“Atheism deserves better than the new atheists whose methodology consists of criticizing religion without understanding it, quoting texts without contexts, taking exceptions as the rule, confusing folk belief with reflective theology, abusing, mocking, ridiculing, caricaturing, and demonizing religious faith and holding it responsible for the great crimes against humanity. Religion has done harm; I acknowledge that. But the cure for bad religion is good religion, not no religion, just as the cure for bad science is good science, not the abandonment of science.” – Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
I love this quote from Rabbi Sacks (thx to Brandon Vogt for sharing it!). The fundamental flaw of the new atheism truly is that it “criticizes religion without understanding it.” And from there, without understanding it, any mockery, miscontext, ridicule or demonizing just comes off as uneducated. Of course, the fact that most religious folks don’t understand their own religion either is what has given the new atheism any traction whatsoever. But to anyone who understands good religion in the slightest, the new atheist is consistently seen as having entirely missed the point.
And of course, in an age where so many people have tossed out their own bad or (more commonly) misunderstood religion and replaced it with no religion and a hatred for “religious people,” the cure here is ever more important. The cure for bad religion is not “no religion.” The cure is good religion. The cure is going out and learning about and understanding good religion. There you’ll find the peace your heart and mind desire. There you’ll find eternal life.
Here’s some great commentary from Fr. Barron on the same subject of the new atheism: