Sunday, December 03, 2006

Debating Religion

Ann Althouse blogs about a Nicholas Kristof piece in the NYT, where he states:

[There is] an increasingly assertive, often obnoxious atheist offensive led in part by [Richard] Dawkins — the Oxford scientist who is author of the new best seller “The God Delusion.” It’s a militant, in-your-face brand of atheism that he and others are proselytizing for....

[T]he tone of this Charge of the Atheist Brigade is ... contemptuous and even ... a bit fundamentalist.

“These writers share a few things with the zealous religionists they oppose, such as a high degree of dogmatism and an aggressive rhetorical style,” says John Green of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. “Indeed, one could speak of a secular fundamentalism that resembles religious fundamentalism. This may be one of those cases where opposites converge.”...

Now that the Christian Right has largely retreated from the culture wars, let’s hope that the Atheist Left doesn’t revive them. We’ve suffered enough from religious intolerance that the last thing the world needs is irreligious intolerance.

This is quite a strange article by Kristof. It almost sounds like he is saying we shouldn't be debating the issue. But there is no doubt people on both sides want to debate it. That's not the problem. Rather, the problem, or one of the problems anyway, is whether one side is seeking to have the government promote its views over the others. To me, this seems very different than having Dawkins make his arguments, which I would guess that most people on the Christian Right welcome for the chance it gives them to respond.

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