June 20, 2011
The Lord be with you
I am currently reading The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Timothy Keller (Riverhead Books, New York, 2008). This is the book we will be discussing at our book club this coming Sunday evening. I’m a little over half way and I find myself hoping that many people will have read it and join in the discussion.
From time to time Keller refers to the book The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. I was especially impressed by quotes Keller included by ashiest (whom you would expect to form Dawkins cheering section) about the flawed reasoning in the book. Dawkins’ views come from a philosophical framework called “strong rationalism.” It is a largely discredited approach in all circles. I wanted to include a short sampling here.
- The philosophical indefensibility of “strong rationalism” is the reason that the books of Dawkins and Dennett have been getting such surprising rough treatment in scholarly journals. As just one example, the Marxist scholar Terry Eagleton wrote a scathing review of Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion in the London Review of Books. Eagleton attacks both of Dawkins’s native ideas, namely that faith has no rational component, and that reason isn’t based to a great degree on faith.
Dawkins considers that all faith is blind faith, and that Christian and Muslim children are brought up to believe unquestioningly. Not even the dim-witted clerics who knocked me about at grammar school thought that. For mainstream Christianity, reason, argument and honest doubt have always played an integral role in belief. … Reason, to be sure, doesn’t go all the way down for believers, but it doesn’t for most sensitive, civilized non-religious types either. Even Richard Dawkins lives more by faith than by reason. We hold many beliefs that have no unimpeachably rational justification, but are nonetheless reasonable to entertain. …