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Saturday, October 22, 2005

Weekend reading on the intelligent design controversy: Atheism's twilight?

In this ricochet off Alister McGrath's book, bookforum's Ronald Aronson notes:

By proclaiming that atheism is on its last legs, McGrath turns one of the most burning questions in American culture on its head. When everyone is asking about the growing strength of religion and its political ramifications, we might instead ask, Why is disbelief on the wane? Today's commonsense answer is that atheists, agnostics, and secularists are less and less relevant to the needs of Americans (and, McGrath adds, the rest of the world). Whether true or not, this is an amazing commentary on the self-confidence that once made atheism the modern creed, which McGrath summarizes as "the religion of the autonomous and rational human being, who believes that reason is able to uncover and express the deepest truths of the universe, from the mechanics of the rising of the sun to the nature and final destiny of humanity." Why, after predictions that religion had fallen into irreversible decline (in 1966, Time magazine famously asked, "Is God dead?"), does a recent Newsweek poll indicate that 64 percent of Americans call themselves religious and an equal number pray daily?

Aronson then turns his attention to the newer, younger atheist authors. He doesn't write like he thinks they can pull the fat out of the fire, but I have ordered/got/tried to get some of their books from the library, and we will see. If they are interesting and relevant, they will be reincarnated in small part in my quote box, and I will post a link ... By the way, here's Christianity Today's review of Twilight.

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