Berkowitz on Atheism in WSJ Opinion Journal

The new new atheism rejects God in the name of natural science, individual freedom and human equality claims Professor Peter Berkowitz in a WSJ Opinion Journal op-ed that looks at the arguments being promulgated in the past year's million-plus copies of books by "atheism's newest champions."

Stating that the new new atheism sees the loss of religious faith in the modern world as an unqualified good, Berkowitz points out that the "errors and excesses" of atheism's current crop of writers have "pernicious political consequences, amplifying invidious distinctions among fellow citizens and obscuring crucial differences among believers world wide."

The New New Atheism, WSJ Opinion Journal, July 17, 2007. By Peter Berkowitz.

"Playing into the anger and enmities that debase our politics today, the new new atheism blurs the deep commitment to the freedom and equality of individuals that binds atheists and believers in America. At the same time, by treating all religion as one great evil pathology, today's bestselling atheists suppress crucial distinctions between the forms of faith embraced by the vast majority of American citizens and the militant Islam that at this very moment is pledged to America's destruction.

"Like philosophy, religion, rightly understood, has a beginning in wonder. The most wonderful of creatures are human beings themselves. Of all the Bible's sublime and sustaining teachings, none is more so than the teaching that explains that humanity is set apart because all human beings--woman as well as man the Bible emphasizes--are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).

"That a teaching is sublime and sustaining does not make it true. But that, along with its service in laying the moral foundations in the Western world for the belief in the dignity of all men and women--a belief that our new new atheists take for granted and for which they provide no compelling alternative foundation--is reason enough to give the variety of religions a fair hearing. And it is reason enough to respect believers as decent human beings struggling to make sense of a mysterious world."

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