Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Chris Tilling on Learning from Atheists

Chris Tilling is a young English theologian now doing postgraduate work in Germany. On his blog today, he makes some observations after reading New Atheists Dawkins and Harris. He loves the Harris book, but is disappointed in the Dawkins book. Nonetheless, he thinks that the arguments in these books are important for theologians:

Nevertheless, I think it is very important for Christian theologians to grapple with the arguments of antitheists. And Dawkins in particular is doing much that is worthwhile. To be honest, I think I kind of like the guy - and I certainly sympathised with much of what he said in his clash with Ted Haggard. In actual fact, though it would need to be judged case by case, a good volume of Dawkins or Harris could be the tonic a Christian Fundamentalist needs to progress in faith. These antitheist arguments must be digested and understood, and I am convinced that an honest grappling with antitheism will help to strip away illusions and bring the Christian back to the heart of faith and to a robust, deeply traditional and healthy faith. OK, some atheists are as bad as some religious folk, as your average fruit-loop pseudo-intellectual religious Fundamentalist, and there is no fun in attempting to dialogue with them. But it is still worth sitting through a monologue or two to really understand what they are saying. Let me explain:

Over the last year or so I have grappled very personally with atheism and I feel I really do understand (and appreciate) many aspects of the various atheist cases. The arguments got inside me and became conversation partners. At the end of the day I do not feel compelled by their arguments, but the issues and arguments that have internally bounced around in my head and in conversations with friends have pointed me deeper, I think, into the truth of God in Christ, the nature of faith and what this should practically mean for me and the world. It has been a healing experience.



Read it all here.

1 comment:

Chris Tilling said...

Thanks for the mention, Chuck!
For the record, I don't "love" the Harris book. I haven't even read it all. But what I read was simply helpful - to an extent.
All the best to you!
Chris