Thoughts on “Dawkins, Dennett and Hitchens: The New Theists?”

“It is as we show loving care and concern for existence, and as we participate fully in life, we proclaim the sacred even if we are not aware of it.

For wherever a concern of beauty, an embrace of life and a love of liberation are exhibited the sacred is proclaimed. In this way the passionate critiques of God propounded by the New Atheists can be seen as potent defenses of the sacred. Defenses that, at their best, are worthy of being called divine.”

(From “Dawkins, Dennett and Hitchens: The New Theists?” by Peter Rollins)

I have read this interesting article by Peter Rollins. As a Christian atheist (or a/theist) himself, I think he understands very well how those who are considered atheists by the religious fraternity think and operate since he himself is often at odds with the kind of fundamentalism prevalent in mainstream Christianity. I believe Pete is very much aware that much of atheism, and the main reason for people leaving organised religion to embrace atheism, is not so much a denial of God or Divine or sacred as it is a rejection of the religious notion of god that does not honour the sanctity of life or the right of freedom or the essence of beauty. As he put it: “For when someone rejects the notion of God because of the wars that have been fought over that name, as well as the abuse, the fundamentalism and the ecological destruction that is bound to so much religion, they are demonstrating a profound concern for both people and the planet. As such their attack is directly testifying to a depth dimension in existence.”

So contrary to what followers of institutional religions think, when someone say “I don’t believe in God” or “I reject Jesus”, they are actually saying they don’t believe in the tribal god that is mean and violent or they are rejecting the militant Jesus whose words have been taken literally and out of context by followers of evangelical Christianity to condemn and control others with fear and manipulation. They are instead choosing to experience the beauty of universe and the sacredness of life and the love of freedom outside the four walls of church institutions and the theological boxes of various denominational doctrines. “For wherever a concern of beauty, an embrace of life and a love of liberation are exhibited the sacred is proclaimed.”

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