David Bentley Hart on the New Atheists

May 1, 2010

In his otherwise bracingly insightful, if mistitled, book about the Christian faith, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies, Hart wrote as if he shouldn’t dignify the New Atheists’ arguments with a direct response. I’m glad he reconsidered for this relatively brief First Things article. Hart may wish for better atheists, but these New ones are the ones we’re stuck with.

From the concluding paragraph:

One does not have to believe any of it, of course—the Christian story, its moral claims, its metaphysical systems, and so forth. But anyone who chooses to lament that event should also be willing, first, to see this image of the God-man, broken at the foot of the cross, for what it is, in the full mystery of its historical contingency, spiritual pathos, and moral novelty: that tender agony of the soul that finds the glory of God in the most abject and defeated of human forms. Only if one has succeeded in doing this can it be of any significance if one still, then, elects to turn away.

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