Lisa B. asked for it so: My cousin turned me on to this podcast. It comes from a program called "Unwelcome Guests"--gotta to love that name. The first one is Christopher Hedges (guy who wrote War a force that gives us meaning), but I haven't listened to the second one.
Hedges nails what I find uncomfortable about the new atheists (Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and, though to a lesser degree, Dawkins). And he helps explain why I can't completely write off religion even though I do not believe in it and it tends to drive me crazy. To summarize my favorite criticisms of the new atheists:
*both the new atheists and right wing christians believe in collective salvation/ moral progress which is dangerous
*both believe in a utopia (which literally means "no place"; hence there ain't one)
*both condemn vigorously those that do not agree with them
*christians misuse the bible while these new atheists misuse Darwinism
*both want to make education about indoctrination
*both have a fundamentalist mindset
*new atheists forget some lessons worth keeping from religion. For example, "the wisdom of sin" as Hedges' explains we forget that we are always self-motivated and always imperfect.
I do, however, wonder about equating these two groups when one, the far right, is so much more mainstream and thereby has so much more power. Hedges addresses this but not adequately enough. One could argue that atheists or humanists are less accepted than any religion, race, or sexual orientation. Maybe I'm wrong but I know of more openly gay politicians than atheists.
I'd really be interested to hear what others think--SigNo? Lisa? Middlebrow? HappyHeretic? (even though I already know through email that HappyHeretic wasn't too happy about Hedges' criticisms)