There’s a strange essay by Anthony Pinn at RDF which is not going down very well with the readers who have been commenting so far. It’s very long and very…how shall I say, very baroque in a Literary Theory kind of way. A lot of words to say something not very complicated.
I’ll give you a little sample; see what you think.
Many atheists and theists share a hyper optimism regarding human progress. While each group points to the demise of the other as a key component in positive human development – both also presume proper posture toward the world, and use of a certain set of tools, to promote human advancement. For the theists this is all guided by the good intentions and assistance of a benevolent deity, and for the atheist it is premised on the reliability of scientific inquiry and reason.
While something of a hopeful outlook is a useful approach to ethical conduct, it should be guided and monitored by a sense of realism – recognition of persistent human misconduct and the resulting moral and ethical challenges. Theists can always haul such problems to the altar, pray about them, ritualize them, or chalk them up to mystery. For the atheists, the resolution isn’t so easily achieved. The difficulty for atheists isn’t mystical. It stems from a lack of acute attention to the cultural worlds in which we live, worlds that are not so easily unpacked and addressed through appeal to science and logic. Cultural signs and symbols, cultural framings of life and life meaning are not necessarily guided by scientific method and do not necessary respond to reason. Instead they function by means of both logic and illogic. Mindful of this, a few questions should be asked: what is a proper atheistic response to moral failure? What is the proper ethical posture toward human problems that seem to defy reason and logic? And, in light of recent developments, do atheists understand and care about black bodies?