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Religion and the New Atheism

Th is is the fi rst book in the series “Studies in Critical Research on
Religion” published by Brill (hardcover) and Haymarket Books (paperback).
We understand the term “critical” in the broadest possible sense
and therefore think that this book is appropriate for the series. Some
may associate a critical perspective with atheism and therefore be surprised
how a book series bearing such a name would publish this.
While certain strains of the critical approach (like the Left Hegelians and
the Orthodox Marxists) are indeed atheistic, others like the Frankfurt
School are more ambivalent. Since as Kant logically argued in his
Critique of Pure Reason, the existence of God is empirically unverifi able
(one way or the other), atheism becomes just another belief system.
Th e essays in this book represent a broad range of perspectives, some
of which are closer to a critical perspective. While none of the essays
fully embraces the New Atheism, some of them do see validity in some
of its claims. We hope that the publication of this book will not only
lead to a better understanding of the New Atheism but also help to
establish the relationship of a critical perspective to it.

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