The Anti-Christian Movement
I used to be an atheist. My understanding of "atheism" was simply that it is the belief that there is no God. I was an empiricist: I believed in what could be seen – the material world and nothing more. I did not hate Christians. At worst, I thought they were naïve and foolish for their religious beliefs, but I knew many Christians I respected, including for their insight and intelligence.
Today, "atheism" means something entirely different from a simple lack of belief in God. What atheism has become can be more accurately described as "the anti-Christian movement." It is a movement that assumes that Christianity isn't merely naïve and false, but a major cause of social ills, something worth the effort to actively ferret out and purge from our society. This anti-Christian crusade has been both supported by, and a natural outgrowth of, the much larger program of cultural Marxism.
Anti-clericalism is nothing new, but many atheists of the past were at least coherent. They believed that the complex triune God of Christianity was silly, but they didn't think Shiva, Allah, or Zeus was any better. Like me, they simply believed in the here and now and not in the unseen and scientifically unverifiable. The new atheists are different. They are not really bound by cold, materialist, scientific facts. Although they claim that science and reason are on their side, they often are not very knowledgeable about either. More often, they are interested only in co-opting the human authority science has acquired. Science is a brand for today's atheists, not a discipline. The new atheism is generally forgiving toward Hinduism and can be almost reverent regarding Buddhism. While I grant that Buddhism is essentially godless, it's a long way from being a collection of empirical facts. Buddha's claims are certainly no more objectively verifiable than Christ's. Nirvana is no easier to find on a star chart than the Christian Heaven.
Uninterested in hard materialism, today's atheists believe in an emotional narrative invented and reinvented at the whim of politically motivated human beings. Today's atheism is not a philosophical position, but a political one. Superficially, the anti-Christian movement espouses the view that Christianity is uniquely evil in its intolerance – their word for the fact that we have standards. Christianity, like Western civilization, is squeezed into the usual Marxist mold as just another instrument of oppression. But without batting an eye, many of today's atheists manage to believe that Islam, an objectively more intolerant, more misogynistic, and far more bloodthirsty system of beliefs than Christianity – is somehow forgivable, or even a net social boon. In truth, the new atheism isn't about helping the "oppressed" – any more than it is about the non-belief in God or the exclusive belief in the world we can grasp with our senses. It is about being a vocal part of the identity group of avid Christian-haters. A political entity. It is about inventing yet another substitute sense of identity and purpose to replace the Christian sense of identity and purpose that it struggles to destroy.
The anti-Christian movement of today, like all other Marxist or neo-Marxist splinter groups, draws its strength from a simple, if unstated, promise: All the world's aggrieved can acquire social acceptance and the unholy grail of victim status by denouncing someone else as an oppressor and working for his destruction.
In the preface of Richard Dawkins's book The God Delusion, we find the following revealing statement:
I suspect – well, I am sure – that there are lots of people out there who have been brought up in some religion or other, are unhappy in it, don't believe it, or are worried about the evils that are done in its name; people who feel vague yearnings to leave their parents' religion and wish they could, but just don't realize that leaving is an option.
This is a Marxist meme on the time-honored pattern. Marx himself was less whiney in tone, the product of more forthright times: "Workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!"
What Dawkins is saying, perhaps without even fully understanding the meme that he himself has swallowed, is that if you've been raised in a Christian household, you're a victim. By telling you this, Richard Dawkins makes himself a kind of revolutionary hero. If gold medals were awarded for virtue-signaling, The God Delusion would have won the prize for 2006. Am I being unfair? Perhaps where Dawkins lives, people who turn away from God are burned alive as witches. Perhaps – but I doubt it. The last time I checked, death sentences for apostasy were rather rare outside the Muslim world, where Dawkins's book is ineffective, being banned. Or maybe he was talking about only the sad fate of atheists being shunned by other people – the unspeakable emotional trauma of "stigma." Try openly declaring your Christian faith at all but a handful of universities in America, and you will find out exactly what intolerance and vindictive outrage is. Nor is it merely Dawkins who plays this tune. Other authors have likened a Christian upbringing to child abuse. This is a thinly veiled threat, since child abuse is punishable by law. Overall, the message is clear:
Renounce your faith and you'll have instant standing as a victim; keep it, and you will be counted as one of the few groups liberals are encouraged to hate – and potentially persecute as well.
While I'm not an advocate of affirmative action, it is telling that practically all new atheists are white, and most of them are men. This is probably no coincidence. If you are black, Latino, female, or any foreigner with solid non-white credentials, you have ready-made victim status that will charm the neo-Marxist heart. You don't need atheism to get your ration of liberal street cred. If you happen to be a white man, though, you have to make up something to earn your right to exist. Not all white men looking for a victim group to hide in are willing to emasculate themselves as anything from beta males to "transwomen," so anti-Christian militancy has been, for some, the painless alternative. As the tone of cultural Marxist rhetoric becomes more strident, however, the new atheism has lost most of its value as a refuge. Unlike being non-white, atheism is perceived as a matter of choice. It doesn't really count. Unlike being a surgically altered transsexual, mere Christian-hating isn't much of a commitment. In the weird and wondrous world of continuous social upheaval driven by social Marxist critical theory, atheists, like gay men, are yesterday's heroes – thrown into the liberal lake of fire as more radical departures from traditional society are concocted. God forgives – but Marxism has no room for either gratitude or forgiveness. Only the collective matters. The individual is a mere means.