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Michael Bachelard's Story on the New Atheism - a reponse

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In today's Sunday Age, Michael Bachelard has a feature article on the world-wide trend towards outspoken atheism (the so-called New Atheism that we hear so much about), which he relates to the forthcoming Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne. (I am scheduled to speak at the Melbourne Convention along with far more celebrated writers and thinkers such as A.C. Grayling and Richard Dawkins ... and many others from Australia and elsewhere.)

Human faces of atheism

Most of Bachelard's article tells the stories of various individuals who have turned away from religious belief: Damian Coburn, who was raised in an extreme offshoot of the Catholic Church; Anne Robinson, who began as a Christian but went through a spiritual quest that included dabblings with Buddhism, New Age magic, and Wicca; "Aam" (a protective pseudonym) who comes from a Bangladeshi Muslim family; Leanne Carroll, who was schooled by nuns, but had an atheistic moment of epiphany at the age of 12; and Joe Kilgour, who lapsed from the faith of his very religious Uniting Church family.

These are all interesting stories, and I'm grateful to Bachelard for making them public. I could recommend the article just for these stories, which give contemporary atheism not just one but several human faces.

However, some of the other commentators quoted in the article make observations that require a response. Strangely enough, I am more concerned about a couple of reactions from fellow atheists than the more-or-less predictable ones from various theologians and religious leaders.
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