Ever since I started tweeting and blogging my thoughts on economics, politics and religion I’ve noticed that there are a few topics that always get a strong reaction, no matter when I post them. Usually these reactions come from complete strangers who I believe are trolling twitter for key words so they can jump down the throat of anyone they disagree with.
Case in point, a couple of weeks ago I posted a quote from a book I’d been reading about the philosophical history of the atheist position and how many of the so called modern atheists aren’t being true to their own origins and are misinterpreting or simply ignoring the early philosophers position on theism. Even if early philosophers like Plato and Aristotle don’t lead directly to an Abrahamic (Jewish, Christian, Muslim) mono-theism they at least leave the door open for a singular cause to the universe, which in turn leads rationally to a mono-theistic god like essence. Nothing is more offensive to an atheist apparently than to point out that some of their great heroes where essentially theists.
Here’s what I tweeted;
“Atheists tend to read only each other’s books and not the work of the religious thinkers they are supposedly refuting.” – Edward Feser “The Last Superstition”
That simple statement prompted a flood of criticism from a few atheist trollers not because they claimed to have actually read any religious writing but because they thought the term “religious thinker” was an oxymoron. How ridiculously arrogant can anyone be? Remove the word religious from in front of thinker and you have essentially removed millennia of history from the development of human society. It wasn’t until 500 years ago, at the earliest, that any contributions to science were made by anyone that did not receive significant support from religious institutions. And I’m not just talking about the Catholic Church here; Muslim scientists in the middle-ages were in many cases far out stripping their Christian counterparts to the west.
Yes the church did seek to suppress some ideas that were threatening, everybody does, just look at the endless debate over global warming, but the truth always wins out and the church now acknowledges their mistake.
The fact of the matter is that modern atheist thought is standing on the shoulders of theists who pointed to a singular cause of the universe. No amount of ignorance or attempts at re-writing history is going to change that. You can search for a scientific explanation all you want but at the end of the day the scientific method, which depending on who you talk to was either developed by Ibn Alhazan a Muslim or Galileo Galilei a Catholic, is based on cause and effect and therefore always leads back to a singular or final cause. And final cause in turn leaves the door open to a rationally defensible mono-theistic philosophy.
You can put air quotes around the term “religious thinker” all you want, history doesn’t lie.