Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


The Atheist Delusion

Georgetown University theology professor John Haught has written a book, God and the New Atheism, to counter the claims of the recent atheist writings like those of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. Over at, they have a current article, The Atheist Delusion presenting Haught's views in brief. In the article, he argues that those arguing for Intelligent Design share with their evolutionary materialists foes in debate the feeling that science can solve questions of faith, while he feels this may not be the only way of discovering truth. Haught says in part,
My chief objection to the new atheists is that they are almost completely ignorant of what's going on in the world of theology. They talk about the most fundamentalist and extremist versions of faith, and they hold these up as though they're the normative, central core of faith. And they miss so many things. They miss the moral core of Judaism and Christianity—the theme of social justice, which takes those who are marginalized and brings them to the center of society. They give us an extreme caricature of faith and religion....

I don't have any objection to the idea that atheists can be good and morally upright people. But we need a worldview that is capable of justifying the confidence that we place in our minds, in truth, in goodness, in beauty. I argue that an atheistic worldview is not capable of justifying that confidence. Some sort of theological framework can justify our trust in meaning, in goodness, in reason....

The new atheists have made science the only road to truth. They have a belief, which I call "scientific naturalism," that there's nothing beyond nature—no transcendent dimension—that every cause has to be a natural cause, that there's no purpose in the universe, and that scientific explanations, especially in their Darwinian forms, can account for everything living. But the idea that science alone can lead us to truth is questionable. There's no scientific proof for that. Those are commitments that I would place in the category of faith. So the proposal by the new atheists that we should eliminate faith in all its forms would also apply to scientific naturalism. But they don't want to go that far. So there's a self-contradiction there.
I don't agree with all that Haught says, but I do enjoy his trying to set some things straight with regard to Atheism, which is itself a theological conviction that take some faith. Haught's book is forthcoming. The full text of the interview is here: The Atheist Delusion.

I have written about some of the underlying assumptions here in the religion column, It Doesn't Have to Be Science Vs. Religion and in the blog post Faith, Doubt, Certainity and the Leap of Faith.

The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor



  • At 12/19/2007 8:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I feel sad that most Atheists will never know what I know to be true. What He has shown to me can not be explained away by logic and science(I've tried). And the joy that I feel from Him just can't compare to anything else.


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