Sunday, December 21, 2008
The Delusion of Disbelief
Yestday, I bought a book at Chapters: "The Delusion of Disbelief", by David Aikman. I'm about half way done and have found it informative. His four New Atheist horsemen (Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris and Dennett) are introduced in a readable fashion. I am familiar with them and what they have to say from videos on the internet. I hesitate to spend money on their books, several of them available in the religion section, I noticed, so I am grateful for Aikman's review and response. Alister McGrath's "Dawkins Delusion" was not available at this Chapters.
I am concerned about the tone taken by atheists on the blogosphere. It seems positively hatefilled and abusive at times. These atheists, especially our four horsemen, seem to come mostly from the English speaking world--people who have not lived through Communism and Nazism.
This worries me. I grew up listening to stories about the horrors of Nazism and the Second World War. The English speaking world has spent too much time reveling in its glory and not enough time taking lessons from how the evil arose and affected civilian populations. They have not felt the horror of the populations whom they liberated. Think, people, think.
I grew up watching weekly documentaries about human rights abuses behind the iron curtain, about dissidents sent to psychiatric hospitals, about the Gulag, about churches turned into swimming pools and priests sent to labor camps. I went to East Germany and felt the oppression like lead hanging over everything, experienced the meanness of small people with a job that lets them intimidate and harass others. You don't want this Orwellian world. Don't minimize what atheistic ideologies have done to people. Millions upon millions have been affected. A recent statistic I learned from the Truth Project: 180 million dead by a handful of dictators.
You can believe or disbelieve what you like, but don't see fit to be on the offensive other than with reasonable arguments and proper dialogue. Be mighty with the pen, only.