Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Atheists have got it all wrong - in some of the same ways as fundamentalists, says Eagleton in new book

Very good article about Terry Eagleton's latest book. MadPriest may have posted about the book already since he keeps a watch on this issue, but this article is hot off the virtual press in today's edition of Salon.com.

...Atheists of the Ditchkins persuasion have raised valid points about the sordid social and political history of religion, with which Eagleton largely agrees. Yet their arguments are fatally undermined by their own unacknowledged dogmas and doctrines, he goes on to say, and they completely fail to understand Christian faith (or any other kind) except in its stupidest and most literal-minded form.

A few years ago, I read an article by a Roman Catholic theologian who wryly observed that the quality of Western atheism had gone steadily downhill since Nietzsche. Eagleton heartily concurs....

....Eagleton further argues that not only is the Ditchkinsian version of traditional Judeo-Christian belief a travesty, in which God is envisioned as an unproven and improbable creature like the yeti or the Loch Ness monster, but that this strain of post-Enlightenment atheism cannot comprehend the character of religious faith at all. The creedal declaration "I believe in God" is a statement of action and will; it is performative rather than assertive. ...

... Eagleton declares where his true disagreement with Richard Dawkins lies, which does not directly concern the existence of God or the role of science. "The difference between Ditchkins and radicals like myself," he writes, "hinges on whether it is true that the ultimate signifier of the human condition is the tortured and murdered body of a political criminal, and what the implications of this are for living."

Read on.

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