what's so wrong about D'Souza

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D'Souza is at it again with a pair of excerpts, following Alister McGrath's path by announcing "The Twilight of Atheism" and then declaring that "Atheists should say 'Thank god for Christianity'." D'Souza's statistics may show a "global revival of religion" in spite of other information pointing toward increasing but his conclusion is still unwarranted:

...Christianity is winning, and secularism is losing. The atheists may continue their fulminations, but they represent not the cry of victory but the cry of desperation. Deep down, the atheists realize that God is winning and atheism has no future.

Atheism only "has no future" if theism can be proven; since theists commonly refuse to even attempt a proof when asked, this seems highly unlikely. (I suppose that atheism could become futureless through a new Inquisition, but that seems--despite its attraction among Christianists, Islamists, and other fundamentalists--just as improbable.)

D'Souza then lauds Christianity for "the central role that Christianity has played and still plays in the things that matter most to us:" scientific progress, the "equal worth of every human life," and "modern notions of human rights." The combination of slavery, sexism, and homophobia belie the second and third claims, while the first is simply ludicrous:

...science is based on an assumption that is, at root, faith-based and theological. That is the assumption that the universe is rational and follows laws that are discoverable through human reason.

Science is based on what James Trefil calls the principle of universality. "It says that the laws of nature we discover here and now in our laboratories are true everywhere in the universe and have been in force for all time."

[...]

Christians were the first ones who envisioned the universe as following laws that reflected the rationality of God the creator. These laws were believed to be accessible to man because man is created in the image of God and shares a spark of the divine reason.

How, one wonders, does D'Souza reconcile this bilge with the Jehovah whose "rationality" is displayed in the Old Testament as jealousy (Exodus 34:14), cruelty (Job), rage (Deuteronomy 29:27-28), vindictiveness (2 Samuel 24), and capriciousness (Genesis 22)? Then there is the parable of Forbidden Knowledge (something that Jehovah decided shouldn't be "discoverable through human reason) and many so-called "miracles" (resurrections, a flood, stopping the sun in its course, among many other scientific and historical errors in the Bible) that violate the "laws of nature that are supposedly "true everywhere in the universe and have been in force for all time." No one knows where we would be now without centuries of impediments put in place by proponents of the flat-earth, geocentric, Galileo-silencing, Biblical literalists.

In the midst of his bloviations, D'Souza wanders into the thickets of Nietzschean philosophy, where he quickly gets lost:

Nietzsche argued that since the Christian God is the foundation of Western values, the death of God must necessarily mean the erosion and ultimate collapse of those values. Remove the base and the whole building will slowly crumble. For a while, Nietzsche conceded, people would out of custom or habit continue to respect human life and treat people with equal dignity, but eventually there would be ferocious assaults on these values, and practices once unthinkable such as the killing of people deemed inferior or undesirable would once again occur. This is precisely what we have seen in our time, and Nietzsche predicted that it will only get worse. [emphasis added]

Those words could only have come from someone who has never read Nietzsche's last work, The Anti-Christ, wherein he wrote the following:

I condemn Christianity; I bring against the Christian church the most terrible of all the accusations that an accuser has ever had in his mouth. It is, to me, the greatest of all imaginable corruptions; it seeks to work the ultimate corruption, the worst possible corruption. The Christian church has left nothing untouched by its depravity; it has turned every value into worthlessness, and every truth into a lie, and every integrity into baseness of soul. [...] I call Christianity the one great curse, the one great intrinsic depravity, the one great instinct of revenge, for which no means are venomous enough, or secret, subterranean and small enough,--I call it the one immortal blemish upon the human race.... (§62, emphases added)

I'm at a loss as to what would be worse that "the greatest of all imaginable corruptions" that "has left nothing untouched by its depravity;" perhaps an eternity wasted reading D'Souza's dim fulminations would qualify.

D'Souza appears to be confused about the purpose of publishing excerpts of new books on the web. Authors often select passages from their books to show potential readers the worth of their writing and the importance of their analysis, thus inducing new sales. D'Souza is taking the opposite tactic: selecting vapid and insipid passages in a deliberate attempt to convince his audience to pass by his book as a poorly researched and poorly argued work of Christianist self-aggrandizement that makes numerous errors about both belief and unbelief.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on October 29, 2007 11:30 PM.

shades of Pinochet… was the previous entry in this blog.

done with D'Souza? is the next entry in this blog.

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