Village atheism is, according to atheist writer Sincere Kirabo of the American Humanist Association, “a worldview observed by atheists who embrace a preoccupation with critiquing religiosity and tend to be socially unaware. This kind of mindset helps preserve various cultural prejudices while denigrating those who dare challenge these discrepancies” (1). It is generally a pejorative term much like calling someone the “village idiot” would be. It identifies atheists who lake intellectual reflection while also presenting a sort of unsophisticated tribalism. Such an atheist is usually quite arrogant and view himself as having arrived at the peak of critical thinking because, unlike the majority of others, he rejects God’s existence. She is also ignorant about her own personal biases and learned prejudices that influence her views, opinions, and decisions. Kirabo thus explains that “Village atheism fosters social inaction and an inadequate concept of critical thinking limited to the domain of scrutinizing religious faith, supernaturalism, or paranormal claims. It’s selective perception and acts far more as a hindrance than a solution to all the problems humanity (and other life) faces” (2). He identifies several traits of the village atheist (5), namely:
1. A tendency to revel in the idea of “logic and reason” except when it comes to applying these principles to matters that don’t directly relate to a preoccupation with the shortcomings of supernatural claims.
2. Referring to feminism as a cult while religiously assembling at the altar of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. Esteeming everything that comes out of Bill Maher’s mouth…
3. Believing atheists are this nation’s most oppressed and despised group.
4. Embracing the theory that extinguishing religion would be a magical panacea, somehow curing every social ill from racism to trans-antagonism.
Christian philosopher and apologist Randal Rauser says that “More recently, the term has evolved to refer to a species of atheistic expression which tends to be brash in presentation and lacking in critical nuance… The “village atheist,” like the “village Christian,” is a person who tends to be vocal in their opinions and rather lacking in their knowledge, a fact that is manifested in the absence of critical nuance. The village atheist dismisses the Christian as a “faithhead” (Richard Dawkins’ term) as surely as the village Christian dismisses the atheist as a “fool.” In short, each finds security in a quick and ham-fisted dismissal of the other” (3) However, as philosopher Peter van Inwagen has argued, not all atheists should be seen in the light of being a village atheist since there are the more sophisticated atheist representatives (4).
So, an atheist like Richard Dawkins would certainly classify as a village atheist. Dawkins is pompous and proud in his opinions. He is brashly vocal although he possesses little expertise on the topics on which he has attempted to rebut (especially on matters pertaining to philosophy, theology and history). He routinely contradicts himself, seems uncritical of his own atheism, and espouses and promotes an insular atheistic tribalism. Kirabo explains that this is the “overarching problem that’s festered within secular (both atheist and humanist) spaces since the New Atheism came into vogue” (6).
1. Kirabo, S. 2016. Leveling Up From Village Atheism — A Dialogue with Randal Rauser. Available.
2. Kirabo, S. 2016. Ibid.
3. Randaul Rauser quoted by Sincere Kirabo in Leveling Up From Village Atheism – A Dialogue with Randal Rauser. Available.
4. van Inwagen, P. The Problem of Evil. p. 178
5. Kirabo, S. 2016. Three Warning Signs That Village Atheism Is Your New Religion. Available.
6. Kirabo, S. 2016. Ibid.