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Open Theology

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The Secret Sympathy: New Atheism, Protestant Fundamentalism, and Evolution

Liam Jerrold Fraser
  • School of Divinity, The University of Edinburgh, Scotland
Published Online: 2015-10-28 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2015-0027

Abstract

In spite of the apparent differences between the two, a number of commentators have suggested an underlying sympathy between new atheism and protestant fundamentalism (e.g. De Botton 2012; Vernon 2007; Flew 2007; Robertson 2010) While such comparisons are intriguing, it not always clear whether they should be taken seriously, as they are frequently asserted without sustained argument. This paper seeks to ameliorate this lack of clarity through a textual study of new atheist and protestant fundamentalist texts. This textual study reveals two presuppositions shared by new atheists and protestant fundamentalists: a literal, univocal, and perspicuous understanding of Scripture, and a disruptive and substitutionary conception of divine activity in nature. As such, for all their differences, both groups share similar beliefs concerning the Christian faith. While scholars frequently critique new atheist and protestant fundamentalist arguments by attacking biblical inerrancy or metaphysical naturalism, this paper concludes by arguing that a more successful critique of these two groups can be advanced by questioning the biblical and theological presuppositions that they share.

Keywords: New Atheism; Protestant Fundamentalism; Bible; Hermeneutics; Evolution

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Received: 2015-09-29

Accepted: 2015-10-01

Published Online: 2015-10-28


Citation Information: Open Theology. Volume 1, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 2300-6579, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2015-0027, October 2015

©2015 Liam Jerrold Fraser. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

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