There has not been a single well known atheist(Dawkins, Harris, Dillahunty) that has come out and acknowledged that, perhaps, just maybe, we have gone down the wrong civilizational path. No, they have not admitted that abandoning God may have led to a vacuum of which there is no better replacement. They have not theorized that their devil — dogmatism — very well may be as natural as the sun rise, or the cycles of the moon. Why not? Wouldn’t you think so-called “skeptics” may be skeptical of a society that has collapsed under the rule of their narrative. Now they would say that some generous portion of the Western nations still claim belief in a God, or angels(no doubt in a snarky tone), and thus we cannot actually claim to live in an atheist country. But one could easily counter with the same statistics. The world is as lonely and chaotic as ever(look at suicide and drug overdose statistics), this chaos has ensued in direct correlation with dropping church attendance and self proclaimed atheism. The likes of Harris and Dawkins are experiencing healthy book sales, no doubt, are their ideas not on the ascendancy? So what would get these guys to admit that there is an inverse correlation between dropping belief in god and rising chaos and reversion to tribalism? The answer seems to be: nothing.
Clearly, if hordes of rioters chanting for the deaths of Whites in such hackneyed and unimaginative ways as “kill the colonizers”, and brazen calls for the destruction of Jesus won’t convince you these people are atheists, then you’re just being disingenuous. Or, perhaps, you are being dogmatic. That has been an open secret in circles of Christian apologia for quite a while now; that being the fact that the New Atheists are militant dogmatists. Harris and his cohort are as dogmatic as they come. Yet these men champion an abandoning of all, I repeat, all, dogma? I’m sorry, and I do not mean to be rude, but there is nothing to call that but hypocritical. That is not meant to be a personal attack, but I do not know what else to call it.
Mind you, these are the same guys that claim to be “secular humanists”. Without allowing time for research, I would pay any well-known atheist $1,000 dollars if they could give me even an elementary rundown on intellectual origins of Humanism. They couldn’t do it. I also add to that challenge a $500 dollar prize to any well-known atheist that can tell me who Gregory the Great was and what he contributed to European history.
Just like they couldn’t tell you the difference between facts and values(is Love a fact, Sam Harris?), yet promise you that science is on the brink of being able to measure morality with science via parsing through which are the most worth while values, they couldn’t tell you the origins of their precious “secular humanism.” The reason this is such a tall task for them is simple: they are sophists. They do not know the history, only how to talk around it. Their ideas are not rooted in history or literature. It is going to be tough for the New Atheists to moor their ideas against men who can use more than the art of rhetoric and scientism to back up their ideas. Why is that? Because sometimes the deeper truth lies in history and literature.
Why was Jordan Peterson able to turn so many atheists into, if not full-blown believers, born again skeptics? Because he brought history and literature to the table. The likes of Dillahunty and Harris couldn’t bring literature to the table because, A. They don’t know our great literature and B. If they did delve into the past, they would have a hard time reading a literary giant that was trying to convince people of the absurdity of God. The closest thing to it are the absurdists(Kafka and Camus chief amongst them) and they do not argue for the absurdity of God, but merely the absurdity of life; this literary movement has become a lynchpin in the intellectual history of well-read Christians. We can acknowledge the absurdity of life, the Greeks did it and Christianity would not exist without said intellectual precursors of Ancient Greece. This is made patently clear in Camus’ “The Myth of Sisyphus”. Bring the short essay to an atheist. The dichotomy present within human life could not have been outlined more clearly.
Sisyphus was a mortal King who, essentially, refused to die. Cheating death, he escapes the underworld and returns to Earth only to be caught by Zeus. His punishment is as severe as it is eternal. Sisyphus is doomed to begin eternity at the foot of a steep mountain; before him lies a massive boulder. He is to toil and suffer, pushing the boulder to the top of the mountain, only to see it roll back down after reaching the peak. All of his work is for nothing. His immense pain and misery are born of two realities. A. This punishment is eternal and B. He will have nothing to show for it. Despite his hard work, the boulder will never stay atop the mountain; all progress is doomed to be lost.
Now, whether we like it or not, this is in many ways analogous to human life. No matter how hard you work, no matter how much you struggle, your boulder will someday come rolling back down the mountain, and all that you worked for will become dust in the wind. Ecclesiastes 1:2 makes clear, “Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.” The law practice you opened that dons your name will someday close and be forgotten. Maybe your only son will not bear children, putting an end to your bloodline. The years you spent learning Japanese will result in a day where you are six feet under and can no longer speak. The point being all will one day be lost. But there is one crucial distinction between man’s toiling and the misery of Sisyphus; our suffering is not eternal, we have a way out.
No matter what sophistry the New Atheists try to employ, under the mighty shadow of Sisyphus’ mountain, they have no reasonable answer to the question: why don’t you just end this and kill yourself? The only answer to that question is rhetoric, and will always fail to address the essential question of Camus’ absurd(in the literary sense) essay. Namely, what do we do in the face of assured destruction? Christians have answers to that question that the greatest geniuses of Europe meditated on for thousands of years. We cannot end this journey because our lives are not merely our own.
You see, the benefit of being a part of an intellectual tradition is that you do not have to start over, you do not have to answer these questions yourself. Much to the dismay of the New Atheists, neither do they. I say unfortunately because, well, they will swear up and down that they do answer the questions themselves, but the reality of the situation is much more, shall we say, limited. No matter how hard an atheist tries, human beings cannot escape the miasma of their own civilization. Your ideas can never be fully your own. And so we go back to the fundamental lie of the New Atheists, something called Secular Humanism. Their refuge, the tree under which they hide, was born of this, the 1500 year old brainchild of Gregory the Great.
You see, the human mind is a construct of finitude; it’s corporealized in a finite computer(the brain) and is manifest on a finite plain(the world). This leaves the Secular Humanists, those men whose chief concern is an infinitely vague idea called “well-being”, with two options. It must first be said that “well-being” is the cornerstone of the secular humanist project; to seek “personal well-being” is what they wish to replace traditional worship and prayer. But “well-being”, this phrase, standing on its own is not enough to effectively replace God; it is not substantive enough. Thus the options are as follows, A. Look back into history and work with past ideas(this though, brings back the idea that there is something in the past that may be worth preserving, thus risking rediscovering Christian ideas) or B. Make up your own ideas to work with. Let us start with B.
B is a terrible option. This is simply because one man coming up with ideas to replace God is a bit, well, cult like, and such a man risks painting himself as someone with a bit of a God-complex. Not to mention it likely took hundreds if not thousands of men to spread the oral tradition that gave birth to the Bible, which incorporated likely thousands of years of prior wisdom and intellectual history. It is just an impossibility for one man to do that. Seeing as how the New Atheists have struggled to build anything substantive in a way of defining “well-being” it seems that not even a movement of men can do it either. To come to a collective vision of well-being seems to necessitate both a civilization and a story to guide collective society.
Now what about option A? Look back into history and work with past ideas? Well, I would argue that this is what they have already done, but would never acknowledge they are doing. In fact, that was the titular claim of the essay: New Atheism is derivative, it’s unoriginal. Derivative of what, exactly? Of Christianity. Humanism was born from the Gregorian monastic tradition. The Gregorian monastic tradition was born from a Saint. St. Gregory the Great emphasized that only through virtuous human action could the spark of human divinity be manifest on Earth. His call to look inward, his call for meditation and deep thought on the human condition was what awakened man to his own divinity in the name of Christ. There is no Humanism without Catholic tradition, period. Not to mention the fact that there is no Italian Renaissance, the art movement that arguably placed Humanism too highly within the socio-religious hierarchy, without Catholic Humanism. That is to say the most beautiful art, art that millions of people fly thousands of miles to see every year, the peak of human creativity, would not have existed without Christian Humanism. The “Secular Humanists” have taken the peak of Christian beauty and stripped away the divine spark that birthed Humanism in the first place. Secular Humanism is oxymoron because Humanism is centered around the divinity of the human heart; there is nothing secular about it. No matter how hard anyone tries to rebrand Humanism, history is not a force to be warped and remolded according to man’s desire; in the most colloquial terms, it is what it is. Humanism is Catholic, and no amount of white washing or lies can change that.