Not so fast

Okay, so perhaps I’m not quite as done as I’d thought. I was in London and spotted Michel Onfray’s book, In Defence of Atheism. I’d considered addressing it in TIA, but at the time, the Italian version was the only one available that I could read and I didn’t think I had the time nor was it worth the energy of the translation.

After reading it, though, it absolutely demands a chapter. In the classic Continental style, Onfray rushes in and proudly declares atheists to be guilty of practically everything that Dawkins and company attempt to duck, dance around and othewise sweep under the carpet. It’s very French: “hatred of women is like a variation on the theme of hatred of intelligence”. And only an anti-semitic French communist who admires Foucault could manage to argue that Jews are anti-intelligence AND anti-science.

Atheists look stupid enough when they try to argue Christians are intrinsicly anti-science, asserting that Jews are too requires the myopic combination of ignorance and arrogance that only a French philosopher with a PhD can hope to manage.

American atheists will find Onfray to be tremendously embarrassing and even alarming, as he shrieks in defense of unabashed hedonism and attacks “christian atheists” (those who think that traditional Christian morals such as charity and honesty are moral imperatives) in almost exactly the same way that Sam Harris attacks religious moderates. Like Hitchens, he’s very worked up about circumcision, literally 2.5 percent of the book is dedicated to decrying what he believes to be the negative impact of circumcision on sexual pleasure.

He’s even more overblown than Harris, claiming that the list of atheists murdered by the Christian churches is “endless” in concluding a section on Spinoza, who was persecuted, although not murdered, by Jews. Better yet, he does so after DENYING that Spinoza was an atheist.

It’s impressive, in much the same way that watching cars pile up one after another on an icy highway is impressive.