Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its by David Bentley Hart

By David Bentley Hart

Currently it truly is trendy to be devoutly undevout. Religion’s such a lot passionate antagonists—Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and others—have publishers competing eagerly to marketplace their quite a few denunciations of faith, monotheism, Christianity, and Roman Catholicism. yet modern antireligious polemics are dependent not just upon profound conceptual confusions yet upon facile simplifications of historical past or maybe outright old lack of understanding: so contends David Bentley Hart during this daring correction of the distortions. the most excellent students of faith of our time, Hart offers a strong antidote to the recent Atheists’ misrepresentations of the Christian earlier, bringing into concentration the reality in regards to the such a lot radical revolution in Western history.

 

Hart outlines how Christianity remodeled the traditional global in methods we can have forgotten: bringing liberation from fatalism, conferring nice dignity on people, subverting the harshest points of pagan society, and raising charity specifically virtues. He then argues that what we time period the “Age of cause” used to be actually the start of the eclipse of reason’s authority as a cultural worth. Hart closes the booklet within the current, delineating the ominous effects of the decline of Christendom in a tradition that's outfitted upon its ethical and non secular values.

 

(20090423)

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547) opened a free infirmary at Monte Cassino and made care of the sick a paramount duty of his monks. In Rome, the Christian noblewoman and scholar St. Fabiola (d. d. c. 399) established the first public hospital in Western Europe and—despite her wealth and position—often ventured out into the streets personally to seek out those who needed care. St. d. 347–407), while patriarch of Constantinople, used his influence to fund several such institutions in the city; and in the diakoniai of Constantinople, for centuries, many rich members of the laity labored to care for the poor and ill, bathing the sick, ministering to their needs, assisting them with alms.

Christians, indeed, have a special obligation not to forget how great and how inextinguishable the human proclivity for violence is, or how many victims it has claimed, for they worship a God who does not merely take the part of those victims, but who was himself one of them, murdered by the combined authority and moral prudence of the political, religious, and legal powers of human society. Which is, incidentally, the most subversive claim ever made in the history of the human race. c h ap t e r t w o The Age of Freedom at t h e e n d o f t h e d ay, it is probably the case that arguments of the sort rehearsed in the previous chapter are somewhat futile, since they are more or less confined to the surface of an antagonism that runs far deeper than reasonable dispute can possibly reach.

Compassion, pity, and charity, as we understand and cherish them, are not objects found in nature, like trees or butterflies or academic philosophers, but are historically contingent conventions of belief and practice, formed by cultural convictions that need never have arisen at all. Many societies have endured and indeed flourished quite well without them. It is laudable that Dennett is disposed (as I assume he is) to hate economic, civil, or judicial injustice, and that he believes we should not abandon our fellow human beings to poverty, tyranny, exploitation, or despair.

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