Logically and aggressively challenging the atheists

Alan Roebuck writes:

At his blog, Dinesh D’souza engages in some self-congratulation regarding his debates with atheists, but I think there are a couple of valuable points to be made thereby, and his self-congratulation may have a strong basis in fact.

D’Souza speaks of several big-name atheists who have expressed respect for his ability to argue. In an e-mail I sent you several months ago, I mentioned an intuition that many aggressive atheists may be secretly searching for a solid theistic argument that they can respect. It’s a bit like the cliche of the schoolyard bully who becomes your friend after you beat him up: He was just looking for something he could respect. In this age of hysterical tolerance-mongering, this not surprising: Atheistic science is just about the only widely-known Western enterprise that has enough spirit and self-confidence to attack its enemies.

And that brings up the second point. D’Souza speaks here of his confidence in battle:

In reality, as people like Shermer and Hitchens who know me will testify, I’m not arrogant. I am, however, just a little tired of hearing the propaganda about how atheists are the champions of reason while religious believers are the ignorant practitioners of “blind faith.” You can see why I relish taking on the atheists with their chosen weapons of reason and science and evidence, and showing that I can not only defend myself but also defeat them on their own terms.

I’m not surprised. The atheists have very weak arguments behind their self-righteous bluster, but most Christians apologists are too polite to go for the kill. D’Souza has discovered an unoccupied niche in the intellectual ecology: the aggressive Christian.

(To be fair, there are other aggressive Christian apologists. But they’re not well known.)

LA replies:

“… most Christians apologists are too polite to go for the kill.”

Think Michael Novak. Although on second thought he’s not only too polite to go in for the kill, he’s too polite to do anything other than piously congratulate the atheist for his or her honesty and courage and express great warmth and solidarity with the atheist.

Also, as I think I’ve said before, notwithstanding D’Souza’s established record as a liar, character assassin, traitor to the West (e.g. his book last year promoting an alliance with traditional Muslims), and one of the most despicable people on the current scene, his book defending Christianity, which I’ve read a bit of, seems to be of a different order from his past meretricious writings and worthwhile. We must judge each work by its own merits, not by the character of its author as shown in his other works. Let us remember that the very compromised figure Thomas Cranmer created the Book of Common Prayer, perhaps the greatest book in Western Christendom (and the words of which made me a Christian believer). A priest at my Anglo-Catholic parish, which uses the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, called Cranmer “evil.” Truth is complicated. Which is not the same thing as saying that truth is relative.

One way of explaining such a paradox as Cranmer to ourselves is that the book he wrote is the work of the Holy Spirit, who may inspire and direct the talents of a flawed and even bad man to good purposes. Look at how the criminal act of Joseph’s brothers in selling him into slavery led to Joseph’s elevation as vizier of Egypt and ultimately to their own salvation.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 13, 2008 05:22 PM | Send

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