Friday, January 05, 2007

Article in Wall Street Journal

There's an article in today's Wall Street Journal by Sam Schulman
entitled Without God, Gall is Permitted,
( subtitled "Modern
atheists have no new arguments, and they lack their forebears'
charm." He writes:

* * *

For the new atheists, believing in God is a form of stupidity, which
sets off their own intelligence. They write as if they were the first
to discover that biblical miracles are improbable, that Parson Weems
was a fabulist, that religion is full of superstition. They write as
if great minds had never before wrestled with the big questions of
creation, moral law and the contending versions of revealed truth.
They argue as if these questions are easily answered by their own
blunt materialism. Most of all, they assume that no intelligent,
reflective person could ever defend religion rather than dismiss it.
The reviewer of Dr. Dawkins's volume in a recent New York Review of
Books noted his unwillingness to take theology seriously, a starting
point for any considered debate over religion.

The faith that the new atheists describe is a simple-minded parody.
It is impossible to see within it what might have preoccupied great
artists and thinkers like Homer, Milton, Michelangelo, Newton and
Spinoza--let alone Aquinas, Dr. Johnson, Kierkegaard, Goya, Cardinal
Newman, Reinhold Niebuhr or, for that matter, Albert Einstein. But to
pass over this deeper faith--the kind that engaged the great minds of
Western history--is to diminish the loss of faith too. The new
atheists are separated from the old by their shallowness.

This is what I've been saying all along. Sam Harris sounds like a kid on a message baord.They all sound like they get their ideas from the Secular Web.


Anonymous said...

Bravo! I lived in Britain, and there is a sizable undercurrent of religion-bashing. People like Dawkins are the "intellectual" vanguard of this undercurrent. Dawkins and his ilk are no better than the non-thinking fundamentalists in Islam or Christianity (or other forms of politics, e.g. pre-Khrushchev communists). I detest Dawkins using an acadmic position & credentials to legitimate what is really intellectual laziness. Where are those who take theology, science, and "thinking" generally seriously?

theodicy said...

I was going to send you a link to this article, but I'm glad you found it for yourself!

Not that long ago, I myself used to argue with with atheists on message boards, but I stopped when it became readily apparent that a majority of atheists are not really interested in pursuing truth, but in defending their faith in materialism.

Those who have made careers in defending the Christian faith have said that the main problem with atheists isn't that there is a lack of evidence for belief in God, but that it ultimately comes down to autonomy.

If you allow for the existence of a supreme being, it logically follows that the supreme being may want something from you, like good behavior for instance, as with the god of the Christian faith.

Hence the militant and childish rejection of God by people like Harris and Dawkins has little to do with rational thought, and a lot more to do with an unspoken fear or dread of having to be held accountable.

I cannot claim that this is the chief motivation of all atheists, but that, in general, this has been a consistent observation with those who have dealt with athiests in their ministry.

Since you yourself were once an atheists, does this simple analysis ring true for you, or was something else at the center of your atheism?

<>< TM

J.L. Hinman said...

Well I think that is part of it. I don't think that's the only motivation of atheists. But then when I say things like that most atheists try to aruge that I wasn't one. That's what' really amauzing that they evoke their own faith categories such as the true believer, the backslider wasn't one of us anyway, and all that.

I think atheists and fundies are flip sides anyway, like communist and anti-communist.

btw my main motivaton for message boards is not to convert atheits. but to reach the lurkers. I have had some success at converting atheits, more at just getting them to admit there might be some kind of God. But most of all I've had success saving the faith of wavering Christians who thoguht there were no answers and were just "checking it all out."

Anonymous said...

I would agree with you that the strong atheist is the flip side of the strong theist, they are both fundies in their own way. On the other hand I disagree with the notion that atheism springs from a deep seated fear, a fear which if it exists has been instilled by christians.
As far as your former atheist claim, I think you lost a lot of points when you stated that when you were an atheist you hated god. Yes there are flavors of atheist that have this idea but technically they are not atheists since they acknowledge there is a god which is opposite of what an atheist should be.

BTW, on the DC&R forums please control yourself better. You are being goaded and made to look the fool, especially when you make posts that are nothing but childish rants where you do nothing but ad hominems.

J.L. Hinman said...

I know I have that short coming. That's one of my worst faults. I think I was being honest in a way that atheists wont be.