Atheists don’t believe in the existence of God, at least that’s how the mantra goes.
Except it’s not that cut and dried, new atheism measures atheists on a consortium sliding scale where many tend towards agnostic to a greater degree, so by definition they atheists who don’t know if God exists or aren’t sure.
It’s a way to evade their own burden of proof claim, but to be clear it’s only a requirement in a court of law and since believers aren’t in the dock last time we checked, there’s no onus on them to prove anything.
The point being there are strong atheists and weak atheists; and materialists fit the first category and agnostics the second; with everyone else in-between.
As a character in one of Tom Stoppard’s plays aptly remarked; there is presumably a calendar date when the onus of proof passed from the atheist to the believer, when quite suddenly, secretly, the noes had it. We are well past that point.
Astronomer Fred Hoyle was an atheist and a bit of a maverick in the world of science. He uttered these famous words:
A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature.
Another atheist, philosopher Thomas Nagel, who was at least honest if nothing else had this to say:
I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well informed people I know are religious believers.
It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and naturally hope there is no God. I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.
British author and political commentator Douglas Murray has de-converted from Christianity; and now goes by the name of Christian Atheist.
He is a breath of fresh air when compared with New Atheist militants; he says he doesn’t understand atheists who hope Christianity is not true.
In fact he doesn’t get them at all and hopes Christianity retains its weirdness; maybe he means mystery?
He’s also on the counter cultural side too which is a relief.
About his de-conversion he says it’s complicated.
Murray’s book Madness of Crowds has been said to be a dystopian vision of new justice movements, which aren’t about justice at all; just the opposite.
Much has been written about how this new wave has its own kind of ersatz religion, complete with its own creeds, blasphemies, prophets and martyrs.
This is not quite the future the New Atheists envisioned, they thought their books and lectures would usher in a new religion-free rationalist’s golden age.
They should have heeded the words of philosopher David Foster Wallace; in the day- to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.
Too many Churches on both sides of the pond decided a while ago that the only way to remain relevant was to gut their own statements of faith and serve up the political flavor of the day, all wrapped up in a slightly spiritual package.
This irritates Murray like it irritates his colleague and fellow uneasy agnostic; Tom Holland.
You had one job they both want to shout.
In any case the term Christian atheist is an oxymoron; like a wise fool, no such thing exists.