Chris Hedges Doesn’t Like Us Very Much

The things I do for you people.

A few weeks ago, I was browsing in a used bookstore when I saw a copy of Chris Hedges’ When Atheism Becomes Religion (retitled from the original, I Don’t Believe in Atheists). Since it was only a few dollars, I decided to get it – it might be good for a laugh, I thought, or as posting fodder.

Well, I’ve slogged my way through it, and I do mean slogged. It seems as if this book was written as a rush job, hoping to cash in on the popularity of the New Atheists. For one thing, it’s only 185 pages, and it’s a small book, not much bigger than pocket-sized. But more to the point, Hedges’ argumentation is embarrassingly sloppy. It reads as if he was making it up as he went along and couldn’t be bothered to keep track of what he’d already said: there are places where he’ll casually make a statement that completely undercuts a different statement he made in an earlier chapter, or even earlier in the same chapter. These glaring self-contradictions make me skeptical that this book could have received any serious editing at all. (More on those later.)

But in spite of its brevity, Hedges’ book packs an incredible amount of venom and vilification between its covers. From beginning to end, it’s literally one long frothing-at-the-mouth-furious rant. He accuses atheists of complicity in every evil you could imagine, and a few that he appears to have invented specifically for this book. This level of crazed vilification of atheists is one I’ve never seen before, not even in books by the most fanatical of Christian fundamentalists. It’s clear that the existence of the New Atheists infuriates Hedges at some very deep and visceral level, enough to make it difficult for him to think straight.

You probably think I’m exaggerating. Well, if so, let me quote some representative passages to give you an idea of the cumulative effect this book produces:

[The New Atheists] embrace a belief system as intolerant, chauvinistic and bigoted as that of religious fundamentalists (p.1)… [They] have built squalid little belief systems that are in the service of themselves and their own power (p.7)… [They] are as bankrupt as the passions of Christian and Islamic fundamentalists who sanctify mass slaughter (p.20)… [They] are stunted products of a self-satisfied, materialistic middle class (p.22)… [They] are little more than carnival barkers (p.32)… [T]hey empower the demons of self-exaltation, greed and lust for power (p.40)… These delusions are part of a worldview… that places itself and its selfish desires and dreams before the protection of life itself (p.57)… [They] embrace a perverted idealism that is sadly familiar in light of all twentieth-century tyrannies (p.58)… [They] have become the high priests of the cult of science (p.64)… These atheists are suburban mutations. They are products of a moral and political landscape corrupted by too much television (p.86)… [They] urge us forward into imperial projects that are as foolish as they are suicidal (p.111)… They can no longer make moral distinctions. They are blind to their own moral corruption (p.154)… They forget what it is to be human (p.157)… They bolster our self-satisfaction, anti-intellectualism and provincialism (p.179)… [They] are deluded products of this image-based and culturally illiterate world (p.183)… They appeal to our subliminal and irrational desires. They select a few facts and use them to dismiss historical, political and cultural realities. They tell us what we want to believe about ourselves. They assure us that we are good. They proclaim the violence employed in our name a virtue. They champion our ignorance as knowledge. They assure us that there is no reason to investigate other ways of being. Our way of life is the best. They indulge us in our delusional dream of human perfectibility. (p.183)

If you’re worried for my mental health after wading through this drivel, don’t be. Hedges’ ludicrous polemic bears so little resemblance to the actual views of any atheist I know, the overall effect was comedic – as in, he can’t really expect us to take this seriously, can he?

As just one example: throughout the book, he accuses us of being dangerously naive idealists who believe that humanity is perfectible and that we’re moving inevitably toward a utopia of reason. One of his chief villains is Christopher Hitchens, who’s accused of being “rhapsodic about the future world made possible by science and human ingenuity” (p.30). Well, here’s a quote from Hitchens:

Religious faith is, precisely because we are still-evolving creatures, ineradicable. It will never die out, or at least not until we get over our fear of death, and of the dark, and of the unknown, and of each other. (source)

Do these sound like the sentiments of a starry-eyed utopian? This example, which took me about five minutes to dig up, underscores the point of how sloppy, cursory, and shallow this book’s arguments are. If I were going to attack the views of a group so devoted to reason as the New Atheists, I’d take care to accurately summarize their worldview and support each point with citations, so as not to be accused of beating up a straw man. Clearly, Hedges has no interest in doing that. But it does make me wonder what the real reasons for his hatred of us are, given that his stated ones are so plainly inadequate. Coming up soon, I intend to write a series of posts which will critically analyze the fallacies in Hedges’ book, and hopefully, come up with an answer to that mystery.

Other posts in this series:

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • Alex Weaver

    “They make oaths with pagan gods (p.186)…They seduce the queen in her own bedchamber(p.188)…They teach pigs to dance and horses to fly (p.189)…and keep the moon hidden within the folds of their robes. (p.190)”

    I’m wondering when he’ll get to “they blew up the world trade center with POP ROCKS. And they ATE the Lindbergh baby!”

    Oh, and:

    corrupted by too much television

    Well, you can understand his perspective. Can you really blame him for wanting us off his lawn?

  • David

    This guy sounds like a paranoid schizophrenic.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    I have to admit that “suburban mutations” is my favorite insult of all time. It makes us sound like atheist X-Men!

  • 2-D Man

    I remember Thunderf00t likening Ray Comfort to a clown, and that being the reason he gets so much attention. This guy seems like an evil version of Ray Comfort. A clown, but one drunk on the haterade.

    I have to admit that “suburban mutations” is my favorite insult of all time. It makes us sound like atheist X-Men!

    Does that make this thread about picking superpowers? IIRC, Wednesday’s already taken gender desegregation.

  • Sarah Braasch

    Gender Desegregation is a superpower?! I love that.

    I think it takes a superpower to manifest gender desegregation.

  • Darksmiles

    Hedges sees everything through the lens of poverty and abuse of power by the rich, a view with which I have a great deal of sympathy. Yes, women and dissenters are abused terribly in Islam, but they are in China and India and Christian Africa as well.

    Religion should be fought by people everywhere as an outrage against liberty and reason, but it is of secondary importance to equitable distribution of wealth, health, and education. Poverty is the dominant cause of all misery. Religion is a result of poverty, a by-product, and the former is inextricably tied to the latter.

    Where Hedges and I part company is that Hedges looks at Hitchens’ and Condell’s blame of Islam instead of Western imperialism for 9/11 and assumes that is the inevitable conclusion of viewing religion as a root of evil instead of poverty. Hedges thinks blaming Islam for 9/11 is like blaming the poor and uneducated for acting poor and uneducated. Hedges ultimately thinks it is the West’s fault for encouraging friendly, exploitative dictatorships instead of unfriendly democracies. Hedges thinks blaming Islam is to miss the point that the West is much more to blame.

    I think it is possible to blame both Islam and Western encouraged poverty at the same time. But I don’t think Hedges will ever get very far with his argument because it necessarily involves blaming America and letting the terrorists off the hook a little bit – two things Americans will never, ever accept in large numbers.

    tl;dr Hedges thinks terrorism is a legitimate response to Western exploitation and blaming religion is just a way of shrugging off responsibility.

  • http://superhappyjen.blogspot.com SuperHappyJen

    You know when someone is so homophobic that people just assume he’s gay? Same thing here but with atheism. He’s so afraid of atheists being right that he’d rather hurl insults than look into what we’re actually about.

    Can my super power involve disintegrating Noah’s ark themeparks? Or maybe I shoot lightening bolts made of pure reason into people’s brains! Take that! And that!

  • http://www.amunium.dk Slater

    Dibs on the superpower to read religious people’s minds to see if they really believe what they claim or are just desperately defending it because they’re afraid of dying/admitting error/not being controlled/whatever.

  • mikespeir

    I came on to say something like, “Well, I’ve seen a lot of religion-like atheism,” but after reading your excerpts of the cited, uh, “work,” I think I don’t want to be guilty of ascribing any worth to this clown’s opinion at all.

  • http://www.amunium.dk Slater

    @mikespeir: Now you’ve made me curious. Sure, the definition of religion is a little fuzzy, but even if we take the widest possible definition, where buddhism is also religion, I can’t imagine any way to fit any form of atheism in there. Are you just referring to closed-mindedness?

  • mikespeir

    Close-mindedness is a good start, Slater. I’m referring more to what I perceive as a kind of herd mentality. I realize my fellow atheists will revolt at this, but it’s my observation that it sometimes pertains. For instance, dare to suggest on atheist sites that, say, polyamory isn’t such a good idea or that there might be some inherent differences between men and women that play out as relative strengths and weaknesses and you can pretty much count on being shouted down. (And, no, I’m not going to entertain either, or any like subject here.)

    I was on one site the other day when the subject was abortion. Now, personally, I have no problem with abortion being legal. My problem is that the predominant argument presented for it was so specious that I found it embarrassing. And yet everybody was just lapping it up. I chickened out and didn’t comment, because I knew what the tenor of the responses would be. (Reason wouldn’t have prevailed. We’re not always so rational ourselves.) We have our own hot-button issues which, though they may be grounded in good evidence and reason, we often argue for more out of emotional impulses. Consequently, we’re not prepared to entertain the possibility that other people’s evidence and reason might be better than our own.

    And so on. There are other, similar issues that seem to engender similar fervor among atheists. Nothing wrong with fervor, of course; but sometimes I see fervid opinions that don’t seem to correspond with what I’ve observed of reality. They’re sometimes more what we’d like to have true than what actually appears to be true. That is very religion like.

    Anyway, enough. This isn’t a blanket indictment, and I’ll still insist that your average atheist has a more rational take on things than the average believer.

  • MissCherryPi

    “They make oaths with pagan gods (p.186)…They seduce the queen in her own bedchamber(p.188)…They teach pigs to dance and horses to fly (p.189)…and keep the moon hidden within the folds of their robes. (p.190)”

    I’m wondering when he’ll get to “they blew up the world trade center with POP ROCKS. And they ATE the Lindbergh baby!”

    Chris Hedges told me that New Atheists shot the sheriff AND his deputy.

  • Katie M

    I want to read this book now. I have no idea why-maybe it’s like staring at a car wreck. You want badly to look away, but there’s something utterly fascinating about it.

  • http://spaninquis.wordpress.com/ Spanish Inquisitor

    As a “dangerously naive idealist who believes that humanity is perfectible” I believe that no Christian who reads this book will take it seriously.

    I also have a bridge I’d like to sell you, if you’re interested.

  • http://politicalgames.posterous.com/ themann1086

    The New Atheists turned Chris Hedges into a newt!

    … he got better.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    It reads as if he was making it up as he went along and couldn’t be bothered to keep track of what he’d already said: there are places where he’ll casually make a statement that completely undercuts a different statement he made in an earlier chapter, or even earlier in the same chapter.

    It sounds as if he was inspired by the Bible.

  • Snoof

    Chris Hedges told me that New Atheists shot the sheriff AND his deputy.

    They poison the wells! And murder Christian babies and use their blood for Satanic rituals!

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Hedges’ ludicrous polemic bears so little resemblance to the actual views of any atheist I know, the overall effect was comedic – as in, he can’t really expect us to take this seriously, can he?

    He doesn’t. If we don’t take it seriously, then he’ll claim that we are dogmatists who can’t/won’t listen to his ‘reasonable’ arguments.

    But, really, his target audience is not us anyway. It’s the bigoted theists who already hate the Gnu Atheists and are looking for polemics to confirm what they already know is true. Who cares if it’s contradictory since it says what they want to hear – the Gnu Atheists are evil and bad and wholly without redeeming qualities what-so-ever. It’s the same reason why people buy bad apologetics books.

  • Brock

    Katie– I know how youe feel. I’m tempted to go out and look for this book. However, I am dissuaded by my memory of my reaction to Ebon’s dissection of Strobel. I went and looked the book over, and couldn’t stomach it. So I am simply no end grateful to Ebon for keeping me from having to read this one. The last book like this I read was Pat Robertson’s “science-fictional” novel about the Last Days. I can’t remember the name of it now, but I alternated between total revulsion and laughing uproariously.

  • http://daylightatheism.org J. James

    OMGF, I agree.
    But there comes a point where the arguments, if you can call them that, become so shrill and unbased in reality that they beg for ridicule. Sure, this vitriolic author can claim maturity and the moral high ground if we laugh at him but we don’t give a sh!t about what he has to say anyway. Anyone can see that he is wrong, because if he was right we would respond exactly the way Christians would- with violence, censorship and persecution, thereby proving him right.
    But, in the real world it is just the opposite.

  • lpetrich

    About #16, the Bible has the excuse that it was written by several different writers over some centuries. Chris Hedges does not have that excuse.

    About #19, is that “Left Behind”? It was written by Religious Right activist Tim LaHaye, not Pat Robertson.

  • Katie M

    Ah, Left Behind . . . I was so young, so naive when I started reading that . . . and five years later, the memory still hurts.

  • Legion

    (Sorry for my english)

    Could someone explain to me what the difference is between the “New Atheism” and the “Old Atheism”?
    Where does the difference lie? This radical distinction sounds much like the concept of “Old and New Europe” which Donald Rumsfeld (a war criminal) talked about. Now we know that the “New Europe” just followed orders from the US, an Imperial power (yes, imperial, you´d have to be crazy to think otherwise). And if you read Sam Harris´ End of Faith, it seems as if that “new atheist” book justifies Bush´s foreign policy (another war criminal). Not for nothing was his book recommended for Pat Buchanan.
    Anyway, what is the difference between both types of atheism? Is it politics?
    By the way, I love New Atheists’ criticisms of religion (when they behave like “old atheist”), but It´s embarrassing to hear them talk about politics.

  • Jerryd

    DJ Grothe interviewed Hedges on Point of Inquiry a couple of years ago, I think when the book came out under its first title. It was really something to listen to: an egomaniacal rant by Hedges telling DJ about his stellar career, and super knowledge on every topic the world has every known. DJ is one of the best interviewers I’ve ever heard, but he had his hands full with this hate-filled know-it-all. I came away from the podcast filled with hate for Hedges.

  • http://she-who-chatters.blogspot.com D

    If I were going to attack the views of a group so devoted to reason as the New Atheists, I’d take care to accurately summarize their worldview and support each point with citations, so as not to be accused of beating up a straw man. Clearly, Hedges has no interest in doing that.

    Well, you’ve hit the proverbial nail upon its metaphorical head, right there. The End.

    Still, I can’t wait to read you tearing this guy a new one. He doesn’t deserve it, to judge from the examples you’ve shown – but it should be a fun-filled romp for us literate, educated folk, nonetheless.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    They are products of a moral and political landscape corrupted by too much television (p.86).

    This lifted my antennae immediately, because it echoes the plaints of the Baptists who raised me so closely.

    Also, I want my superpower to be the ability to make the preacher’s nose grow every time he cites something from the Bible in a sermon that he himself doubts.

  • Brock

    Ipetrich– No I’m not talking about the Left Behind books. I don’t remember the title of the book, but it actually preceded Tim LaHaye. It came out in the early 90′s and I first heard about it when it was reviewed in (Believe it or not) the NY Times Magazine. And yes, I’m sure it was by Pat Robertson.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    The Pat Robertson book was released in 1995 and is called The End of the Age. LaHaye isn’t the first evangelical author to pen fantasy fiction about the end-times, not by a long shot!

  • http://daylightatheism.org J. James

    I wanna have the power to smite people that redefine “God” in order to avoid the brunt of an Athiest’s argument.
    To Legion: What exactly is imperial about the Estados Unidos? Sure, we handled the Saddam thing poorly and we probably support Israel a little too unconditionally but at least we don’t fuck up our foreign policy as bad as North Korea does. No one’s perfect. Except maybe Canada and Luxembourg. And Denmark and Greenland and Sealand…
    Also, I think “New Athiest” refers to the fact that it is no longer something we want to hide. New Atheists are loud, proud and rawdy.

  • http://blog.oldnewatheist.com/ jim coufal

    he can’t really expect us to take this seriously, can he?

    Agreeing with OMGF above, its not that we should worry about us taking Hedges seriously, its about the already convinced theists who will find it more arrows for their quiver. As for the differences between old and new atheists, the only distinction I’ve seen that makes sense is that the “new” atheists” are more willing to make their views heard, including criticism of religions. Personally, I call myself an old (72 years) new atheist because I came to atheism in the last several years and I do make my viewpoints known. Please, try my new blog.

  • Legion

    J. James, thanks for answering my comment. I don´t agree with you but thanks again. Maybe the rest of your friends are too clever to respond to my comment, or maybe they are offended that I used words like “war criminal”, “imperial”. They seem to suffer from delusional patriotism. So much for “rationality”.

  • Scotlyn

    One of the (many unavoidable and time-consuming) reasons I’ve been commenting less recently, is that I’ve re-engaged in an ongoing debate with my father, after a few years of a ceasefire of sorts. The point of my offerings is to show him that he has no real interest or ability to imagine my point of view – to step into my shoes, as it were, and argue as if he really believed that my starting assumption is that there is no god.

    An example: (an excerpt from one of my arguments, together with interjections in response from my father)

    But I am one of those who is perfectly satisfied with the finite span of my ordinary human life, an integral product and producer of the living processes of this planet. I will live, being myself as hard as I can, until I die. My purpose is no more, and no less than the “purpose” of a tree, a worm, a butterfly, an elephant. No less, and no more. To live, to eat, to love, to reproduce, to strive, to learn, to teach, to die, to feed.

    Hey, you are my daughter. This just does not ring true to my ears.

    I am untroubled to know that in the hugeness time and space, life is statistically insignificant, in fact matter itself is statistically insignificant, that my viewpoint is necessarily narrow and parochial. I am untroubled that the vastness of the universe should contain so many unanswered and unanswerable questions – are there other inhabited planets? will insects inherit the earth? is there life under the frozen seas of Europa? How did Venus get to be so acid and hot? Why is chlorophyll green? So many questions that we can never reach the end of them, we can never “know” all there is to know. But we can have so much fun

    If people really, really believed that, the suicide rate would climb to incredible numbers. Not many people can truly believe that, or fully take that position, (I believe) and embrace life To believe like that would be incredibly depressing. There would be nothing to live for. And it is hardly projection on my part. It is just a very plain fact of life.

    colouring in the detail here and there on an endless canvas. And the questions we can find answers for here and now are so many and so varied and so interesting to investigate, that there is little need or desire to ponder and speculate uselessly on unanswerable questions. Because the unanswerable questions, by definition, cannot lead to knowledge, however “restlessly” we ask them.

    So, essentially, he simply refuses to believe that:
    a) I’m not still secretly longing for a more metaphysical sense of significance, and
    b) I’m not secretly wishing to kill myself

    The thing is, for my part I understand him very well. Clearly, for him, not believing in God would lead to suicidal feelings, as he plainly states. And I am not even trying to persuade him to change his mind about what he believes or how he should act. I’ve just asked him to give a tiny bit of mind-room to the acknowledgement of my views as being valid for me. But, at least to date, he cannot.

    Is Hedges perhaps suffering from this kind of simple cognitive inability to comprehend the mind and experience of an atheist? (Doesn’t forgive the excoriation, though).

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Legion,

    Could someone explain to me what the difference is between the “New Atheism” and the “Old Atheism”?

    There really isn’t a difference, except that “New Atheism” happens to be during a time where views are more easily shared with others via technological advances like the internet. It’s mostly an attempt by theists to categorize and dismiss those they disagree with without having to actually deal with the arguments.

    I don´t agree with you but thanks again. Maybe the rest of your friends are too clever to respond to my comment, or maybe they are offended that I used words like “war criminal”, “imperial”. They seem to suffer from delusional patriotism. So much for “rationality”.

    Considering that not everyone here is from the US, not everyone wishes to discuss politics, politics is not the topic of this thread anyway, and not saying anything doesn’t necessarily denote fear or disagreement, don’t you think it’s a little premature to make such declarations?

  • Jeff

    @2-D Man: This guy seems like an evil version of Ray Comfort.

    Ray isn’t evil?

  • http://politicalgames.posterous.com/ themann1086

    Legion,

    What OMGF said, plus: atheists are not a politically-united group. Sure, the majority espouse liberal values (according to polls I’ve read) but that’s not universal, and liberals don’t always agree with each other either (see: circular firing squad). You’re basing your view of political “New Atheists” off the Hitchens’ variety, but the neocon view is not universal nor even in the majority.

  • http://GodlessPoetry.blogspot.com Zietlos

    Mikespier, no matter how obtuse, as long as you back ‘em up, your views are always welcome here, even if they go against the grain. At least by me, makes for better conversation.

    I cry a bit whenever I see books that specifically attack atheists. “They’re different from us, which means they can’t be trusted. Now we sound the drums of war!” Though really, we aren’t that different…

  • Samuel

    Darksmile

    I think it is possible to blame both Islam and Western encouraged poverty at the same time. But I don’t think Hedges will ever get very far with his argument because it necessarily involves blaming America and letting the terrorists off the hook a little bit – two things Americans will never, ever accept in large numbers.

    Hey- the west isn’t responsible for the poverty. I think Al-Qaeda was pretty clear in why they oppose us as well- because we support Israel, have bases in Saudi Arabia, back many of the arab states and invaded/fought against Iraq.

  • Valhar2000

    Legion wrote:

    J. James, thanks for answering my comment. I don´t agree with you but thanks again. Maybe the rest of your friends are too clever to respond to my comment, or maybe they are offended that I used words like “war criminal”, “imperial”. They seem to suffer from delusional patriotism. So much for “rationality”.

    Legion, I know this will be difficult for you, and that your self-esteem will suffer as a result, but it is important that you bring yourself to understand and accept this simple fact: we just don’t care, and we don’t owe you anything.

    This does not apply to all commenters here, of course: those people who are exceptions will answer you you, either in comment or by other means.

  • 2-D Man

    @#34 Jeff:
    No, I don’t think Mr. Comfort is evil. I think he genuinely believes in what he’s saying. And that he genuinely thinks it’s the best for anyone who will listen to him. And I think he’s genuinely that stupid.

    Since I started this trend, my atheistic superpower is to get people to drop their preconceptions and reassemble their beliefs from scratch.

  • Jeff

    @2-D Man: No, I don’t think Mr. Comfort is evil. I think he genuinely believes in what he’s saying. And that he genuinely thinks it’s the best for anyone who will listen to him. And I think he’s genuinely that stupid.

    Well, I certainly agree that he’s stupid, and probably clinically mentally ill as well – but he also believes and has no problem with the idea that billions of his fellow human beings will be tormented for all of eternity. I have no problem characterizing that as evil. And, yes, I realize that could be applied to the vast majority of conservative Christians. I have no problem characterizing them as evil, either. It requires a special form of moral depravity, but Ray and others like him actively promote the idea. He’s also an opponent of science and rationalism, which I think we can accommodate comfortably under the heading of “evil”. I can, at any rate.

  • http://stevebowen58.blogspot.com Steve Bowen

    There is another facet to new atheism. New atheists are scientifically literate and have rational arguments to offer that have an evidential basis. Old atheism was probably closer to a faith position, the belief without evidence that there are no gods.

  • Dan L.

    (Sorry for my english)

    Your English is fine.

    Could someone explain to me what the difference is between the “New Atheism” and the “Old Atheism”? Where does the difference lie?

    Others have already responded above with the consensus take. I think “new atheism” is actually useful when it refers to the atheist media phenomenon (as opposed to any particular group of people or ideas) which really is new, as far as I can tell. I don’t think it really has to mean, “atheists are saying new things” — I just take it as meaning “atheists are on the best-seller lists.”

    The only difference is in how many people are paying attention, not so much in the content.

    This radical distinction sounds much like the concept of “Old and New Europe” which Donald Rumsfeld (a war criminal) talked about.

    It’s not a radical distinction and I seriously doubt Rumsfeld is a new atheist. “Old” and “new” are opposites, so they’re often used to contrast things that are different from each other. For example, the phrase “old school” is used to contrast different varieties of hip hop, but the expression predates “new atheism” and neither has anything to do with the other.

    Now we know that the “New Europe” just followed orders from the US, an Imperial power (yes, imperial, you´d have to be crazy to think otherwise).

    I’m inclined to agree, but this is very off-topic. It’s also an assertion without any sort of evidence or argument accompanying it. You can’t really expect anyone to engage with a statement like this. Heck, I (tentatively) agree and can’t engage with it.

    And if you read Sam Harris´ End of Faith, it seems as if that “new atheist” book justifies Bush´s foreign policy (another war criminal). Not for nothing was his book recommended for Pat Buchanan.

    Logical non sequitir. Even supposing someone could use Harris’ book (which I haven’t read) to justify Bush’s foreign policy, it does not follow that the book was written to do so. Even if it was, Harris would have good reason to disguise those intentions since George Bush is much disliked among the vast majority of folks willing to own up to being new atheists.

    In general, agreeing with someone on a matter of principle does not commit me to that person’s recommended course of action. I share Chris Hitchens’ anti-totalitarian sentiments, but I disagree with his belief that the US was ethically obligated to invade and occupy Iraq to ouster Saddam. I also share his contempt for religious morality, but that even more obviously doesn’t force me to agree to his foreign policy.

    This sort of insinuation seems to me pretty similar to arguing against vegetarianism by saying, “You know, Hitler was a vegetarian…”

    Anyway, what is the difference between both types of atheism? Is it politics?
    By the way, I love New Atheists’ criticisms of religion (when they behave like “old atheist”), but It´s embarrassing to hear them talk about politics.

    You obviously have no idea what you’re talking about. Atheism does not determine anyone’s politics or vice versa. To an extent that atheism and politics correlate in the US, atheism correlates with liberalism and anti-imperialism. Except for a few prominent exceptions such as Christopher Hitchens (and maybe Harris to some extent), US atheists hated Bush’s foreign policy, in no small part because he would often justify it by insisting it’s what God told him to do. In general, the notion of American exceptionalism that fuels US imperialism is historically and currently a religious notion.

    The closest you came to making an argument is asserting that anyone who disagrees with you is “crazy.” Based on that, you’re one of the last people who should be making fun of anyone’s politics.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X