Monday, October 5, 2009

Frankenberry on Wood, "Liberal or Literal?"

RE: "Liberal or Literal? James Wood, Terry Eagleton, and the New Atheism" by Nancy Frankenberry.

Not sure what to do with this article. It's certainly insightful.

My problem with much "new atheist" critique is resulting from those who espouse it in forums online, the ones who accuse me of accepting dangerous fairytales in lieu of "reason." I haven't read Dawkins or any of the others, with the exception of a brief excerpt from Harris, which I found very easy to refute and so didn't bother reading more.

The literalism I run into in daily conversation online, then, is a dismissive insistence that it's all mythology (as if mythology itself were foolish) and only serves as escapism or deflection of responsibility.

It ignores deeper experiences of those of us who are religious. As a liberal religious person, I have problem with neither the divinity of Christ and existence of spirits NOR the use of reason and science in the material world. It's easy to reconcile the two, because religion for me is not about explaining away everything. It's about getting deeper, getting energized.

I'm glad that atheism is getting airtime, and that atheists are speaking out, particularly against those who would turn the U.S. into a theocracy. But those who wish to convert us to atheism are missing the point. I am not dangerous, I am not deluding myself. I am living more fully than I would be if I rejected religion and spirituality altogether.


  1. I think you hit it out of the park when you said "as if mythology itself were foolish." I love that.
    Too bad people narrow their minds to such a limited focus, isn't it? If they noticed that the very reality they are seeing is in itself an illusion -- all those molecules moving at ridiculous speeds, nothing really solid at all, etc. -- maybe then they would begin to see that there is much more to life than meets the eye. The real fairy tale is that things are as limited as they would have us believe.