Sunday, November 22, 2009

Terry Eagleton on the God Debate - Tapestry CBC

Thanks to a tip from a reader of this blog, I was directed to the CBC radio (Canada) program Tapestry. Tapestry is a program in which host Mary Hines speaks with guests about issues of spirituality (feed). After listening to one program, I'd say the program is comparable with Krista Tippett's Speaking of Faith (APM).

The issue that I took on first was immediately worth a recommendation. Taking on celebrity atheists was an rich conversation with Terry Eagleton. The most important subject was Eagleton's criticism on the ideas of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens and their categorical rejection of religion. His point is that they understand very little of religion and in their comparison between science and rationalism with religious foundations basically make a category mistake. They take religious suppositions as factual and theoretic in the way of science.

In many ways this is an easy point to make as it is self-evident. Besides, it seems to me Dawkins and Hitchens actually write in reaction to religious people who in fact make exactly the same category mistake. The real strength, I would say, is Eagleton's expose of what is the power of religion, what is the essence of its philosophical and social meaning. In that respect Eagleton exposes a couple of fundamental weak points in a strictly naturalist, materialist view of the universe.