Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

Beyond true and false

Richard Dawkins wrote a book called The God Delusion.

Terry Eagleton wrote a scathing review in the London Review of Books saying that Dawkins had missed the point.

SF writer Adam Roberts smacked down Terry Eagleton in a very entertaining way.

I have no idea why Dawkins book gets Eagleton, by the evidence of his review, so worked-up and cross (‘would make first-year theology student wince … ill-informed … shoddy old travesty …not even the dim-witted cleric who knocked me about at grammar school thought that …grotesquely false’ and so on).  He’s certainly entitled to disagree; that goes without saying.  But he doesn’t address one key question that is central to Dawkins’ polemic.  In a nutshell it’s the question whether religion is true.  Is the assertion that there is a God true or false?


In fact Eagleton does address this question, but I think in a weasel way.

For Judeo-Christianity, God is not a person in the sense that Al Gore arguably is. Nor is he a principle, an entity, or ‘existent’: in one sense of that word it would be perfectly coherent for religious types to claim that God does not in fact exist.


Ironically, I agree with Eagleton and disagree with Roberts about this. I think that 'god exists' or 'god does not exist' are both meaningless statements. But Eagleton annoys me and I cheer Adam Roberts along.

Why is this? Because Eagleton and his co-religionists use statements such as this to bolster an apparatus of control and order, instead of to tear it down. When they are talking to a sophisticated audience they say that the existence of god isn't 'existence' as we use it in normal speech. It's all relaxed and mystical. But as soon as you get into church, heterodoxy is stamped on firmly, and suddenly it's all about conformity and obedience.

So, while intellectually I might agree with Eagleton, my heart and support is with Dawkins and Roberts, because I want their atheist project to destroy the apparatus of conformity.
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