Another Apologetic

Slate has an article today, Know Nothing: The true history of atheism, that is an attack on the “new atheists” and a defense, i.e. an “apologetic”, for traditional Christian faith.

My fascination about such pieces is that they *invariably* assume that the sophisticated theology that they ridicule ‘new atheists’ and others for knowing nothing about is the theology of *their own particular* flavor of religion – i.e. Christianity. The faith they grew up with. What presumption! How do they know that perhaps one of the many *other* religious traditions around the world today, or throughout history, isn’t the right one?

Needless to say, evidence is not involved. Nor have these critics in any way indicated that they have studied the theology of all of those other religions before having concluded they can be dismissed. They’re only trying to defend their own traditions. I needn’t study theology, or investigate the arcane complexities of astrological methods, to dismiss both belief in gods, and astrology.

Because the effective way of understanding the universe, the one that works, that has generated our modern technological civilization, is inconsistent with both.

The second flaw in apologist arguments like this is that they ridicule atheistic dismissals of religion myths like the belief that the universe was literally created in 6 days. Pshaw, this writer says; sophisticated theologians haven’t thought this in millennia. Maybe not– but that ignores the evidence that a surprising percentage of the current American population *does* believe such literal Biblical myths. These apologists who criticize the atheists seem to think they can define what proper religion is. But it’s the religion of the masses, according to these polls, that writers like Dawkins are addressing.

There must be a term, one of those psychological biases perhaps, that applies to this – the lack of recognition that one’s own personal experience isn’t the default position for everyone else in the world to accept, lest they be charged ignorant of theology. I need to capture this bias; it is a principle theme of my own worldview, via science fiction, that the world, the universe, is vaster and more complex than any particular parochial point of view, and the likelihood of your childhood faith being the one true religion (or theology) is vanishingly small. For all practical purposes, dismissible.

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