Materialist atheists: Beware astrophysics?
Richard John Neuhaus, writing in the December edition of First Things, draws our attention to British sociologist David Martin, writing in the Scottish Journal of Theology
A master narrative of the Enlightenment is that religion recedes as science advances. It would be more plausible were it supported by the evidence, writes Martin.Yes, unless they take refuge in crackpot cosmologies.
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It happens that three is no continuing Enlightenment institution in secular contexts comparable to the Church in religious contexts to take the moral flack hurled at the corruptions of power ... Christianity can be blamed for what happened when adopted as the faith of the Roman Empire, whereas Darwinism can innocently wash its hands of what happened when converted by capitalist society into Social Darwinism or deployed by Nietzsche. Yet the metaphors of Darwinism are decidedly more susceptible to malign conversion than the metaphors of Christianity." Martin concludes with this: If I were an atheist anxious to disturb the faith of intelligent young friends, I would recommend a course in biblical criticism, or in psychobabble and sociobabble, or, best of all, a vigorous drench in romantic literary Weltschmerz. But not, definitely not, a bracing course in astrophysics. They might too easily suppos they were tracing 'the Mind of the Maker.'
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