Thursday, September 06, 2007

Alister McGrath on Richard Dawkins - atheism is simpleminded narcissism?

Oxford historian Alister McGrath, author of Twilight of Atheism and formerly an atheist himself, reflects on his debates with Richard Dawkins, who seems to have retired from his science career to bash religion.
I am disappointed. I would have expected an Oxford professor to use a much more careful, scholarly approach, always trying to see an opponent at his best, and not using simplistic generalizations. I can entirely understand why Michael Ruse and many other atheists are embarrassed by The God Delusion. What concerns me most, however, is what this book shows us about today's atheism. I think this book is being read primarily by atheists who want to bolster their faith, when all around them God is being taken more seriously than he has for many years. It is almost as if atheists want cheap, slick answers, and don't want to face up to the big questions. Dawkins gives them a simple way of looking at life: people who believe in God are mad, bad and sad; atheists are bold, brilliant, and brave. You don’t need to think about things; you don't need to read books by Christians. You can write them off in advance as the predictable rantings of deluded idiots. It’s very worrying, and shows how dogmatic and simplistic atheism has now become.

Narcissism? Interviewer Dinesh d'Souza offers,
Even more telling, during your opening statement you referenced Dr. Dawkins or his work ten times, yet he never made reference to you. At the end of the debate, after your final comment, he simply laughed. Given Freud’s characterization of narcissism, that all libido is invested in the self and no other objects exist, perhaps Dawkins's fundamentalism is really narcissism. Since Dawkins is an atheist then only atheism is relevant. Neither the lives of billions of believers, nor the collective works of Augustine, nor Aquinas’ Summa Theologica, nor the countless acts of Christian charity over the last two thousand years seem to matter to Dawkins.

McGrath doesn't dispute that.

Wow, things are really heating up in this area - and about time too.

Also more on ex-world famous atheist Antony Flew's new book - "There IS a God" - wonderful cover! - but you have to go here and scroll down to see it.

More D'Souza? He also quotes Stanley Fish on shallow, dogmatic atheists and offers a post-mortem on secularism.

My series on the last-ditch anti-God crusade is here.

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