It has now become evidently clear that atheism is in fashion. This is apparent through the popularity of various intellectuals most notably Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. The fact that atheism is around is nothing new and can be seen in writings such as the philosophers Bertrand Russell and Fredrick Nietzsche. There are many reasons why atheism has become such a trend in intellectual circles. One of the main reasons that can be pointed to is a reaction to the increasing acts of violence tied into religious fervor such as the terroist attacks of September 11th. this has even led authors such as Dawkins to conclude that religion is the root of evil.
While the violence connected to religious adherents is obvious to make sweeping generalizations and blanket statements is to overlook the complexities of religion. What needs to be addressed specifically is the problem of evil and where and how does this develop. Many philosophers and theologians have asked this question before especially in regards to how does a benevolent God permit human suffering. One classic answer is that because human beings have freewill the choice to disobey God is possible. But this answer doesnt seem to satisfy the atheists who argue one doesnt even need religion to have morality. While a secular humanism is possible there is still room for religious practioners who contribute greatly to the arena of ethics and provide a valuable service to humanity. One of the major historical developments that has led many thinkers tos embrace atheism is the advent of modern science most notably the impact of the theory of evolution as first proposed by Charles Darwin.
The entire debate between evolution and intelligent design has taken on a significant role in forming one’s worldwivew in relation to this topic. Either way what seems to be interesting is that while atheists such as Dawkins and Hitchens conclude that the existence of a Creator is not possible they and others acknowledge a mystical realm and even a kind of transcendence while observing the universe. Sigmund Freud the famous psychoanalyst who wrote The Future of an Illusion also stated that he experienced an “oceanic feeling” in relation to the world around him. Could be that atheists simply use diffenrent terminology when refering to the spiritual and are only smashing idols of what they see is an ancient vengeful jealous anthropomorphic God taken literally from the Bible. Overall, the debate over religion will continue and atheism will continue to challenge modern believers specifically in regards to the topic of fundamentalism.