The journalist and Christian younger brother of the late polemical atheist Christopher Hitchens observed in an interview with Larry Taunton of Fixed Point Foundation that the appeal of “new atheist” literature and agendas is due to people (particularly the youth) seeking intellectual validation of their selfish, sinful desires and rebellion against traditional self-governance.
I think there is definitely in the United States a problem, which is what I call ‘selfism,’ that fundamentally is a misreading of John Stuart Mill, to believe that we’re all wholly sovereign over our own bodies. And this thing which you hear people say again and again and again and particularly if you argue about drugs (because the arguments about sex are more or less finished, but you can still argue about whether it’s right to take drugs) and people will come back and say to you with real venom and fury and self-righteousness, ‘How dare you tell me what I can do with my own body!’
This is the fundamental belief of the young person all over the wealthy West. And these people, brought up often in Christian homes and in smallish or medium-sized towns where Christian pastors were still influential and Christianity was still treated as a serious force, then go to college to this garden of earthly delights of sex and drugs and rock and roll, and indeed drink, and they find somebody who is saying in an intellectually respectable, literate fashion, ‘All your pastors in your home town, all your parents were all wrong. The things which are restraining you from what you want to do are all rubbish.’
That’s why those [new atheist] books sold so well, because what people wanted was somebody intellectual, intelligent, and literate to validate their own selfishness.
Enjoy the rest of this fascinating interview here: http://fixedpointfix.com/breakfast-with-peter-hitchens/