How do you feel about so-called “militant atheists” such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris?
I want to begin by saying that I don’t believe the term “militant” is appropriate for describing these people and their stance on faith. Also, I am unfamiliar with Sam Harris’ work so cannot comment.
The late great Christopher Hitchens is one of my all-time heroes. He had powerful presence, and excelled with both content and delivery. I remember the first time I saw a Hitchslap, and I was blown away. What I particularly like about Hitchens was the way he went after the dogma, and the faith, rather than the people. In his book God is not Great he expresses a contempt and disdain only for those who exploit believers - faith healers and the like - but never the general faith community. This is hugely important, as whether one has religion or not, one is a person. Also, I liked the way his approach to faith was based on language and history, with less about science, which really isn’t my strong suit.
I have never been able to make my mind up about Richard Dawkins. His approach based in science is hugely valuable, but in my eyes not as accessible as Hitchens. Another problem I have is his condescending tone, if I remember correctly, in The God Delusion he actually openly calls believers stupid. There have been some very clever believers and also insulting people is no way to get them to listen.
Though I disagree sometimes with the methods of these people, I feel what they are doing is right and necessary. To champion free-thought, one must be able to present the alternatives to those who are bound in faith. Also, love them or hate them, these are exceptionally talented and highly intelligent people. In my eyes, any atheist with a bit of patience can comb the Bible chapter by chapter, verse by verse, and find anomalies (I know it’s been a while since I posted, but life is a bit up in the air lately! I will get back to it, I promise). What these people do transcends that. They are mines of information on faith, science, evolution and also the fact that it’s okay not to believe. They are of great value and importance within the community.