What Has Happened to American Atheism
Some thoughts from Dr. John Mark Reynolds

In his blog, Eidos, for October 24, 2004, Dr. Reynolds makes an interesting observation:

If internet content is any clue, then this is a movement in serious decline. With an aging set of arguments, it seems to survive mostly on a sense of superiority it gained in the fifties. This is sad, since atheism has had a long and interesting philosophical tradition. On the other hand, on-line content is not well suited (at present) for long arguments. For example, this blog is certainly not a set of arguments, but a running commentary. So perhaps American atheism is more robust in the academy than it seems on-line.

In philosophy, atheism long ago lost the "cutting edge" with journals like Philosophia Christi and groups such as the Society of Christian Philosophers enjoying sustained growth. Lately, I have noticed that younger defenders of atheism often are less well educated and have less background than their predecessors. A movement is in peril that moves from Flew to Dan Barker. Most top philosophy programs now have a solid number of evangelical Christians in them. Catholic philosophy continues as a strong force in the field.


Layman said…
Thanks for posting this, BK. He seems right on with his characterization of internet atheism.
Bede said…
One of atheism's many problems is that if it is not intellectual then it is nothing. Christians are quite comfortable not being able to rationalise or explain their faith. Atheists don't have the option of just relying on gut feeling (but I suppose a lot of them do) so if they loose the intellectual contest they loose everything.
Layman said…
Insightful, Bede.

I'd go a little further and suggest that they can't even concede the intellecual case is a "close call" or that the other side might even have a few good points (like Anthony Flew appears to have done).
Anonymous said…
One set of people in the debate relies on a book with a talking donkey.

I really doubt there is much of a contest.
BK said…
Dan? Dan Barker? Is that you?
Roger Pearse said…
I have yet to see any atheist comment that does not consist of vituperation. This is combined with a quite unjustified presumption of intellectual superiority, repeated unthinkingly from other atheist pamphlets. Presumably this attitude originates in the Victorian era with T.H. Huxley? There are intelligent atheists, but they are not met with online. It is telling that the only atheist post in this thread consisted, not of a defence of atheism, but a jeer.

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