I don’t deny that all arguments for theism are badly flawed. I’ve written refutations of them and also of how the very idea of trying to establish theism on rational, scientific or philosophical grounds was wrongheaded in the first place.

I agree that scientific theories and secular philosophies are more logical and factual than theistic myths and dogmas. Even secular practices are timelier than the anachronistic religious ones. But the secular hypocrisy is indeed blatant. Some secularists are more arrogant than others, and the more rabid new atheists who flaunt the fact that theistic arguments are fallacious whereas philosophical naturalism is grounded in science are missing the bigger picture. They lack existential self-awareness or a taste for situational irony.

Is it an accident that atheists immerse themselves in a greater good, such as a club, a cause, or an organization, as a substitute for a church? Or that we bow down to idols like money, freedom, and celebrities rather than to an explicit deity? Look at the totalitarianism of hyper-feministic, progressive cancel culture, the new secular craze not just of censoring speech but of punishing people arbitrarily for “micro-aggressions.” The sanctimony of those infantile secularists is every bit as grotesque as a litany of Christian pontifications. The search for “safe spaces” is just as pathetic as prayer to a sky god.

The problem isn’t that secular worldviews and practices aren’t perfect; rather, it’s that the more arrogant atheists, at least, are blind to the larger absurdities that encompass both theistic religions and secular societies. The cancerous neoliberal and consumerist rush to destroy ourselves by polluting the earth is part of the same primitive drive that’s made theistic religions universal in human history.

As Daniel Dennett says in Breaking the Spell, we overuse our innate mind-detectors, our “intentional stances,” when we anthropomorphize nature and the unknown. Likewise, secular institutions capitalize on our cognitive weaknesses, as when a monstrous demagogue takes over the most powerful democracy on the planet. We secularists prize our liberty, failing to see how that value makes us vulnerable to outrageous abuses.

I could spend an eternity mocking every aspect of theism. I’d require a second eternity to do the same for secular cultures.

Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

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