New Atheists Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris are often described as the “Unholy Trinity of Atheism.” When you add Daniel C. Dennett to the mix, the Unholy Trinity becomes the Four Horsemen of the New Atheism. Even in their atheism these atheists can’t escape religion. They are defined by religion. Even the name ‘atheist’ (a = no + theos = God) requires theism to make sense.
The latest attack on the atheistic troika is not coming from Christians but from their fellow secularists:
“Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris are on the receiving end of stinging criticism from fellow liberal non-believers who say their particular brand of atheism has swung from being a scientifically rigorous attack on all religions to a populist and crude hatred of Islam.”
I’m not sure why Christopher Hitchens is being mentioned since he died in December of 2011 from esophageal cancer.
Hitchens was an ardent critic of Islam, especially after the events of 9/11, but he was an equal opportunity critic of all religion. He described Christianity as a “wicked cult.” (Not to be outdone, Dawkins said that Christianity is the “root of all evil” and Harris, with similar vitriol, described Christianity as “pernicious” and the “vilest lunacy.”)
Take a look at the film Collision and the exchanges Hitchens had with Christian pastor Douglas Wilson if you want to see Hitchens in action with someone who was his intellectual equal. Wilson kept pushing Hitchens to account for the basis of his moral outrage given his atheistic and evolutionary assumptions. He couldn’t do it outside the context of Christianity.
I want to know where these “liberal non-believers” were when the quartet of everything godless were relentless in their attacks of Christianity? They were nowhere to be found. They’re still nowhere to be found.
The dust up over the charge of “Islamophobia” is being brought up by Nathan Lean, a Middle East specialist who has written a book about the so-called Islamophobia industry. His most recent criticism is leveled at Dawkins who tweeted the following: “Haven’t read Koran so couldn’t quote chapter & verse like I can for Bible. But [I] often say Islam [is the] greatest force for evil today.”
Sam Harris also comes in for criticism. Harris is a neuroscientist who has written a number of anti-religious books. In his Letter to a Christian Nation, Harris wrote:
“The idea that Islam is a ‘peaceful religion hijacked by extremists’ is a fantasy, and is now a particularly dangerous fantasy for Muslims to indulge.”
According to Murtaza Hussain, a Middle East analyst, Harris has used even more inflammatory rhetoric directed at Islam.
I love it when secularists fight among themselves. It shows how preposterous their worldview is. An atheist like Hitchens could not validate the claim that anything is wicked. If there is no God, there is no basis for morality. Conglomerations of atoms have no fixed moral standard. There is no way to substantiate whether blowing up the Twin Towers, downing airplanes, slitting throats, or setting explosives at the Boston Marathon are good or evil. All a scientist can say is that such and such happened and here are the physical results.
The people attacking the New Atheists from the secular side of the worldview spectrum don’t have a moral leg to stand on. Any and all criticisms from those who sing the atheist hymn “Imagine” with religious devotion – “Imagine there’s no heaven; It’s easy if you try; No hell below us; Above us only sky” — are aptly described by behavioral psychologist and fellow-atheist B. F. Skinner (1904–1990):
“The story is told of a visit of the behaviourist psychologist Professor Burrhus Skinner to lecture at Keele University. After Skinner had given his formal lecture, in which he emphasized an objective, mechanistic description as a total explanation of man’s behaviour, he was invited to have an informal chat with the professor who had chaired the meeting. Skinner was asked whether in fact he was at all interested in who he, the chairman, and others were. Implacable, Skinner replied: ‘I am interested in the noises come from your mouth.’”1
For B. F. Skinner, trying to be a consistent materialist, “words” are nothing more than noises, and, of course, that’s all they can be since there is no “mind” behind their origin. Words (sounds) have no more meaning than the noise that steam makes coming out of a kettle that has reached full boil.
Given their atheist assumptions, these New Atheists and their secular critics are doing little more than “striving after wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:14; 2:11. 17; 4:4). Nothing can be praised, and nothing can be condemned.
- Denis Alexander, Beyond Science (Philadelphia: A.J. Holman Co., 1972), 45. [↩]