It’s good practice, if you are going to argue with something, to aim at the best version of that thing you are arguing with. In Reason, Faith, and Revolution, Terry Eagleton argues that opponents of religion like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens (or ‘Ditchkins’ as Eagleton calls them) should criticize religion as it actually exists, not the lesser versions of their imagination. Reason, Faith, and Revolution, originally from the Dwight H. Terry Lectures in 2008 at Yale, finds Eagleton wading into the “religion debates” made famous by the New Atheists. As Dawkins and other New Atheists continue to tour and lecture on the topic, these debates continue to hold a place in the cultural conversation.Read more over at Yale Books Unbound...
"What response does seeing human suffering demand of us? Filmmaker Julia Haslett seeks an answer in the controversial French philosopher and activist Simone Weil (1909-1943), whose life and work took on this question in a dramatic way..."
When I read Barth, I notice – and I am sure many others do as well – that we have fallen asleep and have produced legitimizing explanations for all kinds of substitute pleasures. Of course Barth can motivate you to wake up and to stop retreating to pseudo-justifications for social, political, or biographical success. But that alone is insufficient. That is the reason why Kafka’s “The Trial” is so important for me. The protagonist Josef K. is asked to appear before a court on his 30th birthday to testify about his life. When he realizes that he cannot justify his life with the things he has done, he despairs. He sees lawyers, artists, and finally a priest. The more he strives for justification, the more he realizes that he is lacking it. You cannot finish the book without confronting these themes in Kafka’s writings. The book is incredibly radical; it ends in a staged suicide. That is more than simple fiction (More...)
He continues: "You cannot retreat to the comforts of atheism. Behind us are two thousand years that have been marked by questions about God. Today’s atheistic calm, even from intellectuals, is equal to the eradication of our intellectual history." Superb stuff from Martin Walser (in an interview in The European Magazine.)
Not quite at the same level, but I did also enjoy Melvyn Bragg attacking Richard Dawkins' 'atheist fundamentalism' in this video on The Telegraph's site.
There are two moments in negative theology. One is to discover and to say as accurately as possible the right names and descriptions of the Divine. Paradoxically, the second is to show that these names are inadequate. For example, one must say 'God is just'; it is blasphemy to say otherwise. Nevertheless, once that is established, it is also true that the sentence is inadequate; from the point of view of a claim to have said the complete and final truth, it is untrue. For, we only know what justice is by using our own justice as a reference point. However, God's justice surpasses ours, so much so that it is inadequate to use the same name for it. Thus one must also say, 'God is not just' -- but readers must take care how they read what looks like a simple denial of God's justice. The negative theologian recognizes the absolute necessity of speaking about God... He worries, however, that our theology may give us the impression that we are now done with thinking about God; we may believe, at least implicitly, that our knowledge has encompassed the infinite. So the negative theologian reminds us of God's infinity by showing us the failure of our affirmative theology...
Via In Media Res.