A Pleasing Symmetry
Seeing that it's the beginning of the new year I've begun reading some new books. Yesterday I wrote a post about something interesting I came across in N.T. Wright's The New Testament and the People of God. I'm working my way through Amos Young's The Future of Evangelical Theology: Sounding from the Asian American Diaspora which I plan to write a review for Torrey Gazette within the next two weeks. On my bedside table I've got The History of the Idea of Decline in Western History which I am reading before I go to sleep at.
However, these are not the only books I'm reading. Caroline (my wife) and I like to go through books together. Normally I read a novel out loud for a bit before we go to sleep at night (or until Caroline falls asleep). Right now that novel is Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. Further, we try to work through a book about theology or marriage little by little when we have time. We finished Douglas Wilson's For a Glory and a Covering: A Practical Theology of Marriage last week and started A Shot of Faith to the Head: Be a Confident Believer in an Age of Cranky Atheists by Mitch Stokes on Sunday evening.
I say all this in order to give you an idea of where most of my posts are going to be coming from in the coming weeks. As you've probably picked up, if you've followed this blog for any period of time, I usually write about what I'm reading. So for those of you who are interested, these are the books that will be highlighted in the foreseeable future (among other things too though).
Normally, I write about the books I am reading on my own because I can take more time to underline key passages. However, I wanted to share something Caroline and I came across in the introduction to A Shot of Faith to the Head. In the introduction Stokes explains why its necessary to write a book to equip Christians to combat the "cranky atheists." Namely, because there are so many cranky atheists. Further, these cranky atheists aren't content to not believe in God, everyone else must not believe in God too! Stokes takes quotes from the "New Atheists" (Hitchens, Dawkins, etc.) to show how militant they are in their approach toward theism and Christianity in particular.
It's after these quotations that Stokes takes a fun turn to challenge one of the assumptions of the New Atheists. They assume (according to the quotations) that it is complete foolishness and irrational for anyone to believe in God. Stokes then holds up this assertion to one of the recent trends in the academic world. The trend is that there has been a larger growth in Christian and theistic thought in philosophy departments since the 1960s than any other group of academics (by a long shot).
Now, while I'm sure Stokes will go on in the book and take on some of the specific arguments and claims of these "New Atheists" I thought this quick point he makes was worth pointing out. The atheists are decrying the pure unreasonableness of belief in God while the philosophy departments in America and Europe continue to burst at the seems with Christian philosophers.
Let's end with Stokes own words:
The current situation, I think, has a distinct aesthetic appeal. On the one hand, we have atheists decrying religion's pathetic irrationality, and on the other, some of the best thinkers alive displaying just the opposite. We have new atheists and new theists, a pleasing symmetry (pg. xvi)
Food for thought.