The principal source of my melancholy, however, is my firm conviction that today’s most obstreperous infidels lack the courage, moral intelligence, and thoughtfulness of their forefather in faithlessness. What I find chiefly offensive about them is not that they are skeptics or atheists; rather, it is that they are not skeptics at all and have purchased their atheism cheaply, with the sort of boorish arrogance that might make a man believe himself a great strategist because his tanks overwhelmed a town of unarmed peasants, or a great lover because he can afford the price of admission to a brothel. So long as one can choose one’s conquests in advance, taking always the paths of least resistance, one can always imagine oneself a Napoleon or a Casanova (and even better: the one without a Waterloo, the other without the clap).
Thursday, April 22, 2010
In the May 2010 issue of First Things, David Hart writes a review of the recently published 50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists. Predictably enough for a contributor to First Things, Hart is unimpressed by the arguments submitted by the new atheists for their disbelief. There was at least one paragraph that I particularly liked, in which Hart almost seems to be channeling G. K. Chesterton: