Thursday, May 31, 2012

Why atheists should respect Christian theology

This saturday at the Volfians we will discuss one of Terry Eagleton's critical reviews of Richard Dawkins The God Delusion. It is particularly interesting because Eagleton is an atheist and a world reknown literary critic.

Below is a key paragraph in the review. After extensively discussing the nuances of key Christian doctrines [from a somewhat liberal humanist point of view] and contrasting them to Dawkins' simplistic misrepresentations Eagleton states:
Now it may well be that all this is no more plausible than the tooth fairy. Most reasoning people these days will see excellent grounds to reject it. But critics of the richest, most enduring form of popular culture in human history have a moral obligation to confront that case at its most persuasive, rather than grabbing themselves a victory on the cheap by savaging it as so much garbage and gobbledygook. The mainstream theology I have just outlined may well not be true; but anyone who holds it is in my view to be respected, whereas Dawkins considers that no religious belief, anytime or anywhere, is worthy of any respect whatsoever. This, one might note, is the opinion of a man deeply averse to dogmatism. Even moderate religious views, he insists, are to be ferociously contested, since they can always lead to fanaticism.

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