John Gray–Evangelical Atheism, Secular Christianity

An atmosphere of moral panic surrounds religion. Viewed not so long ago as a relic of superstition whose role in society was steadily declining, it is now demonised as the cause of many of the world’s worst evils. As a result, there has been an explosion in the literature of proselytising atheism.

The abrupt shift in the perception of religion is only partly explained by terrorism. The 9/11 hijackers saw themselves as martyrs in a religious tradition, and western opinion has accepted their self-image. And there are some who view the rise of Islamic fundamentalism as a danger comparable with the worst that were faced by liberal societies in the 20th century.

For Dawkins and Hitchens, Daniel Dennett and Martin Amis, Michel Onfray, Philip Pullman and others, religion in general is a poison that has fuelled violence and oppression throughout history, right up to the present day. The urgency with which they produce their anti-religious polemics suggests that a change has occurred as significant as the rise of terrorism: the tide of secularisation has turned.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Atheism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

One comment on “John Gray–Evangelical Atheism, Secular Christianity

  1. Fisher says:

    This article makes valid points but mistakenly uses the word “evangelical” to modify “atheism.” The opening summary more accurately states the topic as “proselytising atheism.” I think John Gray should have used the word “evangelistic” since he clearly refers to the desire among prominent atheists to win converts to their cause.

    When writers blur the difference between “evangelical” and “evangelistic,” one result is that self-identifying evangelicals (myself included) tend to be regarded by the general public more as opinionated and argumentative bullies and less for who they are in terms of the positive core values that unite them.