March 2, 2013

Stated clearly

Via Jerry Coyne's blog, quoting a review of A.C. Grayling's "The God Argument": (The review was written by Bryan Appleyard)
“Atheism,” Grayling writes, “is to theism as not stamp-collecting is to stamp-collecting.”
That's a good way to put it. Mind you, Appleyard is trying to diss Grayling and all "militant" atheists when he says this. Read the full story on Coyne's blog. As Jerry points out, "militant" isn't used for anything except atheists.
I am not sure what Appleyard is banging on about here.  “Militant” has nothing to do with dismissing the truth claims of religion or pointing out its dangers; it’s an adjective used by people like Appleyard to dismiss New Atheism without addressing its claims. (See Grayling’s previous dismissal of that adjective.) The only “militant” atheists I know are ones who try to promote their views with undue hostility or evene violence—i.e., almost nobody.  How come we never hear the terms “militant Labour party member” or “militant Democrat”? Political views are, after all, often held with as much tenacity as religious ones. “Militant” is reserved for “atheists” because religion is supposed to be treated differently from other views: off limits to criticism. And that’s what Grayling—like many of us—wants to dispel.
Jerry Coyne's blog is my favorite site on the internet, bar none.

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