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Eagleton/Fish attack liberalism??

May 10th, 2009 · 3 Comments

Fish in his God Talk also takes on the question of liberalism etc, this I presume from Eagleton (whose book I have not read), and here their argument goes into postmodern garbage mode.
I think this formulation is completely off, and an attack on liberalism is egregious here. We have seen enough of what remains of degenerating Christianity to feel quite sure that whatever the problems with liberalism, they are not going to be solved by faith in the Christian religion.
In fact, liberalism, as a vehicle of freedom, was always an upgrade to religion hidden behind its secular disguise. And a repair job done on the decayed endgame of Axial Age religion which treated man as a passive object not deserving of freedom. The beginnings of a critique of that religious cast began with Protestantism and completed with the birth of liberalism. Etc… There are thousands of books on the history of liberalism. So Eagleton/Fish leave me baffled at this point, as if they were turning into postmodern neo-cons.
To be sure this is in part a leftist attack on liberalism, and its exploitations/distortions. Fair enough, but how is this going to be resolved by embracing the reactionary deceptions of Christianity and faith in god?
Similar remarks are possible on the idea of progress.
Progress is either an ideology of various elites, in which case, its critique is inevitable, or progress is a property of large-scale historical systems, in which case its reality, as the battle of the ancients and moderns made clear, is definite.

Progress, liberalism and enlightenment — these are the watchwords of those, like Hitchens, who believe that in a modern world, religion has nothing to offer us. Don’t we discover cures for diseases every day? Doesn’t technology continually extend our powers and offer the promise of mastering nature? Who needs an outmoded, left-over medieval superstition?

Eagleton punctures the complacency of these questions when he turns the tables and applies the label of “superstition” to the idea of progress. It is a superstition — an idol or “a belief not logically related to a course of events” (American Heritage Dictionary) — because it is blind to what is now done in its name: “The language of enlightenment has been hijacked in the name of corporate greed, the police state, a politically compromised science, and a permanent war economy,” all in the service, Eagleton contends, of an empty suburbanism that produces ever more things without any care as to whether or not the things produced have true value.

And as for the vaunted triumph of liberalism, what about “the misery wreaked by racism and sexism, the sordid history of colonialism and imperialism, the generation of poverty and famine”? Only by ignoring all this and much more can the claim of human progress at the end of history be maintained: “If ever there was a pious myth and a piece of credulous superstition, it is the liberal-rationalist belief that, a few hiccups apart, we are all steadily en route to a finer world.”

Tags: 1848+ · Philosophy · politics · Science & Religion · Ultra Far Left

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Michael Dowd // May 10, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    Nemo,

    My book, “Thank God for Evolution” (Viking/Plume), which has been endorsed by 5 Nobel laureates and other science luminaries, and by religious leaders across the spectrum, just came out last week in paperback. If you’d like a complementary copy, let me know your mailing address and I will have my assistant send you one: Michael(AT)ThankGodforEvolution.com I’ve included a few links below that you may find helpful in your consideration. If you or anyone in your family likes to listen to books, mention this in your reply and I’ll also include the Penguin audiobook CDs.

    Keep up the fabulous writing!

    Co-evolutionarily,

    ~ Michael
    cell: 425-760-9941

    “Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World” shows how a mainstream view of evolution (the science-based history of everything and everyone) can be experienced in bridge-building, faith-enriching ways — and in ways that inspire people to cooperate across ethnic and religious differences in service of a just and thriving future for all. It also shows how an understanding of human nature given by evolutionary brain science and evolutionary psychology can help each of us live with greater integrity, love, and compassion.

    ENDORSEMENTS FROM NOBEL PRIZE-WINNING SCIENTISTS
    http://thankgodforevolution.com/nobel

    PRAISE FROM OTHER SCIENCE LEADERS
    http://thankgodforevolution.com/node/1460

    RESPONSE FROM RELIGIOUS LEADERS (By Affiliation)
    http://thankgodforevolution.com/node/1532

    BOOK DESCRIPTION
    http://thankgodforevolution.com/book

    PREFACE TO THE PAPERBACK EDITION
    http://thankgodforevolution.com/node/1824

  • 2 Stephen P. Smith // May 10, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    Michael, I am afraid you walked into a lion`s den here. Yes, it is true, the blog owner, and others that comment here (including myself), do believe in evolution. The problem is that most of us don’t believe in Darwin`s evolution. Now I must confess, I have not read your book. But if some of the news stories are accurate, and if some of the book reviews are accurate, then it seems that your crusade here is on very thin ice.

    I review books, but only hope that I don`t review your book. I might give it the same treatment I gave Frank Collins`s “Language of God”:

    http://www.amazon.com/review/R2U9BKCVC1A3G8/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

    As I say, I have not read your book, so right now only you can tell us if we disagree like I suspect?

    Now this is not to say that your wish to bring harmony back to evolution and religion (or spirituality) is a hopeless goal. I think you can reach that goal, but to do that you will need to abandon Darwin`s evolution (assuming you have adopted this theory). You will need to adopt a better theory of evolution, say Amit Goswami`s “Creative Evolution”:

    http://www.amazon.com/review/R38PMOI3MBZ7X6/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

    If you want me to review your book, I might put it on my reading list. But I don`t think I will be doing you a favor. If you want to debate these issues please feel free to start a debate on my Yahoo group:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/serenityandtolerance/

  • 3 Darwiniana » Dowd’s Thank God for Evolution // May 11, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    […] Comment from Michael Dowd, and response from Stephen Smith Michael Dowd said, May 10, 2009 at 4:59 pm · Nemo, My book, “Thank God for Evolution” (Viking/Plume), which has been endorsed by 5 Nobel laureates and other science luminaries, and by religious leaders across the spectrum, just came out last week in paperback. If you’d like a complementary copy, let me know your mailing address and I will have my assistant send you one: Michael(AT)ThankGodforEvolution.com I’ve included a few links below that you may find helpful in your consideration. If you or anyone in your family likes to listen to books, mention this in your reply and I’ll also include the Penguin audiobook CDs. […]

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