Atheism versus New Atheism


A subject I’ve been reading a little about, online, and also thinking about for some time is the discussion concerning New Atheism versus Atheism. There are many out there saying the reason that atheists are making any headway at all is that in New Atheism, atheists are now unafraid to speak up.

I really don’t see this as the case. Atheists, as far as I can remember, have always been vocal. The difference today than say, 25 years ago, are the ways in which we are able to express ourselves.

Consider not that long ago it was difficult to connect with other atheists anywhere. Today, not only can we connect with atheists in and around our community, but all around the world.

Social media is a big difference. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc., all allow us to connect with each other and also with those that may be interested in what we say. Yes, even blogging, which seems to be diminishing somewhat, has been and still is a way for atheists to communicate between ourselves and the wider community of non-atheists.

So for me, New Atheism is nothing more than the growth of technology that allows us to use various media to get our message to the world.

4 thoughts on “Atheism versus New Atheism

  1. >No reference at all to elevatorgate

    Man you have no idea how early the signs of trash moving in were. As soon as Hitchens died a bunch of useless feminists with low-effort declared themselves “the new horsemen” and started defending Islam. Freethought Kampala has a good fairly neutral summary.

    • My post wasn’t about the people like Dawkins or Hitchens. In fact, before “The God Delusion” (2007) I’d never heard of Dawkins. i knew of Hitchens as a political pundit, not an atheist. I’ve read something, several years ago, from Freethought Kampala that described what you’re referring to but I never considered any of those people more than an annoyance. I was writing about them in 2012.

  2. I think the new atheists (e.g., Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens) reflected a difference in tone, marketing, and mass appeal more than content. There were plenty of vocal atheists before them, but having so many writing new books and talking about them around the same time was something new. Whether it was accurate or not, it seemed like we were seeing the beginning of a real shift. Sharp criticism of religion was okay, and some of the taboos were being directly challenged. Good times!

    • I had never heard of Dawkins or Harris before 2008. Hitchens I knew as he was a political pundit on TV a lot. What I was getting at was the advent of all of this technology has helped atheists “spread the word” so that “New Atheism” to me is about the technology, not really the people.

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