Having written “The Uses of Infidelity” (1956), >The Infidel: Freethought and American Religion (1961) and Varieties of Unbelief (1964) back when I was on the trail of atheists and their kin, I am often asked: When are you going to comment on the media’s discovery of “the new atheism”? The term refers to writings by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel C. Dennett, Samuel Harris, Michel Onfray, Victor J. Stenger and other best-selling defenders of atheism and attackers of religion as something evil and needing to be banished.
Answer: Maybe someday. Meanwhile, here is advice to myself and anyone else who cares:
Keep cool. America has seen cycles like these before and has managed to survive.
Send cards of thanks. These authors bring up differences in an age of indifference.
Don’t sneer. Many of these authors sneer. Where does that get us? I quote William Paley: “Who can refute a sneer?”