Atheism 3.0 finds a little more room for religion – USATODAY.comPosted: October 28, 2009
There is great validity in the point that the aggressive New-Atheist proposition is simply doing religious extremism a favour. By arguing against organized religion, you merely feed the fundamentalists by encouraging moderates to embrace religious extremism as a reaction. It is precisely the anti-religion argument, not the anti-god argument, that creates this feeling. By attacking organized religion, you also attack a strong social sentiment. Only few believers are fanatics whereas the majority are usually perfectly willing to accept living alongside alternative viewpoints and lifestyles as long as these do not threaten their own. Religious fundamentalists are just as likely to attack other religions as they are atheists and often had to flee “repression” in order to maintain bigotry.
The extreme and aggressive atheism of the Dawkins crowd is precisely framed against the literalist perspective of much religious fundamentalism, while ignoring the rich philosophical underpinnings of Theology. One might find disagreement with Aquinas and Avecina, but one could hardly call either of them extremists and the social and historical changes they were witnessing in their lifetimes echoed much of the arguments we see today.
It’s very easy to blame Jihad and Crusade on religion, even though these are political rather than religious acts. The irony is that labels change rather quickly. The early Roman suppression of Christianity was on the basis that these were “atheist,” that is, they obeyed only one god when anyone with any sense could see that there were multiple gods. It’s also feasible to lay genocide on “extreme patriotism” (nationalism).
The fact that religious and political leaders can at times be rotten people does not invalidate either organized religion or government. That possible alternatives can be explored is accomplished better by cooperation and reasonableness rather than by attacking either perspective. It’s time we stopped arguing about whether god, gods or goddesses exist, but whether something like “goodness” can exist in our society despite whatever label (or lack thereof) we attach to it.