Saturday, 22 August 2009

Hart, on giving atheism its due

For this reason, the atheist who cannot believe for moral reasons does honor, in an elliptical way, to the Christian God, and so must not be ignored. He demands of us not the surrender of our beliefs but a meticulous recollection on our parts of what those beliefs are, and a definition of divine love that has at least the moral rigor of principled unbelief. This, it turns out, is no simple thing. For sometimes atheism seems to retain elements of “Christianity” within itself that Christians have all too frequently forgotten.
This from David Bentley Hart's 2005 essay The Doors of the Sea: Where Was God in the Tsunami? which I belatedly read today; various friends have been recommending Hart to me over the last few years — I especially enjoyed his recent reflection on Edward Upward — and it seemed high time to read his celebrated rebuke of theodicy. It's very much written to a Christian audience, and largely concerned with inept and offensive positions held by Christians, but it would be of interest and benefit to at least some other people interested in these issues.


Nick said...

Hi Bruce

Do you have a link to this essay? Or is it only in hardcopy?


Bruce Yabsley said...

Hey Nick: the short-book-length essay is only in hardcopy as far as I know ($20 hardback), but there's a much shorter version available on the First Things website.