I’m really enjoying the new book, The Loser Letters , by Mary Eberstadt. It’s fiction; it’s satire; it’s the attempt by a recent atheist convert to explain the problems of atheism to the upper level echelon of new atheists.
It’s witty; it’s wickedly potent at points.
Her second letter probes the Logic of the new atheists and finds its problems. The Brights, her satirical word for the new atheists, believe they are the more logical, at least more logical than the Dulls (her satirical word for Christians). The letters are written by one A.F. Christian (A Former Christian), and she discovers in her logical studies that there are big questions not answered by Atheists. What are they?
Like this one: Why do 99.99999 % of humans believe in God? So, A.F. Christian states: “For either one produces a satisfying reason why, say, 99.99999999 percent of humanity has been wrong on that big issue while You have been right…” (30). It’s a “stance that does run the risk … of looking just a teensy bit arrogant.”
Or this: that humans believe in God or religion because of fear, which both makes Atheists look like they are the only courageous people in the world… “the egomania thing does hurt us in the Dull trenches, especially with the girls; trust me” (31).
Or this: that religion is wish fulfillment, and A.F. Christian probes this to discover that no one’s wish fulfillment ends up with the God of the Old Testament or the God of the New Testament. Nothing, she says, rings true in this explanation. For “this particular god is hard to live with” (33).
And that wish fulfillment, if applied logically, leads to the view that the Atheists non-god views are also wish fulfillments, attempts to justify the lifestyle the Atheist prefers. What goes around comes around.
She concludes her appeals to the new atheists with this advice about logic: “Many of You have been right out front, going on and on about how all this religious diversity some proves that not one of these religions can be correct” (36). She observes: “But of course this is what’s called a fallacious inference.”