Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Triangulating Bullshit

The president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is a credentialed, titled authority in matters of baseless twaddle, and as useless as this is, it is exactly enough to call bullshit on Karen Armstrong:

Armstrong calls for the emergence of "a more authentic notion of God." Her preferred concept of God would be about aesthetics, not theology. "Religion is not an exact science but a kind of art form," she intones ... Interestingly, it is Dawkins ... who understands God better than Armstrong ... We should at least give Dawkins credit here for knowing what he rejects. Here we meet an atheist who understands the difference between belief and unbelief.
The Dawkins in question is, of course, Richard Dawkins, world-renowned scientist, champion of crisp distinctions, and scourge of vacuous bullshit. Dawkins does indeed know what he rejects and the method by which he does the rejecting.

Not so Karen Armstrong, who is now where she has been all along -- needing to defend her blithely groundless assertions from not one but two angles, from people who both believe and disbelieve in the same god she apparently finds so aggravatingly simplistic and literal-minded. This disappointing-to-Armstrong god is the one who figures prominently in such obscure texts as the Bible and the Koran, who famously answers prayers, smites enemies, dispatches the occasional messenger, sets all the rules, establishes everlasting land claims, and so on. Believers and unbelievers alike recognize this figure and its history; Armstrong's hazy notion is awkwardly aslant. That it sells books does not make it true, useful, or even definite.

(via Ophelia Benson)

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