Lots of good food for thought in the latest post over at DarwinCatholic. Go read the whole post for his take on the Christopher Hitchens quote below:
Excursions to the bookshelf or the lunch or the gallery will obviously, if they are serious, bring us into contact with belief and believers, from the great devotional painters and composers to the works of Augustine, Aquinas, Maimonides, and Newman. These mighty scholars may have written many evil things or many foolish things, and been laughably ignorant of the germ theory of disease or the place of the terrestrial globe in the solar system, let alone the universe, and this is the plain reason why there are no more of them today, and why there will be no more of them tomorrow. Religion spoke its last intelligible or noble or inspiring words a long time ago…We shall have no more prophets or sages from the ancient quarter, which is why the devotions of today are only the echoing repetitions of yesterday, sometimes ratcheted up to screaming point so as to ward off the terrible emptiness.
I’m having kind of an exhausting day over here and first scanned the quote with only a half glance. I passed over the observation that some group’s dissemination of ideas was “ratcheted up to screaming point so as to ward off the terrible emptiness, ” and thought that it was refreshing to see Hitchens offering such a candid description of the new vocal atheist movement.
Then I realized he was talking about believers. That’s surprising. If anyone strikes me as needing to scream to drown out the emptiness, it’s the atheists. At least from my experience, when you believe that you and everyone you know have no more inherent value than fungi and will cease to exist in a short time, you need to keep yourself busy so you don’t think about it too much. I can hardly think of a better example of “screaming to ward off the emptiness” than putting great energy into churning out self-congratulatory books and articles that stridently announce that we have no soul and no afterlife to look forward to, and that people who would like to believe that are simple fools. Not much can really be gained from these sorts of writings, except perhaps the assuagement of the author’s ego. It strikes me as busywork.
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