Saturday, October 13, 2007

Lennox-Dawkins debate: South takes it in stride and civility

Naomi Schaefer Riley reflects on the Lennox-Dawkins debate: Famous Oxford science types on whether God exists:
Perhaps Mr. Dawkins was surprised by this reception. He recently referred to the Bible Belt states as "the reptilian brain of southern and middle America," in contrast to the "country's cerebral cortex to the north and down the coasts." This debate marks the first time Mr. Dawkins has appeared in the Old South. Maybe his publishers suggested it would be a good idea. After all, "The God Delusion" and similar atheist tracts have been selling like hotcakes (or buttered grits) down here.

But why? Are Christians staying up late on Saturday night to read these books and failing to show up at church on Sunday morning, as Mr. Dawkins might hope? So far, the answer is no, according to Bill Hay, senior pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church just outside of Birmingham. ...

Didn’t the same thing happen to H. L. Mencken? He persistently portrayed Dayton, Tennessee as a rural backwater - though he actually knew otherwise. Here is my view of why and how that happens, riffing off Leon Kass.

Note: For more resources on the debate, go here.