November 17, 2006

Religious Atheism

I found this article a week or so ago, but haven't had time to read it.

There is a new breed of aggressive atheism that is taking on flavors of a religious fundamentalism. Men like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett (pictured at left, watch his talk at TEDs or download it here.) are looking to call out their fence-walking atheist brothers and sisters as enablers in their battle against religion and belief in God.

Unfortunately, one of the things making their argument so strong is that the church has often spoken without a full understanding of the facts. It also demonstrates that many people, speaking on behalf of the Church, have not worked with the utmost integrity. They have set up the proverbial straw men and proceeded to easily defeat their arguments.

Probably the most interesting thing about this whole thing is that the Church continues to do battle on the grounds of Science. Science has a very important role and purpose, but we often argue our support of the Bible from scientific grounds. Most of the stuff in the Bible will never be proven "beyond a shadow of a doubt." I don't mean that science, archeology, and history have nothing to prove in regards to the Bible, but nothing will be proven to the point where there is no doubt.

I found the paragraph of the article interesting,

The New Atheists have castigated fundamentalism and branded even the mildest religious liberals as enablers of a vengeful mob. Everybody who does not join them is an ally of the Taliban. But, so far, their provocation has failed to take hold. Given all the religious trauma in the world, I take this as good news. Even those of us who sympathize intellectually have good reasons to wish that the New Atheists continue to seem absurd. If we reject their polemics, if we continue to have respectful conversations even about things we find ridiculous, this doesn't necessarily mean we've lost our convictions or our sanity. It simply reflects our deepest, democratic values. Or, you might say, our bedrock faith: the faith that no matter how confident we are in our beliefs, there's always a chance we could turn out to be wrong.

What do you think about the article? How should we approach discussion with those who hold diametrically opposed views and opinions? When presenting a point-of-view that we disagree with, what standards should be used to ensure that the point-of-view is represented fairly?

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