Gang of Four

Have you noticed how the most aggressive of the new atheists are all British? Left to Right are teh four most famous Christophobes: Scientist Richard Dawkins, Philosopher A.C.Grayling, Journalist Christopher Hitchens and children’s author Philip Pullman.
Do authors create a trend in thought or express one that already exists in their society? I think it is more of the latter than the former. Practical atheism has been growing in British society for a long time, but among the educated classes it has been disguised as a form of louche tolrerance. The British liberal academic has a drink in one hand, a slight sneer of disdain on his lips and a condescending attitude to all lesser creatures–especially religious believers.
That world weary, sophisticated tolerant attitude doesn’t last long however. Beneath the decadent sophistication is a bubbling rage. They hate religious believers. At first it comes out in increasingly sarastic comments towards those with whom they disagree. Then it emerges as scathing comments. Before long it mounts to incoherent rage. Their argument moves from polite logic to seething, uncontrollable hatred mixed with a demonic kind of mockery and scorn for the opposition.
Old Screwtape has chosen his mouthpieces well. They are sooo urbane, sooo British, sooo articulate, sooo intellectual, sooo Oxford and Cambridge darling…They must be smart. They must be right.
Don’t be fooled. These are just the articulate, educated atheists. In Britain for every educated atheist who writes clever books there are busloads of uneducated, boorish, drunken and angry atheists. The yobboes, hooligans, gangsters, skinheads and louts of British society hate God too, and all they need is a leader and some uniforms to start the pogroms.
History shows us that atheists kill Christians. That’s what they do. History shows us that Christians forgive atheists. That’s what they do.

  • Jeff Miller

    Though there use to be the Gang of Five. Antony Flew a influential British philosopher and atheist is now a deist.

  • Stephen Wikner

    Rather than railing against these people for being bright and articulate (and English), could I suggest that you encourage people actually to read what they write and to argue the contrary line? It’s no good saying somebody is wrong just because they’re an atheist. That’s feeble. If they’re wrong it’s because of the substance of what they say and Christians have a duty to involve themselves at that level (as presumably also do our Jewish and Muslim brethren.) Some are already doing this but more are needed, particularly those who can write entertainingly and who have the standing or ability to get themselves noticed by the Fourth Estate.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    There are plenty of people engaging them in debate. What I have read of their stuff there is not much real dialogue going on.So, for what its worth, I’ve decided to take the tack of pointing out where their kind of propaganda has traditionally led.What’s the fourth estate?

  • Anonymous

    I believe the 4th estate is the press. Although lately its been feeling like the press is a 5th column for the liberals.Dean

  • Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ

    Pullman annoys me greatly because the teenagers always get hold of his books!

  • Stephen Wikner

    You’re quite right when you say there is no dialogue going on. It takes two to tango and at the moment the only dancers on the floor are the militant atheists who have found there’s much mileage to be had by adopting the hectoring tone hitherto associated with a certain type of Christian preacher. I don’t believe they’re looking for a debate. I don’t believe they would be comfortable with one which is precisely the reason they should be challenged – but challenged, not in a generalised ya boo fashion but point by point in the particular. And that is only going to be possible if committed Christians start reading what they write and then, and only then, responding.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    There have been a good number of responses already. Alastair McGrath has countered Dawkins quite successfully. There has been an answer from the fellow over here who is head of the human genome project and an Evangelical Christian. The others have engaged in debates and been handled quite well. People are engaging the atheists adequately. I’m simpy choosing to go another way.

  • Sursum Corda

    What I find so odious about these militant atheists is their total lack of concern for the well being of the most vulnerable in society. For example Hitchens is well known for his caustic criticism of Mother Theresa and her efforts for the poorest of the poor. Dawkins on the other hand, when asked by a journalist what would happen to soup kitchens, hospitals, social services, orphanges, homeless shelters etc if the churches and other religious groups ceased to exist, answered “Who cares”

  • Sursum Corda

    If I might add another thing. I recall a man once saying in a televised debate in Australia well over 20 years ago that more has been done for the good of the world by people who believe in God and who act out of motives close to the heart of their religion than has ever been done by all the atheists in history. In my view it is a comment that will stand the test of time and is so plainly true.

  • Stephen Wikner

    As Divine providence (chance??) would have it, on the BBC Todayprogramme (see morning there was a classic example of what I’ve been talking about. It took the form of a double interview with Richard Dawkins and Robert Winston. Now Robert Winston, as a scientist and practising Jew, has been persuasively eloquent in support of religion (versus atheism) in a number of recent television programmes. This morning however he did precisely what I’m complaining about. He told Dawkins that his main argument with him was not about the atheism he espoused but about the manner in which he presented this which he described as both patronising and offensive. To which Dawkins not surprisingly replied that this surely illustrated a central element of the problem. People could argue hammer and tongs about most matters but only when it came to religion would people hide behind the defence of offence. He put it a little diffently of course, saying that offence by proponents of religion is taken when they have run out of arguments. ‘Argue back’, he said and I have to say, lttle as I ever thought I’d find myself supporting Richard Dawkins, here I agree with him.Alister McGrath is, as you say, on the case as are one or two others. I just feel we as Christians (and bloggers not afraid to have our say on many things!) need to raise (and broaden) our game.

  • White Stone Name Seeker

    I am sure there are many erudite Christians who could answer these people-and pick up on the stark nastiness as well-but would they/do they get MSM time and space?Or perhaps we should ignore them and start our own offensive-pointing out the history of hospitals; care for the poor; how family (real family) life works and so on. On the matter of atheist propaganda leading to an increase in persecution-it already begins.The Govt in the UK have been whittling away at the rights of parents and Catholics for ages. We have just seen the rights of Catholic children seeking adoptive parents thrown out the window in favour of the wants of the gay lobby; people have been arrested and investigated for saying things that the Church has always taught.This will increase…rosaries everyone.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    I hear you Stephen, and I agree that the atheists need to be engaged by those who are willing and able.The arguments against the Gang of Four can be broken down into various strands. The strand I am picking up is the one that show where atheism leads, and warning of it.This is part of the battle against them. Unfortunately, the ‘fourth estate’ is biased. In my experience, they will give plenty of airtime to the atheists pointing out the poison of religion, and precious little to those of us who wish to point out that atheism leads to genocide.

  • Ttony

    I didn’t get something the first time I read this, but am now grasping for a half-formed thought. Your thesis could be stated as one of an atheist Christophobe intelligentsia trying to connect with and lead a brutal atheist lumpenproleteriat. (Brown shirts, anyone?) I don’t think we’re quite there: what you see on the streets of towns and cities at the weekends is the yobbery born of hedonism, of self-worship: untheism (to coin an ugly word), rather than atheism. Perhaps the answer lies in our trying to connect with and lead the Mob in our direction, and treat the atheists in the way the English have traditionally treated intellectuals: by first laughing at them and then ignoring them.

  • Peter

    I’ve read the books from Hitchens and Dawkins, and they are both forceful, convincing arguments in support of the idea that no Gods exist. The counter argument that their style is repugnant to some strikes me as weak, and besides the point.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    Peter, form and content cannot be divorced. If the atheists have to get aggressive to make their point, it weakens their point. If they are aggressive and shallow to simply make the headlines it also weakens their point. I’ve read them too (up to a point) and what struck me was how sophomoric their arguments are, and how little they actually know of serious religious believers.

  • Elizabeth Mary

    By your fruits you shall know them. That’s how many believers will filter any atheist attempts to tear down their faith. IIRC none of the Gang of Four are married or have children. They project no joy or happiness.A joyful, generous, transfigured Christian has a lot of attractive power. What have they got that I don’t?No one looks at a miserable screaming atheist and thinks I want to be like that!Adolescent explorations into atheism are often a phase of rebellion and sometimes an outgrowth of moral problems. Atheism is more often seen as a college student phase. So why would grown men want to ally themselves with what is seen as a phase, a temporary insanity of college kids?Re a/non-theist yob rabble: proves my point that atheism cannot succeed or be accepted as a widespread movement for all, because we cringe at the yobs and the badly behaved. Only a few highly unusual intellectual freaks can be atheist and not cause the general downfall of society and the general spread of misery.Re Hitch and Mom Tess: let me know when Hitch wins the Nobel Peace Prize.Fr D: I see British sneering atheism as the natural next step of the English C of E lukewarm types, who only do church as a matter of good manners and breeding, but who suspect anyone who has any devotion or enthusiasm.* “Well, let’s not get carried away.” Slamming the door on the Spirit. You only need slight cultural shifts to collapse that house of cards.* Which explains much of the English C of E sneering attitude towards RC’s and their devotions.A lot of Americans are charmed by a British accent, and think it reflects a superior intellect, but I have been around enough English to get past that fog of charm. I think American vocal Anglophilia explains a lot of the attention they’re getting.Get past that, and you see what dark idiots and losers these blokes are.They’ll make great converts if they ever get smacked off their high horses on the Damascus Road. Let’s all pray for them.