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Sunday, 2 May 2010

Atheist Delusions - David Bentley Hart

Catching up on life after a couple of weekends away - some issues that i want to blog about. But in the meantime I have just started reading David Bentley Hart's Atheist Delusions: the Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies (Yale 2009).

Vigorous prose and a challenge to much received wisdom so far. He seems to have much more regard for the atheists from previous centuries rather than the current crop on the best seller lists. Nietzsche in his view trumps Dawkins in terms of the substance of his critique of Christianity.

One quote to keep you going:
. . . [Nietzsche] had the good manners to despise Christianity, in large part, for what it actually was--above all, for its devotion to an ethics of compassion--rather than allow himself the soothing, self-righteous fantasy that Christianity’s history had been nothing but an interminable pageant of violence, tyranny, and sexual neurosis. He may have hated many Christians for their hypocrisy, but he hated Christianity itself principally on account of its enfeebling solicitude for the weak, the outcast, the infirm, and the diseased; and, because he was conscious of the historical contingency of all cultural values, he never deluded himself that humanity could do away with Christian faith while simply retaining Christian morality in some diluted form, such as liberal social conscience or innate human sympathy. (p.6)

Update: Interesting review and discussion at thinkingblue guitars blog and an extended account of Hart's argument at all manner of things blog.

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