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3/24/08


Mind Shadows         Chris Hedges: I Don't Believe In Atheists

“The atheists and the religious fundamentalists speak in slogans. Atheists ridicule magic, miracles, and an anthropomorphic God. They remind us that world is not 6,000 years old, that prayer does not cure cancer, and that there is no heaven or hell. But these are not thoughts. They are self-evident tautologies. These two camps never step outside their narrow intellectual boundaries. They delight in critiques that are, to any first year seminarian, shallow and stale. [Christopher] Hitchens assures us that ‘the unanswerable question of who . . . created the creator’ has never been addressed by theologians. Theologians, he says, ‘have consistently failed to overcome this conundrum.’

“This is the declaration of an illiterate. Aquinas, along with many other theologians, addressed at length the issue of who created the creator. God, Aquinas argues, is not an entity. God is not a thing or a being. Creation is not an act of handicraft. Creation is the condition of there being something rather than nothing. Creation didn't happen long ago. Creation is a constant in human existence. It is part of life. And this is why ‘creationism’—the belief in an anthropomorphic god—is pseudoscience and pseudotheology. But stepping out of the cartoonish and childish taunting of religion to a discussion of the writings of Aquinas, Augustine, Paul Tillich, Karl Barth and Reinhold Niebuhr is beyond the capacity of these atheists. They haven't read them and they don't want to.

“All fundamentalists reject intellectual investigations. They know the truth. They live wrapped in the comforting and self-deluding belief that they have nothing left to learn. Hitchens, for example, assures us that ‘religion spoke its last intelligible or noble or inspiring words a long time ago.’ There is no need to read theology. [Sam] Harris insists he understands the Muslim world because he has read opinion polls and passages in the Koran. These atheists, like Christian fundamentalists, maintain that one can be linguistically, culturally, historically and socially illiterate and make sweeping statements about other cultures and other traditions. This celebration of ignorance fits neatly into a world that has traded dialogue for the chanting of slogans and clichés." I Don't Believe in Atheists, by Chris Hedges, also author of American Fascists

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