"God Is Dead" and I Don t Feel So Good Myself
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In this pertinent and engaging volume leading Christian philosophers, theologians, and writers from all over the denominational map explode the black-and-white binaries that characterize both sides of the New Atheism debate. They transcend the self-assured shouting matches of this latest expression of the culture wars by engaging in rigorous, polychromatic Christian reflection that considers the extent to which the atheistic critique-both new and old-might help the church move toward a more mature faith, authentic spirituality, charitable witness, and peaceable practice. With generous openness and ferocious wit, this collection of essays, interviews, memoir, poetry, and visual art-including contributions from leading intellectuals, activists, and artists such as Stanley Hauerwas, Charles Taylor, John Milbank, Stanley Fish, Luci Shaw, Paul Roorda, Merold Westphal, and D. Stephen Long-provides substantive analysis, incisive critique, and a hopeful way forward for Christian dialog with atheist voices.



Publié par
Date de parution 01 janvier 2010
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781621892281
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0062€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


“God Is Dead” and I Don’t Feel So Good Myself

Theological Engagements with the New Atheism

Edited by
andrew david
christopher j. keller
& jon stanley

CASCADE Books • Eugene, Oregon
Theological Engagements with the New Atheism

Copyright © 2010 Wipf and Stock. All rights reserved. Except for
brief quotations in critical publications or reviews, no part of this book
may be reproduced in any manner without prior written permission
from the publisher. Write: Permissions, Wipf and Stock Publishers, 199
W. 8th Ave., Suite 3, Eugene, OR 97401.

Cascade Books
An Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers
199 W. 8th Ave., Suite 3
Eugene, OR 97401


Cover image by Paul Roorda, “Crown of Thorns and Capeline Bandage,” blood, crushed stone, rust, gold leaf, beeswax, and vintage book pages on paper. Used by permission.

isbn 13: 978-1-60608-531-8

Cataloguing-in-Publication data:

“God is dead” and I don’t feel so good myself : theological engagements with the new atheism / edited by Andrew David, Christopher J. Keller, and Jon Stanley

xxii + 186 p. ; 23 cm. Includes bibliographical references.

isbn 13: 978-1-60608-531-8

1. Christianity and atheism. 2. Faith and reason—Christianity. I. Title. II. Series.

bt1212.g5 2010

Manufactured in the U.S.A.
At a family reunion when I (Christopher) was a young boy, my mother got to talking with my estranged cousin who had left the faith. The son of a fundamentalist Christian preacher and once the golden child of his West Virginia religious community—he even achieved a brief professional career as a “Christian recording artist”—my cousin’s conservative Christian faith had spiraled downward into disillusionment. He stopped attending his church, ceased reading his Bible, abandoned his daily prayer time, and committed the cardinal evangelical sin—he allowed his marriage to collapse. Repulsed by the Christian fundamentalism of his upbringing, for all intents and purposes my cousin renounced the faith.
It is this kind of narrative that today’s New Atheists relish, indeed idealize: they see a recovery from god delusions , an enlightening exchange of the warm, fuzzy fairy tales of faith for the cold, hard facts of science. And it is a story that the New Atheism’s Christian critics would decry, interpreting it as recklessly throwing the Christian baby out with the fundamentalist bathwater. But neither reaction is sensitive to the particularity of my cousin’s story, nor to the theological, political, and psychological currents at play in the lives of fellow prodigals. No stories are canned—in this case, twenty years later we find that the prodigal cousin is a practicing Anglican, something neither side of the New Atheism debate would have predicted—and the truth shows itself in color rather than the black-and-white binaries of the New Atheists and their theist critics.
The New Atheism debate’s explosion onto the central cultural scene presents us with a surprisingly fortuitous moment for polychromatic Christian reflection. But the fact that a virtual cottage industry has sprung up around the New Atheism debate, flooding the airwaves, op-eds, blogs, and bookshelves, made us pause and ask ourselves if we really needed another book on the New Atheism. Was there any unturned stone that if turned might make a positive contribution to a debate over which so much ink (and blood!) has already been spilled?
As we sifted through the vitriolic, reductive material coming from both sides of the debate, we concluded that it was time for an other kind of book, a different sort of Christian engagement with New Atheism—one that entered the debate otherwise , conscientiously objecting to the rules of engagement established by the generals of the culture wars, who have strategically rallied their foot soldiers through ad hominem, straw-man arguments and familiar talking points in ever louder and more bellicose voices. Here, we have worked hard to ignore the generals and to give you exactly this kind of book.
First, many Christian responses to popular atheism have been pedestrian, patronizing, dismissive, and violent, mirroring the New Atheists’ hostility toward the Christian faith and religious culture at large. Conversely, we have sought to embody simultaneously a generous spirit, a substantive analysis, and a more incisive critique of the New Atheists (and, at times, their critics) than the market has typically produced.
Second, because most Christian responses to the New Atheism hail from conservative evangelical camps, we have assembled a bouquet of leading Christian philosophers, theologians, and writers from various confessional backgrounds. So although this book pulls no punches and makes no apology for the fact that it is a robustly Christian engagement with the New Atheism, the contributors vary widely in their accounts of the resurgence of this pop atheism and their assessments of what might be of value to Christians in the New Atheists’ criticisms of Christian faith and religious culture.
Third, we take both the New Atheists and the debate between the New Atheists and their critics as our subject matter. The essays draw the New Atheism into dialogue with other atheisms, past and present, suggesting that some of these other atheisms might have one up on the New Atheism in terms of their social and intellectual benefit. And the essays also point out the ways in which both the New Atheists and their more conservative Christian critics often make strange bedfellows and at times even partners in crime by sharing certain problematic fundamental assumptions.
Fourth, we have chosen to engage the New Atheism not only in analytical prose, but also in creative writing and visual imagery. Indeed, poems serve as bookends to the project, intended to jumpstart the conversation and provide an alternative means of reflection. If the New Atheism debate needs anything, it is an opening up rather than a closing down, and this collection of essays, interviews, memoir, poetry, and art is responsive to this in both form and content.
Any project we take up at The Other Journal —whether it’s through our online quarterly, our annual film festival, or our book publications—is a product of double-vision, looking at the key issues of our day in light of the vast resources of the Christian tradition and looking at our Christian tradition in light of the key issues of our day. We believe, then, that the rise of the New Atheism provides Christians with an excellent opportunity to reflect upon and discern what is baby and what is bathwater in contemporary Christian thought, witness, and practice. It is an occasion to listen to the critiques of faith and then, as in the case of Chris’s cousin, to reassess and recommit to what is at the heart of our faith, to check our idolatries at the door and scour our faith commitments with the relentless skepticism that today’s popular atheists possess. This book goes out with the prayer that it might draw, compel, and even seduce believers unto a more mature faith, authentic spirituality, charitable witness, and peaceable practice.
Andrew David
Christopher J. Keller
Jon Stanley
The Other Journal is proud to partner with such creative and compelling people. Our online quarterly (http://www.theotherjournal.com), annual film festival (Film, Faith, and Justice), and book publications are all made possible by funding from Mars Hill Graduate School (MHGS) in Seattle, Washington. MHGS trains people in the study of text, soul, and culture and teaches its students to openly imagine a holistic gospel that has power to transform and save.
We would like to thank D. Stephen Long for writing a foreword that wonderfully frames the discussion we are hosting in this offering and that makes a substantive contribution to the discussion in its own right. We would also like to thank Paul Roorda for enthusiastically volunteering images from his stellar art exhibition, The Skeptic’s Gospel and Other Remedies for Truth .
We are extremely grateful for the hard work of all our brilliant contributors and for their unique and incisive contributions to this project. You have each done us and all the other readers of this book a great service.
Finally, we would like to thank the good people at Cascade Books of Wipf & Stock Publishers for their interest in The Other Journal and this project. We respect your unique eye for material, your preference for meaningful content over the whims of the market, and your commitment to publishing books that combine academic rigor with broad appeal and readability.
Andrew David
Christopher J. Keller
Jon Stanley
Foreword: Atheism’s Resurgence and Christian Responses
D. Stephen Long
After the journal Mladina published caricatures of Muhammad, stirring irrational violent protests from some Muslims, 1 Slavoj Žižek published an editorial in the International Herald Tribune entitled “Atheism Is a Legacy Worth Fighting For.” 2 His editorial questioned the wisdom of Dostoyevsky’s putative statement, “If God is dead, everything is permitted.” Far from the atheists being the source of moral atrocities, Ž ižek rightly noted, historically those who p

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