The Guardian has now published on its website the Face to Faith column by Giles Fraser that was in the Saturday paper with the strapline:
Secularists who dismiss Christianity as the choice of the stupid should turn their critical gaze a little closer to home…
Here’s a part of it:
While the ordinary atheist remains indifferent to religion and all its ways, the born-again atheist has adopted the worst arrogance of Christian fundamentalists – just in negative.
Part of the problem is that many born-again atheists remain trapped in a 19th-century time warp, reheating the standard refutations of religious belief based on a form of rationalism that harks back to an era of fob-watches and long sideburns. One Oxford don has called the website of the National Secular Society a “museum of modernity, untroubled by the awkward rise of postmodernity”. Ignoring the fact that at least three generations of thought have challenged an uncritical faith in rationality, the society continues to build its temples to reason, deaf to claims that it is building on sand.
This commitment to Victorian philosophy turns to farce when campaigning secularists describe themselves as freethinkers. In truth, atheism is about as alternative as Rod Stewart. The joke is that many who were converted at university via Richard Dawkin’s The Selfish Gene think of themselves as agents of some subversive counterculturalism. This is ridiculous to Da Vinci Code proportions. Contemporary atheism is mainstream stuff. As John Updike put it: “Among the repulsions of atheism for me has been its drastic uninterestingness as an intellectual position.”
(More about the “Secularist of the Year” award mentioned can be found here)