More on Religion

Just a couple of items which may be interesting but which I haven’t yet had time to write about:

  1. Review by Simon Blackburn in the Guardian of ‘ The Case for God’ by Karen Armstrong – “eloquent and interresting'” he calls it but points out that “you do not quite get what it says on the tin” in that Armstrong’s God is of the apophatic (not to be talked about) kind that I prefer and she emphasizes the  emotional value of ritual and practice over the propositional content of doctrine. And then comes the zinger as Blackburn ends by pointing out that “Silence is … a kind of lowest common denominator of the human mind. The machine is idling. Which direction it then goes after a period of idling is a highly unpredictable matter… some directions will be better and others worse. And that is what, alas, we always find, with or without the song and dance.”
  2.  Laurie Taylor interviews Terry Eagleton in the New Humanist – mainly about his review of Richard Dawkins’ ‘The God Delusion’ and identifies “a fascinating double repression going on in the pages of The God Delusion and Religion, Faith and Revolution. Dawkins, the thoroughgoing scientist, abandons a central tenet of science – testability – in order to proclaim his belief in moral progress, while Eagleton, the thoroughgoing Marxist, is forced to relinquish a fundamental tenet of Marxism – its materialism – in order to find religious ideas of sufficient intrinsic value to counter Dawkins’s alleged caricature.”
    In my opinion (albeit not based on having ever read TGD myself)  Eagleton completely misses the point by raising the usual claim that in order to discuss the origins of religion (and identify them as delusional) you need to be have deeply studied the most arcane subsequent theoretical developments built on that false foundation. (This is not to deny that the original delusion may serve some purpose, or that some of  its subsequent reformulations – especially those that give it a purely symbolic interpretation – may be less offensive to reason than the original. But institutions which continue to encourage naive acceptance of counterfactual “miracles” have not earned the respect they claim to deserve. )
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