Athe­ist tide

The Washington Times Weekly - - Culture, Etc. -

“How­ever much philoso­phers tell us that it is il­log­i­cal to fear death, and that at worst it is only the process of dy­ing that we should fear, peo­ple still fear death as much as ever. In like fash­ion, how­ever many times philoso­phers say that it is up to us our­selves [. . .] to find the mean­ing of life, we con­tinue to long for a tran­scen­dent pur­pose im­ma­nent in ex­is­tence it­self, in­de­pen­dent of our own wills. To tell us that we should not feel this long­ing is a bit like telling some­one in the first flush of love that the ob­ject of his af­fec­tions is not wor­thy of them. The heart hath its rea­sons that rea­son knows not of. [. . . ]

“The search for the pure guid­ing light of rea­son, un­con­tam­i­nated by hu­man pas­sion or meta­phys­i­cal prin­ci­ples that go be­yond all pos­si­ble ev­i­dence, con­tin­ues, how­ever; and re­cently, an epi­demic rash of books has de­clared suc­cess, at least if suc­cess con­sists of hav­ing slain the in­vet­er­ate en­emy of rea­son, namely re­li­gion. The philoso­phers Daniel Den­nett, A. C. Grayling, Michel On­fray, and Sam Har­ris, bi­ol­o­gist Richard Dawkins, and jour­nal­ist and critic Christo­pher Hitchens have all writ­ten books roundly con­demn­ing re­li­gion and its works. Ev­i­dently, there is a tide in the af­fairs, if not of men, at least of au­thors.”

— Theodore Dalrymple, writ­ing on “What the New Athe­ists Don’t See,” in the au­tumn is­sue of City Jour­nal

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