kellysearsmith (kellysearsmith) wrote,

The New Atheists: Not a New Faith, a New Ethos

One of my favorite lines in modern rock is in Midnight Oil's "Blue Sky Mine": "Who's gonna save me? Who's gonna save me?/I pray that sense and reason brings us in/(Who's gonna save me? Who's gonna save me?)" It's the irony of this prayer, the emptiness of it. If anything has a chance of saving us, I think it's sense and reason, and yet sense and reason often fail to save us, because they must be shared and put into action, and even then may be insufficient. In the context of the song's narrative, the Blue Sky Mine won't stop their polluting of the land and its workers. Only the rain can wash the streets of the mining town clean, and we're still not sure that the speaker's assertion that this means they've therefore "got nothing to fear" is anything more than forced cheer--a false projected wish-fulfillment.

Do those who reject faith in a conscious and intervening divinity then put that same faith in science? Not any more than they do in the above song. In God is Not Great, Hitchens defines the New Atheist stance in this way: "Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith. We do not rely solely upon science and reason, because these are necessary rather than sufficient factors, but we distrust anything that contradicts science or outrages reason. We may differ on many things, but what we respect is free inquiry, open mindedness, and the pursuit of ideas for their own sake." Well said.

Tags: blue_sky_mine, hitchens, midnight_oil, new_atheism
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