David B. Hart vs. the New Atheists
The View from my Front Door

Further Thoughts on Hart vs. the Atheists

Something that's really striking about most of the atheist commentators on that post is their anti-intellectualism. "We're plain simple folk here. We don't need none of your hi-falutin' nonsense about metaphysics."

They're like people who know some simple arithmetic resisting algebra. "None of your slippery x and y stuff, now. Nothing but plain numbers for us, numbers we can count with!"

Or the people who think Charlie Parker was just playing random notes, or that people only pretend to like classical music out of snobbery.

They don't know what Hart is talking about, and they're proud of not knowing, and they don't want to know. There are a few exceptions, but very few.


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I am reading this article little by little. I think it's going to take a bunch of littles.


"I once heard a man call this age the age of demagogues. Of this I can only say, in the admirably sensible words of the angry coachman in "Pickwick," that "that remark's political, or what is much the same, it ain't true." So far from being the age of demagogues, this is really and specially the age of mystagogues. So far from this being a time in which things are praised because they are popular, the truth is that this is the first time, perhaps, in the whole history of the world in which things can be praised because they are unpopular. The demagogue succeeds because he makes himself understood, even if he is not worth understanding. But the mystagogue succeeds because he gets himself misunderstood; although, as a rule, he is not even worth misunderstanding."

Craig, I'm not sure who you're saying is the demagogue and who the mystagogue in this context.

"None of your slippery x and y stuff, now. Nothing but plain numbers for us, numbers we can count with!"

I love this. It makes me think of the dwarves who are for the dwarves.


That's interesting, because I think I had some idea like that floating around in my mind when I wrote that.

None of your slippery x and y stuff, now. Nothing but plain numbers for us, numbers we can count with!

This wouldn't bother me in the slightest if it weren't for the the fact that these people are almost constantly talking about how stupid/unintellectual believers are!

I shouldn't be angry at all - they are just silly children.

Oh poop! I made everything bold!

does that fix it?

It's interesting how a tag in the combox can change the entire sidebar. It's probably good that it only effects the thread you are posting on.


It's fixed now. The reason your attempt to fix it didn't work for older comments, Louise, is the descending sort order (most recent first)--your fix needed to go before, time-wise, and below, display-wise, the one that had the problem, and of course there's no way you can do that. If they were displayed in ascending order, the ones later than your fix would have been fixed.

In case you wanted to know...

Thanks. :)

Have you read this by Hauerwas? It concurs with Hart's conclusion that contemporary atheism, especially American, is uninteresting, but this is because "the God most American's say they believe in is just not interesting enough to deny."

That looks like a good article. I've printed it off to read it more carefully.

Believe it or not (*wink*), the "Craig" who quoted Chesterton was not me! It seems an odd coincidence -- but, as Chesterton once said, "Coincidences are spiritual puns." So make of that what you will.

For what it is worth, I also do not know what to make of that quote in this context.

I've just posted something about Hart's essay at my own blog. That, too, seems a nice coincidence, or whatever.

That IS strange, Craig.


I'll go and read that shortly, Craig.

I'm in maybe 75% agreement with the Hauerwas piece, Jack. I agree with the general view of the country's religious history and character. But I think he sells contemporary American Protestantism, or maybe rather I should say evangelicalism, pretty short. I think there are more people who have a better grasp on the problems with too close an identification with nationalism than he does. I don't go much for attempts at probing the depths of the American psyche for explanations for things like the "war on terror" (as I came to reject such explanations for the Vietnam war). They always give the impression that the writer takes it for granted that there was actually nothing much to worry about, and so some more mysterious explanation must be found. These are not completely without value but I think they misread the situation(s) in several ways, or maybe just leave out a LOT.

Boy, one could really create chaos by making a "Call yourself Craig in comboxes" day event in Facebook.

Since getting on Facebook I've been amazed at the crazy things people create fan pages etc. for. Some are quite funny.

On FB, I am a fan of "Not being on Fire."


That's very funny. I never join things, though, because I'm already way too distracted.

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