Abstract

This essay defines and describes the atheistic voice. Drawing from Thomas Lessl’s “voice” metaphor (“The Priestly Voice”), the logology of Kenneth Burke, and the literary insights of Mikhail Bakhtin, I map out the rhetorical tropes of the atheistic voice by analyzing the rhetoric of Christopher Hitchens, which exemplifies the atheistic voice as a rhetorical ideal. Hitchens demonstrates that the rhetorical strategies of burlesque and grotesque rejection are the atheistic voice’s primary means of ridiculing and tearing down the god-terms of priestly and bardic discourses. After analyzing these strategies, I point to concerns—some perennial, some contemporary—that the ebb and flow of atheistic voices in a democratic public sphere present.

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