“New Atheism successfully shows that religious faith is infantile.”
New Atheism is quite clear that religious belief/faith is a childish delusion which should have disappeared a long time ago as humanity developed its maturity. Our thinking is now based on evidence which has enabled us to abandon childish beliefs. So why do people still hold on to religious belief. Clearly it is the indoctrination or brain washing as a child from our parents.
Of course there is some truth in this. We are affected by the beliefs of our parents. But surely many adults turn to religion when they come for a non-religious background. So does that choice still stem from childhood?
The New Atheists complaint is that religious beliefs are clearly false beliefs held in the face of strong contradictory evidence. The religious believer is deluded and seems immune to any form of rational argument. Faith is basically irrational. But surely science has an element of faith. Science gives us theories that make sense of the data we have. But they are only theories – best fit conclusions. It is a matter of faith whether those theories are the full story or even correct. Religious believers act in a similar way. They proportion their belief to the evidence. They conclude that the universe cannot be adequately explained in terms of the natural but the supernatural. The religious believer argues that their theory equally makes sense of all the data – concluding that there is a God. So, religious faith cannot be said to be infantile.
“Science rests on faith” - Gauch
“Subatomic particles cannot strictly be observed, yet cannot be regarded as non-existent for this reason” – Alister McGrath
“The soul is fully awake as regards God, but wholly asleep as regards things of this world.” (st Teresa Of Avila)
Dawkins in his book “The God Delusion” does argue that the existence of God is a testable hypothesis and concludes that the hypothesis is falsifiable. Therefore the hypothesis is open to the scientific method.
“In the New Atheist world-view…religion is about running away from the facts and seeking consolation in outdated, discredited, and immoral Bronze Age myths.” – Alister McGrath
“It is perverse to seek a sense of ethical purity when this is gained at the expense of the suffering of others.” (Tony Hope)
Dawkins argued that belief in God is just like believing in the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus. However the analogy seems flawed since there are not many people who come to believe in Santa Claus in adulthood, whereas they do with belief in God.
“It is by all means to be believed because it is absurd.” (attributed to Tertullion)
Dawkins argues that the biological process of natural selection builds a child's brain with a tendency to believe whatever their parents tell them.
“The capacity of science to explain itself requires explanation.” (Richard Swinburne)