“The 25 Most Influential Living Atheists” and what they have to do with pop culture
In this list of The 25 Most Influential Living Atheists by superscholar.org, there are some interesting entries. Of course, the usual, popular new atheists are listed: Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens. But the list also includes a few more obscure and eccentric figures like Steven Pinker whose atheist argument stems from his work in cognitive sciences; Peter Singer, who challenges religions’ tendencies towards speciesism; Philip Pullman, who wrote his “Dark Materials trilogy as an atheistic foil”; and Ray Kurzweil, who “sees technology as fulfilling all aspirations previously ascribed to religion, including immortality.”
What is striking about this list is that it demonstrates how an atheist worldview has implications and possible implications that impact virtually all areas of life, from the way we understand the significance and validity of our beliefs, to how we view ourselves in relation to the rest of the universe, the stories we tell ourselves, and how we view technology and death. Ray Kurzweil is a particularly interesting figure in this regard. He is commonly cited as one of the leading futurists. The religious faith that he places in technology of the future demonstrates a deep desire for transcendent hope. But it is also a good reminder to us of the dangers of having faith in technology to save us.
Having read/endured His Dark Materials, I can guarantee that it functions better as Atheistic troll than Atheistic foil. Actually, it’s not even so much put together to troll Christians as it is single-mindedly purposed to troll people who like books.
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