It is said that a new atheism garnered strength in the aftermath of 9/11 as a response to the palpable fundamentalism put forth by Muslims and Evangelists. Said movement counted on the backing of intellectuals and scientists such as Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett. However, taking a moment to observe the history of spirituality in the Western world, we find that there have been counter-religious trends since our earliest beginnings. More relevant to this discussion, after Karen Armstrong, a nun who was excommunicated by the Vatican, published her book A History of God in 1993 (which would go on to shoot up The New York Times’ Bestseller list), one could find people already beginning to make a movement out of this “New Atheism.” For this reason, speaking of a “New Atheism” can clearly be categorized as a trend rather than a new historical event. In that sense, what we can witness in this issue of Literal is what Steve Birkerts referred to in his essay entitled “Serendipity” as Pop Spirituality. In other words, rather than offering a number dedicated to “New Atheism,” we present a brief encounter with the expressions of consumerist spirituality that have become commonplace in our lives.
We also present three conversations with three distinguished figures of our world: Carlos Fuentes, Martha Nussbaum and Fatima Bhutto, who analyze social participation through the lens of one who searches for certainties.