Advocates of atheism continue to appear, each new wave of thinkers reshaping what has come before. What Philip Kitcher has to say is ultimately neither new nor convincing. He makes the same mistakes that most others make who argue the case for atheism or secular humanism.
The roots of this crisis go back decades, to a time when the American government thought it was more important to frustrate the Russians than to end a bloodbath. A natural question is, how long are we responsible for the sins and errors of the past?
Growing up in the Evangelical Christian tradition, I was repeatedly warned of the threat posed by "secular Humanism." Despite the reflexive irony of the criticism when considering the source, I'm inclined to agree with the overall assessment. Being an atheist does not make me a Humanist by default.
The debate over humanist chaplains in the military has been heating up recently. Last week, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins offered several of the most common sentiments held by those who oppose the effort to create this resource for nonreligious members of the military.
Atheism cannot simply be about setting individuals free. It needs to address the deep suffering of society and take aim at dismantling the socio-economic structures that privilege the few while oppressing the many.
We all know, or think we do, what religion is. Nor is there any question in anyone's mind regarding the finality of suicide. But regardless of all the ranting against secularism by churchmen or religionists, there seems to be quite a bit of confusion on the subject.
You seem bewildered by the amount of hate mail you received from atheists, agnostics and Humanists as a result of your comments. Let me be clear here: I don't think anyone should threaten you for your opinions, no matter how hateful they are -- and they are hateful.
As an atheist who lives in a culture that privileges religious expression, I believe that anti-atheist attitudes will be overcome through invested relationships with the religious, not combative shouting matches.