The National Catholic Register has a curious editorial, putting forth the idea that the resurgence in atheism is good because it's an argumentative form of atheism, compared to the oppressive (militant) form we saw and currently see in Communist countries where religion is outlawed; and, the apathetic-agnostic form, which just doesn't really care that God exists.
I don't think the editors have either spoken to a current atheist, looked at the writings of some serious modern atheists or read any of their blogs. Atheism is rotten in any form because it is Godless. That's its definition. To call any form of atheism better or worse than another is to miss the point. Atheism is still atheism despite whatever adjective you want to throw in front of it.
The editors cite the currently popular atheistic works of Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion) and Christopher Hitchens (God is Not Great) as evidence of this "intellectually honest" argumentative atheism. I don't buy it for a minute. Atheism has been around, undoubtedly, for as long as the Catholic Church has. For 2000 years, the Church has stood as a complete refutation of this unbelief system. God moves in every soul. Atheists consciously choose to ignore this.
This quote from C.S. Lewis in "Surprised by Joy," that I recently used on another post, hints at this:
In reading Chesterton, as in reading MacDonald, I did not know what I was letting myself in for. A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. . . . God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous.
The editorial uses my favorite quote from Chesterton:
Chesterton once said that “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.” We should welcome the resurgence of argumentative atheism. It’s a good chance to remind the world that we can now say atheism has been tried — and found to be wanting, difficult and destructive.
Yes, a healthy dose of Chesterton and Lewis, and other great Catholic apologists, is a good place to start. But, I think you'll find these argumentative atheists are no different than their militant and apathetic-agnostic brethren.
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