Atheists as Religious as Christian Fundamentalists

In this article, Liel Liebovitz discusses how many atheists appear to be committed to their denial of the existence of God with the same sort of devotion as Christian fundamentalists. He briefly compares atheism in Britain with the same in America, and notes that in America there is a dogmatism that is absent in the old country.

Any Christian who has ever engaged an atheist of the Dawkins-Harris-Dennett-Hitchens sort is quite familiar with the religious dogmatism held by many atheists. Pre-Dawkins atheism used to be held quietly, unobtrusively, and matter-of-factly. Today, the “new atheism” is set about on eliminating religious belief. Today’s atheists know that God doesn’t exist–but they hate him all the same. They would strenuously deny this inconsistency of course, but given the rhetoric found in the writings of the new atheists, it seems to be a relatively easy case to make against them.

Here is a portion of Liebovitz’s article:

You know you’re living in troubled times when even atheists feel the need to invoke God’s name to get their point across.

That’s just what American Atheists, the nation’s largest organization of non-believers, did last week when it put up two billboards — one in a predominantly ultra-Orthodox neighborhood in Brooklyn, N.Y., and the other near a mosque in Paterson, N.J. — emblazoned with the Lord’s name in Hebrew and Arabic, respectively. “You know it’s a myth,” reads the sign. “And you have a choice.” The Hebrew billboard featured the letters YHWH, God’s explicit name and a sacred term that Jews refrain from using.

As could be expected of our impassioned moment, the billboard’s intended audience was insulted on cue and reacted resolutely: The Brooklyn landlord whose building was slated to display the sign refused to erect it, leading American Atheists president David Silverman to cry persecution. “It was very disappointing to me because I was raised Jewish,” he said in an interview on Wednesday. “They’ve been the victims of religious bigotry, and now they’re the purveyors.”

It’s a compelling storyline, but it tells us more about the nonbelievers than it does about the pious communities they have offended. To study l’affaire billboard is to understand a peculiar reality of this godly country: In America, even the atheists are deeply religious.


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