Thursday, March 29, 2012
Examining their theories of religion in the “Atheism for Lent” Course, we have seen that for Freud religion is primarily ‘ontological weakness seeking consolation;’ for Marx it is primarily ‘sociological power seeking legitimation;’ and for Nietzsche it is primarily ‘sociological weakness seeking revenge’ (Merold Westphal, Suspicion and Faith, p.229).
But perhaps it is also possible for a hermeneutic of suspicion to interpret these critics’ sceptical atheism similarly? Perhaps atheism is also wish-fulfilment? Does atheism also function as an oppressive ideology? Does it also operate within slave morality?
The claim that atheism – the “new atheism” of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens, etc. in particular – is also a form of religious (i.e. dogmatic) belief system is often made in Christian rebuttals of atheist critiques of religion. But perhaps atheism and religion are alike in more radical ways than this.