ATHEISM & Post-9/11, scholars scolded the religious. Now they overintellectualize them

by Stephen T. Asma, JULY 28, 2014

September 11 changed the God conversation. Atheism was always a reasonable alternative to theological glitches like the problem of evil, and of course God seemed increasingly unnecessary after Darwin’s revolution, but atheism was a relatively quiet and confident minority position. Like opera fans who know they’re right but don’t bother to evangelize the unsophisticated, atheists were generally too imperious to go to the trouble of public debate.

But after 9/11, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Daniel Dennett, nicknamed the Four Horsemen of the new atheism, showed us the first wave of atheist response: anger, retaliatory logic, and self-loathing about the failure of flaccid liberalism—our impending cultural suicide from too much naïve tolerance. Pugilistic Islamic fundamentalism was taken as a token for religion generally, and the excesses in this world of otherworldly metaphysics led the Horsemen to call for the end of faith altogether.

Academics slight the essential day-to-day comforts that keep religion, or at least its spiritual secular offshoots, relevant.

Recent books offer a second wave, with political, economic, and philosophical takes on religion and its surrogates. Peter Watson’s The Age of Atheists (Simon & Schuster), Terry Eagleton’s Culture and the Death of God (Yale University Press), and Roger Scruton’s The Soul of the World (Princeton University Press) are much more historically aware, and more comfortable with the persistent ebb and flow of Western religion, than were the Horsemen’s admonitions. But in focusing on seductive macrosocial and lofty theological impulses, the new books slight the essential day-to-day comforts that keep religion, or at least its spiritual secular offshoots, relevant. They also largely dismiss the powerful light that science can shed on spiritual longing. They don’t miss the forest for the trees; they miss it for the sky above the trees.

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APOLOGETICS & Old/New Testaments’ Portrayals of the Heavenly Father

By Dan Kimball, 4/27/14 “There is one God and the key in seeing the whole story of the whole Bible not just isolated stories…”

More from Kimball, “Writing a chapter in the ‘Crazy Bible?’ book looking at the way there is a perception that the Old Testament shows a different God than the New Testament. There is one God and the key in seeing the whole story of the whole Bible not just isolated stories. This Simpsons episode illustrated this with Homer holding a photo of God and as he would angle it, the image changed as he would say ‘vengeful God’ “loving God… Just watched the whole episode. Quite fascinating… There is a church that worships in a bowling alley in it.”

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The Intellectual Snobbery of Conspicuous Atheism

by Emma Green, Atlantic Magazine, 3/14/14

The problem is, the “culture war” is a false construct created by politicians and public intellectuals, left and right. The state of faith in the world is much grayer, much humbler, and much less divided than atheist academics and preaching politicians claim. Especially in the U.S., social conservatives are often called out in the media for reifying and inflaming this cultural divide: The rhetoric of once and future White House hopefuls like Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin, and Bobby Jindal reinforces an “us” and “them” distinction between those with faith and those without. Knowing God helps them live and legislate in the “right” way, they say.

But vocal atheists reinforce this binary of Godly vs. godless, too—the argument is just not as obvious. Theirs is a subtle assertion: Believers aren’t educated or thoughtful enough to debunk God, and if they only knew more, rational evidence would surely offset faith.

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Why Does God Allow Pain & Suffering?  It’s a difficult question. Probably one of the hardest to answer. The Curiosity Collective brings together thought leaders, authors, philosophers and theologians to explore this difficult question.