Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Taking on the "New Atheists"

There's a fascinating posting over at "Faith and Theology" entitled "Ten propositions on Richard Dawkins and the new atheists." Here's a sampling:

“Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology.” After this now famous first-line knockdown punch by Terry Eagleton it would be unsportsmanlike to bully the bully. Professor Dawkins does not enter the ring with the intellectual heavyweights of the Christian tradition, though he occasionally throws a bottle at them from the seats. Is he ignorant, hubristic, or just plain chicken? Whatever. The irony is that Dawkins thereby again betrays the very Enlightenment he represents (as Tina Beattie records a comment Keith Ward made to her, with sadness), “everything that the Western intellectual tradition stands for, with its privileging of informed scholarship based on the study of texts."

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If Professor Dawkins is the “bad cop” of the New Atheists, the Guardian journalist Polly Toynbee is probably the “good cop”, while Christopher Hitchens is undoubtedly the “corrupt cop”. I saw him on the British TV programme Question Time, contemptuously holding court like Jabba the Hutt. And I sat for half-an-hour at Waterstone’s dipping into the over-priced God Is Not Great as if it were dishwater, a highly flattering simile. Hitchens’ penetrating scholarly appraisals include descriptions of Augustine the “ignoramus”, Aquinas the “stupid”, and Calvin the “sadist”; while Niemöller and Bonhoeffer’s resistance to the Nazis was motivated by a “nebulous humanism”, and Martin Luther King’s faith was Christian only in a “nominal sense”. Enough said. It is all rather embarrassing.

Read it all.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi, Im from Melbourne.

This shouting match is so boring and predictable and full of self important players. Both side are thoroughly trapped in the mortal meat-body vision that dominates the entire world. See

1. www.dabase.org/noface.htm

Notice that NONE of the religionists ever talk about Real God as Consciousness or Radiant Light. Nor do they ever talk about, Spirit-Energy, Love-Bliss, Ecstasy.

In NOT doing so, they are merely descibing their own dismal mortal (and at best hopeful) "vision".

By contrast please check out these confessions pf Real God.

1. www.dabase.org/dht7.htm
2. www.dabase.org/broken.htm
3. www.dabase.org/christmc2.htm
4. www.dabase.org/tfrbklih.htm

Bryan+ said...

Hi Anonymous from Melbourne. I agree that there is much that is "boring and predictable" and conceited on both sides of this "debate." It might help for all players involved to perhaps read more GOOD theology (I recommend, for example, H. Richard Niebuhr's very fine work).

Merry Christmas!!!