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This Week in Atheism 2018–09–10


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/09/10

“Religious education in schools needs a major overhaul to reflect an increasingly diverse world and should include the study of atheism, agnosticism and secularism, a two-year investigation has concluded.

The subject should be renamed Religion and Worldviews to equip young people with respect and empathy for different faiths and viewpoints, says the Commission on Religious Education in a report published on Sunday.

Content “must reflect the complex, diverse and plural nature of worldviews”, drawing from “a range of religious, philosophical, spiritual and other approaches to life, including different traditions within Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism, non-religious worldviews and concepts including humanism, secularism, atheism and agnosticism”.”


“With apologies to Richard Dawkins, the New Atheists are old news. But we’ve got a bigger problem.

You remember them, don’t you? Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris? These so-called “New Atheists” drew crowds with their bombastic and occasionally clever attacks on God and theism. For a while their books were best sellers, “The God Delusion,” “God Is Not Great,” for example. But as atheist and evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson recently wrote, “The world appears to be tiring of the New Atheism movement.””


“When atheists reject the concept or existence of God, their conclusion is based on limited perception because we human beings are like a speck of creature in this colossal universe incapable of fathoming its enormity.

Their case does not win credibility either by just ridiculing those who believe in God.

And those under theism believing that God exists in physical form or in some supernatural and transcendental actuality, and offers a sensory experience, then it is merely an unjustified and ritualistic impression. This conception can be easily rejected in the face of the rationale-seeking contemporary society.”


“Did America’s founders intend it as “one nation under God”? Does the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of religion extend to freedom from religion?

In a new book, “Godless Citizens in a Godly Republic,” Professors Emeriti Isaac Kramnick and R. Laurence Moore explore these questions and atheism in America from historical and legal perspectives. The book appeared atop a list of new and notable titles in The New York Times Book Review of Sept. 2.

“The Pledge of Allegiance was changed in 1954 to distinguish the United States as a godly country, from what Americans considered then the godless, atheistic Soviet Union,” Kramnick, the Richard J. Schwartz Professor of Government Emeritus, said in a recent interview.”


“IT IS as well to remember, when thinking about atheism, what a very relative term it is, a word with multiple meanings. After all, early Christians were accused of being atheists for not honouring the many Roman gods of their day. And, as John Gray reminds us, if we want to understand atheism and religion, we must forget the popular notion that they are opposites. Some forms of atheism merge with mysticism at a deep level.

Seven Types of Atheism is not an exhaustive list of all the atheisms of the world, but merely a convenient way for the author to break up his material as he explores the theme, while pursuing his own interests through Western philosophy. His quick dismissal of the New Atheists of today is a delight. They are given short shrift for directing their campaign against a narrow segment of religion while failing to understand even that small part. Contemporary atheism, he suggests, in seeking a surrogate for the Creator-God that it has dismissed, tends to find meaning and redemption in ideas of progress.”



In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


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