Special Sub-Topic: New Atheism
|In what magazine did the term "New Atheism" originate?|
Wired. "Wired" magazine first used the term in 2006 to describe best-selling atheistic authors of the time. The term is sometimes used in a pejorative sense, but it has entered common usage in the media and among many atheists (take, for instance, the newatheist.org website). It is used as a convenient label for those modern atheists who take an evangelical approach to atheism, promoting their views vocally, publically, and aggressively in an attempt to convert others to the same way of thinking.
|Although New Atheists do not believe in God, they believe religion should be tolerated and treated with respect.|
False. The New Atheists publicly voice their lack of respect for religion. In his article "The Rise of the New Atheists," Simon Hopper of CNN describes New Atheists as sharing the belief that religion should "not simply be tolerated" but "criticized and exposed" wherever its influence can be felt. The New Atheist website (newatheist.org) asserts that "tolerance of pervasive myth and superstition in modern society is not a virtue." In 2009, NPR reported on "Blasphemy Day," in which New Atheists celebrated their right to denigrate religion and noted that the new approach has created a "schism" among those atheists who agree with the aggressive stance of New Atheists and those who would urge greater respect and tolerance.
|Which New Atheist wrote "The End of Faith"?|
Sam Harris. "The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason" was published in 2004. In 2006, Sam Harris followed up with "Letter to a Christian Nation," which contained severe criticism of the Christian faith.
|The New Atheist Richard Dawkins argues that the "God hypothesis" is a scientific hypothesis.|
True. Many New Atheists such as Dawkins, Dennett, and Stenger do not accept the idea that religion, because it is based on faith and an invisible realm, can neither be proven nor disproven. They argue that the hypothesis that God (or a particular god) exists, as well as the individual supernatural claims of religion, are scientific hypotheses that can be tested and proven false using the scientific method. They dispute the idea, as Stephen Jay Gould argued, that science and religion exist in two non-overlapping domains and that science should be limited to the empirical realm while religion deals with questions of morality and ultimate meaning.
|According to a title by New Atheist Christopher Hitchens, what "poisons everything"?|
Religion. In 2007, Hitchens published "God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything." Hitches grew up in the U.K. but became a United States citizen in 2007.
|Which of these books was written by the New Atheist Victor J. Stenger?
God: The Failed Hypothesis. The subtitle of Stenger's book is "How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist." "Letter to a Christian Nation" was written by Sam Harris, "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins, and "God Is Not Great" by Christopher Hitchens.
|Which of these methods do New Atheists generally not use to discredit religious claims?|
Emotional. Most New Atheists claim to use primarily scientific methods to discredit religion, but they also rely heavily on philosophical, logical, and historical methods as well. One prominent New Atheist, Daniel C. Dennett, is a professional philosopher. The logical method is employed by Victor Stenger in his book "God: The Failed Hypothesis." Most New Atheists would claim to eschew emotion-based arguments.
|Which New Atheist wrote "Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon"? |
Daniel C. Dennett. Published in 2006, "Breaking the Spell" argues that the future of the phenomenon of religion can be predicted through scientific analysis. "The Spell" Dennett wishes to see broken is the idea that science cannot be used to study religion.
|In 2010, Tom Flynn, the editor of "Free Inquiry," wrote, "There's nothing ____ about New Atheism." What is missing from the blank?
New. This quote is taken from his 2010 column "Why I Don't Believe in New Atheism." Flynn argued that the arguments of the so-called "New Atheists" were all old hack that had simply been repackaged, published, and sold to a larger audience.
|What Jewish radio talk show host debated New Atheist Christopher Hitchens on his radio show?
Michael Medved. All of the others have also debated Christopher Hitchens at one time. The Christian Dinesh D'Souza debated him on Michael Medved's Seattle-based radio talk show. The Medved-Hitchens debate was two hours with commercial interruptions.
|Which New Atheist has also worked as a literary critic and is known for his scathing critiques of Bill and Hillary Clinton?|
Christopher Hitchens. Hitchens began as a commentator for left-wing publications but later shifted to supporting more traditionally conservative positions. He wrote numerous essays in support of the Iraq war and has critiqued the Clintons repeatedly in his columns.
|Books by New Atheists spurred numerous counter-arguments by religious believers. One Christian author, Ravi Zacharias, wrote a book subtitled "A Response to New Atheists." What was the title of the book?|
The End of Reason. Ravi Zacharias was born into a high-caste Hindu family and lived most of his early life as a practical atheist. In "The End of Reason," he specifically critiques the books of Sam Harris point by point.
|One critic of New Atheism wrote "Atheist Delusions" about the "Christian revolution" and its "enemies." What did the book's subtitle call these "enemies"?|
Fashionable. In "Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies," David Bentley Hart primarily focuses on countering the New Atheists' version of history by "correcting" many anti-religious "myths" about history, such as the idea that Christian mobs destroyed the library of Alexandria. His book is primarily a response to the historical argument of atheists that religion in general, and Christianity in particular, is the cause of most historical evils. Hart argues that Christianity, rather than making the world worse, vastly improved it.
|New Atheists Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens have collectively been referred to as what?|
The Four Horsemen. If you visit richarddawkins.net, for example, you'll see the prominent use of the descriptor "The Four Horsemen"; it's featured on the others' sites as well. The term is a tongue-in-cheek play on the "four horsemen of the apocalypse" who are harbingers of the Last Judgment in the Book of Revelation.
|Which New Atheist, born in New Jersey, is a particle physicist?|
Victor J. Stenger. In addition to publishing books on atheism, including "The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason," Stenger has also written books on quantum mechanics, physics, philosophy, and cosmology.
Did you find these entries particularly interesting, or do you have comments / corrections to make? Let the author know!
Send the author a thank you or
Submit a correction