Quora Answer : What is the difference between atheism and New Atheism?
New Atheism was a reaction to the increasingly visible role of religion in political strife in the last 30 years.
In the mid 20th century, religion seemed to be losing ground. And major conflicts were about politics. In particular between various forms of Communism, Fascism and Capitalist Democracy.
With the defeat of Fascism and the decline of Communism, religion began to come back into focus, picking up different kinds of disaffection and giving it a new cause.
The industrial world's use of oil made it increasingly dependent on particular regimes in the middle-east. And as the Cold War subsided, opposition to these regimes began to coalesce around certain Islamic groups. Meanwhile, in the US particularly, those who were unhappy with the tumult of the modern industrial economic world looked to Christian churches for stability.
In the middle-east, Islam became a more visible political force. In the US, Christianity reasserted itself as a more visible political force.
The New Atheists "movement" started when people who had been quietly atheist began be spooked by the rising political presence of religion. It was no longer a quaint personal preference, but a political force. Inspiring Christians to bomb abortion clinics and Muslim "race-warriors" to fly planes into buildings etc.
That's what New Atheism was all about. Atheists realizing that religion was a rising political force and trying to challenge that.
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