Until recently, western atheism had waited patiently, believing that belief in God would simply die out. But now, a whiff of panic is evident. Far from dying out, belief in God has rebounded, and seems set to exercise still greater influence in both the public and private spheres. The God Delusion expresses this deep anxiety, partly reflecting an intense distaste for religion. Yet there is something deeper here, often overlooked in the heat of debate. The anxiety is that the coherence of atheism itself is at stake. Might the unexpected resurgence of religion persuade many that atheism itself is fatally flawed as a worldview? That’s what Dawkins is worried about.
My two cents
I wasn’t expecting that. I had perceived atheists as having a circular and naturalistic self-confidence about their worldview. I suspect there are people out there who do possess such an attitude, but the encouraging sign is those who don’t possess it—it’s an equivalent of doomy premillennialism.
Something tells me that Dawkins isn’t worried about the coherence of atheism, rather it is the apparent resurgence of belief in God and the supernatural in any event. I think this is the platform for supernatural religious growth (accompanied with a shrinkage of philosophical naturalism).
McGrath, A. (2007). The Dawkins Delusion. Available: http://www.alternet.org/story/47052/the_dawkins_delusion. Last accessed 16th Nov 2012.