In December-January, I finally read Brandley Monton’s and Bruce Sheiman’s works. It is encouraging, in midst of angry books of new atheists, to read Monton and Sheiman as they bring in light, instead of heat, in the ongoing debate on the place of science and religion.
Bruce Sheiman, in a 256 pages-Alpha published book, An Atheist Defends Religion: Why Humanity Is Better Off with Religion(2009), went head on against the popular myth of new atheism movement that religion is evil and at war with science, and thus should be erased, to show that humanity is better off with religious beliefs.
As an atheist, Sheiman contend not for the existence of God but for the belief in God. He wrote, “I want to believe this[that God exists, humans are made in Imago Dei etc] but, alas, I cannot. Thus, even though I cannot believe in God, I still feel the need for God.”(ix)
Religion, particularly Christianity, contended Sheiman, offers a transcendent moral values and duties, human rights, altruism, mental healthy, happiness and longer life, and gave birth to science.
There is much to agree with Sheiman, as a Christian theist, and little to disagree e.g. he makes couples of classical errors e.g. confusing epistemology with ontology as he went through researches that showed both believers and nonbeliever grasp same moral values and duties, tagging Intelligent Design as Creationism and seem to hold a belief that the universe somehow was impregnated with life, thus we can find meaning and values from this notion.
Bradley Monton’s, who dearly remind me of Alvin Plantinga in the manner he addresses issues, 177 paged-Broadview Press book: Seeking God in Science: An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design(2009) worked out a possibly better definition of Intelligent Design(ID) and succeed in refuting popular rejections and objections gunned towards it.
He, as an atheist philosopher, is challenged by teleological argument for existence of God(TAG) and he is less certain of his atheism as he find this argument some what plausible but not having enough evidence to make him stop being an atheist. He wrote,
“I think that there is some evidence for an intelligent designer, and in fact, I think that there is some evidence that that intelligent designer is God. The arguments I’ll consider in Chapter 3 make me less certain of my atheism than I would be had I never heard the arguments. The evidence isn’t enough to make me stop being an atheist, though”.(p.39)
Monton is a good example of a clear thinking gentlemen who is after truth no matter the cost. This is a brilliant book, both to show that popular objections against TAG and the rejection of ID as science are unwarranted.
I will give a fuller chapter by chapter review of each book in near future. Have you read one or both books? Let me know your thoughts.
2 thoughts on “Concise Atheists’ Books Review: Monton + Sheiman”
As always, Thanks for making me think Prayson. I wish more atheists could hold moderate views like these two. These might be interesting reads. I sincerely hope that the dogmatism of the New Atheist movement dies down soon so we can return to rational discourse in the public sphere in general and academia in particular.
“I sincerely hope that the dogmatism of the New Atheist movement dies down soon so we can return to rational discourse in the public sphere in general and academia in particular.”
And if discourse doesn’t work, hell, we can always bring back the Inquisition?
Ah…the good ole days, right?
Religion is such fun, don’t you think?
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