A Religious Liberal Blog

This site hopefully can provide some vehicle by which I can comment, complain, and once in a while praise the state of religion in this country and around the world from a liberal protestant perspective.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

In the same boat

John Haught has written a new book: God and the New Atheists. The need for good literature which responds to such folks is welcomed but unfortunately this book seems to suffer in it's central thesis.

"Has Harris thought about what would happen if people adopted the atheist's belief that there is no transcendent basis for our moral valuations?" Haught lauds Nietzsche and others who were aware of the collapse of a certain moral order with the death of God.

Are new atheists aware of this Haught asks? But implicit is the idea that theism gives you a ready made divinely blessed moral order and that atheism takes this away. Nietzsche is brave for recognizing this, the new atheists seem oblivious, for Haught, to this consequence.

The problem is that Nietzsche is not describing what happens when one becomes an atheist. He's describing what has transpired in western society on the whole. In that no one escapes this fact, neither atheists nor theists. Kierkegard is a theist who identifies the issue.

Haught seems to think theism side steps the dilemma. Maybe theism could, at least somewhat, embrace it. If our moral and religious claims can be relativized this provides an opportunity for God to judge our claims, moral or otherwise, calling them to account.

The use of religion to divinely bless our current notions is so deeply ingrained that the idea that religion could do anything else does not occurr to a number of new atheists and theists. Maybe it's time that religion challenged us and our ideals, not bless them.

In this, theism is not a way one should choose to escape a certain set of problems or set us apart from others. It's rather a way of bringing the resources of our respective religious traditions to bear on the problems of life in concert with others.


At 1:47 AM , Anonymous Eddie said...

Atheism is a danger itself. Just think when everyone has completely lost their belief in God what will it be like? If there is no fear or thought of consequences after death people would have no reason to even be civilized.

At 8:04 PM , Blogger Dwight said...

I hope folks can do things because of their rightness, not our of fear of punishment "perfect love casts out fear"


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