The ‘New Atheists’ shovel sand against the tide
Madeleine Bunting writes:
But perhaps New Atheism’s publishing success is a case of winning a battle and losing the war. John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge point out in God is Back that the main religions are currently experiencing massive expansion across most of the world. One of the biggest drivers of growth is China; by 2050 it could be the biggest Muslim nation, and the biggest Christian one. What numerous countries are now demonstrating from the US to Asia, from Africa to the Middle East and Latin America, is that modernisation, far from entailing secularisation, is actually leading to increased and intensified forms of religiosity. According to Micklethwait and Wooldridge, the future across most of the globe is going to be very religious.
To the sceptical European, this is a lonely and unintelligible prospect. So, scanning my stuffed bookshelf, which of these defences of God are going to help explain this enduring appeal? Start with Karen Armstrong’s A Short History of Myth: “we are meaning-seeking creatures” who “invent stories to place our lives in a larger setting … and give us a sense that, against all the depressing and chaotic evidence to the contrary, life has meaning and value”. That helps explain why the bestselling religious book in the US is The Purpose Driven Life (the first chapters of which are published on the net as What on Earth Am I Here For?). The faithful are not mugging up on critiques of reason for an argument with New Atheism, but turning to religion to offer meaning and purpose.
Read the entire piece here.
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