As one interested in apologetics, I regularly keep tabs on any number of atheist blogs. One of the most interesting belongs to Hemant Mehta (writer of I Sold My Soul on eBay). In one of his most recent posts, he takes Nicholas Kristof to task; Kristof had argued that atheists need to respect the ability of religion to advance social good. Mehta replied:
No one ever argued religion wasn’t powerful…. But the “New Atheists” are right that religion is harmful and irrational. More importantly, religious beliefs are untrue. There’s no credible evidence Jesus rose from the dead, people go to heaven and hell, that your prayers get answered, or that God talks to you.
Religion may give you hope, but that hope rests on you accepting a lie. I, and many other atheists, don’t want to live that way.
Here’s the rich irony of Mehta’s position: I suspect that (to whatever degree he’s consistent with his own beliefs) he would insist that life has no meaning other than that which we create for it. In other words, for the atheist, all the hope and meaning that anyone has in this life “rests on you accepting a lie”; Mehta cannot exempt himself from his own criticism.