Generous Orthodoxy  

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Those atheists: not all non-Christians like them

Never underestimate The New York Review of Books, that most intellectually highbrow of journals, which continues to surprise with the occasional Christian-friendly piece. An essay-review by H. Allen Orr, a professor of biology, witheringly criticizes Richard Dawkins, author of one of the recent best-selling atheist books The God Delusion. Orr, a biology professor, is not religious, but he is quite acerbic about Dawkins’ failure to see that the most dreadful crimes of the 20th century were committed by atheistic regimes. Orr also notes that the values of the West that Dawkins values did not arise out of Confucian or Buddhist or Hindu culture but out of the Judeo-Christian tradition. (New York Review of Books, January 11, 2007)

It should be more widely noted: a significant number of non-Christian critics have written scathing reviews of books by atheists Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and Dawkins. One of their chief complaints is that they are not scholarly, indeed are "middlebrow." We should take this as a great compliment to the intellectual dimensions of Christian faith.