The Honest Atheist

In her column at Salon.com, Camille Paglia admits the bankruptcy of atheism:

In my lecture on religion and the arts in America earlier this year at Colorado College, I argued that secular humanism has failed, that the avant-garde is dead, and that liberals must start acknowledging the impoverished culture that my 1960s generation has left to the young. Atheism alone is a rotting corpse. I substitute art and nature for God — the grandeur of man and the vast mystery of the universe.

As I’ve written before, Paglia pairs her atheism with post-Catholic naturalism. And she’s right: atheism does not really exist; most atheists simply make man their god. Paglia stirs the universe into the pot as well, making for a nice mix of cuddly nature-worship and humanism.

As an evangelical of the Reformed persuasion, the idea of ‘the grandeur of man” makes no sense whatever. Our fractured humanity is capable of great beauty, true, but it’s thanks to God’s grace and mercy and not our own niftiness. Our capacity for great ugliness and evil, even while creating or advancing beauty, fatally compromises our worthiness as objects for worship.

Off-topic: Paglia’s contempt for modern or progressive education is plain. “[P]rimary and secondary education, which should provide an entree to great art and thought, has declined into trivialities and narcissistic exercises in self-esteem.” She goes on to declare that the educational emperors have no clothes–and that the world is getting colder.

Walt Gardner, who taught public school for 28 years in Los Angeles, calls [in an op-ed for the Philadelphia Inquirer] for a “shift in our attitude to grant career and technical education the same recognition, respect and value that we reflexively accord academic education.”

Gardner predicts severe dislocations for the college-educated middle class over the next two decades: “Auto mechanics, plumbers, and electricians will be earning a comfortable living and deriving deep satisfaction from their work, while many graduates from marquee-name colleges will find themselves unemployed when their jobs are off-shored.”

Exactly! And as a career college teacher, I want to insist yet again that the general education offered by American public high schools and even elite colleges and universities has become blatantly mediocre and not worth the price.”

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One thought on “The Honest Atheist”

  1. For me, the grandeur of the human is that he can become like Christ, and that in Christ he is a temple–a dwelling place–of the Most High God. The magnificence of man is in what God created him to be and why; we can’t forget that we humans bear His image. This is no small thing.

    The grandeur of mankind is that Christ came incarnate and redeemed our fallen nature, defeating death/sin. He made it possible for us to be what we were once meant to so long ago in the Garden, and be that now—should we give way to Him, should we be willing to die. But as you said, this all has everything to do with Him, every last thing. His grace, His mercy. I’m thankful to God that He has once again made us beautiful and glorious in His sight, in Christ the Lord.

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