Friday, May 11, 2007

Four books on the existence of God.

Imagine it's Paris in the spring of 1789 and you have just announced that you are an inveterate foe of tyrants and kings. Obviously, your message is not going to fall on deaf ears. But now that you've made it clear what you're against, what are you for? Do you favor an aristocratic constitution in which power devolves to the provincial nobility? Would you prefer a British-style constitutional monarchy? Or do you believe in all power to the sans-culottes? How you answer will shape both your analysis of the situation and the political tactics you employ in changing it. It may also determine whether you wind up on the chopping block in the next half-decade or so.

This is the problem, more or less, confronting today's reinvigorated atheist movement.
Among the Disbelievers -- From The Nation

I haven't read any of these four books reviewed here, but I understand the point made here by David Lazare: What is to be done next? So we've decided that religion is a cancer and god has been dead for quite some time--what next?

There is truth in the arguments of Dawkins, Hitchens, Onfrey and Eagleton; but there is also a bit of historical forgetfulness and philosophical stubbornness. Lest Dawkins forget, without the great Abbeys of Cluny and Fontainebleau that simply kept culture alive, we might not have gotten out of those Dark Ages.

It isn't enough to write an antagonistic, stubborn piece in favor of a new sort of atheism--there needs to be a real suggestion as to what the next step should be. Obviously (or is it?) religion will always be a part of life on this earth, but if Dawkins and the rest of the new atheists really hope to end faith--they need to present some steps that this should be accomplished, and show what will take the place of faith.

Tillich says something about the possibility with all religion to lean either to the 'demonic' or the 'angelic'. The demonic part of religion, or the fundamentalist side that dwells only in the myth of faith must end. This is where people of faith must find a common ground with those who do not share that faith--because they are correct in this sense that faith (demonic faith) must die.


Blogger Bro. Bartleby said...

I think the secret for an atheist to live a seemingly fulfilling life is to keep as busy and comfortable as possible. I can see that the life of science would be an ideal environment for this, because one could fill one’s life as a materialistic reductionalist, contently probing the ‘what, when, and how’ questions of the universe (and get paid to do it!), and forever excluding or simply ignoring the ‘why’ questions. Alas, theologians find themselves with the ‘why’ question on their plate, and wrestle with it, even when ‘what/when/how’ folks point their collective fingers and laugh at the sorry sight. But, what can I say, free will and imagination made us do it.

8:40 PM  

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