Rethinking Religion


In this provocative article, religion scholar and prolific blogger Roland Boer (The University of Newcastle, Australia) explores the emergence of the New Atheist movement from a Marxist perspective. Boer traces the recent resurgence in arguments against religion to our current social and economic inequities, and more specifically, the anxiety associated with the decline of Western hegemony. These arguments, which have their origins in the Enlightenment tradition (hence his title), thus mistakenly target religion as the source of human problems, when in fact it is a symptom. Instead of identifying “religion” as the cause of human misery, Boer asks us to think of it as a social formation, the product (and “ideological glue”) of social systems marked by exploitation and oppression. This conclusion does not, of course, excuse religion from interrogation, but it does offer a model for rethinking the significance of religious practice.

The New Old Atheists