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New Atheism and the Demand for Dogma

The notion that we abandoned our old faiths and replaced them with new ones is too tidy and simplistic.

· 9 min read
New Atheism and the Demand for Dogma
Richard Dawkins speaks at The Guardian Hay Festival 2007 held at Hay on Wye May 26, 2007 in Powys, Wales, United Kingdom. (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)

Remember “New Atheism”? In the mid-to-late aughts, public debates over religion suddenly expanded in scope and intensity. University auditoria, theaters, and even churches drew capacity crowds for public discussions about the existence of god and whether or not religion is a positive force in the world. Humanist and secular groups proliferated, particularly on campus and online, and a series of blockbuster books by authors like Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens sold millions of copies worldwide, catapulting atheism into the mainstream. In their turn, these books inspired a constellation of other writers and intellectuals who believed that an explicit attack on religion was long overdue.

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