The Triumph of Reason

Posted on December 14, 2007. Filed under: Atheism | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Response to Katha Pollitt’s “The Atheist’s Dilemma”

From The Nation, Dec 3, 2007

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20071203/pollitt

In this issue of The Nation, Katha Pollitt posits that what people like to refer to as the “New Atheism” is destined for failure. She argues that the devout will not be persuaded by atheists, particularly those like Sam Harris, who “[think] religion is completely stupid.” She goes on further to admonish us for not appreciating the so-called moderates of any faith. Ms. Pollitt is demonstrating her ignorance of the effectiveness of the atheist “movement” (although I hesitate to use that word) and the reason why even the moderate religious acolytes need to be called to account for their beliefs.

Ms. Pollitt is correct in some regards with respect to the most devout believers. Those people are not likely to be persuaded by anybody, and confrontation with atheists generally serves to push them further into their delusion and reinforces their belief. Cognitive dissonance can work either way, depending on how much one has at stake. I do not believe that a change in tactics or attitude will affect those types of people…(read more)

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