The Salon’s been interviewing Richard Rodriguez on his beliefs and he takes the opportunity to fire a shot across the bows of new atheism. and atheists in general.
To him it reeks of Neo-Colonialism. And that seems rather odd really.
So here’s the flip side of that. You write about the “New Atheism” emerging from England, catching on here. How is it new and why does it seem like a dead end to you?
The Salon asks this question and his response I fear is simply not true.
It seems to me that the New Atheism — particularly its recent gaudy English manifestations — has a distinctly neo-colonial aspect. (As Cary Grant remarked: Americans are suckers for the accent!)
Neo-Colonialism is the idea of cultural imperialism. The utilisation of economical and culturak (and even military) pressure to change the “old colonies” and other non-first world nations. An example of “neo-colonialism” in the USA would be the Big Bang Theory.
It’s currently playing all across the world and influencing language in places like India and China. It’s one of the biggest shows out here. Many TV stations show NOTHING but re-runs of it on the weekends.
There is also the idea of winning hearts and minds and such in Afghanistan and Iraq. Changing existing social structure in another country to suit us.
It’s “Gaudy” English Manifestation is just pure elitist bullshit. It’s the reason Americans like Hugh Grant.
Rather than Hugh Laurie. One is a bumbling stuttering oaf (or plays them on TV) and the other made a living playing bumbling stuttering oafs and produced a powerful performance as a modern day Sherlock Holmes. Our accents are not gaudy, you just associate our actions with poshness because we were always made to play posh villains or posh people. Unless we spoke like Eliza fucking Doolittle (Guvnah!)
On the one hand, the New Atheist, with his plummy Oxbridge tones, tries to convince Americans that God is dead at a time when London is alive with Hinduism and Islam.
Dear Atheists in General.
This is why you need to get some ex-Muslims/Hindus and get them speaking and adding to our discussion. Because people think it’s just “Oxford White Guys”.
Because people simply don’t believe me when I say that I am a Hindu atheist. And that I never believed in Jehovah or any of the gods of Abrahamic origin. I have had a surprising number of people claim that I am a “secret Muslim” because I have shown an above average knowledge about Islam and have corrected misconceptions.
(The empiric nightmare: The colonials have turned on their masters and transformed the imperial city with their prayers and their growing families, even while Europe disappears into materialistic sterility.)
Que? There are around 1 Million Asians in the UK and around 1 Million Muslims. There are around 59 Million non-Muslims. This “horde” is not that hordey? This is hardly a transformation. I mean everytime I have been to London I have not seen this transformation of Mosques and Temples replacing the Church.
Christopher Hitchens, most notably, before his death titled his atheist handbook as a deliberate affront to Islam: “God Is Not Great.” At the same time, he traveled the airwaves of America urging us to war in Iraq — and to maintain borders that the Foreign Office had drawn in the sand. With his atheism, he became a darling of the left. With his advocacy of the Iraq misadventure, he became a darling of the right.
Again, I repeat. Due to our portrayal of the “Four Horsemen”, Christopher Hitchens’ faux pas about Iraq has become a defining characteristic of all atheists. HAHA! You supported the war in Iraq!
Not really. No. I got to see the effects of one war first hand and I didn’t like the second much either. I also have lost near and dear friends to war and so would never gleefully support a war. To me a war is a failure, it is the failure of civility and diplomacy. It is a tragedy.
But again this misrepresents atheists as simplistic and colonial. Our lack of diversity has been used to harm us before. Atheism needs new voices and needs diversity. We need to look beyond Christianity to find our diversity.