The antinomies of aggressive atheism

Wilde, L. ORCID: 0000-0002-5948-9870, 2010. The antinomies of aggressive atheism. Contemporary Political Theory, 9 (3), pp. 266-283.

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The spate of popular books attacking religion can be seen as a manifestation of the recoil against the idea of multiculturalism. Religious identities are also cultural identities, and no meaningful form of multiculturalism is possible that leaves religion outside the sphere of public recognitiom. This paper argues that 'aggressive atheism' undermines its appeal to reason by refusing to see anything of value in religion. It also risks exacerbating cultural differences at a time when reconciliation is needed. The critique focuses on the contribution of Richard Dawkins and examines a number of tensions within the aggressive atheism of his best-selling book The God Delusion. The second part of the paper introduces an alternative, a framework of reconciliatory dialogues, between atheism and religion and within religious communities, operating not just at a formal or institutional level but also in cultural expressions and in the practices of everyday life.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Contemporary Political Theory
Creators: Wilde, L.
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Date: 2010
Volume: 9
Number: 3
Rights: This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Contemporary Political Theory. The definitive publisher-authenticated version: WILDE, L., 2010. The antinomies of aggressive atheism. Contemporary Political Theory, 9 (3), pp. 266-283, is available online at:
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: EPrints Services
Date Added: 09 Oct 2015 10:29
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2017 13:31

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