When Atheism Becomes Religion: America's New Fundamentalists

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Simon and Schuster, Mar 10, 2009 - Religion - 224 pages
8 Reviews
From the New York Times bestselling author of American Fascists and the NBCC finalist for War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning comes this timely and compelling work about new atheists: those who attack religion to advance the worst of global capitalism, intolerance and imperial projects.

Chris Hedges, who graduated from seminary at Harvard Divinity School, has long been a courageous voice in a world where there are too few. He observes that there are two radical, polarized and dangerous sides to the debate on faith and religion in America: the fundamentalists who see religious faith as their prerogative, and the new atheists who brand all religious belief as irrational and dangerous. Both sides use faith to promote a radical agenda, while the religious majority, those with a commitment to tolerance and compassion as well as to their faith, are caught in the middle.

The new atheists, led by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris, do not make moral arguments about religion. Rather, they have created a new form of fundamentalism that attempts to permeate society with ideas about our own moral superiority and the omnipotence of human reason.

I Don't Believe in Atheists critiques the radical mindset that rages against religion and faith. Hedges identifies the pillars of the new atheist belief system, revealing that the stringent rules and rigid traditions in place are as strict as those of any religious practice.

Hedges claims that those who have placed blind faith in the morally neutral disciplines of reason and science create idols in their own image -- a sin for either side of the spectrum. He makes an impassioned, intelligent case against religious and secular fundamentalism, which seeks to divide the world into those worthy of moral and intellectual consideration and those who should be condemned, silenced and eradicated. Hedges shatters the new atheists' assault against religion in America, and in doing so, makes way for new, moderate voices to join the debate. This is a book that must be read to understand the state of the battle about faith.

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As interesting and genuinely intellectual as Hedges' arguements in "I Don't Believe in Atheists" are, it lacks in a bigger-picture mindset. Just try reading the intro. He makes bold statements about Christian fundamentalism that aren't true at all, or don't accurately incase the beliefs of all christians. Many of these specifically envolve America and its views, which is completely off-topic and goes along the lines of his previous books and expieriences. He also goes awry in his tedious dissection of the new atheists, in which his points are valid, but lacking in zeal, ecspecially when the actual title of the book so bluntly states his point of view. Overall, Hedges makes some good points, but lacks ground to stand on beneath his thought-invoking, yet simplistic attacks on both Christianity and new atheists. 

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The God Debate
Science and Religion
The New Fundamentalism
The Myth of Moral Progress
Humiliation and Revenge
The Illusive Self

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About the author (2009)

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. He writes a weekly column for the online magazine Truthdig out of Los Angeles and is host of the Emmy Award­–winning RT America show On Contact. Hedges, who holds a Master of Divinity from Harvard University, is the author of the bestsellers American Fascists, Days of Destruction­, Days of Revolt, and was a National Book Critics Circle finalist for War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. He has taught at Columbia University, New York University, Princeton University, and the University of Toronto. He currently teaches college credit courses in the New Jersey prison system.

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