From THE CHRISTIAN POST: An interfaith atheist activist has claimed that the modern atheist movement in the United States and Europe lacks concern for the poor. Walker Bristol, a blogger for The Huffington Post, wrote an essay posted on Saturday arguing that the "new atheism" of the 21st century has been rightly stereotyped as "elitist" and "self-satisfied."
"The atheist movement, in composition and purpose, has in the last decade failed to demonstrate a meaningful dedication to fighting economic inequality and building a safe space for nontheists regardless of their socioeconomic class. Despite all their talk of building a better world and upholding diversity, contemporary atheism and humanism's most prominent authors and leaders have been suspiciously silent on the topic of poverty." wrote Bristol.
According to Bristol, while some local nontheist groups engage in philanthropy to benefit the poor, far too many atheist organizations solely attack religious communities via "self-righteous billboard campaigns." "While the current movement limits itself to honing arguments and gleefully ridiculing the religious, others who don't share their educational privilege, those in poor communities are often bound by a strong local church. The last decade is peppered with blatant examples of outright classist language and motivation that has directly distanced the atheist movement from peer religious communities." wrote Bristol.
Bristol pointed the finger at several notable atheist public figures, such as Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins, as evidence for his argument regarding 21st century atheism.
Walker Bristol is spot on. The similarity between the philosophy of modern atheists, based as it is on their worship of the Darwinian Bible in which only the strong (the bright) survive, and the elitist philosophies of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century that led to the eugenics movement and ultimately the Holocaust is very frightening. Of course, the survival of the fittest and selfish gene stuff is mostly bunkum. Evolution is far more complicated than that and community welfare is of higher import than muscle or intelligence in social species.
It's also very unlikely that the leaders of self idolising atheism are going to say much about alleviating poverty when they are making so much money from going on about how bad religion is. That is why Dawkins et al are so negative, always going on about what is wrong with religion in their evangelism rather than trumpeting what is good in atheism. The thing is, as long as Dawkins and his apostles are in the driving seat rather than the truly bright (as in actually shining a light on the human condition) atheists such as De Botton and Bristol, there is little that is good for society in atheism. Ultimately it is what is good for the community not what is good for the individual (no matter how clever or strong) that will persist and prosper the species.
However, I must add a caveat to this. Religion today is just as dominated by elitists as the atheist movement is, especially in its mainline manifestations. We cannot be smug when we are still making Eton and Oxbridge alumni leaders of the Church of England when there are far many better qualified for the job who don't get a look in because they are not "of the right sort." And our last ABC, Rowan Williams was the antidawkins - intellectual, poetic, went to all the right schools but of absolutely no use whatsoever if you were hungry or oppressed.