When we late boomers were children, we ate a lot of Corn Flakes. That’s what was fed to us – Sugar Smacks, Froot Loops, Cheerios, Apple Jacks, Total. WE do not eat these anymore. They are, individually in Snak-Paks or in toto across the board, worthless sugar delivery systems, and we do not need a single bite of them anymore.
If we reject these godawful cereals later in life to substitute granola snacks, then we have necessarily abandoned these bad things, but there are still problems with the alleged good new thing. Not that we’d ever go back to those sinister sugar shockers, but we may have trouble with the pure goodness of these new snacks.
This cereal abandonment is similar to how the matter stands with global Gnu Atheism. Yes, theism is now fully discredited, and will never again be intellectually respectable. A puerile article in Harper’s tries to lament the disappearance of the public Christian intellectual, offering only the wan, inept figures of Marilynne Robinson and Cornel West as today’s Christian mind-deities. There are no US Christian apologists who are not dismal, third-rate hacks. No modern public intellectual can survive long an ardent monotheist – quick, name a Christian apologist, a Muslim intellectual, and a Jewish intellectual – can you imagine them converting anyone to their delusional cause? Who wears yarmulke in public, besides David Mamet? Who publicly summons forth Jesus in daily iterations of the gospels, besides self-evident theo-fraud Damn Turd Pol, anagrammatically otherwise Donald Trump? Which Muslim has you lined up at Barnes & Noble?
Well, the Corn Flakes crew rejoins, what about your Four Horsemen? They’re yesterdays news, aren’t they? And the answer is yes, they were never a united front, and only one got the bestseller lists to shake. By pure numbers of books sold, there is still a much, much greater portion of the semi-reading public that reads monotheist Rick Warren babble, but Dawkins did manage the feat of putting the God Delusion in the platinum category, and that was a significant achievement against the dull roar of the fetid tide.
Yet all of us atheists should wonder if being a public atheist is worth the cost? Dawkins suffered a stroke he assigns to being stressed out over his critics on the atheist side. Whistle-blowers in general do not go on to lead healthy, happy lives. Who would want to place their own mental and physical health in the hands of internet lunatics and bullies? Every atheist “Thought-Leader” is proving to have feets of clay and malfunctions of integrity.
Better than to laud the brave and unwavering honor of those happy and stout atheists of foreign lands where it’s just about monotheism or death. The Kenyan atheist, the Pakistani atheist, they are the proud descendants of Gnu Atheism’s Flavor of the Month status. Here in WordPressland they are the living exemplars of bravery and intellectualism.
Forget the debates with the Corn Flakes crew – there is nothing there, and there never will be. Move on to celebrations of widespread anti-theism, where there is no need to waste any more time reading the Bible, the Quran, the Talmud, the Purpose-Driven Life. When chicken-entrail reading lost its place atop the charts, no one recommended continuing engagement with the chicken-entrail readers, nor did their manuals ever again become No. 1. There will never again be a prominent chicken-entrail reader, and there never again be a prominent Christian intellectual in America.