Christian Reaction to Atheistic Books becoming Best-Sellers
A number of Christians are getting defensive about the recent publication of several best selling atheist books. In response, atheists are being called militant and Christians are claiming that atheists are attacking religion outright. I find it rather amusing that, when a couple of atheistic books reach the best seller list, many Christians start putting together complicated and unsupported theories that seek to discredit them.
Dennis Prager, for example, attributes the success of recent atheist books to Islamic violence and secular brainwashing. In his post, Prager claims “the arguments put forth are far more emotional than intellectual” in reference to books written by Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and Daniel C. Dennett.
How often have atheists pointed out, to no avail, that a majority of believers base their beliefs on emotional grounds rather than intellectual grounds? The number of times I’ve seen it online, in books, and in other publications is just about as numerous as the stars in the sky.
But then, here’s the kicker. Prager then mentions, just paragraphs later, that “many of the traditionally religious have gravitated away from rational beliefs into irrational, mystical and emotional religiosity.” If that’s the case, why criticize an appeal to emotional arguments put forth by atheists? Much of the criticism and persecution atheists face come from the “traditionally religious” who frame their arguments in emotional terms. A persuasive and perfectly legitimate response to emotional appeals can be emotional appeals to the contrary. At the very least, when it has been shown that both side of an argument have emotional components, we can move past the emotional and into the intellectual realm of debate.
And that’s overlooking the fact that Prager failed to provide us with specific examples of emotional appeal used by any of the atheist authors he mentions in the first place. Good job laying the groundwork for your post, Dennis.
Paul Jackson belittles atheist author Richard Dawkins book sales in an article discussing the new, best selling book The God Delusion. According to Jackson, the “alleged” one-million copies sold are “a pretty insignificant number considering how many copies of the Bible, Talmad, and Qur’an are sold each year.”
A little reactionary, aren’t we Paul?
“Talk about a flea biting an elephant. Not even an irritation.”
Ever so calmly, Jackson goes on to say that Dawkins doesn’t know much about Albert Einstein. The references to Einstein in his Calgary Sun article clearly demonstrate that Jackson doesn’t know much about Dawkins or his book. Dawkins addressed Einstein’s view of God at the beginning of his book; discussing Einstein’s concept of “God” and how it pertains to Dawkin’s discussion of atheism.
But, it’s okay. We don’t need to actually read what we criticize, right?
One recent article appearing in San Francisco Weekly even attempts to incoherently suggest that so-called “anti-religion authors” are teaming up with people at Apple to give people “a new opiate” to replace religion. The article links to a YouTube video that claims to reveal “the haunting truth about what happens to our society when we lose our faith.”
“We find salvation elsewhere,” the video description suggests.
Are Apple enthusiasts really replacing God with technology? Maybe some are. But, at least they have one thing going for them: technology exists. God doesn’t. One point for Apple.
The Myth of Militant Atheists
Atheists aren’t getting militant. We’re getting confident. We’re getting tired of the harm religion has caused the world and, increasingly, we’re expressing our discontent. When we start bearing arms and threatening to shoot believers, the term “militant atheist” will be fair. But it’s highly doubtful you’ll see many atheists getting violent over the cause. After all, we don’t believe we’ll be richly rewarded in the afterlife for it. Christianity can’t always say the same for itself, can it?
The efforts of militant Christians to discredit atheists will continue, no doubt. I’m confident, however, that atheists will be able to weather these malicious attempts with intellect and style.
Twenty One Years Later