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Fanatical unbelief

Jonathan Miller's BBC4 history of atheism inadvertently reveals how dogmatic non-belief in the west is merely a narrow inheritance of Christianity

By John Gray   November 2004

A revival of atheism is a curious by-product of the 9/11 attacks. The causes and motives of the suicidal assaults on Washington and New York are not fully known, but for unbelievers they were acts of self-destructive terror that no secular mind could commit. With the retreat of Christianity in Europe, it may have seemed that unbelief was also in decline. In the event, unbelief has been given a new lease of life by a savage reminder of the persistent intensity of faith.

Few unbelievers know much about the diversity of contemporary religious thought and practice, and if they rail…

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