Faith in Progress: Evolutionism and the New Atheism

  • Stephen LeDrew


Led by the writings of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens, the New Atheism is an intellectual current and cultural movement concerned with an aggressive and bombastic criticism of all religions as anti-scientific and outdated belief systems that limit the potential of social progress and threaten the very survival of Western civilization. Taking a critical sociological approach, I argue in this chapter that the New Atheism, ostensibly a rejection of forms of belief and practice typically understood as “religion”, in fact mirrors some of religion’s substantive and functional characteristics in its defense of its own belief system, which includes a politicized vision of social progress driven by science. Specifically, I discuss two major concepts, “cosmization” and “sacralisation”, by drawing on Berger and Durkheim, respectively.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen LeDrew
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyMemorial University of NewfoundlandSt. John’sCanada

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