wonder of nature does not become smaller because one cannot measure it by the standards of human moral and human aims.
Of course, Einstein's views about religion were very, very complicated and seem to have shifted over time, from what I can tell.

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