Roddy Bullock has a tremendous essay over on ARN's website. Here's the opening paragraphs:
Atheism and the Long Lever of Darwinism: Moving the World
"Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand and I will move the earth."
Never in history have atheists enjoyed such roaring intellectual fulfillment. Triumphantly parading a ragtag procession of kowtowed cultural Darwinists, browbeaten boards of education, a few fawning federal judges and (on a special float) a collection of tamed and harmless theists, today's atheists strut brashly down Main Street Everywhere shouting "up yours!" to every measured glance from the sidelines. Give them credit--atheists have won the day, if not the era, by ushering in a world of practical public atheism where God is not even dead, he simply is not. Someone help us.
Atheists have always been a temerarious lot. But in the lost age of reason thoughtful atheism was more a philosopher's leisure, something of a private intellectual indulgence, like pondering perpetual motion or musing Zeno's paradoxes, suitable for thought-play among friends but little else of practical value. By all accounts being against logic and human nature (the two being inextricably bound), atheism remained for most of history a young man's comfort and an old man's folly, but in public the evidence of those thought fools.
That was then, this is now; a few short years of remarkable activity successfully transformed Western culture into a God-free zone marked by public institutions which, formerly God-filled in thought and speech, now permit their foundational *lingua franca* only as an anti-intellectual private indulgence. As the torch was passed the past was torched, with the last public vestiges of any Godly heritage reluctantly endured only as cultural artifacts--offensive but harmless reminders of a very different time. Not permitted to inform law, policy, or education at any level, God-thoughts are now a young man's folly and an old man's comfort, but in public the evidence of those thought fools.
Fools thought wise and wise thought fools, what in the world happened?...
I liked your essay, but I quibble in a few points.
First, atheism may have been a young man's comfort, but if you look at Socrates, the book of Job, and
various documents from Sumeria, atheism was always viewed as a coward's religion, a scoundrel's refuge.
Why? Because it's single and most important characteristic was to deny morality. (See also "Brother's Karamazov").
Second, a point which follows directly, any society which engages in immorality loses the ability to function.
Morals are not between a man and his God alone, but are the glue that keeps society from fragmenting,
and the force that defends it from enemies. Looked at through history, atheism is the swan song of a dying
culture, be it Rome, Babylon, Assyria, or Egypt. Just as there are no atheists in foxholes, so there are no
testimonies from dead atheists.
Third, because atheism is so corrosive to morals, it creates a vacuum that something must fill.
You are already finding many new religions
striving to fill that vacuum, from global warming to feminism to gay pride to Internet porn.
Thus atheism is uninheritable, and will always
remain a young man's comfort and an old man's shame. Why?
Because he has no children to carry the flame.
Thanks for the observations. I agree
on your points below, particularly in the characterization of atheism as
a religion. That point is lost on our society today. And as a
religion it lacks any objective basis for what "ought" to be, thus
there can be no absolute basis for morality.
Atheists today are living on the borrowed capital of theists, but it won't last forever.