Sunday, July 03, 2005

Rushdie on atheism

Via Amit, we get this brilliant Telegraph op-ed by Salman Rushdie on followers of what he calls "Atheism Lite" (he cites Dylan Evans as one of them, because of this Guardian op-ed by Evans), who seek to "negotiate a truce between religious and irreligious world views".

Rushdie goes on to show why he supports those -- like Richard Dawkins, Jonathan Miller and Edward O. Wilson (and I would add the blogger P.Z. Myers to this list) -- who take a hard line against creationist and ID anti-scientists:

Such a truce would have a chance of working only if it were reciprocal -- if the world's religions agreed to value the atheist position and to concede its ethical basis, if they respected the discoveries and achievements of modern science, even when these discoveries challenge religious sanctities, and if they agreed that art at its best reveals life's multiple meanings at least as clearly as so-called 'revealed' texts. No such reciprocal arrangement exists, however, nor is there the slightest chance that such an accommodation could ever be reached.


If religion were a private matter, one could more easily respect its believers' right to seek its comforts and nourishments. But religion today is big public business, using efficient political organization and cutting-edge information technology to advance its ends. Religions play bare-knuckle rough all the time, while demanding kid-glove treatment in return.