By David Bentley Hart
At present it truly is trendy to be devoutly undevout. Religion’s so much passionate antagonists--Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and others--have publishers competing eagerly to marketplace their a variety of denunciations of faith, monotheism, Christianity, and Roman Catholicism. yet modern antireligious polemics are dependent not just upon profound conceptual confusions yet upon facile simplifications of historical past or perhaps outright historic lack of expertise: so contends David Bentley Hart during this daring correction of the distortions. probably the most great students of faith of our time, Hart offers a robust antidote to the hot Atheists’ misrepresentations of the Christian previous, bringing into concentration the reality concerning the such a lot radical revolution in Western history.Hart outlines how Christianity reworked the traditional international in methods we can have forgotten: bringing liberation from fatalism, conferring nice dignity on people, subverting the harshest facets of pagan society, and raising charity in particular virtues. He then argues that what we time period the "Age of cause" used to be in reality the start of the eclipse of reason’s authority as a cultural price. Hart closes the booklet within the current, delineating the ominous outcomes of the decline of Christendom in a tradition that's equipped upon its ethical and religious values.
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Extra resources for Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies
It was something of such strange and radiant vastness that it is almost inexplicable that the memory of it should have so largely faded from our minds, to be reduced to a few old habits of thought and desire whose origins we no longer know, or to be displaced altogether by a few recent habits of thought and desire that render us oblivious to what we have forsaken. But perhaps the veil that time draws between us and the distant past in some sense protects us from the burden of too much memory. It often proves debilitating to dwell too entirely in the shadows of vanished epochs, and our capacity to forget is (as Friedrich Nietzsche noted) very much a part of our capacity to live in the present.
In such a world, Christians have no choice but to continue to believe in the power of the gospel to transform the human will from an engine of cruelty, sentimentality, and selfishness into a vessel of divine grace, capable of union with God and love of one’s neighbor. Many of today’s most obstreperous critics of Christianity know nothing more of Christendom’s two millennia than a few childish images of bloodthirsty crusaders and sadistic inquisitors, a few damning facts, and a great number of even more damning legends; to such critics, obviously, Christians ought not to surrender the past but should instead deepen their own collective memory of what the gospel has been in human history.
All of this, however, is slightly beside the point. 4 And, in fact, even if there were far more substance to Dennett’s project than there is, and even if by sheer chance his story of religion’s evolution were correct in every detail, it would still be a trivial project at the end of the day. For, whether one finds Dennett’s story convincing or not—whether, that is, one thinks he has quite succeeded in perfectly bridging the gulf between the amoeba and the St. Matthew Passion—not only does that story pose no challenge to faith, it is in fact perfectly compatible with what most developed faiths already teach regarding religion.