Illogical Atheism

IllogicalAtheismSuggested by Brad Nelson • Since the inauguration of the ‘New Atheist Movement’ more than ten years ago, modern atheism has transitioned from the mere rejection of mainstream religion to the proliferation of a (not entirely new) breed of fundamentalism.
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20 Responses to Illogical Atheism

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Not only can’t you tell a book by its cover, you can’t tell a book by its title either. This is especially the case, for example, with John Lennox’s “God’s Undertaker,” a title which I think doesn’t do justice to the depth and breadth of the book.

    The same with “Illogical Atheism” whose title does nothing to separate it from the hundred other polemics on the subject, some good, some ham-fisted. And you wouldn’t know from the title if the author was trying to sell you religion or just barking at the moon.

    In “Illogical Atheism,” author Bo Jinn is like John Lennox on steroids. Lennox destroys the atheists/materialists/naturalists in “God and Stephen Hawking,” and he generally does it with a smile, even while not flinching from being direct when he needs to be. In “Illogical Atheism,” Jinn pulls no punches. And although he’s not exactly frowning, nor is he shouting, he pulls no punches and has a directness that has gone missing in most political analysis. (That he sounds like me is surely just a coincidence and a bit of self-flattery.) This is an expert and brutal dismantling of New Atheism which is a creed of kooks, fundamentalists, and potentially dangerous radicals.

    I’m 31% into this book and can easily say that for $3.00 you’ll get your money’s worth. The author’s rapier intelligence is reminiscent of Theodore Dalrymple. In fact, both of these fellows are British which may account for some similarities, although I can’t imagine that there is much in the air of Britain these days that facilitates thoughtful analysis. They are just two shining and singular stars.

    And a funny thing happened on the way to reading about the theology of New Atheism. Most of the passages I underlined I did so because they also pertain to libertarians. There is a striking resemblance in the basic attitudes and motivations. Here are a few examples. I’ve bolded the main areas of confluence:

    It is hard to put a finger on what had prompted my initial fascination with the new atheists, although a general dislike for reckless egotism and self-proclaimed intellectual superiority was probably the most powerful motivator for the writing of this book.


    …but it was only upon more careful examination that I realized that what I was reading were dangerous manifestos, containing the deranged juvenile ramblings of emotionally unstable religious extremists that would only really appeal to other emotionally unstable juveniles.


    Scientists throughout history had observed that the highest form of knowledge, and indeed the highest form of science, is one that admits the yielding of the senses to human reasoning and creativity in a symbiotic harmony.  By isolating and emphasizing one part of the equation and shutting out the other, one renders oneself, quite literally, mentally deficient.  It is my firm belief that atheism proper, or intellectual atheism, cited for the supposed ‘intellectual irreconcilability’ between theism and science, can be traced back as a direct result of this deficiency in human thinking. 

    Subtitute “Government authority” for “church authority”:

    We can trace the emotive root for contemporary atheism to three principal driving forces behind western culture, which are: 1)      The western materialist/consumerist/hedonistic revolution.   2)      Contempt for the religious authority (specifically the Christian Church) in an increasingly rebellious liberal west seeking to liberate itself from sexual/other taboos (sexual orientation, promiscuity, multiple marriages, abortion etc.), not to mention the backlash from clerical child-abuse and other religious scandals.   3)      The attacks on September 11th, 2001 and the media’s sensationalization of religious fundamentalism in the course of the last decade.

    Libertarians share with New Atheists a propensity toward anarchy (again, substitute “government” for “Christian church”):

    Be all that as it may, the fact remains that recent history has instilled a profound psycho-cultural suspicion of any form of authority which threatens to impinge on liberty, and the one institution suffered above all others has been the Christian Church. 

    And replace “Church” with “Lincoln,” “September 11th” with “Civil War,” “Christian” with “Federal,” and you’ll see the similarities:

    Rather than taking attention away from the Church, the events of September 11th, which prompted the first publications of new atheist literature, seemed to invigorate matters.  As far as the western mind is concerned, the larger part of the vendetta being witnessed it is specifically directed against some deluded notion of Christian authoritarianism.  In new atheist script we find that this idea has been snidely hampered by an almost mechanistic association to Middle-Eastern authoritarian and fundamentalist Islam.  In other words, the Church has become the ultimate straw-man[26] for new atheism to fuel its fire.

    And I have a good friend who has studied this issue and believes that libertarians tend to think of themselves as victims.

    Western minds are far more content to wallow among themselves, ascribing all the world’s misfortunes to some governmental or religious conspiracy- the most sordid form of moral laziness conceivable.  We seek to blame anything and everything except ourselves for anything we possibly can.  This is the morally crippling side-effect of postmodern relativism; another great gift of secular thought.  And the more traditionally righteous and authoritative the target, the riper for blame it will be, and religious authority fits the bill quite perfectly.  What could be more dazzling than a rallying diatribe in an age of liberty and relativism?  How nauseating.

    And the following, with very few changes, could explain be the libertarian creed:

    The rise of ‘irreligion’ is not about the supposedly insurmountable intellectual difficulties or all the terrible evils of religion anywhere near as much as it is about a deep dislike of religious authority brought on by western liberalism, coupled with the sort of self-righteous pride which molds the mind of the anti-political conspiracy-theorist anarchist rebel.  The secularization of the western world facilitated a crucial break from religious institution.  As a result we find ourselves in a situation where people are extremely wary of any force that seeks to impinge on that newfound liberty.  This unquenchable thirst for freedom breeds rebellion.  Unfortunately, rebellious emotion is an extremely shaky foundation on which to build a worldview.

    Again, libertarians as with atheists tend to see themselves as victims:

    It appears that new atheism would like to portray its worldview as some kind of “oppressed culture”, ousted by the relentless and tyrannical onslaught of religion.

    Libertarians, like New Atheists, are also difficult to pin down on specific issues:

    What’s more, atheists have gone to great lengths to maintain that tangled web of obliviousness, and for good reason:  It is a masterful defence mechanism.  After all, one need not justify a belief which is only known to oneself.

    Another common thread between atheism and libertarianism is this “personal intellectual grandeur”:

    There is no conceivable lie or demi-truth that is large or extravagant enough that you cannot get people to believe it; especially if it is scandalous, and feeds the vain illusions of personal intellectual grandeur to which 21st century man is so prone. 

  2. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    In this quote that author shows a common characteristic — one that I think is expressed both by the New Atheists and the libertarians:

    It is the same characteristic of Anglo-American liberal culture that gives birth to the anarchist and the conspiracy theorist.  There is a deep seated urge in western liberal society to revolt against what we are taught and to distrust what we are told by anyone with any authority over us, especially if it had been at a tender young age.  It is a compulsion born of an obsessive belief that forces of control are out to manipulate the masses. 

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I’ve noticed this before, a reflexive rejection among liberal ideologues of authority figures. What makes this especially remarkable is that their policies would increase the role of such figures. At least the libertarians are consistent in their reflexive opposition to authority.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I was just talking behind-the-scenes with Mr. Kung about this phenomenon. I wondered what was in the water or air that was making people feel the need to be intellectually and morally superior. And I wondered if he had the answer.

        And he did not disappoint. And I don’t think he’ll mind me paraphrasing him: When people forgot about anything larger than themselves (such as the idea of God, regardless of the particular doctrine), then what tends to predominate is the idea of “Man is the measure of all things.” And all our little internal monsters then start coming out — all the things that had been bottled up by having a context and commitments higher than one’s ego.

        Mr. Kung will no doubt set me right where I have failed to clearly articulate his position. But I think that is nearly correct. And I certainly agree with it.

  3. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Here are a couple more interesting quotes from the book:

    It seems to me, like the project of creating secularised moral system; a vain effort to reconcile a naturalist worldview with all essential facets of human experience, simultaneously trying to retain all those precious notions stemming from a belief in ultimate purpose grounded in a personal God, and there has yet be an atheist to achieve this in any logically convincing way.  The atheist is consequently finds himself committed to a set of logical contradictions; that he is free, except there is no such thing as freedom; that all men are basically good, though moral goodness itself is only useful fiction; and, finally, that his life has meaning in a universe that has none – or none that we can possibly know of at any rate.  Modern atheism is the Jackson Pollock of all worldviews; an elaborate and visually appealing, abstract mess.


    God could have created things this way?!”  In keeping with the pattern fallacious prediction presented in the previous chapter, we project our own pre-conceived idea of how things ought to be.  We feel we ought to live in a world where there is no such thing as pain; no such thing as evil.  Common sense (not so common at the best of times), after all, dictates that that is the sort of world any reasonable god would want for his beloved creatures.  Hence, we see only “blind, pitiless indifference.”  Evolution, therefore, becomes nothing more than an extension of the “evidential problem of evil and suffering”.


    One focuses on order, the other on disorder.  Theists are inclined to view the universe as a grand and beautifully designed machine.  Atheists, on the other hand, are disposed see it as a chaotic mess. 

    I’m not trying to place myself in the middle. But one can’t help noticing that the universe is both things: grand and ugly, ordered and disordered, wonderful and a mess. Is “religion,” proper (theistic or atheistic), the ability or desire to slice off the parts you like and just go with it?

    The New Atheists are clearly a Master-Race clique of juveniles whose worldview is forever stuck in junior high school beliefs and metaphysics. And I don’t mean to be insulting. But most of the beliefs and opinions taken up by the Richard Dawkins crowd might have been deemed clever when you were 13 years old and first dealing with some of the big issues. It’s not wrong to have naive thoughts. But it’s unbecoming to have them as an adult or even as a young adult.

    But our kids (and adults) having been mind-f**ked by the Left. It’s left them intellectually and emotionally barren, or at least simple-minded. Many people just don’t have the skills to deal thoughtfully with big issues, so they are attracted to simplistic ideologies (such as atheism or libertarianism) which not only promises all of the answers but, more importantly, promises to paint the holder of such beliefs as supremely intelligent.

    The well of Christendom (including Western Civilization, in general) has been poisoned by the Marxists. And instead of exposing the lies, the little egotistical skulls-full-of-much are simply in a juvenile-like rebellion. As Jinn notes:

    The veer toward atheism in Europe, like the rest of the western world, has been due mostly to a willful disassociation with the Christian religion, of which the word “God” is uncomfortably reminiscent.  It is not because of the intellectual difficulties that belief in a higher power poses to post-enlightenment man. 

    Interestingly, Jinn say that a 2010 poll in Europe showed that 80% of Europeans still believed in some kind of guiding spirit or overall higher power. But they just didn’t believe in the Christian god. Clearly the Marxists have been successful at undermining our society. But they haven’t quite quashed the most basic strivings of mankind.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I rather liked that first quoted paragraph. It perfectly encapsulates the logical contradictions of so many modern intellectuals. To be fair, many of them have no interest in logical reasoning, so it should be no surprise.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        There’s a mental fascism that goes along with this New Atheism. It’s seen in the intolerance they show to others. Someone told me yesterday of an incident where someone was holding a prayer at some meal or function and an atheist objected.

        This is the New Atheism, a bunch of punks, anarchists, and Master Race wannabes. It used to be considered civilized and polite to give a certain amount of deference to those of other faiths or denominations, within reason. For instance, no Protestant would think of causing a stink if some Catholic priest gave an invocation at some dinner. And vice versa.

        But these New Atheists are, for all intents and purposes, bed-wetters. They haven’t grown up. They retain the kind of self-centered disposition that might be cute in a two-year-old but is totally inappropriate in adults. They are ideological bullies and don’t play nice with other people. This New Atheism isn’t about not believing in God. It’s about eradicating and opposing those who don’t share the atheist faith. In that regard, they are no better than the bullies of Islam.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          I think the best way to handle the extreme christophobes is by comparing them to vampires. Pointing out that they react to the cross the same way Dracula did is a good way of dramatizing their intolerance.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Works for me! But I think the core component is the well-ingrained bigotry and smug sense of superiority. Atheism is likely more of a psychological phenomenal than anything else. It’s a very tight circle-jerk of circular reasoning, half-baked ideas, and prejudices — all topped with often bizarre characterizations of someone else’s religion, philosophy, or point of view.

            Aka “kooks.” I have no problem with someone not believing someone’s religion. But that isn’t the issue here. The issue is, in my opinion, a bunch of zealots who, for whatever reason, have the gross need to think of themselves as superior to everyone else.

  4. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    It’s interesting that this book is full of small mistakes in grammar…mostly of missing prepositions and such. Here are a few more quotes. Again, you might see the commonalities with libertarianism:

    By now the reader should have become wise enough to this pattern of verbal trickery.  The intended illusion is, to put it bluntly; “God is for the rationally deficient”.  That belief, in turn, becomes a doorway to the atheist religion for anyone stupid enough to think that they are terribly wise – a marvelous piece of underhanded evangelization.

    My bolding. I told you there were some similarities. And after a pretty good take-down of the lame “multiverse” theory, Jinn writes:

    Cosmology has caused atheism to cower into the minute nook of uncertainty that lies in that 10–43 seconds prior to plank time from whence the new atheist movement has tried to squeeze out all the mysteries of nothingness and eternity in order to afford itself a barely stable platform from whence to amass a small nation of gullible and emotionally impressionable pre-pubescents.

    Again, my bolding. And I’m not making this stuff up. And tell me that Bo Jinn, for better or for worse, doesn’t occasionally sound like me.

    Atheism, like libertarianism, is the club for the uncivilized, egotistical male who sees himself as a victim and thus his all-encompassing rebellion is justified in his own mind.

    Now, I’ll be first to say that God can be a dirty bastard. I don’t know how anyone with the barest sense of history could think otherwise. This world we are thrust into is not Romper Room or Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. It’s often bloody, ugly, unjust, and randomly unkind.

    But there are obviously good things too. So one has the choice of what to worship. You can do as Islam has done and elevate the inherent combativeness of life to a sacred and never-ending Jihad, aligning with the war god of Allah. You can do as Christians have done who propose that despite life being hard, they will not be hardened. Or you can do as atheists do and be eternally aggrieved bed-wetters, complaining that life doesn’t meet their exalted expectations.

  5. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I finished this book this weekend. I thought it was terrific, even if it is a somewhat specialized area. But if you want to know the baseline thought patterns of the “secular” culture out there, you should read this book.

    And take a look at this wonderful description of the Brave New World brought to you by atheism/humanism:

    Each manifesto, taken together, enunciate all of the commonly accepted atheistic creeds of what had fittingly been designated by atheist and humanist John J. Dunphy as “the Religion for the New Age”.  And I quote Mr. Dunphy on the aim which these atheist manifestos set out to achieve: “I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call “divinity” in every human being. These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of the educational level—preschool, daycare, or large state university. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new—the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism, resplendent with its promise of a world in which the never-realized Christian ideal of “love thy neighbor” will finally be achieved. Then perhaps we will be able to say with Tom Paine that “the world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.” It will undoubtedly be a long, arduous struggle replete with much sorrow and many tears, but humanism will emerge triumphant. It must if the family of humankind is to survive.”

    • Timothy Lane says:

      In other words, the purpose of “free, compulsory public education” is not to educate but to indoctrinate. Of course, this was pointed out in Michael Crichton’s The Terminal Man over 40 years ago. And I gather this was John Dewey’s purpose all along.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism, resplendent with its promise of a world in which the never-realized Christian ideal of “love thy neighbor” will finally be achieved.

      A clear statement whence their ideology springs. These people hate Christianity specifically. They are not nearly so bothered about other faiths. Why? Because Christianity and Western Culture are intertwined. The West is not thinkable without our Christian heritage. Thus hating Christianity, they hate Western culture.

      All the rest is tangential.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Part of this is that alienated people reject the society they came from. So the militant atheists reject Christianity and their own society (as it currently exists). It’s much like militant libertarians who seemed to find America worse than the Soviet Union because the former was oppressing them and the latter wasn’t. It’s all very narcissistic.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          Part of this is that alienated people reject the society they came from.

          So true. Alienated people attack that which they are familiar with.

          A couple of other points. While there are alienated people all around the world, the West generally allowed dissent and difference far more than other areas. Thus the society they hated and felt suppressed them, allowed Western malcontents to manifest their hatred far more openly than would have be tolerated elsewhere.

          For the last two hundred years or so, the West has allowed many groups of non-Western people to immigrate and become citizens. This has created tensions which would might otherwise have been avoided.

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