“In describing their atheism as illiberal, I do not mean to imply that the new atheists are closet totalitarians. On the contrary, all of them understand themselves to be contributing to the defense of freedom against its most potent enemies, at home and abroad. Yet the fact remains that the atheism of Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, and Hitchens is a brutally intolerant, proselytizing faith, out to rack up conversions. Consider, for example, the sloppiness displayed by all of the authors in discussing their political aims. Do they seek to defend the secular politics favored by the American Constitutional framers? Or do they have the much more radical goal of producing a secular society–a society in which the American people, as a whole and individually, have abandoned religion? The former is a liberal goal, the latter an illiberal one; and it is inexcusable that each book leaves readers guessing which objective its author favors…

The last thing America needs is a war of attrition between two mutually exclusive, absolute systems of belief. Yet this is precisely what the new atheists appear to crave. The task for the rest of us–committed to neither dogmatic faith nor dogmatic doubt–is to make certain that combatants on both sides of the theological divide fail to get their destructive way. And thereby to ensure that liberalism prevails.”