Should Integralists Storm the Religious Battlefield?

I just finished reading this Newsweek article entitled, Moderates Storm The Religious Battlefield. There are a couple of important points from the article that I want to highlight:

1) Although the article didn’t completely concede “victory” to the
(New) atheists (Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens), it recognized their
achievements for they have “emphatically (and correctly) argued that
nonbelievers have the same rights under the Constitution as believers
do.” As a case in point, Mitt Romney’s speech on faith
was a “testament to the power of the atheists that he [Romney] had to
answer to them all.” In short, thanks to the “loud and intransigent
rhetoric” of the (New) atheists, conversations on religion, science,
belief, faith are catapulted into mainstream media.

2) Moderate voices are now rising up to the challenge. Rev. Timothy Keller’s upcoming book, The Reason for God, and Bart Ehrman’s God’s Problem are two books cited in the article. [Note: Too bad the article didn’t mention Thank God for Evolution! by Michael Dowd since that book is out already.]

I’ve been covering the New Atheists on my blog (since the middle of 2006) way before the “New Atheist” label was in fashion. I even collectively criticized them and called their ideas FLAT.
Looking back to my previous criticisms of the New Atheists, I admit
that I was too quick on the draw. My bad. I’ve made a cardinal mistake
of treating them as a leviathan with three heads [Dawkins, Dennett,
Harris]. However, the more I learn about each of them, the more I
realize that their ideas are as diverse as the believers they
criticize. Instead of a leviathan, they are more akin to horsemen with
different personalities and philosophy
fighting under the banner of
rationality. By actually reading their books and articles, watching
their interviews, and following their video debates, I’ve come to
appreciate and understand where they’re coming from. Because of this I
could highlight the important parts of their arguments while at the same
time be more critical of their arguments which, to my judgment, are very
partial, arrogant, and too certain. In short, I could better rank their ideas and put them into a more integral perspective.

IMHO, this differentiation and ranking of the
New Atheists is what seems to be missing from mainstream media as well as
the Integralists subculture. The absence of ranking and differentiation in mainstream media, that I can take. But I expect more from
Integralists. For example, I expect Integralists (i.e. authors, thinkers
at IntegralWorld, philosophers like Wilber, Spiral Dynamic gurus) to treat the New Atheists
with respect, acknowledge their importance, and take the time to join
them (e.g. debate with them, dialogue with them, critique them) in this
“important national conversation” [Wilber’s words]. So far, I’m still left wanting. But then again, that’s just me.

Some integrally-informed people say that there’s nothing really new
with the philosophical arguments of the New Atheists; that their
arguments are rehashed from the old days of the Enlightenment and
conscientious theologians of the past. I agree. I think even the New Atheists would
agree, for they have bibliographies in their books pointing to the
Founding Fathers, theologians, and thinkers in the Age of Enlightenment.
However, what I think the main difference is between the New Atheists
and the Enlightenment is the context, timing, and the ubiquity of
information in our fast evolving globally connected culture. With the
dangers of divisiveness caused by irrational and unexamined religious
differences, the New Atheists are fighting a more important
philosophical and political “battle” because the stakes are much higher
today than a thousand years ago. I doubt that they would convert people
into nonbelievers (or into believers of their cause), but the fact that
they’ve already succeeded in making noises, sounding the alarm and
getting the religious fundamentalists, moderates, atheists, and
agnostics to join the religious battlefield (while enriching their bottom line in the process) is already a big
accomplishment. They’ve sown the seeds of dissent in our current global culture. It’s time for
Integralists to follow through, seize the opportunity, and take this
important (inter)national conversation to a whole new level.

My questions to you dear readers: Should Integralists Storm the
Religious Battlefield? How? Why? Why Not? Do you have to be a moderate
to be integral? Can Integralists take on the New Atheists with the same
rhetoric and passion?