August 19, 2007
Pragmatism, Politics, and God
Stop reading this post right now and go read Mark Lilla’s stunning NYT Mag article adapted from his forthcoming book. The past year has seen a horde of devout atheists — Dennett, Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris — gathering arms against religion and its place in the civic sphere. But no matter how they title their books, Harris et al aren’t speaking to a Christian nation, but to a small subset of fellow thinkers. Lilla’s scholarship as summarized in this article feels like the scaffold for a bridge between the staunch secularists and the political theologists. Put him in a room with Reza Aslan, and you have the makings of a serious conversation, one that might begin to answer the question, “How do we live together?” Much better than this beautiful-but-doomed dialogue, at least.
Are you really still reading my rambling? GO READ LILLA. Then read No god but God. (Then read Rousseau’s “Profession of Faith of a Savoyard Vicar,” which I’d never heard of until reading Lilla’s piece. It’s fantastic.) Then get into a conversation with an open-minded person on the opposite side of the secularist/theologist divide.