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A Strange Alliance
http://www.newenglishreview.org/custpage.cfm/frm/12175/sec_id/12175 ^ | Theodore Dalrymple

Posted on 11/01/2007 8:26:07 AM PDT by ventanax5

It used to be said that one should not talk of sex, religion or politics in polite company. So much the worse for polite company, I thought in my days of adolescent enjoyment of disputes for their own sake; and certainly there are subjects that a journalist should avoid if he wishes to avoid an angry response whatever he says about them. In my experience, which admittedly is limited, those subjects are modern art, chronic fatigue syndrome and religion: but of these, religion is the greatest.

I haven’t written much about religion, but I have been surprised by the vehemence, not to say the violence, of the response to that little that I have written. This vehemence has been provoked by the fact that, though not religious myself, I am no longer anti-religious as I was when it occurred to me as a child and then a teenager that God might not or did not exist. Indeed, I can see many advantages, both personal and social, to a religious outlook. The usefulness of religious claims is not evidence of their truth, of course, though that usefulness probably depends upon a belief in their truth.

(Excerpt) Read more at newenglishreview.org ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: anthonydaniels; atheists; dalrymple; theodoredalrymple

1 posted on 11/01/2007 8:26:07 AM PDT by ventanax5
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To: ventanax5

The good Doctor never disappoints:

>>In the name of non-discrimination, the French government failed to discriminate properly: and proper discrimination is, or ought to be, practically the whole business of life.<<

How refreshing to hear a scholar state the truth!


2 posted on 11/01/2007 8:55:42 AM PDT by ishabibble (ALL-AMERICAN INFIDEL)
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To: ventanax5
An excellent apologia for what is, after all, merely common sense. The notion that congruence implies equivalence is the recourse of the intellectually lazy. For example, Christians and Borneo headhunters both believe in the existence of a spiritual source for their moral behavior. That does not make the two religions (or the behaviors, for that matter) identical. To criticize both on the same basis (as do both Dawkins and Hitchens) is useful rhetorically but useless logically. And without a logical case against religion they have no case at all.

I must gently dissent from Dalrymple's assertion that Iraq is a sideshow compared with the Danish cartoon debacle, although I do concur with him that in the latter both American and European journalistic communities failed their parent societies badly. In fact both are facets of precisely the same challenge, and it is difficult to address militancy in any form as long as it is successful in all its forms. Islamic militancy has failed in Iraq. That single datum has shaken the entire edifice of Islamism just as defeat in the 1967 and 1973 wars put paid to Arab nationalism. One cannot claim an Allah-given sanction for victory from a position of defeat. Iraq will help empower Europe to fight back should its citizens decide to do so.

Some may. It is dismaying but predictable how vulnerable militant secularism has left those for whom it is less an intellectual position and more a substitute religion, to the inroads of self-assured Islamism. The tendency to mis-identify that threat as that of a nascent Christian theocracy is the sign of cowardice and denial - it is in nominally Christian countries that atheist treatises are attaining the rank of best-sellers, after all, and not in Muslim ones. That alone ought to cause "thinking" secularists to, well, think a bit more about lumping religionists together.

As for the non-thinking sort, those are the ones who meet Dalrymple's suggestion that religion plays a part in social cohesion with accusations of theocratic fascism and I'm not entirely certain they're susceptible to reason in the first place. It isn't the Christians or Jews or Buddhists who intend to supplant that with force. The Islamists do.

3 posted on 11/01/2007 9:36:27 AM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: ventanax5
Here is a link to Dalrymple’s review of the atheist books referred to in this follow-up article. Published in City Journal: “What the New Atheists Don’t See.”

http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_4_oh_to_be.html

4 posted on 11/01/2007 10:01:03 AM PDT by mojito
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To: ventanax5
Thanks for the post.

Agree with him or not, Dalrymple is always worthwhile.

5 posted on 11/01/2007 6:54:12 PM PDT by okie01
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