First, I don’t believe the story he tells about the angry atheist actually happened; it sounds a little to “spot on” for the stereotype, and it fits the mold of making up stories to make a point that you run into in sermons and the like.
As for the rest of it:
1. Why are the attacks against religion and faith so personal and extreme?
They’re usually not. First of all, most religious people I know take it as a personal insult when you critically examine the things they believe in. They might even get upset knowing that you don’t believe in them, too.
2. Why do New Atheist stubbornly hold on to the wildly inaccurate claims that religion is the cause for most wars, and that people of faith are anti-science?
They don’t? The “New Atheist” label was invented by a journalist writing a dismissive piece about Hitchens, Harris, and Dawkins. I’ve never seen any of these three say that religion is the cause for MOST wars, and that ALL people of faith are anti-science. Suffice it to say that religion *has* been the cause of SOME wars, and that MANY people of faith *are* anti-science; the fact that over 2/3 of Americans don’t believe in evolution is evidence enough of that. To bring up “someone” in a Bill Maher movie as an example of the New Atheists, without saying who it is, is a wee bit dishonest. Is it just some guy off the street?
Moreover, are these opinions held by all (or even most) atheists? If Mr. Lurie doesn’t like people of faith being painted unfairly with a broad brush, it does him no credit to do the same to atheists in return.
3. Why do these authors so love being thought of as naughty rebels, and why are they so angry and bitter?
I have no idea what he’s reading. I’ve never seen one of the “New Atheists” say anything about being a rebel, and as for angry and bitter, he’s missing the mark there as well. Righteous indignation is not anger, and a refusal to put up with faith-based BS is not being bitter – it’s making a stand for what you believe in.
He has no idea what he’s talking about, as he makes clear:
According to the Pew study, 25% of all American who claim to be religious see God as ‘an impersonal force’ – the very definition of an atheist…
Really? That’s news to me. I don’t see God as anything.
Their eagerness to label and destroy such a diverse and fluid institution as religion, and their childish parody of the notion of God, reveals a level of hatred and close-mindedness that points to something which, I suspect, is not directly related to the subject, but that stems from a painful and very personal dilemma that they refuse to consider.
Yes, that’s it. They’re not making valid observations about the problems that faith can lead to; they must have a grudge based on bad personal experience.
My conclusion? This guy’s a tool.