His recent article in the Wall Street Journal called, "Too Much Faith in Faith," is an uncommon challenge at the major voices of the "New Atheism" movement. Jacobs says that calling "religion" the problem, when it is often used as a thin veneer over deeper, darker motivations, is an anti-intellectual approach of many intelligentsia on these matters. Here's sampling paragraph:
Most of today's leading critics of religion are remarkably trusting in these matters. Card-carrying members of the intelligentsia like Mr. Hitchens, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris would surely be doubtful, even incredulous, if a politician who had illegally seized power claimed that his motives for doing so were purely patriotic; or if a CEO of a drug company explained a sudden drop in prices by professing her undying compassion for those unable to afford her company's products. Discerning a difference between people's professed aims and their real aims is just what intellectuals do.I would add that it should be strangely suspicious to the thinking-class that the New Atheism is fueled by other motivations besides reason, virtue, and doing Westerners a favor. They are doing less to enlighten the public as they are to propagate a certain point of view with evangelistic fervor. Philosopher and atheist, Thomas Nagel, pinpointed the motivation when he wrote, "I do not WANT God to exist!" (The Last Word, 1997, emphasis mine).
Alan Jacobs article points beyond the religious veneer into darker places of the human heart. His new book on Original Sin is on my summer reading list!