THE NEW ATHEISM


The New Atheism is really not a healthy phenomenon at all.  The overestimation of narrow, narrow rationalism as a means to live shows a severe lack of philosophical acumen and even perhaps common sense.  Actually what is more interesting is that in a way Nietzsche predicted the New Atheist movement.  He said when Christian truth seeking makes its final judgement against itself, namely that Christianity is untrue, it will culminate in atheism.   He saw this as a historical development taking place over time.  That’s why another way of looking at the New Atheist movement is that it is a more severe form of Christianity because of its belief in (what Nietzsche termed) the “ascetic ideal — that is, the compulsion to pursue the truth no matter what.  But looking at if again from Nietzsche’s perspective, this attitude, although historically determined and inevitable, is deeply unphilosophical.   To have acquried the compulsion to believe in the redemptive power of truth telling is to be extremely unfree to ask one’s own questions about reality or to engage with it more broadly (outside of and beyond the compulsion of  the ascetic ideal).  The ascetic ideal demands the sacrifice of religious feelings because it judges religion, at this historical juncture as “untrue”, but this sacrifice itself is irrational — because it comes from a historically engendered compulsion and one ought not to blindly make oneself a slave of a historically engendered compulsion.  One ought to be free.  One ought to be more philosophical than this.
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