The high tide of "new atheism" may have passed

says archbishop of Canterbury

Atheism, secularism & freethought etc.

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Re: The high tide of "new atheism" may have passed

#41  Postby Invictus_88 » Apr 14, 2012 6:28 pm

Er, folks. The numbers don't matter here. Strictly speaking, the numbers and demographics stuff being discussed here is "off-topic".

His quote, when you take time to read it, refers to the nature of the atheist/anti-theist 'debate', not anything to do with the growth of any group or even the relative size of any group. He is clearly referring to the tone of the discussion, which - in point of fact - does seem to be softening (after a fashion).

Richard Dawkins is much, much less prominent than he was some years ago, as obviously is Christopher Hitchens (God rest his soul), and softly-softly types like Alain de Botton and Julian Baggini get more media coverage now instead.

The massively hyped "Religion for Atheists" book by Alain de Bloody-Botton, and Baggini's "Heathen Manifesto", two of the bigger atheist 'things' in the media in 2012, would have been unthinkable in 2008-2011.
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Re: The high tide of "new atheism" may have passed

#42  Postby Lockon-Stratos » Apr 16, 2012 1:11 am

I wish they'd stop calling it "new" atheism, there's nothing new about it.
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Re: The high tide of "new atheism" may have passed

#43  Postby CarlPierce » Apr 16, 2012 11:56 am

Once the mystical spell is broken religion is doomed. Their fairy story simply doesn't hang together or make sense. So as access to the internet exposes people to the arguments I can only see decline for religions.
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Re: The high tide of "new atheism" may have passed

#44  Postby Scot Dutchy » Apr 16, 2012 12:27 pm

Well here there are plenty of empty churches and mosques which are on the demolishing list. You cant do much with them.

The ones that are still operating rely on other activities. The only catholic church rebuilt part of the building complex into a conference centre. This is a very common practice.

The catholic church only does services in English. There is a large Philippino/Haitian group living here.

The anglican church of The Hague is on its last legs and it has put out an appeal around the ex-pats for money.
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Re: The high tide of "new atheism" may have passed

#45  Postby mattthomas » Apr 16, 2012 12:34 pm

Religion in the UK is a funny thing anyway, most christians, certainly the children of religious parents are embarrassed to admit that they go to church and sing hymns and pray to the ceiling tiles. There's a lot of secular cultural Jews too, and I think Islam is probably the only one that has a strong force behind it because the faith is enforced like a military drill :coffee:
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Re: The high tide of "new atheism" may have passed

#46  Postby Scot Dutchy » Apr 16, 2012 12:40 pm

mattwilson wrote:Religion in the UK is a funny thing anyway, most christians, certainly the children of religious parents are embarrassed to admit that they go to church and sing hymns and pray to the ceiling tiles. There's a lot of secular cultural Jews too, and I think Islam is probably the only one that has a strong force behind it because the faith is enforced like a military drill :coffee:


Islam is finding it very difficult to beat modern Dutch society. Muslima's are wanting to be treated the same as other Dutch girls.
The boys are going back home. Next year it will be harder as non-EU citizens have to pay for the citizenship course and the Dutch state exams for people with Dutch as a second language. Total cost is €10,000 per person. They have to pass those exams or otherwise it is bye bye.
I did think many will stay around.
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Re: The high tide of "new atheism" may have passed

#47  Postby Animavore » Apr 16, 2012 12:52 pm

Not to worry. The slow erosion of religion and religious ideals and tradition will continue.
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Re: The high tide of "new atheism" may have passed

#48  Postby Oeditor » Apr 16, 2012 6:55 pm

Animavore wrote:Not to worry. The slow erosion of religion and religious ideals and tradition will continue.
It's an unconscionable time a-dying, though. In the Middle East common-or-garden tyrants are being replaced by theocracies (not to mention the backward slide in Turkey) and the RC church isn't going away any time soon. The other night I saw a tv programme about its malign influence in the Philippines where the government is having to have a sixth attempt to bring in free contraception against its all-out opposition.
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Re: The high tide of "new atheism" may have passed

#49  Postby xrayzed » Apr 18, 2012 7:12 am

Invictus_88 wrote:Er, folks. The numbers don't matter here. Strictly speaking, the numbers and demographics stuff being discussed here is "off-topic".

His quote, when you take time to read it, refers to the nature of the atheist/anti-theist 'debate', not anything to do with the growth of any group or even the relative size of any group. He is clearly referring to the tone of the discussion, which - in point of fact - does seem to be softening (after a fashion).

I would think that the number of people who hold a perspective that could be described as "new atheism" is entirely on-topic.

If the Archbishop's point is that nobody has published any books in the last year or two with the impact of Letter to a Christian Nation, The God Delusion, or God is Not Great, and that consequently there's less coverage in the media, I wouldn't disagree.

But so what? That doesn't mean "the high tide of 'new atheism' has passed". It simply means "the high tide of books being published on 'new atheism' has passed.
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Re: The high tide of "new atheism" may have passed

#50  Postby Scot Dutchy » Apr 18, 2012 12:03 pm

The religious wingnuts are always pissing into the wind. They just dont want to accept the inevitable.
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Re: The high tide of "new atheism" may have passed

#51  Postby Paul » Apr 18, 2012 12:13 pm

xrayzed wrote:
Invictus_88 wrote:Er, folks. The numbers don't matter here. Strictly speaking, the numbers and demographics stuff being discussed here is "off-topic".

His quote, when you take time to read it, refers to the nature of the atheist/anti-theist 'debate', not anything to do with the growth of any group or even the relative size of any group. He is clearly referring to the tone of the discussion, which - in point of fact - does seem to be softening (after a fashion).

I would think that the number of people who hold a perspective that could be described as "new atheism" is entirely on-topic.

If the Archbishop's point is that nobody has published any books in the last year or two with the impact of Letter to a Christian Nation, The God Delusion, or God is Not Great, and that consequently there's less coverage in the media, I wouldn't disagree.

But so what? That doesn't mean "the high tide of 'new atheism' has passed". It simply means "the high tide of books being published on 'new atheism' has passed.


I would say ".. of books being published labelled 'new atheism' ..", since 'new atheism' is really only a label invented by lazy journalists, a few years back, to identify the phenomenon of a spate of books being published, and an apparent upsurge in people being vocal about religion.

'New atheism' was never a new idea or a movement, as so often depicted by some theists, but a convenient 'bogey man' that, like their god, was never really there.
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Re: The high tide of "new atheism" may have passed

#52  Postby Scot Dutchy » Apr 18, 2012 12:16 pm

Theists live in a make believe world anyway making more woo is part and parcel of being a theist.
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Re: The high tide of "new atheism" may have passed

#53  Postby rJD » Apr 18, 2012 12:44 pm

Will S wrote:It's amazing how the religious community had it so easy for so long. No wonder they complain about 'militant atheism/secularism'!

If Dawkins (particularly, though the other ‘Horsemen’ too) has accomplished anything, it is to make the questioning the place of of religion in the public sphere acceptable. That process will continue, regardless of whether religious people complain about "shrill attacks", providing we don't let up. It's easy to forget how unusual it was to hear anyone question why bishops should get asked to rule on questions of public ethics by right.

xrayzed wrote:
Horwood Beer-Master wrote:
xrayzed wrote:Social trends are often cyclical...

That doesn't mean that beardy simply declaring that we're in such a cycle, and that the cycle has peaked, is anything other than baseless intellectual laziness and/or wishful thinking.

True.

I don't know if it's peaked or not. I'd needed to see some data before making that judgement. But even if it is true "has peaked at this time" doesn't equate to "going away", nor imply it might not return stronger than ever in the future.

I’m not convinced this is anything to do with ‘social trends’ – “New Atheism” was always a media trend, and these do pass, as the needs of media organisations for something “new” change. The conversation has certainly moved on, with more of a discussion between atheists about tactics but this is something we can be happy about, since it is normalising atheism as the default stance (in my opinion and experience).
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Re: The high tide of "new atheism" may have passed

#54  Postby xrayzed » Apr 19, 2012 1:38 am

Paul wrote:
xrayzed wrote:If the Archbishop's point is that nobody has published any books in the last year or two with the impact of Letter to a Christian Nation, The God Delusion, or God is Not Great, and that consequently there's less coverage in the media, I wouldn't disagree.

But so what? That doesn't mean "the high tide of 'new atheism' has passed". It simply means "the high tide of books being published on 'new atheism' has passed.


I would say ".. of books being published labelled 'new atheism' ..", since 'new atheism' is really only a label invented by lazy journalists, a few years back, to identify the phenomenon of a spate of books being published, and an apparent upsurge in people being vocal about religion.

'New atheism' was never a new idea or a movement, as so often depicted by some theists, but a convenient 'bogey man' that, like their god, was never really there.


rJD wrote:I’m not convinced this is anything to do with ‘social trends’ – “New Atheism” was always a media trend, and these do pass, as the needs of media organisations for something “new” change. The conversation has certainly moved on, with more of a discussion between atheists about tactics but this is something we can be happy about, since it is normalising atheism as the default stance (in my opinion and experience).


Good points. I can't actually think of anybody who has self-identified as a "new atheist", or considered what they are doing is "new atheism".
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Re: The high tide of "new atheism" may have passed

#55  Postby Alan B » Apr 19, 2012 2:11 pm

'New Atheist' is no more than a convenient label for the 'modern-day' theists to categorize those who are not theists while not being aware that atheist thinking has been around for hundreds if not thousands of years.
There is no such thing as a 'New' Atheist.
The religious mind is just not able to comprehend that what they perceive as a 'threat' to their way of life cannot be addressed unless it is labelled and 'pidgeon-holed'. This attempt to tie 'atheist thinking' down, by labelling it 'New', is a fruitless exercise, since by it's very nature 'atheist thinking' has no boundaries nor constraints in time or place and is certainly not beholden to a 'creed' or 'doctrine'.

For every atheist thinker to 'put pen to paper' there were/are hundreds or thousands who had/have similar thoughts. It's a natural process of the 'free-thinking' rational literal mind.

So, Beardy's use of the term 'New Atheist' is meaningless and shows an inability to think 'outside his box'.

Poor bloke. I feel sorry for him - he seems quite a nice genial guy.
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Re: The high tide of "new atheism" may have passed

#56  Postby Invictus_88 » Apr 23, 2012 6:30 pm

Scot Dutchy wrote:Well here there are plenty of empty churches and mosques which are on the demolishing list. You cant do much with them.

The ones that are still operating rely on other activities. The only catholic church rebuilt part of the building complex into a conference centre. This is a very common practice.

The catholic church only does services in English. There is a large Philippino/Haitian group living here.

The anglican church of The Hague is on its last legs and it has put out an appeal around the ex-pats for money.


Catholic Church says the Mass in the UK in English, Latin, Polish, and Tagalog as well as others no doubt. Why would the Catholic Church say the Mass in Holland only in English?
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Re: The high tide of "new atheism" may have passed

#57  Postby Invictus_88 » Apr 23, 2012 6:36 pm

xrayzed wrote:
Invictus_88 wrote:Er, folks. The numbers don't matter here. Strictly speaking, the numbers and demographics stuff being discussed here is "off-topic".

His quote, when you take time to read it, refers to the nature of the atheist/anti-theist 'debate', not anything to do with the growth of any group or even the relative size of any group. He is clearly referring to the tone of the discussion, which - in point of fact - does seem to be softening (after a fashion).

I would think that the number of people who hold a perspective that could be described as "new atheism" is entirely on-topic.

If the Archbishop's point is that nobody has published any books in the last year or two with the impact of Letter to a Christian Nation, The God Delusion, or God is Not Great, and that consequently there's less coverage in the media, I wouldn't disagree.

But so what? That doesn't mean "the high tide of 'new atheism' has passed". It simply means "the high tide of books being published on 'new atheism' has passed.


Hmm, given the wider change in the tone of 'atheist literary output', I'd be inclined to see a genuine shift from 'belligerent' to 'patronisating'.
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Re: The high tide of "new atheism" may have passed

#58  Postby Scot Dutchy » Apr 24, 2012 9:23 am

Invictus_88 wrote:
Scot Dutchy wrote:Well here there are plenty of empty churches and mosques which are on the demolishing list. You cant do much with them.

The ones that are still operating rely on other activities. The only catholic church rebuilt part of the building complex into a conference centre. This is a very common practice.

The catholic church only does services in English. There is a large Philippino/Haitian group living here.

The anglican church of The Hague is on its last legs and it has put out an appeal around the ex-pats for money.


Catholic Church says the Mass in the UK in English, Latin, Polish, and Tagalog as well as others no doubt. Why would the Catholic Church say the Mass in Holland only in English?


In the Hague there are few catholics that go to church (<3%).

Being a multicultural society and also having a large area of reasonably well off families, there are a great many Pilipino's and Haitians in service here or working in the hospitals. All them to man are catholic. The only catholic operating church here decided to hold one of the masses in English. Well it was so well attended and the Dutch one not. That it was decided to have just the one English mass. Along with building a conference centre (small one) has kept the church open.
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Re: The high tide of "new atheism" may have passed

#59  Postby chairman bill » Apr 24, 2012 9:41 am

The thing with tides - they come in, they go out, then the buggers come in again
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Re: The high tide of "new atheism" may have passed

#60  Postby mattthomas » Apr 24, 2012 9:43 am

chairman bill wrote:The thing with tides - they come in, they go out, then the buggers come in again

Like flared trousers and duffle coats :coffee:
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