The New Atheists say the death of God is good for humanity, but Damon Linker at The Week (UK) disagrees. He writes:
If atheism is true, it is far from being good news.
Learning that we're alone in the universe, that no one hears or answers our prayers, that humanity is entirely the product of random events, that we have no more intrinsic dignity than non-human and even non-animate clumps of matter, that we face certain annihilation in death, that our sufferings are ultimately pointless, that our lives and loves do not at all matter in a larger sense, that those who commit horrific evils and elude human punishment get away with their crimes scot free -- all of this (and much more) is utterly tragic.
Honest atheists understand this. Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche proclaimed the death of God, but he called it an "awe-inspiring catastrophe" for humanity, which now faced the monumental task of avoiding a descent into nihilism. Essayist Albert Camus likewise recognized that when the longing for a satisfying answer to the question of "why?" confronts the "unreasonable silence of the world," the goodness of human life appears to dissolve and must be reconstructed from the ground up.
Atheists often accuse Christians of covering up harsh truths with sappy sentimentalism. But Link argues that New Atheists are the ones covering up when they claim atheism makes us free and happy.
"It's one thing to catalogue the manifest faults within this or that religious tradition, which the new atheists have ably done . . . over and over and over again," Linker writes.
"It's quite another to claim, as these authors also invariably do, that godlessness is not only true but also unambiguously good for human beings," Linker protests. "It quite obviously is not. . . . Honesty requires more than sentimental, superficial happy talk."
Hat Tip: Chris Hodgson