Mansfield vs. the millitant atheists

It’s hard to walk through a bookstore these days without tripping over the stacks of books by “evangelical” atheists like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris. These writers and others like them seek to not only raise the profile of atheism, but to subvert influence of theists.

Harvard professor Harvey Mansfield, whom I had the opportunity to hear not long ago, tells us in The Weekly Standard that their malevolence toward religion is atypical of previous appearances of atheism throughout history. They are not content to be distant observers, but seek to attack the beliefs of even the individual.

Observes Mansfield:

It is not religion that makes men fanatics; it is the power of the human desire for justice, so often partisan and perverted. That fanatical desire can be found in both religion and atheism. In the contest between religion and atheism, the strength of religion is to recognize two apparently contrary forces in the human soul: the power of injustice and the power, nonetheless, of our desire for justice. The stubborn existence of injustice reminds us that man is not God, while the demand for justice reminds us that we wish for the divine. Religion tries to join these two forces together.

True to form, Mansfield, says a lot more in a little space. Go. Read.

[HT: Acton Powerblog]