Wednesday, March 28, 2007

McGrath on Dawkins

AlterNet has an article by Alister McGrath on Richard Dawkin's book, The God Delusion.
Here are a few quotes:
The shrill, aggressive rhetoric of his God Delusion masks a deep insecurity about the public credibility of atheism. The God Delusion seems more designed to reassure atheists whose faith is faltering than to engage fairly or rigorously with religious believers, and others seeking for truth.

The God Delusion trumpets the fact that its author was recently voted one of the world's three leading intellectuals. This survey took place among the readers of Prospect magazine in November 2005. So what did this same Prospect magazine make of the book? Its reviewer was shocked at this "incurious, dogmatic, rambling, and self-contradictory" book. The title of the review? "Dawkins the dogmatist."

So what are we to make of this shrill and petulant manifesto of atheist fundamentalism? Aware of the moral obligation of a critic of religion to deal with this phenomenon at its best and most persuasive, many atheists have been disturbed by Dawkins' crude stereotypes, vastly over-simplified binary oppositions ("science is good, religion is bad"), straw men, and seemingly pathological hostility towards religion. Might The God Delusion actually backfire, and end up persuading people that atheism is just as intolerant, doctrinaire and disagreeable as the worst that religion can offer? As the atheist philosopher Michael Ruse commented recently: "The God Delusion makes me embarrassed to be an atheist."
Alister McGrath is Professor of Historical Theology at Oxford University. He has co-authored the forthcoming book "The Dawkins Delusion: Atheist fundamentalism and the denial of the divine" (InterVarsity Press) with his wife, Joanna Collicutt McGrath, who is a psychologist.

No comments: