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Showing posts from March, 2011

David Brooks & atheism

David Brooks on things spiritual--March 11
I’m intrigued by a trend in our society that no one else has noted. Stories about religion losing ground flourish in the media, but has anyone else noticed a concurrent rise of interest in things spiritual? Religious and moral disagreements—often called “social issues”—as well as deeper questions concerning spiritual reality also fill the media.

Ironically, one signal of the rising interest in spirituality is louder sounds coming from atheists. How so? I’ll repeat what I’ve said often—atheists become atheists BECAUSE their spiritual integrity is offended by the flaws, foolishness, and outright corruption in religions. Atheists today force spiritual discourse past religions, past specific, narrow beliefs to a more inclusive, more eclectic, generic and secular spirituality.

The latest development exciting me is a new book, The Social Animal, by David Brooks. No one better typifies the American secular and intellectual culture that is emotionall…

Scientific materialism

February 20, 2011
I read—well, I stopped reading and moved to skimming and then quit altogether—reading a book that purports to be the Catholic answer to atheists. It’s not.
The authors claim that atheism enables sociopathic behavior and warn that “a significant number of people” who deny the existence of God could “do terrible damage to society.” As proof they list totalitarian atheist regimes under Hitler (said to be “Godless”), Stalin, Mao Tse-tung, Pol Pot, and others. Their exaggerated charges resemble Christopher Hitchens' charges against religion in God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. Such alarmist, one-sided observations inevitably distort reality.
My greatest disappointment is the authors’ inability to transcend the traditional, primitive concept of Divinity—an individual with a humanlike mind and will. Their routine references to “Him” reduce Infinite Intelligence to human dimensions, and they assume that all atheists deny ALL spiritual reality because they…