Barney Zwartz, the religion editor at The Age, is always best when he is writing what he really thinks, and not when he is fulfilling the dictates of his overlords and writing what sells newspapers. There are times, when he writes in the latter category, when I could throttle him. If I were to write a nursery rhyme about him, I would say that when he is good, he is pretty good, but when he is bad, he is horrid.
Here is Barney being good. In a post on his blog, The Religious Write, he has this to say about the “New Atheists”:
Aggressive atheism is fuelled around the world chiefly by anti-scientific attitudes on the part of religious people and by fear of Islam. Few are honest enough to spell out the latter – they say, like Christopher Hitchens, that religion poisons everything without making any distinction, but it’s noticeable how active this fundamentalist group (a small but vocal minority of atheists) got after 9/11. I call them fundamentalists and militants because that’s exactly what they are, the mirror image of the religious fundamentalists they despise. But they share the same reductionist world view where not only are they right and everyone else is wrong, but they cannot rest until everyone thinks as they do. They will not rest until they have levelled Jerusalem in England’s green and pleasant land.