Friday, October 19, 2007

today : oh my God I can't believe it

It's dead trendy these days to be an atheist. I'm not talking about the kind of passive atheism of the regular non-churchgoer (which could maybe best described as mere disinterest), but since everyone's been reading Richard Dawkins book The God Delusion, it has now become fashionable among the kind of dinner party intellectuals who read popular science books to declare their disbelief in any kind of creator in between insisting that Rudy Giuliani's Zero Tolerance wasn't really the cause of the decline in crime in New York, but that the introduction of abortion 20 years previously was the key factor...because statistics prove it.

Dawkins brand of zealous atheism is an interesting and odd phenomenon. Perhaps he is expressing, and crystallising, the feelings of many people, but this outbreak of atheism is basically a lot of people declaring allegiance to a negative. How odd would it be to write a book and attach an 'ism' to, for example, people who dislike cheese. Unfromagism. Or everyone who doesn't support Man Utd. Antifergusonism. In fact it's quite a good game to invent negative ism,. abonoism: don't like U2, antiastrosim : don't believe in horoscopes, aterrapiazzism : lack of belief that the earth is flat.

I wonder if the whole 'new atheism' is a rather serious phenomenon. After all God has been on His last legs for almost a century. But the current times (end or not) are battered by the breakers of belief. What with fundamentalist Christianity on one side and fundamentalist Islam on the other, with a myriad of bizarre beliefs inbetween, perhaps iteration of faith in the visible is some kind of reaction to the irrational nature of the forces that are shaping and threatening the world.

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