On the heels of the success of abrasive books such as Christopher Hitchen's God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, a film called Religulous, starring Bill Maher, is about to be released. I just saw a trailer, and it seems to aspire to new levels of smugly ignorant intolerance.
I loved the following letter, written to the editors of WIRED Magazine in response to an article about the neo-Atheist movement:
Gary Wolf describes the disdain that the New Atheists have for believers. One could argue that religious fervor has caused more grief than any other motivator (see the Crusades, the Inquisition, ongoing Middle East unrest). But the root cause of such strife is not belief in God – it’s intolerance of the beliefs of others. The conviction that one’s chosen religion is the only path to salvation and that other religions are populated with infidels deserving of conversion or slaughter is at the crux of almost every struggle on the planet today. Sadly, since atheists exhibit the same dismissive intolerance, they are no different from or better than any of these groups. -- Phil Hegedusich (Clarence, New York)The past few decades have seen a groundswell of religiousness worldwide, some of it bombastically extreme. And history always unfolds via a succession of immoderately reactive pendulum swings. Will we human beings ever learn to react to extremism with enlightened moderation rather than with reciprocal extremism?