Chris Hedges observes that there are two radical, polarized and dangerous sides to the debate on faith and religion in America: the New Atheists who brand all religious belief as irrational and dangerous, and the Christian fundamentalists who see the religious faith as their exclusive prerogative. Both sides use faith to promote a radical agenda, and the religious majority, those believers with a commitment to tolerance and compassion as well as their faith, are too often caught in the middle.
I Don't Believe in Atheists critiques the radical mindset that rages against religion and faith. Hedges accuses the New Atheists of promoting a belief system that is not, as they say, based on reason, but is actually as fundamentalist and dangerous as the religious belief systems that they attack. The book identifies the main pillars of the New Atheist belief system, revealing that their stringent rules and rigid traditions are as strict as those of any religious practice. Those pillars include a simplified world view of us versus them, intolerance towards behaviors that are not understood, and a profound belief that science can resolve all issues related to human physical and spiritual existence.
Martin Luther famously said, "We all have gods, it just depends on which ones." Hedges uses that thought to shatter the New Atheists' assault against religion in America, and in doing so makes way for new, moderate voices to join the debate.
Praise for I Don't Believe in Atheists:
"Hedges is clear from the outset: there is nothing inherently moral about being either a believer or a nonbeliever. He goes a step further by accusing atheists of being as intolerant, chauvinistic, bigoted, anti-intellectual, and self-righteous as their archrivals, religious fundamentalists; in other words, as being secular versions of the religious Right. Like best-selling atheists Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and Daniel Dennett, Hedges is disgusted with the Christian Right, going so far as to call it the most frightening mass movement in American history. Even more disturbing for Hedges, however, is the notion, which many atheists and liberal churchgoers share, that as a species humanity can progress morally. There is nothing in human nature or human history to support the idea, Hedges maintains, nor that the flaws of human nature will ever be overcome. He discusses the dark sides of the Enlightenment, Darwinism, consumer culture, the justifications for America’s wars (including in Vietnam and now Iraq), and obsession with celebrity, among other equally hot topics. His purpose in this small, thought-provoking book is, he says, to help Americans, in particular, accept the limitations of being human and, ultimately, face reality." —Booklist, starred review
"A relentless, deeply considered defense of the religious impulse." —In These Times