9/11 gave birth to aggressive, unapologetic `New Atheists’

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(RNS) In September 2001, Sam Harris was an unknown doctoral student who didn’t believe in God. But after the World Trade Center crumbled on 9/11, he put his studies aside to write a book that became an instant best-seller — and changed the way atheists, and perhaps Muslims, are perceived in this country. Published in […]

  • Roddie

    For thousands of years the religious have told the world that the worst thing you can be is an unbeliever, and they enforced that view with violence. Atheists are still viewed poorly and accused of being “strident” and “unapologetic” and “uncompromising”. What kind of compromise are we being asked to accept, that we shut up and remember our place? It’s high time the religious took a few blows from some uncompromising, unafraid unbelievers. Perhaps they’ll back up a bit and stop demonizing other human beings who don’t subscribe to their worldviews, on the grounds that those worldviews are indefensible. Maybe a little compromise on the part of believers is what is in order.

  • I’m an acomodationalist New Atheist but I sure do get pumped up when I watch the Best of Hitchslap (dude is soooo frackin’ good). We need the ‘angry atheist’, just like we need the moderate atheist. Nice article buddy.


  • Chris H

    Placing the blame of the increasingly low approval rating for Muslims squarely on the shoulder of atheists is, like the rest of your article, very bias. One needs to look no further than the Conservative Christian propaganda machine to see where this mindset has come from.

    Look at the mosque that was going to be built 2 blocks from ground zero and the fuss it created. A few of the atheists you listed above gave their opinions, and essentially said that even though they cringe at the idea that another holy building is being built they have every right to do it and they supported it. The republicans even have a candidate running for president that has outright claimed its unconstitutional for any more mosques to be built in America. I’m not going to claim that these “new atheist” books haven’t had an effect, but considering how unpopular they are, and considering the number of outspoken Christians criticising Islam I’d say this falls more into the lap of the “New Christians”.

    What you tag as “aggressive, unapologetic” and “militant” is simply a group that isn’t afraid to be loud and unashamed in their critique of religion. This is so new and shocking to most religious people who have gotten use to having their beliefs, for the most part, unchallenged.

    Replace atheist with Christian, and 9/11 with homosexuality, and you’re article would ring more true. Whatever criticism you get from atheists pales in comparison to what homosexuals get in this country from Christians.

  • Atheism is not ‘New’. Atheism was here first, and it’s here to stay. 🙂

  • Gotrootdude

    Is it even possible for a person to moderately not believe something?
    It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. Mark Twain