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The New Atheists’ Narrow Worldview

By Stephen T. Asma

With tongues in cheeks, Rich­ard Daw­kins, Chris­to­pher Hitch­ens, Sam Har­ris, and Dan­iel Dennett are embracing their reputation as the “Four Horsemen.” Lampoon­ing the anx­i­eties of evan­geli­cals, these best-sell­ing athe­ists are em­brac­ing their “dan­gerous” sta­tus and dar­ing be­liev­ers to match their for­mi­da­ble philo­soph­i­cal acu­men.

Ac­cord­ing to these sol­diers of rea­son, the time for re­li­gion is over. It clings like a bad gene rep­li­cat­ing in the pop­u­la­tion, but its use­ful­ness is played out. Sam Har­ris’s most re­cent book, The Moral Land­scape (Free Press, 2010), is the lat­est in the continuing bat­tle. As an ag­nos­tic, I find much of the horse­men’s cri­tiques to be healthy.

But most friends and even en­e­mies of the new athe­ism have not yet no­ticed the pro­vin­cial­ism of the cur­rent de­bate. If the horse­men left their world of books, con­fer­ences, classrooms, and com­put­ers to trav­el more in the de­vel­op­ing world for a year, they would find some un­fa­mil­iar religious arenas.

Read the original article at: The Chronicle of Higher Education

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