Predictions on the New Atheist Movement
The only difference between a New Atheist and an Old Atheist is that New Atheists live in a time when it’s socially acceptable to be an atheist, and Old Atheists lived in a time when it wasn’t socially acceptable to be an atheist. I draw the line in the early 2000’s when authors like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins made it cool to be an atheist. Dates aside though, New and Old Atheist’s have the same core ideology (or lack thereof) . They believe there is no God, and religion is mythology. At least, that’s what a linguist would tell you. Although a linguist would see no difference between New and Old Atheists, an anthropologist would see a lot of differences. New Athiesm isn’t just a word in a dictionary. It’s a social movement. It’s a meme, and it’s evolving at the speed of society. After 100 years of evolution, I believe Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins will be rolling in their graves as New Atheism will come to resemble the the ugly religious movements it takes so much pride in distinguishing itself from now.
Religion is defined:
“1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purposeof the universe, especially (but not exclusively) when considered as the creationof a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generallyagreed upon by a number of persons or sects”
I challenge you to go on an atheist chat board and declare that atheism is a religion and see what happens. Every single argument you find on the internet for why atheism isn’t a religion may be right (smug and condescending but right), and yet…outside of the debate chambers something interesting is happening.
Now, a few pieces of tongue-in-cheek merchandise do not constitute a religion…not yet anyway. What you see here are the first stones being laid in a path that leads to religion. The individuals buying all this atheist merchandise today may never go all the way down that path. The individuals wearing atheist shirts, putting atheist license plates on their cars, listening to atheist music as they drive to a convention center to hear an atheist author speak about the book they’ve written on atheism may just be doing all that as a form of social protest against the oppression of atheists at the hands of Christians, and that’s great. We can all give them a genuine slow clap for that.
I would say, “Long live social progress!” but somewhere out there are legions of idiots who feel lost in this great big, mysterious, lonely, cold universe we live in and are looking for answers and a sense of identity and will gladly latch onto any social movement that will offer them that sense of closure and belonging they’re looking for. Those legions aren’t going to latch onto a social movement or a systemic explanation of the universe because it makes sense. They’re going to latch onto whatever is most popular, and if they see one group of people being smug, condescending assholes to another group of people they’re going to join the smug, condescending assholes because they would rather be the one picking on outsiders than the one being picked on.
Look at Christian culture. 99.9% of Christians don’t act at all remotely like Christ in anyway whatsoever. The average Christian has no idea what the Bible even says aside from the quotes printed on whatever sweatshop-made Christian merchandise they bought at their nearest Christian megastore. And yet they’ll defend their beliefs (or rather, their identity) to the death despite the fact that they don’t even know what it is they believe in, and what they actually believe contradicts what they claim to believe. Those idiots didn’t choose to be Christians because they looked at all the belief systems presented to them, studied them and picked one based on objective reasoning. They just jumped on the first bandwagon that rolled by and refused to get off. Well, the Christian bandwagon is finally breaking down, and the atheist bandwagon is picking up speed. Naturally, it’s picking up idiots at an exponential rate. Those idiots are going to bastardize atheism the same way they bastardized Christianity. Atheism may not be a religion today, and there might not be brick and mortar churches of atheism with ordained atheist evangelists, but give it time. That day will come, and it’ll probably come sooner than you think.
That might not be a bad thing. In the New Atheist’s scramble to differentiate themselves from old school mythologists few of them have stopped and considered that maybe atheism should be a religion. Just because old school mythologies committed countless atrocities in the name of God and continue to drive people insane, teach immoral behavior and cripple society that doesn’t necessarily mean atheism has to end up down the same dead end road as it evolves into “a specific, fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects.”
But you can always count on idiots to screw up a good thing. I predict that idiots will hijack and screw up the New Atheism movement. In fact, I reckon that process has already started, and it’s not a matter of when the bastardization will begin but how fast it will progress. It’s only a matter of time before an idiot who identifies as an atheist beats up and/or kills someone for their opposing beliefs…not because atheism makes people insane and immoral but because stupidity makes people insane and immoral, and the number of idiots who are taking advantage of calling themselves atheists is growing every day. One way you can tell who they are is they bite the hand that picks their teeth. As much as New Atheists may hate what I’m saying now, in 10–20 years they’ll be cheering this post and saying, “See!? No true atheist would ever hurt another person. Idiots are just giving us a bad reputation.”
If you liked this post, you may like these:
- It’s okay to be lost
- The value of life
- Reality is amazing
- The cosmic perspective
- The relationship between sanity, reality, truth, religion and science
- Enlightenment Through Logic
- The Map of Everything
- The prime prerogative
- The value of knowledge
- Life is an existential dilemma: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4
- The danger in telling people life has no meaning
- Reading for truth
- 11 ways mainstream academic philosophy has come to resemble religion
- Deep thoughts by the wise janitor
- Ethics without religion -you’re already doing it
- My secular theory on ethics
- Another attempt at explaining my secular theory on ethics
- Reasons to be kind outside of religion
- Karma ghosts
- The non-believers’ 7 deadly sins
- My theory on sexual morality
- Demonizing pleasure is a failed experiment
- Cost/benefit analysis of hedonism
- Should you let friends borrow money?
- Why and when you should have a problem with authority
- Why it’s bad to be conceited
- Self-subjugation is not a virtue
- No action is an island
- The Tao of Booze
- The drug talk
- Why you should be sober
- 6 accurate and 6 inaccurate ways to judge people
- 8 steps to becoming a genius
- My approach to thinking/problem solving
- The science of thought
- Your ability to think obligates you to
- How to think critically
- How to solve a problem using a team
Agnosticism and Atheism
- Agnostic nihilism
- Agnostic atheism
- Do agnostics fear death?
- An agnostic theory on why God is so cruel
- An agnostic take on God
- An agnostic take on Pascal’s Wager
- An agnostic take on intelligent design
- So you don’t believe in God. What do you do now?
- Should reason be considered a legal religion?
- Reason vs faith: part 1, part 2
- Predictions on the New Atheist movement
- Meta Atheists V.S. Pop Atheists
- A biker looks at social conformity
- A biker looks at bad weather
- A biker looks at the road
- A biker explains why we ride
- A biker wonders again why he rides
- A biker looks at crying
Originally published at thewisesloth.com on June 22, 2012.