According to UK Archbishop Rowan Williams, Atheism is the new cool thing. Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury for the Church of England, made the remarks while appearing with British comedian and Catholic apologist Frank Skinner last weekend at Canterbury Cathedral.
Archbishop Williams complains the Church of England is struggling to have it’s voice heard over the trendiness of atheism. Williams lamented declining church attendance by suggesting atheism is to blame. Williams asked:
“I’d want to know how many atheists [Dawkins’] The God Delusion created. The book sold, but did it make a difference to the number of people who were actually committed one way or the other?
Williams went on:
“The problem is it becomes a bit of a vicious circle. Atheism is cool, so books about atheism are cool. They get a high profile…
… the coolness of atheism is very much in evidence.
No doubt many atheists would reject the implication that their atheism was merely a result of the need to feel cool. For most atheists, their position is a carefully considered and well reasoned conviction concerning the nature of the world.
For atheists, the fact that atheism is enjoying a surge in popularity has less to do with the need to be cool, and much more to do with an honest appraisal of reality. For many atheists, the inherent dangers of religious superstition: the bigotry, ignorance, hatred and misery long associated with religious superstition should be enough to give any reasonable person pause.
More to the point, however, for atheists there is simply no convincing evidence for the existence of a god or gods. While the superstition and magical thinking entailed by religious faith may offer some superficial comfort, for atheists the price of faith – the self deception and metaphysical dishonesty – is simply too high a price to pay.
The following is a sample of relevant tweets from Tuesday’s Twitter stream:
Atheism is the new cool thing!
I was an atheist when atheism wasn’t cool
Astounded and disappointed at Frank Skinner and his tedious twaddle about comics wearing atheism as a badge of ‘cool’.
One thing I find really annoying is the dismissal of atheism as something people do because it’s ‘cool’, rather than because it’s logical.
Atheism is cool, says Archbishop Rowan Williams
Headline in The Telegraph online today: ‘Atheism is cool, says Archbishop Rowan Williams’. I didn’t see that one coming.
What do you think about the Archbishop lamenting the coolness of atheism? Is atheism the new cool thing?