About ‘Militant Modern Atheism’ and Religion

Abstract: This essay first discusses the non-eliminable shortcomings (or vacuousness) found in the most vociferous versions of contemporary atheism as put forth in Philip Kitcher’s “Militant Modern Atheism”. The essay then proceeds to the problems which Kitcher’s preferred secular humanism project would do well to anticipate as a result of the manner in which Kitcher frames the religious perspective. Finally, this essay addresses the very religious sense and experience which Kitcher too quickly dismisses as being useless to any evidential role. (In certain respects, this essay expands on some of the remarks found in this comment.)

1.

Philip Kitcher commences his paper, “Militant Modern Atheism1, by paying homage to the atheism most commonly associated with the likes of Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett as well as Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris.2 Kitcher says that their Militant Modern Atheism is “an effective and necessary critique of fundamentalist forms of religion”. He then goes on to note that this atheism is also “incomplete (and likely counter-productive)”.3

It is not immediately obvious how a critique can be both effective and likely counter-productive; the militant modern atheists certainly do not intend to be counter-productive.

Kitcher provides a bit of an explanation regarding the conjoining of effective and counter-productive when he reports that he, “a secular humanist, … shares many of the conclusions of the Militant Modern Atheists” but also thinks that “valuable options are being foreclosed” with the approach undertaken by those sorts of atheists.4 Basically, then, Kitcher’s point is that the critiques produced by the militant modern atheists are, at best, only initially effective and, even then, only within a very narrow (or shallow) – certainly a very limited – part of the domain concerning religion and faith.

Kitcher’s contention is that Militant Modern Atheism “fails to attend systematically to the roles religion fills in human lives”, and the ultimate “challenge is to develop a well-articulated and convincing version of secular humanism.”5 Kitcher clearly intends that this well-articulated secular humanism would attend to those fulfilling roles which – for the most part and to this point, according to Kitcher – have been and are most effectively served by religion. Presumably, Kitcher thinks that the development of just such a secular humanism is in the long-term interests of the militant modern atheists inasmuch as, without it, it is irrational to expect that religion would – or should – disappear.

2.

According to Kitcher, the failures or inadequacies of Militant Modern Atheism are a direct consequence of the manner in which its proponents frame the entire religion issue: If, as the militant modern atheists do, “you start with the thought” – or, rather, as Kitcher regards it, the speculation – “that the predominance of religion in human societies is to be explained by a cognitive deficiency, you will tend to see your campaign for the eradication of myths in terms of a return to intellectual health.” According to that particular atheistic perspective, “you help those … you assail, by leading them … to a better cognitive state … by the unpleasant medicine you administer.” From the militant modern atheist position, it follows that if people “abandon their religions, [they] will be better off by repudiating the false beliefs that have held them captive.”

In contrast to the militant modern atheist position, Kitcher “wonder[s] if the bracing tonics militant modern atheists conceive themselves as administering are – considered overall – a good thing.” As he says, if you frame the religion issue differently, “if you suppose” that there are social factors which “have played a non-trivial role in the spread of the world’s religions, you will wonder if there are psychological and social needs that the simple abandonment of religion will leave unfulfilled.”6

Of course, the militant modern atheists will insist that the psychological and social needs about which Kitcher wonders are merely sequelae which will be eradicated via the rectification provided by the better cognitive state afforded by their sort of atheism. However, such a response to Kitcher leaves the militant modern atheists apparently blind to the possibility that a Kitcher-like approach might produce a broader and a potentially more inviting appeal than can ever come from Militant Modern Atheism and its way of framing the religion issue.

This is in no way to suggest that Kitcher is opposed to Militant Modern Atheism or its proponents. In fact, Kitcher goes to some lengths in order to make it quite clear to militant modern atheists that he is very much an ally of theirs and also that his approach is more a refinement of – rather than a replacement for – Militant Modern Atheism.

For instance, instead of holding to the position of Militant Modern Atheism which maintains that:

Polite respect for odd superstitions about mysterious beings and their incomprehensible workings might be appropriate so long as the misguided folk who subscribe to them do not seek to convert … outsiders, but, when the benighted believers invade the public sphere, it is important that they not be earnest”,7

Kitcher prefers an on the face of it more moderate expression of essentially the identical position:

[C]ommitment to any definite doctrine, mythical self-consciousness, or doctrinal indefiniteness must not incline the believer to slide into accepting normative claims that would underwrite conduct affecting the lives of others on the grounds that they express the will of some transcendent being … values come first. … there must be a rigorous commitment to the priority of those values that can be shared with proponents of other religions and those who have no religion at all. Public reason must be thoroughly secular.8

Kitcher notes9 that critics charge the most outspoken advocates for Militant Modern Atheism with resorting to a “primitive fanaticism” which is significantly akin to that of which they accuse those who are their religious targets. And, there is no doubt that the manner in which Kitcher above summarizes part of what he refers to as the Militant Modern Atheism “manifesto” conveys an expressive fanaticism which is absent from Kitcher’s own perspective.

Despite their differences in manner of expression, these two positions – that of the militant modern atheists and that of Kitcher – both privilege their own manners of expression while demanding that religious manners of expression be exiled from (any serious – or earnest – discussions to be had in) the public sphere. Both positions are nothing more than reiterations of the respective manners in which considerations about the nature of religion are framed so as to accommodate the respective already existent (perspectively restricted) understandings. Both positions are philosophically bereft inasmuch as both perspectives utterly isolate themselves from self-analysis/self-criticism in terms of the possibility of (what, for the sake of convenience, will for now be referred to as) religious truth.

3.

The notion of evidence can be expected to be invoked in order to object to this characterization of Kitcher’s and the militant atheists’ positions and as a way of proclaiming an openness to the possibility of religious truth. However, according to its most invariant (and, therefore, arguably the most objective) definition, the term evidence does no more than indicate facets which fit with a particular story (and the way in which the story is framed). This means that it is impossible to be open to the possibility of religious truth as well as to any evidence in support of religious truth without a suitably charitable attempt at adopting (at least temporarily) the pertinent religious perspective.

With regards to Western monotheisms, it is quite common for atheists in particular to try to cast the religion issue as if it were simply a matter concerned with whether or not God exists (generally meaning as a mind-independent object). That way of framing the issue serves to make it seem as though the matter at hand is a simple one – a matter of assessing the quality and adequacy of any evidence there might be in support of the notion that God exists. However, this manner of framing achieves a deceptive simplicity, in part by avoiding considerations into the very nature of evidence.

Evidence is what fits with a story, and that story includes (sub)stories about how (and even why) evidence is (or can be further) developed. This is the case for scientific evidence, and it would be grossly presumptuous to deny that any similar development can or does occur with religion. It would be equally presumptuous to assert that whereas science has at its disposal techniques for producing (what are thought of as) more objective perspectives, religion has no similarly constructive techniques available to it.

Kitcher acknowledges that a “sense of the presence of a deity (or other sorts of beings) is very common across the spectrum of the world’s religions”, but then he adds that this sense of transcendent being (or of a transcendent being) is “[t]oo common, in fact, to play any serious evidential role.” What Kitcher means to indicate is that the evidence is not only not definitive but also veritably useless:

Once you appreciate the widespread tendency of people to arrive at very different claims on the basis of experiences that seem to them both intense and mysterious, and see that these experiences are categorized in terms that derive from the religions with which the subjects are familiar – and to which they often subscribe – it is clear what is occurring. Religious and secular people alike experience things they cannot explain in everyday secular terms, and sometimes grope for categories that will make some sense of what has occurred. None of these assimilations is to be trusted, for none can maintain that it alone is privileged and that rival interpretations are erroneous.10

Kitcher is correct to highlight the centrality of experiences; he is also correct to tightly bind experiences and interpretations. However, Kitcher is in error when he insists that a sense-interpretation/experience-interpretation cannot have “any serious evidential role” unless that interpretation precludes conceivable alternative interpretations or explanations. Kitcher is in error – he is in error about the nature of evidence – because he too closely associates evidence and proof.

4.

Upon having considered the nature of evidence as well as distinctions between evidence and proof, some might fancy that a call for proof rather than a call for evidence would quickly eliminate any possibility that religion is at all legitimate. Others might find themselves inclined to defend the above-noted close association of evidence and proof in light of what Kitcher refers to as “the ‘proofs’ offered in premodern theology” which remain topics of consideration and reformulation to this day.

Kitcher, however, is too well aware that both Militant Modern Atheism and his own preferred refinements to that atheism are rife with dependence on their own speculations, and, so long as there is such speculation, it is irrational to insist or expect that speculation be absent from religious thinking. Furthermore, at least with regards to “the ‘proofs’ offered in premodern theology”, Kitcher notes11 that:

Whether anyone has ever regarded them as a potential route from atheism or agnosticism to theism is doubtful, and it seems plain that those who constructed the more-or-less intricate arguments did so in attempts to elaborate ideas about a deity to whose existence they were already committed.

Essentially this same point is made by John E. Smith12 who, with regards to Anselm’s Ontological Argument, notes that upon “return to the original argument without, we may say, benefit of Descartes, who confused the issue by asking for the cause of the idea of God”, what is made more evident is an “emphasis on the importance of the nature of God … Anselm was engaged in a meditative analysis of what it means to believe in God from within, as it were, since the believer is involved in a self-examination” of his own characterization of God.

What all of this indicates is that Kitcher is too quickly dismissive of the evidential role of religious sense and experience. Kitcher would have been correct had he noted that the religious sense or experience – regardless of how common it may be amongst humans – requires further development in order to increase its utility, including in an evidential role. Much the same point is commonly constituent of the religious perspective as well.

5.

Kitcher’s intended audience is not those who have an inclination towards religious faith; rather, his intended audience is primarily those who are, for whatever reason and to whatever extent, already inclined to be dubious of any religious thinking, expression, and faith. Even more specifically, Kitcher attempts an appeal to militant modern atheists in order that they might develop a more versatile and comprehensive manner for dealing with both religions and those who are religiously inclined.

With such an audience in mind, Kitcher’s explication of his own perspective does not actually depend on religious sense or experience lacking any serious evidential role. Nevertheless, he makes (or attempts to make) his perspective more immediately attractive to his intended audience by producing a dismissal of religious experiences and the perspectives which follow from such experiences. To those who prefer the more militant expressions of atheism, Kitcher’s dismissing maneuver can serve to provide assurance that Kitcher’s approach is anything except antithetical to Militant Modern Atheism, even if it might under some circumstances effect a less scathing critique of religion and religious thinking.

Kitcher’s approach is centered around two models of religion – that of belief and another having to do with what he refers to as orientation. With regards to the belief model, Kitcher says:

Defining ‘religion’ is notoriously difficult, but one attractive strategy is to say that a religion consists of a set of doctrines about special kinds of entities (‘transcendent’ entities, different in kind from the everyday constituents of nature), that individual religions are distinguished by their different doctrines, and that to be committed to a particular religion is to believe the doctrines constitutive of that religion. Call this the belief model of religion.13

Kitcher goes on to add that “[a]s it stands, the belief model might seem inadequate, in that more than belief is required of the religious believer. Besides beliefs there are emotions, aspirations, desires, and actions … Those who merely believe, if there are any such people, are not full participants in the religious life.” With this inadequacy in mind, Kitcher proposes a “friendly amendment” to the belief model, one which maintains “belief in doctrine to be the fundamental basis from which the other religious states emerge.”14

Kitcher could just as well have noted that the commitment by which he defines the belief model (whether that commitment is to a religion or to doctrines) is itself at odds (certainly in the case of Western monotheisms) with the religious belief that each person’s commitment is ultimately supposed to be only to God. This is to say that Kitcher could have noted that the sort of belief commitment to which he refers is a veritable idolatry which itself is inconsistent with what is likely the most fundamental belief found in these religions.

However, had Kitcher pursued this line of thought, he would have removed from the militant atheists’ arsenal one quite popular course of attack used in objecting to religious thinking. If nothing else, noting that the belief model is readily criticized from within the religious perspective itself would extend and prolong – more than usually occurs in militant atheist arguments (such as they are) – the possibility that religious thinking might be legitimate. What could be of concern to Kitcher is that such a result might well be sufficient to prevent a significant segment of his intended audience from moving on to and recognizing worthwhileness in his orientation model of belief.

This is to say that by so restrictively framing the belief model, Kitcher can rather easily assert that the militant atheists should (and will) find themselves in familiar territory with his approach when it comes to dealing with religious people whose thinking falls into the belief model. In order to emphasize the great affinity between his approach and that of the militant atheists, Kitcher says, “militant modern atheism is entirely correct in its assault on those types of religious life that fit the belief model.”15

6.

Kitcher states that rather than understanding or defining religion simply as a “belief in doctrine … from which the other religious states [emotions, intentions etc.] emerge”,

[a]n alternative approach to religion can begin with other elements of the complex of states and processes, psychological and social, found in religious life, selecting some of those states and processes as basic, and viewing the distinctive doctrines as outgrowths, introduced as means of reaching goals marked out by the fundamental attitudes.

At the center of Kitcher’s alternative approach16 is “the concept of an orientation … a complex of psychological states – states of valuing, desires, intentions, emotions and commitments – … that embodies a person’s sense of what is most significant and worthwhile in his own life and the lives of others.”17 Kitcher identifies four types of orientation:

1. Secular: The secular orientation “does not give rise to any beliefs about transcendent entities or any participation in professions and ceremonies associated with such beliefs.”

Kitcher includes a secular orientation because, as he says, “[t]horoughly secular people can have an orientation in the sense” of having that complex of psychological states, including valuing, emotions, and commitments regarding what is held to be most significant in life.

2. Mythically self-conscious: People with a mythically self-conscious orientation will likely express themselves at times in “doctrinal sentences”, which is to say they will use the sorts of sentences often found within the belief model. That manner of expression will, of course, suggest significant commonalities between the mythically self-conscious and those who fit the belief model. However, the mythically self-conscious “disavow” any interpretation of those statements which “implies substantive doctrine about transcendent entities.” Kitcher tries to further distinguish between those who fall within the belief model and those of a mythically self-conscious orientation by putting forth “a mythically self-conscious Christian” as one who “might describe herself as oriented by the values … expressed in particular Gospel passages (for example, the Sermon on the Mount), so that she engages with other members of a Christian community to advance these values, while explicitly rejecting any interpretation of the New Testament that supposes a personal being from whose will those values derive, who in any sense created, governs or surveys the universe. Her creedal professions are expressions of a commitment to the fundamental values … [which she thinks] are the significant things for human beings to try to advance.”

Kitcher notes that “the militant modern atheists [would] applaud” the fact that the mythically self-conscious “firmly reject ‘supernatural’ entities”, and he also notes that the militant modern atheists will contend “that what remains [of the mythically self-conscious person’s beliefs] hardly” warrants being called – or even being associated with – religion.

3. Doctrinally-entangled: The doctrinally-entangled are distinguished from the mythically self-conscious in that the doctrinally-entangled “hold some beliefs they recognize as implying the existence of transcendent beings, and they take these beliefs to be inspirationally important precisely because the pertinent beings exemplify the fundamental values. … A Christian who believes that Jesus was the incarnation of a being who created the cosmos can see himself as participating in a campaign to achieve important goals – the spread of loving relations among human beings – whose ultimate success is assured. If asked to defend his belief in particular claims about the transcendent, the doctrinally-entangled person will not appeal primarily to evidence, but rather suggest that … such beliefs” are legitimate “because of the positive role they play in the promotion of the most important values.”

Kitcher says that, despite the willingness of the doctrinally-entangled to recognize the existence of any transcendent being(s), this orientation can be seen as “a reasonable expression of epistemic modesty”. He furthermore contends that this orientation “can be justified” in terms of “the socio-cultural environment available”. According to Kitcher, militant modern atheists tend “to overlook this point” about the context of belief, and they, thereby, are simply wrong to think (or assume) “that correction of belief about [transcendent entities] can automatically be articulated into a satisfying vision of what is valuable in one’s life.” Kitcher also claims that these very same points apply to the last of the orientations which he explicates – the doctrinally-indefinite orientation.

4. Doctrinally-indefinite: The doctrinally-indefinite “are not prepared to say … that there is no defensible interpretation of those sentences on which they are committed to the existence of transcendent entities.” They do not “offer any definite interpretation that would provide a content to which they would subscribe. Many of them are inclined to take refuge in language that is resonant and opaque, metaphorical and poetic, and to deny that they can do any better at explaining the beliefs they profess. … Their lack of definiteness frustrates militant modern atheists, who find no value in the resonant phrases that pervade theological discussions, but believers will contend that literal language gives out here, that as with great poetry, religious language somehow functions in ways that cannot be captured in the preferred modes of speech of their opponents.”

7.

It seems that the veritably ineradicable indefiniteness common to much religious expression frustrates many militant atheists to the point that they become virtually (if not utterly) blind to, dismissive of, and unconcerned about anything other than the very mentioning of transcendent conditions and entities. Kitcher notes how, as a consequence of such atheists’ orientation, “humanly important issues can simply disappear from view.”

To more strongly make his point that humanly important issues tend towards invisibility with Militant Modern Atheism, Kitcher refers to some of Richard Dawkins’ own reflections on there being “more than just grandeur in this [his own] view of life” and there being “deep refreshment to be had from standing up and facing straight into the strong keen wind of understanding … The truths of evolution, along with many other scientific truths, are so engrossingly fascinating and beautiful; … couldn’t we also teach science as something to read and rejoice in, like learning how to listen to music …?”

As Kitcher notes, and as religious believers would also attest, “There is much to agree with in these passages”. Even so, Kitcher thinks that those passages “seduce readers … into thinking that anyone can orient a worthwhile life … on the basis of contemplation of the cosmos as the sciences have revealed it.” The fact is, however, that there are “other features that many people regard as central to the worth of the lives they lead: activity, contributions to social life, virtuous conduct, friendship, and so forth.”18 It is insightful consideration of features such as these which Kitcher apparently finds to be so strikingly absent from the interests, concerns, and efforts with which Militant Modern Atheism presents itself.

Some militant atheists might respond by insisting that those humanly important features to which Kitcher refers are seemingly absent from Militant Modern Atheism precisely because this atheism is most properly understood as but one, quite narrow aspect of a broader atheism. By this reasoning, Militant Modern Atheism simply indicates an attitude of mind or a style of expression in response to any and all references to transcendent conditions and beings. In addition, it is the broader atheism which takes up what Kitcher describes as humanly important issues.

Such a response might satisfy militant atheists, but it is an apologetics which hopes to cling to rationality by means of evasion. It is a response which merely side-steps the point Kitcher is making. Kitcher uses the Dawkins quotes to emphasize Kitcher’s own point that Militant Modern Atheism is – and is at least somewhat aware of being – incomplete insofar as it fails to come to grips with the human psychological and social states which have for so long found their best fit within religious settings. Aware of such an incompleteness in its very understanding of itself, it makes no sense – no rational sense – for proponents of Militant Modern Atheism to insist or act as if there is some worthwhile satisfaction to be had from simply taking pot shots at religious thinking and religious perspectives. This is especially the case when, as Kitcher demonstrates, Militant Modern Atheism, in and of itself, provides only the most limited sort of analyses of religion with no prospects for greater depth.

Kitcher also points out that even Dennett’s speculations about evolutionary psychology do not protect the militant atheists from Kitcher’s contention about the incompleteness and likely counter-productivity of Militant Modern Atheism. Were Dennett’s evolutionary psychology speculations taken as indubitable fact, were it the case that religious myths are cognitively deficient and replaceable with modern scientific explanations, then it would make no sense – and is likely counterproductive – to continue the trumpeting of denials about transcendent beings instead of moving on to demonstrate to those who are still attracted to religious settings that non-religious thinking is every bit as fulfilling and every bit as capable of succeeding in the achievement of virtuous goals.

8.

If, as noted earlier, Kitcher’s intended audience is militant modern atheists, then he would seem to have made a good case for there being very significant problems with Militant Modern Atheism. However, there are also very significant problems with the expanded view he recommends in order to make Militant Modern Atheism more effective.

Kitcher’s view which expands beyond the concerns upon which Militant Modern Atheism focuses depends on the notion that what is most important (Kitcher might even regard it as being most basic) to the assorted defensible19 religious orientations is “the commitment to particular goals and values” such as “human equality and solidarity … [and] the spread of loving relations among human beings”.20 Kitcher insists that it is these “considerations of value” alone which “must be primary”.21 These values are indicative of the common need which individuals have for a social aspect to life.

The fact that commitment to the cited values very often entails individuals “identifying themselves … with a community”22 built around religion is something which “[s]ecular thinkers can regret … but they should see it as a stimulus … to work towards an intellectually articulated and socially realized version of secular humanism”. According to Kitcher, “enlightened secularism has not yet succeeded in finding surrogates for institutions and ideas that religious traditions have honed over centuries or millenia.”23

With his insistence on the primacy of values, particularly what can be called social values, Kitcher’s call seems to be for somehow attaining a greater prominence for something like an Ethical Culture Society, but one which manages to make any and all individual religious affiliations entirely superfluous. It is one thing to believe, as per the current Ethical Culture Society, that morality is necessarily independent of theology and that “self-reform should go in lock step with social reform”, but it is another thing altogether – frankly, it is a delusion – to imagine that religion can be rendered superfluous without first having delved into those very religious senses and experiences which Kitcher ignores.

Disregarding religious senses and experiences, Kitcher essentially reduces religion to those values generally thought to be most useful to social concerns and for the assurance of some measure of justice. He can accomplish just such a reduction while appearing to remain true to the religious spirit only because the social follows so very closely upon the religious sense. However, this close association in no way justifies regarding social values alone as being the most basic aspect of the religious perspective. Religious sense and experience must be taken into account, because they impart qualities to the social which are evidently absent from most accounts of other ways for thinking about the social.

This is not to claim that it is impossible for an atheistic approach to manage to effect much the same (if not identical) qualities. This is only to say that, without an investigation into the nature or characteristics of religious sense/experience, there are good reasons to think that a secular humanist project such as that outlined by Kitcher will – and should – fail.

9.

Early in A Devil’s Chaplain, Richard Dawkins offers up a variation on a remark made by Darwin in order to begin what seems to be an explication of some distinctions between the view of life held by Dawkins and the view had from a religious perspective. Dawkins states that “[t]here is more than just grandeur in th[e] view of life” which he holds. Although his presentation of his view can seem “bleak and cold” when, according to Dawkins, it is considered “from under the security blanket of ignorance”, there is actually “deep refreshment to be had”. Rather than delivering “[s]afety … easy answers and cheap comforts” and “living a warm comfortable lie”, Dawkins says that with his view of life, “You stand to lose comforting delusions: you can no longer suck at the pacifier of faith in immortality. … you stand to gain ‘growth and happiness’; the joy of knowing that you have grown up, faced up to what existence means; to the fact that it is temporary and all the more precious for it.”24

The fact of the matter is that there is nothing in those quoted excerpts which suffices to establish that Dawkins’ view of life is not a religious one. However, a basis for distinguishing Dawkins’ view of life from a religious view can be drawn out from some other of his remarks, in particular from an exegesis Dawkins produces25 about “the last paragraph of [Darwin’s] On the Origin of Species” in which Darwin says:

Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

Of particular relevance to this discussion is the perspective hinted at by Dawkins’ remarks:

Is ‘the production of the higher animals’ really ‘the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving’? Most exalted? Really? Are there not more exalted objects? Art? Spirituality? Romeo and Juliet? General Relativity? The Choral Symphony? The Sistine Chapel? Love?

… The Darwinian world-view does not denigrate the higher human faculties, does not ‘reduce’ them to a plane of indignity. It doesn’t even claim to explain them at the sort of level that will seem particularly satisfying, in the way that, say, the Darwinian explanation of a snake-mimicking caterpillar is satisfying. It does, however, claim to have wiped out the impenetrable – not even worth trying to penetrate – mystery that must have dogged all pre-Darwinian efforts to understand life.

… When you think about it, our own existence, together with its post-Darwinian explicability, is a candidate for the most astonishing fact that any of us are called upon to contemplate, in our whole life, ever.

… The harder we look at the border between life and non-life, the more elusive does the distinction become. … Right up to the middle of the twentieth century, life was thought to be qualitatively beyond physics and chemistry. No longer. The difference between life and non-life is a matter not of substance but of information.

Based upon remarks such as those above, Dawkins’ view of life can be well and fairly summarized by joining his own faced up to what existence means with Kitcher’s as the sciences have revealed it26 to express the idea that what is important is to “face up to what existence means … as the sciences have revealed it.”

Of particular note in the above quoted passage by Dawkins is the prominence held by objects. Objects are certainly of great importance to the religious perspective, and this, in part, is why religious thinkers can embrace scientific investigation with the the same vigor evidenced by those who utterly disavow religious perspectives. So, it is not the prominence which objects have in Dawkins’ view of life that distinguishes his view from the religious perspective. Rather, the distinguishing feature is that Dawkins casts his view of life and its perspective on existence entirely in terms of objects as revealed by and expressed in terms of the sciences.

According to Dawkins, even love, exalted though it may be, is to be regarded ultimately as – and in terms of – object. This concept of love as object, or even as a relation between objects, is antithetical to the religious perspective. This is because, according to the religious view, existence is not – and cannot be fully or properly represented as – a matter of objects or relations between objects. Consequently, according to the religious view, it is critically important that care be taken so as to ensure that thinking not be utterly restricted to being in terms of the objects which populate reality.

As has already been noted, objects are recognized – and afforded great importance – from within the religious perspective. However, it is not objects that are at the core of the religious view. Instead, the religious perspective is a view which concerns itself predominantly with existence in terms of those who experience reality as subjects (those who experience being aware of their experience of subjectivity), not even as constituents (objects) of the social. Love your neighbor as yourself: You are a subject; you experience individually, and you act not as an object but as a subject; love your neighbor as – and for being – a subject who experiences individually.

The gist of the religious view does not find expression in terms of that grandeur to which Dawkins (and Darwin) refer, although the grandeur of nature is recognized and experienced from the religious perspective. The gist of the religious view does not even find expression in terms of those exalted products of the human mind and effort referred to by Dawkins, although they, too, are relished and exalted from within the religious perspective. The gist of the religious view – the religious sense – is, instead, to be found in a far more subtle expression, such as when Karl Jaspers said to Rudolf Bultmann:

My liking for you had begun when, as a boy, I noticed you in the school yard of the Oldenburg gymnasium (you were a few years younger than I). I abstained from seeking your acquaintance. I saw your shining eyes, and was glad that you existed.27

10.

There are those who will see in the Jaspers remark nothing but mere sentiment or outright sentimentality rather than any sort of subtle expression. These same people will wonder whether that is what the religious sense amounts to: mere sentiment or outright sentimentality. Others will see in the Jaspers remark not the concern for a subject as subject in his or her individual experience of reality. Instead, they will see Jaspers’ attention having been drawn to Bultmann in the way that perceived objects – not subjects – commonly draw a person’s attention.

There are some facts about Jaspers and Bultmann which, once known to those who perceive only sentiment or sentimentality in the Jaspers remark, might well force a reconsideration and transformation or abandonment of the initial perception. The fact is that Jaspers and Bultmann were not friends. It is also a fact that Jaspers made that remark in the midst of a highly contentious and ongoing argument with Bultmann in which Jaspers made it very clear that he was “repelled”28 by Bultmann’s position. It is because of these facts that Jaspers senses an importance in referring to his liking for Bultmann which had begun many years ago and which still endured despite an antagonism which had, in fact, itself persisted over quite a few years. Jaspers’ liking and his being glad indicate a condition which is other than – even if it is in addition to – merely personal preference. This liking and being glad could also be said to be beyond mere personal preference. Inasmuch as this liking and this being glad is independent of any feelings of approval or disapproval, this liking and this being glad is certainly not outright sentimentality, and this condition beyond mere personal preference is not mere sentiment.

Of course, those who see in Jaspers’ remark the sort of response had to an object can still insist that Jaspers did indeed respond to Bultmann as if Bultmann were an object. They can insist that the “shining eyes” struck Jaspers in precisely the same way that an exceptional feature of some art object, for instance, can draw the attention of a subject to that art object. And, they can be right that Jaspers did indeed initially respond to Bultmann as though Bultmann were an object. The point about the gist of the religious sense would still apply if Jaspers’ liking and being glad persists (or endures) as the concern for Bultmann as a subject who experiences, regardless of how Jaspers first became aware of Bultmann and so long as Jaspers’ concern managed to remain independent (although not unaware) of any approving or disapproving responses Jaspers ever has to Bultmann.

Mere personal preference is what a subject can have for objects, and that is not what the Jaspers remark exhibits. The remark, when out of all context whatsoever, acknowledges a beginning to a liking which at that beginning seems to be very much like the sort of merely (even if acutely felt) personal preference had by a subject who experiences perceiving something exceptional in an object. However, that sort of beginning always has to it an acuteness which will dull unless periodically honed, and, in the Jaspers-Bultmann case, there is no indication of there having been any such whetting since that beginning.

This in itself intimates that this liking is of some type which is not restricted to, or dependent upon, personal preference. The actual context in which Jaspers made the statement more strongly suggests that any initial personal preference would most likely have been more rapidly and thoroughly dulled rather than honed over time.

And this is why what can be seen in the Jaspers remark is a fully personal regard for another person as a subject who experiences rather than as an object, a regard which is not justified with reasons drawn from the manner in which the other person is perceived based on outward presentment.

This sort of liking and being glad is compatible with personal preference, but it also has no dependence on and extends beyond personal preference. This is what, from within the religious perspective, is commonly referred to as love. This love of persons as subjects who experience, this love of persons for their being subjects who experience – this love is the heart and mind of the religious sense.

11.

Personal preferences can be suitably characterized in terms of relations, but love is properly characterized only by taking into account particular types of acts.

All human persons are subjects by virtue of the fact that they experience. They usually experience rather than encounter their own subjectivity, but they usually encounter rather than experience all which is other than their own subjectivity. Even other persons – other experiencing subjects – are first encountered as objects. However, the religious sense comes of the experiencing subject being wholly, utterly, even painfully aware that its own experience of being is dampened if not diminished so long as it continues to regard an other subject who experiences as if that person were an object:

The majority of men are subjective towards themselves and objective towards all others, terribly objective sometimes – but the real task is in fact to be objective towards oneself and subjective towards all others.29

It is only by the acts which characterize (or constitute) love that one person can come to regard (and sometimes even experience) an other in terms of that other’s own subjectivity.

I am known to other men. They know me as object, not as subject. They are unaware of my subjectivity as such; unaware not merely of its inexhaustible depth, but also of that presence of the whole in each of its operations, that existential complexity of inner circumstances, data of nature, free choice, attractions, weaknesses, virtues perhaps … To be known as object … is to be severed from oneself and wounded in one’s identity.30

By love, finally, is shattered the impossibility of knowing another except as object.31

The first act of love can be variously described in terms of an opening up, a going forth, even a pouring out from a subjectivity. It is because of love and by love that a person is freed from the concerns which confine a person to his or her own current subjectivity. Although love frees the person from the confines of what had been the person’s subjectivity, love does not obliterate the person’s subjectivity, the person’s experience of being. Instead, with love there seems as if there is a greater abundance of the person’s very being, but it can also seem to the person as if there has come a greater awareness of an abundance of being that had already been present not only in himself but in those parts of reality which are other than himself.

Whether there is, in a sense, a seemingly greater abundance of being or a seemingly greater awareness of the already extant abundance of being, it is with love or because of love that a person’s own experience of being – that person’s own subjectivity – opens up, goes forth, or pours out. In another sense, it is because of love, or with love, or in love that a person’s subjectivity can seem to have been obliterated or cast off as it extends beyond what it had been. But, in any event, there is no elimination of the experience of subjectivity with love; likewise, when there is love, when a person acts in love, there is no diminution to the experience of subjectivity.

The person’s greater awareness is of an abundance beyond that of which the person had been aware both within himself and beyond his own subjectivity. Love effects this greater awareness, but, when a person goes forth out of his own subjectivity in love and with love, it is not only in order to partake of the abundance of objects which populate reality. Rather, upon being more keenly aware of the abundance, the person who loves gives himself, so to speak, or breaks out of the constraints of his subjectivity to make himself more available in order that other subjects might themselves be able to more readily partake of the abundance around them.

It is only by virtue of love (by acting with love) that another person – an other subject – comes to be treated not only not as an object but also not as an alter ego.32 Instead, the other subject is recognized and respected for being his or her own ego.

Sometimes love is (mis)conceived in terms of fusion with another;33 however, since with love there is neither elimination of the experience of subjectivity nor diminution of that experience, love is not accomplished as – nor does it seek – a fusion. On the contrary, love provides for and hopes to result in a greater participation amongst persons in a manner by which each person’s experience of that person’s own subjectivity is made more abundant in accord with the way that is the uniqueness of each person’s individuality. Such a participation is not a fusion wherein any or all of those who are joined cease to have their own subjectivity, but this participation is also something more than proximity in isolation; there is much which is shared.

Control of an other is never the goal of love. Love does not even seek “to create love in another person”.34 Furthermore, a person who loves “dare not permit another to belong to him in such a way that he is everything to the other.”35

Instead, acts of love are customized according to the subjectivity of the other, and this means that in love what is sought is awareness of the other’s subjectivity for the sake of the other’s own enhanced subjectivity. This awareness is accomplished only by that form of love known as charity.

12.

Although love reaches beyond the confines of subjectivity, love is also always internal in the very same way that thought is internal and hidden from the external. Just as “the utterance of speech is the manifestation” of thought, so, too, are acts the ways in which love is made manifest.36 It is by utterances as well as other acts that a person has access to the subjectivity of an other person.

Charitable acts (acts done in charity) often seem (from the perspectives of other persons) more hidden than speech (even charitable speech). But, charity is never trumpeted. All charity – whether as speech or other acts – is an aspect of the going forth from one’s own subjectivity to make one’s own person, being, and perspective available for others. When one speaks or otherwise acts in charity, it is not for the purpose of convincing or persuading another. When one goes forth with charity, it is in order to be available to others, and it is also with the hope that one’s own availability will somehow be of benefit to, will somehow enhance others. However, this going forth in charity also has the expectation or hope that the opening up of one’s own subjectivity which is necessary for one’s own being charitable will also enhance one’s own subjectivity by making it more capable of receiving insight from an encounter with others that develops into an experience of the other’s subjectivity.

While many charitable acts are done with no expectation of their being noticed by others, it is because of the very nature of speech that charitable speech goes forth with a hope of being noticed. More often than not, concomitant with this hope of being noticed is the hope that a response by an other will be elicited. This hope for elicitation has two constituent facets: the hope that what has been put forth eventually will be of benefit to the other who responds and the hope that the other’s response will make the particulars of the other’s subjectivity more available for one’s own experience of the other.

The availability of an other’s subjectivity can be of benefit to one’s own subjectivity by providing a perspective which might not be already integral to one’s own knowledge. However, the other is not engaged for the benefit of one’s own knowledge, because that would be to treat the other as an object. Indeed, when the other is treated as an object, the other is treated as dispensable, but, when the other is treated as a subject, it is with the hope of extended, even open-ended, engagement.

Tolerance for, or toleration of, the other, whether that other is treated as an object or treated with regard for the other’s experience of his own subjectivity, is not charity. To the extent that tolerance is itself a virtue, it is at best a prerequisite for the greater virtue of charity. In any case, tolerance is neither a substitute for nor is it identical to charity. Charity not only goes forth as speech; charity also resides in the response to how others are presented. In particular, charity resides in the response to the words by which others make themselves noticed.

Charity always seeks to make better understood the individual being engaged; charity does so in order that it might try to tailor itself according to that other individual’s own perspective.

Charity never regards the burden of communication as if it is shouldered only by the other. When there is apparent disagreement or misunderstanding, charity goes forth – whether in the form of question, suggestion, criticism, challenge, even judgment – for the sake of becoming ever more fully aware of the other’s subjectivity and never without at least some reconsideration of one’s own thoughts and expressions. Charity finds no satisfaction in demonstrating inadequacy or insufficiency in the other’s speech. This is because the ultimate interest of charity is not the other’s expression; the ultimate interest is the other’s experience of his own subjectivity.

Charity seeks to determine whether – or to what extent – the other’s manner of expression genuinely reveals the other’s current (and actual) subjectivity, and such a determination can only be conducted in terms of possibilities. There are the possibilities inherent to the manner in which the expressions are interpreted by the person to whom the speech is presented, and there are also the possibilities for how else the other might present (might have presented) the subjectivity being revealed. In addition, and of greater interest to charity, there are the possibilities for how else the other would himself like to be(come).

This means that the person acting with charity seeks to engage the other person in terms of the very manners of expression which the other uses. Charity does not seek to impose a manner of expression on the other. Charity seeks a greater experience of – a greater awareness about – the other’s manner of expression, because the charitable person makes himself more available to the other to the extent that the charitable person can participate in the other’s very subjectivity. At no time has a person’s subjectivity found its best possible expression; nonetheless, it is by re-presenting his own subjectivity in terms more familiar to the other that the charitable person makes himself, his own perspective, his own subjectivity more available for the possible benefit of the other.

People who act with charity, people who act with love – even if it were the most perfect love obtainable – will often find themselves having to admit: “Whether or not I have accomplished anything, I do not know. I do not know if I have done anyone any good.”37

But, this is to be expected, since the hoped-for benefit only really attains when the other person finds his own experience of subjectivity pouring forth out of itself and into its own greater subjectivity. This is ultimately only accomplished by each person’s own response to reality. Although this expanded subjectivity can never be imposed, it can be facilitated by persons who, when they engage with others, keep in mind not only the other as presented but also the possibilities for being which are available to the other from the perspective which is the other’s own actual subjectivity.

Even if charity towards an other is ever known to have succeeded as being of benefit for that other, what satisfaction the charitable person feels is short-lived, because charity’s incessant interest – love’s incessant interest – is in what else can be done. To say that “perfection consists in charity”38 is to acknowledge that with love and because of love there is always the concern with what else can be done.

13.

The religious perspective is never encapsulated by a reference either to what is or to what has been. The most proper way to cast the religious perspective is in terms of its concern with what is yet to be brought about in love, with love, and by love. Bringing about in love is the very nature of morality according to the religious sense and perspective. Love is necessary in order to be able to treat others as subjects who experience rather than as objects. Such love is a matter of conscience and conscientiousness;39 hence, love is the heart of morality.

It is only as aspects of love that any virtues are matters of morality. Just as the subjectivity experienced by an other can become, on occasion, part of one’s experience of one’s own subjectivity, so, too, can virtues become part of one’s own subjectivity. Yet, just as an other’s own experience of subjectivity can become part of one’s own experience of subjectivity without having been produced by one’s own subjectivity, so, too, from the religious perspective, is it that the virtues which become part of one’s subjectivity are not virtues which one creates or produces.

In the religious sense and from the religious perspective, morality is not a matter of law. This is the case even with regards to divine law and commandments. This is not to deny that there are or ever have been any such law or commandments, but it is to note that “in spite of all its many provisions the law is still somewhat indeterminate”, and this indeterminateness is only fixed by acts of love, because “love is the fulfillment” of the law.40

Moral law is indeterminate because the moral situation is neither defined nor delimited by any law. Accordingly, although law and “[m]oral treatises will … tell me the universal rule or rules I am bound to apply; they will not tell me how I, the unique I, am to apply them in the unique context in which I am involved.”41 Morality “does not consist … in copying the ideal”;42 morality is not a matter of mimesis, because morality never exists where personal judgment is suspended.43 “No knowledge of moral essences, however perfect, meticulous, or detailed … no casuistry, no chain of pure deduction, no science, can exempt me from my judgment of conscience”.44

This is to say that morality demands personal judgment, and imagination and creativity are necessary for judgment to effect morally.

It is a “wholly superficial” morality (if it is morality at all) which is constituted by “outward conformity with common opinion, with the rules and tabus [sic] of the social group”,45 even with divine laws. According to the religious sense, to act morally is to act in love; to act in love is to act with charity; to act with charity is to act iteratively, continuing to modify the manner in which one’s going forth is presented in the process of becoming more aware of the other’s own subjectivity. And, it is only with imagination and creativity that one can make manifest any new presentations in response to a changing awareness about one’s experience of one’s own subjectivity and one’s changing awareness about an other’s subjectivity. Without such imagination and creativity, it is impossible to love; without such imagination and creativity, it is impossible to treat other subjects who experience as anything except objects rather than as the subjects who they are.

For those who love, it is as though there is no need of any commandment to love, and this is because the fullness of one’s own being is experienced as the pouring out of love which fulfills (moral) law. In a sense, the law or commandment which prescribes love transforms into one’s very own being. This, of course, is a wholly internal transformation which makes that law redundant to one’s own subjectivity while leaving the moral law in place as a guidance for others.

Despite the hopefully eventual redundancy of the moral law, and despite the fact that love and its constituent virtues are made manifest by one’s own being in one’s own subjectivity, it is the religious sense that love and its virtues do not originate within one’s own subjectivity. The particular ways in which love is made manifest in its pouring forth from one’s own subjectivity will often seem to have originated with one’s own being, but the religious sense or experience is one in which the way and interests of love always seem to originate somehow external to one’s own subjectivity. It is just such a sense or experience which can be found undergirding most, if not all, forms of religion.

14.

By too quickly dismissing and, thereby, completely ignoring the matter of there being a religious sense as well as religious experience, Kitcher makes it veritably impossible for his broader secular humanism project to succeed as a replacement for religion. Being designed around or based upon a commitment to such goals and values as human equality and solidarity, projects such as Kitcher’s tend to impart the sense that there is nothing amiss about regarding, treating, and aggregating individuals as objects. It is just such a sense which stands in opposition to the heart of the religious sense which is always reminding that it is immoral to regard individuals as objects rather than subjects.

It is to be presumed that Kitcher and other secular humanists would object, denying that it is ever (morally) acceptable to treat individuals as objects rather than as subjects who uniquely experience subjectivity. Kitcher might even point out that every bit as much a part of the secular humanism project is a devotion to the spread of loving relations among human beings. However, what is the secular idea of love which would shape and give substance to those loving relations?

As has been shown, the religious idea of love is that love is made manifestly real only when the other is regarded in terms of that other’s own experience of subjectivity. It is never an act of love which reduces the other to the sorts of general terms useful for impersonal and de-personalized categorization. It is precisely because of this religious sense about love that the social sense of justice is so very inadequate a basis for interactions between persons. The “essential difference between charity [which is to say love] and justice come[s] from the preference of charity” to engage with the other in the other’s subjectivity, whereas “from the point of view of justice,” no such engagement is necessary or relevant.46 Justice is conceived of as impersonal and as striving for the objective. Justice so conceived depends on objectization of the subject:

To objectise is to universalize. … It is in relation to the individuality itself of the subject … in relation to its subjectivity, as something unique and singular … that objectisation is false to the subject and that, known as object, it is unjustly known, as we have already observed.47

This is to say that a justice which is conceived of and practiced in terms of an objectivity, wherein the subject is and remains objectized, is a justice conceived of in a manner that is necessarily at odds with the religious sense. Whereas the secular tends to start with such social notions as equality and solidarity without any expressed basis in the unique and singular subjectivity of each individual, the religious sense and the priority it gives to love pertains to each individual’s experience of subjectivity. With this religious sense, equality as well as solidarity follow not only from the love for the others but also with the presumption that the others do or can love.

It is this love which is central to the religious sense, and, so long as Kitcher’s – or any other – secular humanism project fails to have that religious sense of love at its core, that secular humanism will not replace religion regardless of any and all of the shortcomings to be found in religions. It will not replace religion, because it is the very importance of love which persists despite all those shortcomings that gives a home within religion to the religious sense.

Even if Kitcher’s secular humanism project were to be reformulated in a way that could have love rather than an objectizing justice at its core, there would still be the problem of having to deal with the religious sense that love and all of its constituent virtues do not originate from within humankind.

This sense of the ultimate otherness of virtue is a problem that cannot with honesty be easily brushed aside. This is because it is not a sense had only by those who regard the ultimate otherness of virtue as a religious sense. For instance, Hannah Arendt, who did not regard herself as a friend of religion, eventually found herself face to face with this issue regarding the ultimate otherness of virtue in the guise of what she referred to as authority.48

15.

According to Arendt’s analysis, a crisis of authority has been apparent since at least the turn of the twentieth century. Although “political in origin and nature”, this crisis is not reasonably ignored by any secular humanism, such as Kitcher’s, which puts itself forth as having at its very core such goals and values as equality and solidarity, concepts that are (or have come to be) predominantly political in nature.

Where the political suffers from a crisis of authority, it is reasonable to expect and, therefore, investigate whether a secular humanism conceived of primarily in terms of what seem to be essentially political values is also susceptible to a similar – if not the very same – crisis of authority. If, on the other hand, there is something about the religious sense which spares it from this very crisis, then there is reason to take the religious sense/experience into consideration rather than dismissing and ignoring it as Kitcher does.

Arendt says that the crisis of authority is so widespread that “authority has vanished from the modern world.” This crisis is so deep that the very concept called authority does not appear to be either “self evident” or “even comprehensible” except, possibly, to some “political scientist [who] may still remember that this concept was once fundamental to political theory.”

Because of the confusion and misunderstandings which have arisen around the concept called authority, Arendt considers it essential to start with “a few remarks on what authority never was”. She notes that authority “is commonly mistaken for some form of power or violence.” However, the nature of authority is such that it “precludes the use of external means of coercion”. Furthermore, authority is “incompatible with persuasion” inasmuch as authority does not have its effect “through a process of argumentation.” Arendt goes on to say that “[i]f authority is to be defined … then, it must be in contradistinction to both coercion by force and persuasion through arguments.”

By Arendt’s reckoning, the concept which later came to be known as authority was introduced (or shoehorned) into the political context by Plato as he sought some arrangement other than that provided by (public) tyranny and (household) despotism/domination, as well as something other than the mass movements of public opinions (which themselves rely on persuasion which is always sure to seem to be based on good – when, in fact, it is most often merely valid – reasoning along with a presumed equality which makes believe that all persons are equally capable of rationality). In effect, what Plato eventually put forth was the notion of there being indisputable (or natural) laws which ruled over rulers and those whom they ruled.

Arendt says that it is characteristic of authority that it “always demands obedience”, and, in order for authority to be authority, it is just as necessary that authority exercises no power to control and that it seeks neither to coerce nor to persuade. Putting aside, for the moment, the matter of demanded obedience, it is worth noting that, according to the religious sense, love never seeks to control, coerce, or persuade. To this extent, there is a noteworthy and significant similarity between authority and love.

In addition, just as authority itself is understood as being real and other than a human fabrication, so, too, is it the case that love (according to the religious sense) seems to originate from something other than human preferences and from somewhere other than the human person who acts in, with, and by love. Accordingly, love and its constituent virtues share with authority the characteristic of ultimate otherness.

16.

This still leaves the matter of authority and the obedience it demands and whether, or in what way, the religious sense of love is compatible with the demanding of obedience. Here it is worth noting that Arendt describes the demanding of obedience in terms of a compelling of the mind, a compelling which does not resort to coercion or (even implied or threatened) violence or persuasion through argument. What is revealed by this description in terms of a compelling is not a characteristic of authority; instead, what it describes is a reaction had to the experience of an encounter with authority.

And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.49

Authority is realized with astonishment, with a wonderment so overwhelming that it seems to demand something, some kind of reaction. The experience of an encounter with authority results in awe, but, it is when the person who encounters authority opens up his or her subjectivity to an experience of authority that the awe is no longer simply for the otherness of authority. It is a wonderment for the being of authority, and it turns to a wonderment for being. That wonderment is not just for what is but also for what else – and how else – all that is can yet be, and it is upon the opening up of the person’s subjectivity to an experience of authority that the gaze of the person’s subjectivity gets set upon the what-yet-can-be.

How – and whether – a person in his or her own subjectivity undertakes to make more manifest the qualities or characteristics of that which is experienced as authority is a matter of that person’s choice, abilities, and talents. Neither authority nor the awareness of authority – not even the experience of the ultimate otherness of authority – diminishes individual freedom or detracts from the significance of the experience of subjectivity. Actually, very much the opposite is the case: The religious experience is of both greater freedom and enhanced (as well as expanded) and shared subjectivity.

To the religious sense, love and authority are essentially indistinguishable, and it is the ultimate otherness of the authority of love which gives rise to the religious sense. Therefore, whatever the appeal of secular humanism, it will never succeed in attaining such a goal as making religion redundant so long as this humanism either ignores or fails to incorporate the religious sense of love.

———————————————————–
1 Kitcher, Philip, “Militant Modern Atheism”, Journal of Applied Philosophy, Vol. 28, No. 1, 2011.
2 Militant Modern Atheism is also sometimes referred to by others as The New Atheism.
3 Kitcher, p. 1.
4 Kitcher, p. 2.
5 Kitcher, p. 1.
6 Kitcher, pp. 9-10.
7 Kitcher, p. 1.
8 Kitcher, p. 12.
9 Kitcher, p. 2.
10 Kitcher, p. 7.
11 Kitcher, p. 7.
12 Smith, John E., “Some Aspects of Hartshorne’s Treatment of Anselm” in Existence and Actuality, Cobb, John B. and Gamwell, Franklin I., eds. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press (1984); pp. 103-109.
13 Kitcher, p. 3.
14 Kitcher, pp. 3-4.
15 Kitcher, p. 6.
16 Kitcher, pp. 5-6.
17 Kitcher, p. 4.
18 Kitcher, pp. 10-11.
19 Kitcher, p. 6.
20 Kitcher, pp. 4-5.
21 Kitcher, p. 6.
22 Kitcher, p. 8.
23 Kitcher, pp. 11-12.
24 Dawkins, Richard. See A Devil’s Chaplain, p. 13.
25 Dawkins, Richard. The Greatest Show on Earth. See here.
26 Kitcher, p. 11.
27 Jaspers, Karl and Bultmann, Rudolf. Myth & Christianity, Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 2005, p. 105.
28 Jaspers, p. 87.
29 Kierkegaard, Soren. See “Translators’ Introduction” in Kierkegaard, Soren. Works of Love, translated by Howard and Edna Hong. New York: Harper & Row, 1962, p. 13.
30 Maritain, Jacques. Existence and the Existent, translated by Lewis Galantiere and Gerald B. Phelan. Garden City, New York: Image Books, 1958, p. 83.
31 Maritain, p. 90.
32 Levinas, Emmanuel. “Time and the Other” in The Levinas Reader, edited by Sean Hand. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1992, p. 48.
33 Levinas, pp. 50-51.
34 Kierkegaard, p. 205.
35 Kierkegaard, p. 113.
36 Kierkegaard, p. 26.
37 Kierkegaard, p. 94.
38 Maritain, p. 58.
39 Kierkegaard, p. 136.
40 Kierkegaard, p. 110.
41 Maritain, p. 60.
42 Maritain, p. 58.
43 Maritain, p. 67.
44 Maritain, p. 60.
45 Maritain, p. 65.
46 Levinas, p. 48.
47 Maritain, p. 87.
48 Arendt, Hannah. “What is Authority?” in Between Past and Future, New York: Penguin Books, 1968, pp. 91-141.
49 The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, King James Version, 7:28-29.

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2 Responses to About ‘Militant Modern Atheism’ and Religion

  1. Pingback: Evidence, Beliefs, and ‘Wise Blood’ | The Kindly Ones

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