Re: [asa] NPR on New Atheism

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Wed Oct 21 2009 - 16:43:19 EDT

I'm not one to pooh-pooh all talk of the importance of Christian principles in the founding of the USA but a lot of care is needed with that. I wish Dorothy Sayers' _The Mind of the Maker_ had a decent index so I could find this easily, but she has somewhere there a telling contrast of the grand picture of humanity in the Declaration of Independence - "endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights" &c [where do we find them in scripture?] with the statement in the Anglican 39 Articles that "man is of his own nature very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil" &c.

To jump a bit - indeed there was a lot of Christian (or at least biblical) influence on the formation of the USA. But the most serious was that of Hamilton & other conservatives who realized (even if only implicitly) the sinfulness - i.e., selfishness - of human beings & the need to control it. That contrasts c the more more cheery ideas of Jefferson et al who thought that, freed from the tyranny of priests & kings &c, heroic yeoman farmers & their families (& slaves, whose equal creation for some reason didn't entitle them to equal humanity) could live in a kind of repristination of Eden. & 1 thing I find appalling about some of the "conservative" criticisms of the present administration's policies is their appeal to _Jefferson_ of all people - Jefferson of the mangled Gospels, defence of southern institutions &c. (See Gerry Wills _Negro President_ - i.e., Jefferson - on this.)


  ----- Original Message -----
  From: David Clounch
  To: Schwarzwald
  Sent: Wednesday, October 21, 2009 4:18 PM
  Subject: Re: [asa] NPR on New Atheism

  Are you saying "Liberty...chop chop ...Equality...chop chop...Fraternity..chop chop...?

  Isn't this what comes from secular morality and secular humanism? Looking to the inner standard of right and wrong, ignoring the value of creatures (Adam's race) created in God's image?

  Christian civilization has had its excesses too. But always in response to the type of insanity demonstrated by the secularists. Look at how very dangerous the secular insanity was in France! And later in Germany, Russia, Cambodia, etc.
  This is why the USA, having been founded on Christian principles, must not throw God out of its operating principles. When it does then all civil rights can easily be cast aside just like in those countries.

  On Tue, Oct 20, 2009 at 9:54 PM, Schwarzwald <> wrote:

    Heya Mike,

      Sounds like hypocrisy. Basically, the New Atheists think the way to get people to embrace reason and science is to use hateful propaganda, edgy ridicule, and any other means of arousing negative emotions. Whatever it takes. New Atheists clearly do not believe in reason and science. They believe in whatever it takes.

    Exactly. Not only are they not relying on either reason or science, but as near as I can tell, they don't even want people to embrace those things. Those things have become little more than buzzwords that amount to shockingly little - what's really central is a combination of personal animosity, and social/political considerations. Always has been, and always will be.

    I reject the common claim that the New Atheists subscribe to 'scientism'. Science is appealed to superficially only insofar as it offers utility - and is either ignored, rejected, or superceded by ideologies otherwise. To make what I think is an apt comparison, during the french revolution the revolutionaries yelled quite a lot about "reason". But does the reign of terror really seem like the result of reason? Do historians, or anyone who reads about that age, talk about how reason triumphed during that reign?

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Received on Wed Oct 21 16:43:57 2009

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