Atheism and our inhuman nature

I wrote up a response to a rather lame article that I read on BeliefNet: Atheism and our inhuman nature, and I wanted to post the ideas here.

The article criticizes the "New Atheists" because they present a Utopian view of humanity and its future.

My response:

I have read all of the popular "New Atheist" books. I'm not sure where you get this idea that they have a Utopian view of humanity's future. Perhaps you could provide a quote to give me some idea what you're referencing.

Each of the New Atheists points out that believing claims without evidence, believing you have the One True Magic Book from the Creator, eschewing rational thought in general, and welcoming the end of the world as a glorious future to look forward to -- these are definitely bad ideas. And, as nasty as human nature is already, aren't helping pull us from any potential dangerous brink.

Think of it this way. A doctor might say, "Hey, don't get hundreds of chest xrays for fun -- it's a dumb idea and you'll probably end up getting cancer..." A critic who writes for beliefnet might ask whether this doctor thinks he has cured cancer! No, he doesn't. But he has helped identify a rather dangerous way to live.

People are nasty creatures? Ok, I'll bite. How does promoting superstition help address that? Starting with the Old Testament, First Samuel 15 has God ordering His followers to kill every man, woman, child and infant of a neighboring tribe with swords.

Moving on to the New Testament. Jesus says love your enemies -- an easy thing to say. What actions back up those words? Well, consider that I'm an atheist, and an enemy of superstition in general. How will Jesus treat me as his enemy? By throwing me in a lake of fire to burn in torment for eternity... Sure, humans might be nasty creatures -- but wow, can you come up with a nastier human than that?



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