Thursday, September 18, 2014

New Atheism and its Abuse of Women

The way we think is the way we live. If we think that we humans are merely another genus within the kingdom of animals, eventually, we will begin to treat others as animals.

Mark Oppenheimer has documented many instances of abuse among those sharing this worldview. Atheist women are complaining that they have abused by their atheist brethren:

  • For the past several years, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and online forums have become hostile places for women who identify as feminists or express concern about widely circulated tales of sexism in the movement. Some women say they are now harassed or mocked at conventions, and the online attacks — which include Jew-baiting, threats of anal rape, and other pleasantries — are so vicious that two activists I spoke with have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. One of these women has been bedridden for two years.

Why is such abuse taking place among the most “enlightened” ones – the “freethinkers,” those who are truly “bright?”

  • According to [atheist and evolutionist] PZ Myers, atheists and skeptics may be uniquely unable to recognize their own flaws. “You’ll find the atheists who say, ‘I’m rational, therefore I’m better than everybody else,’” Myers said. “They take it for granted that all of their beliefs and positions are founded on rational thinking.”

Arrogance breeds hardness – an unwillingness to be self-critical. This is a theme that is epidemic among all groups that believe that they are the “enlightened” ones. In Going Clear, an expose of the cult of Scientology, Lawrence Wright quotes a former Scientologist who claimed that those who felt that they had been liberated by this cult had actually been imprisoned by it:

  •  “You have all these thoughts, all these ways of looking at things, that are [the founder’s] L. Ron Hubbard’s … You think you are becoming more you, but within that is an implanted thing. (320-21)

Those who regard themselves “freethinkers” are sometimes the most bound up. Without humility and the awareness that there is still so much we need to learn, we cease to be students and resist any correction. Meanwhile, our false ideas will chasten us.

Believing that we are animals, we will act like animals and will reap the appropriate consequences. It seems that these atheists are beginning to receive the censure that they so well deserve. Orthodox Jewish writer, David Klinghoffer, has concluded:

  • Whether the rampant accusations of sexual harassment are all true, mostly true, or even just one quarter true, the New Atheism is a community that has a problem with women.

And women are understandably finding that they have a problem with it.

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