On my flight to Orlando, Florida this morning, I enjoyed a collection of essays (In the Aftermath: Provocations and Laments) by David Bentley Hart. Few authors challenge me as much as Hart.
Early in the book, Hart laments a lack of “reflective and brilliant atheists” as one of the “innumerable evidences of late modern culture’s lack of spiritual depth.” I agree.
Whenever I’ve written about the militant brand of atheism represented by men like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and the late Christopher Hitchens, much of the response (as with the writings of these men) can be characterized (as Hart noted) by “historical illiteracy, theatrical indignation, and subfusc moralizing.”
“The entire tribe of the new atheists is a disappointment. A reflective and brilliant atheist is a man much to be admired, if he truly demonstrated an understanding of what it is he is rejecting; and an atheist genuinely willing to accept the full implications of his convictions (Nietzche being a nonpareil example) should not be reviled for those convictions. But it seems obvious that among the innumerable evidences of late modern culture’s lack of spiritual depths one must include its manifest impotence to produce profound atheists. Instead the best it seems we can hope for today are dreary purveyors of historical illiteracy, theatrical indignation, subfusc moralizing, and the sort of illogical confusions that Richard Dawkins has brought to a level of almost transcendent perfection” (xii, In the Aftermath: Provocations and Laments, David Bentley Hart).
If you doubt Hart’s concerns, read his book: Atheist Delusions.