Must-read of the day: Terry Eagleton’s review of Richard Dawkins‘s The God Delusion. I’ve been somewhat troubled by the recent books by Dawkins, Sam Harris (Letter to a Christian Nation, The End of Faith), and Daniel Dennett (Breaking the Spell: Religion as Natural Phenomenon), and seeing Eagleton weigh in makes me more than happy.
[I haven’t included links to the books themselves because, frankly, if you want ’em, you can find ’em.]
Eagleton‘s a first-rate scholar, best-known Stateside as a literary critic. His Literary Theory: An Introduction is a key text in most graduate programs (and some undergraduate ones). It’s a succinct, readable introduction to theories of literature.
A sample from this tremendous (and I think, devastating) review, and consequently, of Eagleton’s wit:
As far as theology goes, Dawkins has an enormous amount in common with Ian Paisley and American TV evangelists. Both parties agree pretty much on what religion is; it’s just that Dawkins rejects it while Oral Roberts and his unctuous tribe grow fat on it.
God and the universe do not add up to two, any more than my envy and my left foot constitute a pair of objects.
He is what sustains all things in being by his love; and this would still be the case even if the universe had no beginning. To say that he brought it into being ex nihilo is not a measure of how very clever he is, but to suggest that he did it out of love rather than need.
I will resist the urge to quote any more, and commend the article to you. After you’ve read, I’d like to hear what you think. I’ll probably still get around to reading Dawkins, et. al. at some point. Until then, I’ll avoid posting much more on the subject.