Monday, September 27, 2010

Interesting quote about the New Atheists

Jonathan Parsons pointed out this piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education ( on John Schneider at Calvin College.  He has been exploring possible ways to fit evolutionary biology with Calvinist Christianity.

What caught my eye for this blog is not that debate but this comment by Michael Ruse, who describes himself as someone who has become a non-believer over time.  He indicates that both individuals like himself, an atheist who respects the intelligence of someone like Schneider, and people like Schneider, who are trying to fit faith with their academic disciplines, seem to get it from both sides.

He says this:

"These days it is not easy for those of us who argue that science and religion can live in harmony. For my pains, I have been likened to Neville Chamberlain – the pusillanimous appeaser of Munich.

"Just last week, the editor of the British magazine the New Humanist, who argued for some modicum of accommodation, was called a quisling – after the Norwegian Nazi who supported the Germans in their Second World War occupation of his country. But really, what does this matter to us? I rather thrive on abuse. The case of a brave scholar like John Schneider shows too well that even today, at top-quality institutions, being willing to push the boundaries of understanding can come at great personal stress and possible cost. Such people will never get any respect from the New Atheists, who simply hate everything and anything to do with religion and who have nothing but contempt for believers. The rest of us should realize just how very perverting religion can be in even the best places and should applaud those who are believers who stand up against its misuse."

Interesting!  The Trinity of ignoramus new atheists that come to my mind are Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchins, and Sam Harris.  I can respect a person who does not believe because they have intellectually come to particular conclusions.  But I experience these sorts of new atheists not only as naive in their portrayal of religion but as downright jerks.


::athada:: said...

Creation is groaning, and I suspect theological institutions will continue groaning for a century or so while evolution is accommodated.

phil_style said...

Neville Chamberlain – "the pusillanimous appeaser of Munich"
takes far too much flak.

He was not weak.

He was, in fact, a man who stood firm for peaceful solutions in light of the horrors of the first world war. It is no shame to be compared to such a man. . History has treated him badly, but history is not in his shoes anymore.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

I don't think the "New Atheists" are ignoramuses! They just don't think that the Church should have power over "souls" :)! Each soul should be his/her own person, and use their heads.

Science and religion don't exist, except in the political realm, which is social planning to say the least, and tyranny at the worst.

Science defines what is in regards to religion, as religion is a discipline that is studied. And religion comes under many of the disciplines, as it is a study of humans and their societies.