An excerpt from John Haught's God and the New Atheism: A Critical Response to Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens:
I must confess that it has been disappointing for me to have witnessed the recent surge of interest in atheism. It's not that my own livelihood, that of a theologian, is at stake—although the authors in question would fervently wish that it were so. Nor is it that the treatment of religion in these tracts consists mostly of breezy over-generalizations that leave out almost everything that theologians would want to highlight in their own contemporary discussion of God. Rather, the new atheism is simply unchallenging theologically. Its engagement with theology lies at about the same level of reflection on faith that one can find in contemporary creationist and fundamentalist literature.
Clearly the new atheists' strategy is to suppress in effect any
significant theological voices that might wish to join in conversation
with them. As a result of this exclusion, the intellectual quality of
their atheism is unnecessarily diminished. Their understanding of
religious faith remains consistently at the same unscholarly level as
the unreflective, superstitious, and literalist religiosity of those
they criticize. Even though the new atheists reject the God of
creationists, fundamentalists, terrorists, and "intelligent design"
(ID) advocates, it is not without interest that they have decided to
debate with these extremists rather than with any major theologians.
This choice of antagonists betrays their unconscious privileging of
literalist and conservative versions of religious thought over the more
traditionally mainstream types. The new atheists are saying in effect
that if God exists at all, we should allow this God's identity to be
determined once and for all by the fundamentalists of the Abrahamic
religious traditions. I believe they have chosen this strategy not only
to make their job of demolition easier, but also because they have a
barely disguised admiration for the simplicity of their opponents'
views of reality.
In preparing treatises on a-theism, one would expect that scholars
and journalists would have done some research on theism, just to be
sure they know exactly what it is they are rejecting. It is hard to be
an informed and consistent atheist without knowing something about
theology. And yet, aside from several barbed references, there is no
sign of any real contact between the new atheists and theology at all,
let alone studious investigation. This circumvention is comparable to
creationists rejecting evolution without ever having taken a course in
biology. They just know there's something wrong with those crazy
Darwinian fantasies. So the new atheists just know there is something
sick and delusional about theology. There is no need to look at it up
close. Furthermore, conversation with theologians, most of whom are not
biblical literalists, would add a dimension of intricacy to the new
atheist literature that would detract from the breeziness that sells
books. Ignorance of theology simplifies the new atheists' attacks on
their equally uninformed religious adversaries. It allows their
critique to match, point for point, the fundamentalism it is trying to
RLCC Comment: They call it knocking down the straw man. However, the new atheists don't succeed. It is not possible to use science to prove science or to disprove even what is considered in the main as the most literalist of interpretations of The Bible. The arguments used by the atheists are circular and so are the arguments used by the theists.
The question is, "What is truth?" Pontius Pilate asked Jesus that question, likely rhetorically. Jesus of course, had answered it.
It isn't for the atheist ever to find out even when God is as evident as God ever has been or ever will be. They will remain at best doubters. That's what defines them. They are not theists. It they were presented with God, they would refuse to believe. They would insist to themselves that they are just imagining it or someone is trying to trick them or something — anything to not believe. Why is that?
Well, with belief come obligations concerning which the atheists do not wish to rise only to fall short. It's an ego thing. That's what atheistic humanism is. That's what it always has been. That's what the garden story is about.
The so-called literalists don't view it that way though, with few exceptions. They insist upon 24-hour days before there was an Earth revolving every 24 hours, approximately.
Think about it.
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And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)