I agree with Mr Sacks, the Chief Rabbi, with maybe minor (but very significant) adjustments inserted:
Atheism has failed [is failing].
Only religion [or a more enlightened atheism]
can defeat the new barbarians.
Certainly my main agenda for some years has been that New Atheism has won the puerile sound-bite war, but needs to up it’s game to fill the vacuum with anything more than scientism plus chaos – the kind of chaos that will be exploited by barbarians. At least Jim (Al Khalili) has said that he sees the initial (sound-bite) battle to be won, and the need for BHA to focus on the next phase of adding value to atheism in collaboration with religion, and take the focus away from simply fighting against religion. Finding fault with religion is like shooting fish in a barrel, already. The activities of the BHA don’t yet reflect this change of view. (Sadly I couldn’t make use of my ticket to the BHA conference last weekend.)
What Sacks says about Spinoza, Voltaire and Nietzsche is dead right. The Horsemen (‘cept maybe Dennett) and Pinker / Krauss / Coyne et al just cannot compete beyond the chat shows and popular media headlines in terms of any depth of understanding of what civilised culture needs to thrive, what real values are and how they are nurtured.
Wake up BHA.