The coming hordes

by Don Hartness

It is widely known that atheism sees religion as the culprit behind all human suffering.  Hence, they clap their hands in glee whenever a new report illustrates the continuing slow death of religion (even if the interpretation proves to be a bit of a misconception upon closer examination).

(Author’s update: As the comments below accurately and correctly called me out on, I did a poor job of making a distinction here. In this post, I am referring to a vocal group commonly referred to as “new atheists”, led by such authors as Harris, Dawkins, Hitchens, and others – see comments below)

I don’t think atheists accurately see the connection between religion and the state of the world. I wonder if they will see it when the hordes arrive with their pitchforks and torches…

The reality will be horrifying, as some famous atheists once illustrated. This week’s interruption consists of one quote and one article. The quote is the last I will share from Alister McGrath’s Twilight of Atheism:

“A further question may be raised here. As we have seen, Nietzsche argued that God is dead – meaning that God has ceased to be a meaningful reality in Western culture. But was this actually good news? Nietzsche himself was far from sure. If God is dead, Nietzsche pointed out, people would transfer their old faith in God to something else. They had to believe in something (italics mine). With precocious foresight, Nietzsche declared that, having lost faith in God, people would now put their trust in barbaric “brotherhoods with the aim of the robbery and exploitation of the non-brothers.” For many this was an alarming prediction – precisely because it was predictable – of the rise of the tribalism of the Nazis and other dubious groups. It is as if humanity has to have faith in and be loyal to some individual or group. If God is declared to be out of the running, Nietzsche argues, we turn to other absolutist groups and creeds – such as Adolf Hitler or the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The elimination of God from Western culture has its darker side, which regrettably has yet to be conceded and explored fully by those who urge it.” – p.262

As for the article, I include a quote here to whet the appetite:

“If atheism is true, it is far from being good news. Learning that we’re alone in the universe, that no one hears or answers our prayers, that humanity is entirely the product of random events, that we have no more intrinsic dignity than non-human and even non-animate clumps of matter, that we face certain annihilation in death, that our sufferings are ultimately pointless, that our lives and loves do not at all matter in a larger sense, that those who commit horrific evils and elude human punishment get away with their crimes scott free — all of this (and much more) is utterly tragic.

Honest atheists understand this.”