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August 31, 2016 / compassioninpolitics

David Bently Hart Quotes from Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and its Fashionable Enemies

Christianity gave rise to science:

“For, despite all our vague talk of ancient or medieval “science,” pagan, Muslim, or Christian, what we mean today by science—its methods, its controls and guiding principles, its desire to unite theory to empirical discovery, its trust in a unified set of physical laws, and so on—came into existence, for whatever reasons, and for better or worse, only within Christendom, and under the hands of believing Christians.”

–David Bently Hart, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and its Fashionable Enemies

Faith is intrinsic to rationality:

“One can believe that faith is mere credulous assent to unfounded premises, while reason consists in a pure obedience to empirical fact, only if one is largely ignorant of both. It should be enough, perhaps, to point to the long Christian philosophical tradition, with all its variety, creativity, and sophistication, and to the long and honorable tradition of Christianity’s critical examination and reexamination of its own historical, spiritual, and metaphysical claims. But more important in some ways, it seems to me, is to stress how great an element of faith is present in the operations of even the most disinterested rationality.”

David Bently Hart, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and its Fashionable Enemies

Lots of ideologies have been used to rationalize violence.  Christianity isn’t unique:

“Men will always seek gods in whose name they may perform great deeds or commit unspeakable atrocities, even when those gods are not gods but “tribal honor” or “genetic imperatives” or “social ideals” or “human destiny” or “liberal democracy.” Then again, men also kill on account of money, land, love, pride, hatred, envy, or ambition. They kill out of conviction or out of lack of conviction.”

–David Bently Hart, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and its Fashionable Enemies

Transcendent values are the only check on human violence:

“But there is something delusional nonetheless in his optimistic certainty that human beings will wish to choose altruistic values without invoking transcendent principles. They may do so; but they may also wish to build death camps, and may very well choose to do that instead.”

–David Bently Hart, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and its Fashionable Enemies

Naturalism is ethically suspect.  Atheistic values have historically led to eugentics.  (Too much emphasis on consequences without intrinsic value is a prescription for ethical disaster.)

“the only ideological or political factions that have made any attempt at an ethics consistent with Darwinian science, to this point at least, have been the socialist eugenics movement of the early twentieth century and the Nazi movement that sprang from it.

–David Bently Hart, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and its Fashionable Enemies

You have to distinguish the uniqueness Christianity from the larger diverse category of religion:

“Christians, for instance, are not, properly speaking, believers in religion; rather, they believe that Jesus of Nazareth, crucified under Pontius Pilate, rose from the dead and is now, by the power of the Holy Spirit, present to his church as its Lord.”

–David Bently Hart, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and its Fashionable Enemies

Christianity uniquely and historically spurred a revolution of human good:

“Among all the many great transitions that have marked the evolution of Western civilization … there has been only one—the triumph of Christianity —that can be called in the fullest sense a “revolution”: a truly massive and epochal revision of humanity’s prevailing vision of reality, so pervasive in its influence and so vast in its consequences as to actually have created a new conception of the world, of history, of human nature, of time, and of the moral good.”

–David Bently Hart, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and its Fashionable Enemies

New atheist philosophers lack substance and connection to history and reality:

But atheism that consists entirely in vacuous arguments afloat on oceans of historical ignorance, made turbulent by storms of strident self-righteousness, is as contemptible as any other form of dreary fundamentalism. And it is sometimes difficult, frankly, to be perfectly generous in one’s response to the sort of invective currently fashionable among the devoutly undevout, or to the sort of historical misrepresentations it typically involves.”

–David Bently Hart, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and its Fashionable Enemies

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