|Sent on:||Tuesday, May 20, 2008 9:35 AM|
Yeah, this guy was on the CFI podcast last week. He is full f shit. -- Skydivers don't knock on death's door; they ring the bell and run away... It really pisses him off. The World Famous Tink. (I never heard of you either!!) AA #2069 ASA#33 POPS# 8808 EAC Chairman, Division of Skydiving and Sushi consumption. -------------- Original message ---------------------- From: Jeff Wismer <[address removed]> > http://www.inthes... > > Culture > May 20, 2008 Atheism's Unholy Trinity By Jarrett > Dapier<http://www.inthes...; > *Share* > Digg<http://digg.com/s... > /atheisms_unholy_trinity/&title=Atheism's > Unholy Trinity&bodytext=&topic=politics> > del.icio.us<http://del.icio.u... > /atheisms_unholy_trinity/&title=Atheism's > Unholy Trinity> > Reddit<http://www.reddit... > 7/atheisms_unholy_trinity/&title=Atheism's > Unholy Trinity> > Newsvine<http://www.newsvi... > article/3687/atheisms_unholy_trinity/&h=Atheism's > Unholy Trinity> > > Last spring, Chris Hedges, the Pulitzer Prize-winning former foreign > correspondent for the *New York Times*, flew to California to see some > atheists about God. Over the course of two debates �� one in Los Angeles, the > other in Berkeley �� Hedges sparred with Sam Harris, author of *The End of > Faith*, and Christopher Hitchens, author of *God Is Not Great*. According to > Aneli Rufus, who reported on the Hedges vs. Hitchens debate for AlterNet, > Hedges was "trounced." > > Atheism 2, God 0. > > Now, out of these debates comes Hedges' latest book, *I Don't Believe In > Atheists* (Free Press, 2008), a relentless, deeply considered defense of the > religious impulse. > > The book's title is neither an accurate personal statement nor a reflection > of the volume's contents. As Hedges has said, he is no atheist. > Nevertheless, he eloquently defends atheists who are "intellectually honest" > �� those "who accept an irredeemable and flawed human nature" �� and believes > "they hold an honored place in a pluralistic and diverse community." > Intended to provoke, the title sets up false expectations for a simplistic > "no atheists in foxholes" screed that sells the book short. > > Instead, Hedges' main target is utopia, which he calls "the most dangerous > legacy of the Christian faith and Enlightenment." And primarily in the works > of evolutionary biologist and author Richard Dawkins, as well as Hitchens > and Harris �� the "new atheists," as Hedges calls them �� the author finds a > morally bankrupt utopian worldview that divides humanity between the > primitive faithful and the civilized rational. > > According to Hedges, the new atheists argue that once humanity is delivered > from religion �� what Hitchens has called "man-made filthy propaganda" �� and > places its faith in science and reason, we will finally advance morally as a > species. But "hidden under the jargon of reason and science," writes Hedges, > this conviction is a secular version of religious extremism. To Hedges, this > makes them dangerous. > > "Too many of the new atheists, like the Christian fundamentalists, support > the imperialist projects and pre-emptive wars of the United States as > necessities in the battle against terrorism and irrational religion," he > writes. To make his case, he cites Harris' justification for a nuclear > first-strike on the Middle East and Hitchens' continued support for > democracy-via-bombing in Iraq. > > Hedges doesn't mince words about these atheists: They are "suburban > mutations," "hopeless epicures" and "products of the morally stunted world > of entertainment." Because many atheists conflate radical, literalist > religion with all religion �� and refuse to see any good that has come from > faith �� Hedges sees them as intellectually shallow. To him, one must come at > faith honestly �� through years of sustained thought, reading, reflection and > introspection. The same goes for atheism. > > One of the strengths of *Atheists* is Hedges' authority to write on the > topic. The son of a Presbyterian minister, he witnessed how his father's > faith inspired him to fight for social justice, even when it was deeply > unpopular in the rural, upstate New York communities in which he preached. > It was this model of courage-through-faith that led Hedges to pursue a > degree from Harvard's Divinity School, where he gained his understanding of > theology. > > Hedges spent the next 20 years covering foreign wars for a host of > newspapers, including the *Times*, where he served as the Middle East Bureau > Chief. He has witnessed many of the late 20th century's worst horrors �� in > Algeria, Bosnia, El Salvador, Iraq, Kosovo and Sudan (where he was > imprisoned). > > In a 2008 interview with Salon, Hedges said, "I spent so long in war zones > that I think we don't know what we would do under repression and abuse. �� > That's the brilliance of the great writers on the Holocaust, like Primo > Levi. �� They understood the humanity of their own killers." > > Hedges spends the first half of *Atheists* refuting the claim that humanity > has advanced morally. "The Enlightenment myth �� taught that our physical and > social environment could be transformed through rational manipulation. �� > [But] human history is not a long chronicle of human advancement. It > includes our cruelty, barbarism, reverses, blunders and self-inflicted > disasters." > > In the second chapter, "God and Science," Hedges provides an engrossing > history of Darwinism and the Enlightenment, and their dark legacies of > violence. He cites Friedrich Nietzsche's fear that the British would use > social Darwinism to justify imperialism, and offers a pellucid argument > against science's application to philosophy. > > Hedges understands the depravity of which human beings are capable �� be they > secular or religious. "To turn away from God is harmless. To turn away from > sin is catastrophic," he writes. > > At the same time, we all experience moments of transcendence �� such as a > parent's love for his child �� that we are driven to account for. The meaning > of this contradiction is the domain of religion. Science can never > adequately grapple with such subjective human complexity: > > Scientific ideas �� are embraced or rejected on the basis of quantifiable > evidence. But human relationships and social organizations interact and > function effectively when they are not rigid, when they accept moral > ambiguity, and when they take into account the irrational. > > Hedges draws from the works of artists like Samuel Beckett, Albert Camus, > Willa Cather, Joseph Conrad, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Uta Hagen, as well as > figures like Thomas Aquinas, Sigmund Freud, Reinhold Niebuhr and Arthur > Schopenhauer. These individuals, who wrestled with �� and against �� faith and > a tragic worldview, serve as Hedges' touchstones as he seeks to express the > core limits of humanity and what he calls "the possibilities of religion." > > Hedges' writing has a hurtling, runneth-over quality that can be redundant > and vague at times (as in his section on the concept of "tempered free > will"). He is also prone to cranky digressions (as in his section on a > fashion designer profiled on CNN). And some readers may be disappointed to > find that Hedges does not systematically dismantle each argument in the new > atheists' books. > > Instead, Hedges views the new atheists not so much as an organized threat, > but as indicators of a larger tendency in America toward a dangerously > simplistic way of thinking. "It is fear, ignorance, a lack of introspection > and the illusion that we can create a harmonious world that leads us to > sanction the immoral," Hedges writes. "Our enemies have no monopoly on sin, > nor have we one on virtue." > > Hedges proposes the radical notions that we admit our complicity in the > violence of the world and acknowledge the humanity of our enemies. Religion > �� with its other long history of encouraging compassion toward others and > introspection about the evil at the center of humanity's heart �� is too > valuable in this aim to be flatly dismissed. Amen. > Jarrett Dapier is assistant publisher at *In These Times*. >
This email message originally included an attachment.