The new heretics
Ist Gott ein Konstrukt? Warum braucht man einen Glauben? Ist Religion gefährlich? Die Anti-Gott-Fraktion macht in letzter Zeit viel von sich reden, allen voran der genauso wortgewandte wie lautstarke Christopher Hitchens. EAMONN FITZGERALD über die Gottlosen.
When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, American intellectual Francis Fukuyama reacted with an article entitled "The End of History?". His text, in the international-affairs journal The National Interest, argued that the war between ideologies was over: democracy and economic liberalism had won. For a while, it looked as if Fukuyama was right. But only for a while. History didn't end on 9 November 1989; it just took a holiday. It returned, fitter and more ferocious than ever, on 11 September 2001.
Those who got the biggest shock that day were the believers in secular society — those who would say that the world is moving away from superstition and towards a modern way of life. Their thinking on 10 September 2001 was that society would be increasingly shaped by science. Instead of seeking comfort in religion, people would look forward to a longer, better life made possible by yoga, biotechnology and a daily glass of red wine.
The return of history in its most durable ideological form on 9/11 is described memorably by writer Don DeLillo in his latest novel, Falling Man. At one point in the book, a woman who watched the second hijacked jet hit the south tower of the World Trade Center tries to imagine the scene on board the planes in those final seconds. She hears "voices crying to God, and how awful to imagine this, God's name on the tongues of killers and victims both, first one plane and then the other."