Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens may be rude, but they have been effective

The vehemence, perhaps even violence, with which Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens attack religious belief makes many people uncomfortable. Yes, they are rude, and a lot of atheists give them crap about it, but not me.

Sure, they all claim to have heard from people who have heard their rants and converted on the spot to atheism, but for the most part I think they preach to the choir, anger the faithful and amuse everyone else. However ineffective I think they are at evangelizing for unbelief directly, I think they provide an excellent counterweight to the religious right. They make the moderate doubt of liberal Christianity, humanists, Unitarian Universalists and the "spiritual, but not religious" crowd seem very sensible by comparison, whereas those groups seemed radical when the religious right ruled the airwaves.

Over the last few years, 3 conservative churches a week have been closing, and 0.7 liberal churches have been opening every week in the United States. So I say, go to it Richard. Give'em hell Sam. Hit them with your best metaphor Christopher! Religion isn't going away any time soon, but the beginning of the decline of conservative religion is a good start.

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Comment by Andy O. Williams on September 28, 2009 at 6:56am
I think that their style of oratory is blunt and can indeed be considered rude but at least people do pay attention to them. The original preachers must have come across the same way but eventually their words won out. Hopefully the same will be said in the future about Dawkins, Hitchens and the like.
Comment by Misty: Baytheist Living! on September 28, 2009 at 8:57am
They are like little Burger King kids-meal wind up toys.
I want to turn the key on them over and over until they are all spooled up tight, then just let them go in the general direction of the crazed religious masses.
Comment by Henry Ruddle on September 28, 2009 at 11:27am
I keep Letter to a Christian Nation on my nightstand for a quick read now and then since it is so much fun. However, I also keep in mind that Harris is beating up a strawman. Very few of the fundies I have met really believe what they claim to believe, so their fundie-ness is more like team membership than a fully formed worldview. That's why it's so great that we have the Four Horsemen Team to make the Lukewarm Theist Team seem more credible. I think they have had the same effect on the Theistic Evolution Team as well.


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