Fraser, “Atheism, Fundamentalism and the Protestant Reformation”

In the “I knew it!” department. More seriously, here is a new book that argues for Frasercommon origins, intellectual dispositions, and weaknesses as between atheism and fundamentalism, all deriving ultimately from the Protestant Reformation: Atheism, Fundamentalism and the Protestant Reformation: Uncovering the Secret Sympathy (CUP) by Liam Jerrold Fraser.

In this study of new atheism and religious fundamentalism, this book advances two provocative – and surprising – arguments. Liam Jerrold Fraser argues that atheism and Protestant fundamentalism in Britain and America share a common historical origin in the English Reformation, and the crisis of authority inaugurated by the Reformers. This common origin generated two presuppositions crucial for both movements: a literalist understanding of scripture, and a disruptive understanding of divine activity in nature. Through an analysis of contemporary new atheist and Protestant fundamentalist texts, Fraser shows that these presuppositions continue to structure both groups, and support a range of shared biblical, scientific, and theological beliefs. Their common historical and intellectual structure ensures that new atheism and Protestant fundamentalism – while on the surface irreconcilably opposed – share a secret sympathy with one another, yet one which leaves them unstable, inconsistent, and unsustainable.

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