Richard Dawkins has a section in his God Delusion (pp. 222-226) that discusses Marc Hauser‘s Moral Minds: How Nature Designed our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong.
Hauser conducted a study with Peter Singer to test whether atheists differ in their moral intuitions from religious believers. The expectation was that if people need religion to give them their moral values then there should be a significant difference between the moral values of atheists and the religious.
Three hypothetical dilemmas were the focus of the comparison: Continue reading “Atheist and religious Moral Minds / Dawkins on Hauser”
Holocaust Testimonies (pp. 493-499)
Bauckham proceeds to wax lyrical over a paragraph of recorded oral testimony from Auschwitz survivor, Edith P. He concludes:
“The most accomplished Holocaust novel could not equal the effectiveness of that story in conveying the horrifying otherness . . . . [Her testimony] discloses to us her world, the Nazi’s kingdom of the night, in a way that no novelist could surpass and no regular historian even approach. This is truth that only testimony can give us.”
Bauckham elaborates in reverential tones speaking of how “deep” and “authentic” is the “unique” experience. Some instances:
“the deep memory reaches us and we are stunned by its otherness”
“in its visual and emotional clarity we hear an authentic moment . . . ”
“This too is ‘deep memory’ that he relives by remembering it . . .”
So how ironic to read the same reverential tones with the same “deep” and “authentic” in the following words written by a former inmate of Auschwitz (Israel Gutman): Continue reading “Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 18e”
By now it ought to be obvious I can only handle Bauckham in very small doses. Maybe it’s age. I used to love downing a whole bottle of whisky straight in very short shrift but have learned to cut it back to occasional nips if I want my brain and body to survive a bit longer. Maybe that’s a metaphor for my misspent youth in the coffin of religion, leaving me nowadays only ever able to spend occasional minutes at best engaging in silly (ir)rationalizations that pass as scholarly arguments for belief in miracles and semi-human miracle performers. Anyway, if sticking at something one has promised oneself to do is a virtue then my ongoing sticking with this review bit by bit proves I am at least not totally bereft of virtue whatever my other faults. And addressing these final parts of B’s argument calls for every ounce of virtue I can muster. Must reward myself with another whisky when finished.
Testimony and its reception contd. (pp 492-493) Continue reading “Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 18d”