22 January 2007

The No-God Meme.

Fr. Oakes considers the latest raft of anti-God books:

The publishing world, it seems, is just as prone to the fickleness of trends and fashions as is, well, the fashion industry. A few years ago, a whole spate of books came out on Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust, most of them flogging (surely not by coincidence) the same dead horse of papal perfidy. More recently, several books arguing for atheism have cropped up on the bestseller lists. I’ve looked at a few, and none of them struck me as even trying to get beyond that old dorm-room chestnut: “If God made the universe, who made God?” Gosh, thanks for bringing that up, Professor Bright. I had never really thought of that before—and now, horribile dictu, I’ve lost my faith!

. . .

Tedious and self-consuming as these arguments are, their popularity—if one is to judge by the bestseller lists—did get me to thinking about atheism as a cultural phenomenon. As I always ask my class when I teach contemporary theology: If God exists, why are there atheists? Or rather, and to put more strongly: Since God exists, what makes atheism conceptually possible?

I let my students crack their noggins on that question for a while . . .

Here's the whole thing (and notice First Things' online face lift).


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