Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Plantinga on the "courage" of atheists

The God Delusion is an extended diatribe against religion in general and belief in God in particular; Dawkins and Daniel Dennett (whose recent Breaking the Spell is his contribution to this genre) are the touchdown twins of current academic atheism.1 Dawkins has written his book, he says, partly to encourage timorous atheists to come out of the closet. He and Dennett both appear to think it requires considerable courage to attack religion these days; says Dennett, "I risk a fist to the face or worse. Yet I persist." Apparently atheism has its own heroes of the faith—at any rate its own self-styled heroes. Here it's not easy to take them seriously; religion-bashing in the current Western academy is about as dangerous as endorsing the party's candidate at a Republican rally.


Edgestow said...

"Do you really think there are no sins of the intellect?"

There are indeed, Dick. There is hidebound prejudice, and intellectual dishonesty, and timidity, and stagnation. But honest opinions fearlessly followed - they are not sins."

"I know we used to talk that way. I did it too until the end of my life when I became what you call narrow. It all turns on what are honest opinions."

"Mine certainly were. They were not only honest but heroic. I asserted them fearlessly. When the doctrine of the Resurrection ceased to commend itself to the critical faculties which God had given me, I openly rejected it. I preached my famous sermon. I defied the whole chapter. I took every risk."

"What risk? What was at all likely to come of it except what actually came - popularity, sales for your books, invitations, and finally a bishopric?"

(C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce)

Edgestow said...

As servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, tumults, labors, watching, hunger ... Five times I have received at the hands of the Jewish authorities the forty lashes less one. Three times I have been beaten with rods; once I was stoned. Three times I have been shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brethren; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.
(1 Corinthians 6:4, 11:24-27)

B. Prokop said...

Ha! While Dennett worries about imaginary fists in his face, actual believers have to contend with (figurative) jackboots in their faces. Witness THIS.

It appears that the atheists care more about shutting down Christian charity than in caring for the elderly poor. I mean, they've already driven Christian adoption agencies out of business in Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. I guess political correctness was more important than placing parentless children into good homes. And these are the people who so confidently claim they're leading Humanity to a bright, Godless future! If you can believe that, please see about about some great oceanfront property I've got for sale in Arizona.

Jezu ufam tobie!