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3/8/13 at 01:24 PM 25 Comments

Where Are the Honest Atheists?

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Damon Linker, the author of The Religious Test and The Theocons, is a persistent critic of the religious right. But he is also a critic of secularism when it silences the free speech of religious persons.

Before becoming a contributing editor for The New Republic magazine, Linker served as an editor of First Things, a journal published by The Institute on Religion and Public Life. So Linker has experience on both sides of the debate regarding the role of religion in public life.

According to his biography, Linker is a senior writing fellow at the University of Pennsylvania.

Linker advocates questioning the religious views of political leaders. His website reports:

The Constitution states that “no religious test” may keep a candidate from aspiring to political office. Yet since John F. Kennedy used the phrase to deflect concerns about his Catholicism, the public has largely avoided probing candidates’ religious beliefs.

Linker also questions the motives of atheists. In an article for The Week, Linker asks, "Where are the honest atheists?" Linker accuses the New Atheists (a group of prominent atheist writers) of failing to disclose negative features of their worldview. Linker also describes atheism as tragic:

If atheism is true, it is far from being good news. Learning that we're alone in the universe, that no one hears or answers our prayers, that humanity is entirely the product of random events, that we have no more intrinsic dignity than non-human and even non-animate clumps of matter, that we face certain annihilation in death, that our sufferings are ultimately pointless, that our lives and loves do not at all matter in a larger sense, that those who commit horrific evils and elude human punishment get away with their crimes scot free — all of this (and much more) is utterly tragic.

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