Saturday, November 24, 2007

An Atheist Looks at the Neo-Atheists

Theodore Dalrymple, an atheist, critiques the neo-atheists in an essay titled, 'What the New Atheists Don’t See', 'To regret religion is to regret Western civilization' in City Journal.
[...]The philosophers Daniel Dennett, A. C. Grayling, Michel Onfray, and Sam Harris, biologist Richard Dawkins, and journalist and critic Christopher Hitchens have all written books roundly condemning religion and its works.[...]
[...]The thinness of the new atheism is evident in its approach to our civilization, which until recently was religious to its core. To regret religion is, in fact, to regret our civilization and its monuments, its achievements, and its legacy. And in my own view, the absence of religious faith, provided that such faith is not murderously intolerant, can have a deleterious effect upon human character and personality. If you empty the world of purpose, make it one of brute fact alone, you empty it (for many people, at any rate) of reasons for gratitude, and a sense of gratitude is necessary for both happiness and decency. For what can soon, and all too easily, replace gratitude is a sense of entitlement. Without gratitude, it is hard to appreciate, or be satisfied with, what you have: and life will become an existential shopping spree that no product satisfies.[...]
[...]Harris tells us, for example, that “we must find our way to a time when faith, without evidence, disgraces anyone who would claim it. Given the present state of the world, there appears to be no other future worth wanting.”[...]

It becomes even more sinister when considered in conjunction with the following sentences, quite possibly the most disgraceful that I have read in a book by a man posing as a rationalist: “The link between belief and behavior raises the stakes considerably. Some propositions are so dangerous that it may be ethical to kill people for believing them. This may seem an extraordinary claim, but it merely enunciates an ordinary fact about the world in which we live.”[...]
For those with no vision for eternity it used to be, 'Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die.' 'Christians, stop shoving your 'gospel' down our throats.'

Now, however, it is increasingly likely to be, 'Eat, drink, and don't allow anyone to be merry outside of the approved parameters or tomorrow they'll die.' 'Citizens, we'll judicially legislate our gospel throughout your lives.'
The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him, but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming. Psalm 37:12,13 ESV

1 comment:

Al said...

Well, Amen to Mr. Dalyrimple.