Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The atheistic onslaught of late

Blasphemy is a tribute to God? Brilliant, in its own way. Check out this great article by Michael Gerson in the WashPost.

British author G.K. Chesterton argued that every act of blasphemy is a kind of tribute to God, because it is based on belief. "If anyone doubts this," he wrote, "let him sit down seriously and try to think blasphemous thoughts about Thor."

By the evidence of the New York Times bestseller list, God has recently been bathed in such tributes. An irreverent trinity -- Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins -- has sold a lot of books accusing theism of fostering hatred, repressing sexuality and mutilating children (Hitchens doesn't approve of male circumcision). Every miracle is a fraud. Every mystic is a madman. And this atheism is presented as a war of liberation against centuries of spiritual tyranny....

How do we choose between good and bad instincts? Theism, for several millennia, has given one answer: We should cultivate the better angels of our nature because the God we love and respect requires it. While many of us fall tragically short, the ideal remains.

Atheism provides no answer to this dilemma. It cannot reply: "Obey your evolutionary instincts" because those instincts are conflicted. "Respect your brain chemistry" or "follow your mental wiring" don't seem very compelling either. It would be perfectly rational for someone to respond: "To hell with my wiring and your socialization, I'm going to do whatever I please." C.S. Lewis put the argument this way: "When all that says 'it is good' has been debunked, what says 'I want' remains."



At 11:00 AM, Anonymous Jason Bridges said...

Gerson's article is excellent. His argument reminds me of what the serpent said to Adam and Eve in the garden. Liberating? Yes indeed if death is your idea of liberation. Same old lie with a different face - today instead of a snake we get Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris.

It's a shame no one has probably read the article other than you and me...


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