[ExI] What's wrong with Maher's Religulous?

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Fri Apr 10 18:07:42 UTC 2009

At 07:44 PM 4/10/2009 +0200, Stefano wrote:

>I could not care less about the concerns of
>Brendan O’Neill


>on whether new atheists are really "humanists" or not
>- in fact, anthropocentrism is something that must overcome even more
>quickly than man itself -; but I found somewhat disquieting the
>author's allusions to a profoundly "anti-sublime", anti-promethean,
>not to mention "millenialist",  spirit which would pervade at least in
>part New Atheism's mentality, a few echos of which I easily find in
>authors such as Hitchens.

And interestingly O'Neill's criticism (to the 
extent that it's justified, and Dawkins always 
seems vulnerable) fails to touch most transhumanism:

<Many of the great atheists of old recognised 
that religious stories – of some ‘great man’ who 
created us, of our inner souls, of a future 
paradise – were attempts by individuals to 
envision humanity’s greatness at a time when it 
seemed impossible, or at least very difficult, to 
make that greatness a reality on Earth. Religious 
belief sprung from our alienation from our own 
humanity. The New Atheism represents something 
far, far worse: alienation from the very idea 
that mankind is special or distinct or rapturous or purposeful>

Certainly I have argued for years, sometimes in 
this forum, that one element of religion is Ernst 
Bloch's and Fredric Jameson's `unexpected 
emergence, as it were, beyond "the nightmare of 
History" and from out of the most archaic 
longings of the human race, of the impossible and 
inexpressible Utopian impulse here none the less 
briefly glimpsed: "Happiness for everybody!...."'

And maybe it's *not* impossible--but not because 
we'll be saved in a Rapture by our invisible jealous god.

Damien Broderick

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