Friday, May 09, 2008
'Have you ever met anyone who believes what Richard Dawkins does not believe in?' asks Cormac Murphy O'Connor pithily in an interesting lecture that has received a gratifyingly large amount of attention. Which unfortunately meant a grilling by John Humphrys on the Today programme this morning - the last thing the Cardinal and his message needed. Of course Cormac came out of it seeming a thoroughly good egg, but he was unable to get across much of what he wanted to say/ reiterate, sidelined by an intelocutor who really doesn't 'get' religious belief (as he demonstrated in his recent interview series devoted to the subject). As the great Marilynne says somewhere, nothing true can be said about God from a defensive posture. But the Cardinal's basic point is well worth making - that there ought to be an acknowledged common ground between believers and non-believers, in the realm of doubt where both groups live much of the time (except of course the Dawkinsites, who simply know the truth). There's another area where the believers should be more assertive too, I think - in stressing the fact that most (if not all) of what secularists cherish in secular societies and secular 'enlightenment' values grew out of the fertile soil of Christendom and is at bottom, in the broadest sense, Christian; there is no easy escape from the gravitational pull of Christianity, and whenever western societies do break the bond with the Christian past, the results tend to be catastrophic. But, in the end, the best argument for Christianity has always been a matter of living the life, not arguing over dogma - least of all with those who, like Dawkins, will not hear.
Posted by Nige at 10:13 am