Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Reviews of David Berlinski's "The Devil's Delusion"

This is a response to Kevin Currie's review of David Berlinski's, "The Devil's Delusion."

I have read Berlinski's book and followed his argument in other forums as well. I do acknowledge that some of his sarcasm seemed a bit tendentious or gratuitous. But, we can also acknowledge that his is a spirited response to the annoyingly presumptuous assertions of the evangelical atheists which you have also noted.

But, do you suppose that this Princeton educated Ph.D. in Philosophy and self-developed mathematician and science commentator (I have known such natural polymaths) is really spouting indefensible arguments? If you watch Berlinski's personal appearances, he is perfectly willing to acknowledge his own uncertainties and sensitivities to criticism. I think his is a message that desperately merited delivering, and I have watched for responses from the celebrated atheist evangelists. If we were speaking strictly in terms of speech, we could say that thus far, the silence has been deafening, especially from those who make nearly a full-time diversion of the sort of cynicism and ridicule that Berlinski has frankly not approached.

Myself, I make no pretense of the sort of uncertainty that Berlinski confesses. I am a Christian who is persuaded down to my boots, and I did study philosophy and the multiplied manifestations of hyper-skepticism of relatively recent times.

I don't accept Christian teaching merely on unreflective assent to a book. As I have said, rather than confessing truths "because they are in The Bible," I believe that they are in The Bible because they are true. And, the difference is anything but trivial.

In a debate viewable on the Internet, Oxford atheist scientist-cum-Christian theologian Alister McGrath in a debate with Christopher Hitchens (I also read his "god is not great...") refers to an observation of C.S. Lewis that his conversion was something like the sunrise in that not only had he glimpsed the sun, but that by it he saw everything else. To experience God is to see through a different lens a qualitatively different and infinitely richer image. Therefore I do not ridicule folks like Hitchens, Dawkins, Dennett, et. al. for what they cannot see. Rather, I pity them.

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