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The New Atheism? A Rebuttal

A Challenge to the “New Atheists”

The cover of Wired magazine’s November 2006 edition depicts a glowing bright light in the darkness above planet earth. “The New Atheism,” it proclaims in bold, black letters. “No Heaven. No Hell. Just Science.”

This comes courtesy of three “Angels” of the Brights movement, an umbrella term to make atheists sound more positive: Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett.

And it’s quickly clear that they are not from the “Let’s agree to disagree” school. They condemn not just belief in God but respect for belief in God. Religion is not only wrong, they say; it’s evil. These guys mean business.

But the article makes it clear that although articulate and intelligent, the “New” Atheists are not bringing much new to the table. Dawkins is using the same witty yet empty comebacks – “You can’t disprove the existence of a flying spaghetti monster” – as Bertrand Russell used in the 1950s. (“Believing in God is like believing in a tiny orbiting teapot.”) Sam Harris is blaming world strife on religion. And Daniel Dennett is sweeping stuff under the rug. “Yes, there could be a rational religion,” he says. “We could have a rational policy not even to think about certain things.”

In the end, even the article’s atheist author is perplexed. “The New Atheists have castigated fundamentalism and branded even the mildest religious liberals as enablers of a vengeful mob,” he writes. Is another fundamentalist group really what the world needs?

In contrast, Srila Prabhupada saw the importance of both science and religion, and introduced the science of spirit to help us discover the real goal of life.

For more on this topic, read the Back to Godhead article titled Not Such A Bright Idea.