It’s a sign of the times, and of Time Magazine itself, that three atheists—Peter Boghossian, James Lindsay, and Phil Torres—can publish piece at that venue arguing that atheism is a useful way out of the malfeasance of religious extremism. You can read the short piece yourself, but I’ll give two quotes from “How to fight extremism with atheism“.
This I like:
To that end, New Atheists have begun reaching out to collaborate with moderate Muslims and, arguably more importantly, ex-Muslims. Many of those former Muslims have become New Atheists and gone back into their communities to advocate for reform. For example, Maajid Nawaz (a former member of a radical Islamist group who became a counter-extremist) and Ali Rizvi (a self-identified “Atheist Muslim”) have been intimately involved in an ongoing Islamic reformation by helping to erode blasphemy laws.
The way ahead requires being able to speak honestly about religion, and New Atheism has been the most effective cultural effort to broker this conversation. Its endeavors going forward, however, must recognize the humanity in religion while maintaining a candid dialogue about deep-rooted conflicts between reason and faith. A matured New Atheism is needed more today than ever before to offer a unique alternative to irreconcilable conflicts of faith, some of which wish to end the world.
This I don’t:
New Atheism may have inched into the Islamic world, but it has not found deep roots. And its current approach isn’t well-suited to further penetrate Muslim societies. The condescending speech of New Atheists—calling religious people delusional, for example—is not an effective cross-cultural strategy for generating change.
Seriously, how many New Atheists call the faithful “delusional”? I don’t often hear that. Boo!