Sunday, 16 March 2008

Godless evangelicals

From John Gray:

"The irony is that, in its fanaticism and intolerance, atheism's militant tendency apes the worst aspects of religious fundamentalism"



jdc325 said...

He's managed to disown Tony Blair and Al Qaeda. Apparently, they aren't really religious: Tony Blair is a belligerent progressive and Al Qaeda are involved in secular terrorism.
He actually wrote that "In today's anxiety about religion, it has been forgotten that most of the faith-based violence of the past century was secular in nature." - does he know what 'secular' means?

pj said...

I refuse to do any more than skim this nonsense, I've spent enough time delving into these intellectually impoverished religious apologetics (AC Grayling was similarly unimpressed).

What is amazing is that the Guardian continues to print an articles of this nature at regular intervals, yet they have nothing new or interesting to add other than some crap about Hitler being an atheist (in fact Gray think Nazism is 'a type of atheism', presumably in the same way that hip-hop is a type of atheism). At least the first few captured something of a contemporary debate - this is just a book plug.

I note the only attempt he makes to deal directly with the fundamental motivating force of atheism - the question of truth or falsity, is:

"But religions do not consist of propositions struggling to become theories. The incomprehensibility of the divine is at the heart of Eastern Christianity, while in Orthodox Judaism practice tends to have priority over doctrine. Buddhism has always recognised that in spiritual matters truth is ineffable, as do Sufi traditions in Islam. Hinduism has never defined itself by anything as simplistic as a creed. It is only some western Christian traditions, under the influence of Greek philosophy, which have tried to turn religion into an explanatory theory."

Political Scientist said...

John Gray is both very strange and vastly overrated. He supported the New Right, then New Labour; supported liberal interventionism, then condemned it; supported political atheism, and now opposes it.

The last time I looked into him, he was trumpeting the "Gaia hypothesis", which remains quite unfalsifiable: I suppose this makes him a pagan, rather than an atheist.