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Monday, January 08, 2007

The Just Don't Make Atheists Like They Used To.

There was a good piece in the Weekender section of the Wall Street Journal lamenting the decline in quality of modern atheists. Whereas in Victorian times atheist faithful counted among their numbers such luminaries as Darwin, Shaw H.G. Wells and Matthew Arnold, the best modern atheism can offer up today for inspiration is the very loud Dr. Richard Dawkins (fellow Boomers, don’t confuse him with the legendary Richard Dawson, cast member of the 60s Television classic “Hogan’s Heroes” and erstwhile quiz master). The author of the essay, Sam Schulman, makes the interesting observation that while many of the Victorian atheist intellectuals experienced and expressed a genuine sense of loss (as they surely did) over their apostasy, today’s atheist isn't sad at all, just plain, raging mad, with Dr. Dawkins perhaps the angriest, expressed in his recently published quiet and reasoned apologia, “The God Delusion.” (Oddly, Schulman makes no mention in his article of the gold-standard of modern atheism, the late harridan Madalyn Murray O’Hair, someone for whom the devil must still be kicking himself for luring into his realm.) Dawkins and Co. are apoplectic because after years and years of thoughtful and reasoned discourse, vast numbers of people, especially in these here benighted and deplorable United States still don’t buy their argument. Read the essay and have sympathy for these poor unhappy souls. And feel their pain.

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