'New atheism' in decline – Williams -
April 8, 2012
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The high tide of "new atheism" may have passed, the archbishop of Canterbury has said in his Easter sermon. Rowan Williams said the atheism v religion debate appeared to be moving on from what he called "a pointless stalemate". "Recent years have seen so many high-profile assaults on the alleged evils of religion that we've almost become used to them; we sigh and pass on, wishing that we could have a bit more of a sensible debate and a bit less hysteria. But there are a few signs that the climate is shifting ever so slightly," he said at Canterbury cathedral. Williams announced in March that he would be stepping down when he moves to Cambridge next winter. Contrasting the "hysteria" of "aggressive polemic against religious faith" with an increasing recognition among "serious and liberal-minded commentators", he said faith was no longer seen as "a brainless and oppressive enemy" but recognised as a potential ally against a greedy and individualistic way of life that feels "increasingly insane". But he said Christians could not be satisfied with this. "Easter raises an extra question, uncomfortable and unavoidable: perhaps 'religion' is more useful than the passing generation of gurus thought; but is it true?" The archbishop concluded that Christianity was true and the resurrection was a fact, not "a beautiful imaginative creation that offers inspiration to all sorts of people" nor merely a way of saying that "the message of Jesus lives on". He added: "Even if every commentator in the country expressed generous appreciation of the church (and we probably needn't hold our breath …), we'd still be bound to say, 'thank you, but what matters isn't our usefulness or niceness or whatever, it's God, purposive and active, even – especially – when we are at the end of our resources." He urged Christians to work for peace and reconciliation in the Middle East, and to support beleaguered Christian communities there "to help them stay in a context where they feel more and more...
LOL. Reality is a tricky thing to recognise apparently :-) -
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