Friday, June 22, 2007

Canadians tiring of atheist tirades?

Barbara Kay charges in Canada’s National Post that atheists are free riders on societies built by the spiritually minded:
... one needn't believe in God to be a humanitarian or a lover of culture. Of course not, in exactly the same way that the great-grandchild of a multi-millionaire who has set up a wonderful trust fund has no need to worry about paying his rent. It was the original capital that provided the revenues. Atheists committed to morality and social justice are simply people who chose not to grow the equity, but to live off the returns of the beliefs of their forebears. If morality and the notion of universal justice had not come down from "on high" to begin with—or rather if people did not believe it had come down from on high—we would not have the Mozart "you don't need God to revel in." The greatest aesthetic achievements of western civilization—music, art, architecture, writing—not to mention our entire legal system, sprang from feelings of awe at the miracle of life, a belief that man was made in the image of God, and the yearning to glorify God's name in earthly homage through upwardly striving efforts to meet the standards imposed by religious texts.

She argues that atheists are the ant in the fable of the ant and the grasshopper.

Also from Canada: TV host Lorna Dueck is insulted by the recent crop of pop atheist authors:
Their zeal reminded me of the last book I read before I picked up Mr. Hitchens's God is not Great; it was Hard Times by Charles Dickens. Dickens opens his 1854 novel with a schoolhouse mantra: "Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts." Hard Times then unfolds a plot of what happens when, as philosopher Hume concluded, "you cannot derive an ought from an is." Informed only by science, Dickens's characters struggle over how they ought to act in the world, how they ought to respond to love, yearning, and imagination, but alas, they are only equipped with facts. When it comes to how to act in the world, I do believe I have benefited from the great metaphysical story of Christianity.

When Lorna speaks, listen up!

As far as I can tell, popular atheism is the only subject in the world where you absolutely do not need to know what you are talking about in the least, in order to have a widely circulated opinion.

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