I am a non-believer. If you asked me about Christian beliefs specifically (a creator God, Jesus as redeemer, resurrection, eternal life etc) I am an atheist. However, the New Atheists cannot stand me.
My objections to New Atheism
So why then am I not a New Atheist? Partly it is aesthetic. They are so vulgar.
Dawkins in The God Delusion would fail any introductory philosophy or religion course. To take one example, the Ontological Argument for God was first devised by Anselm and refurbished by Descartes. Roughly, it runs thus: God is by definition that than which none greater can be thought. Does He exist? Suppose He doesn’t. Then there is a greater who does exist. Contradiction! Hence, God exists.
In The God Delusion , Richard Dawkins dismisses this longstanding and much debated philosophical argument with a few sneering paragraphs. His critique is on a par with someone arguing against Dawkins’ own body of work by saying that selfish genes cannot exist because genes cannot be selfish (and with about as much understanding or sensitivity). But hardly any serious theologian or philosopher thinks the Ontological Argument is valid in the way I have just described it. It has been reframed and reworked. Every serious theologian and philosopher knows that the argument leads us into important and sophisticated questions about the nature of existence. Does the notion of necessary existence – which must surely be true of God if he exists – even make sense? And so forth. To arrogantly dismiss the argument is bad scholarship and, worse still, bad taste. Ironically, I get on better with many of my Christian interlocutors than I do with many atheists.
@philosurfer do you have any insight on your PhD advisor? Also, I find his comments on Revelation interesting. I hope I get a chance to go deeper with him on this some day.
So why not God for me? Most importantly, I say that religious belief – and Christian religious belief in particular – relies first and foremost on revelation. Faith and not reason. In fact this was a major point of contention when I discussed these issues with my Christian protagonist Prof John Lennox
It seems that the the need for revelation is very easy to defend. I wonder how he has engaged with the case I am turning around in my head. (perhaps no one has brought it forward).