Inhumanity

Just today I managed to read Michael Novak’s review of the Dawkins/Harris/Dennett triumvirate, but only because I was reading back posts by Tom Gilson, who linked to it. I admit that the best part was where Novak writes about openmindedness:

It seems that Christianity is better able to account for, and to sympathize with, the contemporary atheist than the latter is able to sympathize with the Christian. If nothing else, the three books under review show how hard it is for the contemporary atheist (of the scientific school) to show much sympathy for a Christian way of seeing reality. Since just over two billion persons on our planet today are Christians–about one in every three persons on earth–the inability of the contemporary atheist to summon up fellow feeling for so many companions on the brief voyage of a single human life seems to be a severe human handicap.

Yes, the anti-humanism of some modern secular humanists is painful to observe.

I myself indulge in the guilty pleasure of reading many things by people I disagree with politically, theologically, and philosophically, simply because I find it enjoyable to empathize with their evident humanity.

This joyful humanity, swelling with realistic feeling and a broad acceptance of the meaning of human life, is missing from the prickly, anxious mutterings of those atheists who ooze a viscous contempt for certain expressions of humanity that they find too disordered and noxious to qualify for inclusion in their ideal conception of nature.

The nature that they fixate on with adolescent infatuation is not a true nature, but an image that they have constructed from the perfection of romantic rationalism, reflected against the hard, shiny surface of their own static beliefs.

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8 thoughts on “Inhumanity

  1. You last paragraph has enough symbolism in it that you could put it in verse form. I might start me an Unauthorized Dave’s Dronings.

    The nature that they fixate on
       with adolescent infatuation
       is not true nature,
    But an image they have constructed
       from the perfection
       of romantic rationalism,
    Reflected against
       the hard, shiny surface
       of their own static beliefs.

    Righteous poetry, dude. Actually, it’d be what I call rhythmic prose or lyrical prose. I’m sure others have called it that before me, but I can’t remember reading it called that.

    Actually, I was trying to get a firm grasp on your phrase “static beliefs.”

    Synonyms would be what? Unchanging beliefs. Dogmatic beliefs. Black and white. I’m trying to think of the figure of speech that is used to accuse Christians of.

    Open minded vs. closed minded. That’s it. So are you saying Atheists are just as closed minded as Christians?

    Is that your point? Or that there’s something bad about having static beliefs.

  2. Gee, I’m already starting to feel like Donald Rumsfeld. Hold on, isn’t he unemployed now?

    My claim here is that this belief system called scientific atheism, supposedly naturalistic in origin, has a static view of nature as a whole and of man’s nature. It’s an artificial view rooted in scientific theory and liberal politics.

    Are Christians closed-minded? I’m supposed to be always open to adjusting my attitudes to match those of Jesus. I’m never supposed to take God’s will for granted, which is why I’m supposed to ask for guidance daily. I’m not supposed to rely on my own understanding, but rather on God’s understanding.

    Human-centered static beliefs are arrogant.

  3. I think “closed-minded” needs context. I’m closed-minded about whether the earth moves. It moves, and I’m not open to the suggestion that it doesn’t. Of course, the idea that it moves is dependent on our perception of motion, so that’s not a perfect example of being justified in being completely closed-minded about an idea.

    I’m closed minded about that fact you have a blog. You do, so don’t tell me you don’t.

    I’m still trying to figure out if there’s a nuance to the word “static.” Are there connotations, are does it just mean “fixed”? Or is it in contrast to “dynamic.”

    If it’s “fixed view of nature” vs. “dynamic view of nature”, then it appears I’m missing some background material.

    This is an example that face to face conversation could clear all this up more efficiently.

  4. Yes, I do tend to use the term “static” as meaning “not dynamic”; a sign of a former engineering student.

  5. Yes, the anti-humanism of some
       modern secular humanists
       is painful to observe.
    I myself indulge in the
       guilty pleasure
       of reading many things
    By people I disagree with
       politically, theologically,
       and philosophically,
    Simply because I find it
       enjoyable to empathize
       with their evident humanity.
    This joyful humanity, swelling with
       realistic feeling
       and a broad acceptance
    Of the meaning of human life, is
       missing from
       the prickly, anxious mutterings
    Of those atheists who ooze a
       viscous contempt
       for certain expressions
    Of humanity that they find
       too disordered
       and noxious to qualify
    For inclusion in their
       ideal conception
       of nature.
    The nature that they
       fixate on
       with adolescent infatuation
    Is not true nature, but
       an image
       they have constructed
    From the perfection of
       romantic rationalism,
       reflected against
    The hard, shiny surface of
       their own
       static beliefs.

  6. Long ago, in galaxy far, far away, I was a poet. But I was informed that I had sold my soul to the dark side: Victorian rhymed verse. So I was reviled by a professional poet and retail manager moonlighting as an English instructor, who used my doggerel as an example of unreconstructed, morbid classicism.

  7. Long ago,
       in a galaxy
       far, far away,
       I was a poet.
    But I was informed
       that I had sold my soul
       to the dark side:
       Victorian rhymed verse.
    So I was reviled
       by a professional poet,
       a retail manager moonlighting
       as an English instructor,
    who used my doggerel
       as an example
       of unreconstructed,
       morbid classicism.

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