Yesterday I quoted Ken Myers, reviewing a piece by Mark Edmundson:
…we need to attend to the maintenance of counter-cultural institutions and practices… that require us to slow down and perceive subtle resonances and formal nuance… monotasking practices of closure, commitment, and contemplation.
As syndicated columnist William Murchison notes, in this review, we’re not likely to find any of those thoughtful, discerning, open-minded virtues in Bill Maher’s latest movie [links and emphasis added]:
“Grow up or die,” Bill Maher admonishes viewers at the end of “Religulous,” which is kind of an odd statement for a guy to make on wrapping up a cinematic assault on religion: mocking, jesting, wise-guying… disclaim interest in nuances, laugh your opponent out of the room… [Maher] has no faith in Faith, no belief in Belief… those who actually do… get only seconds to defend in scientific terms the truth of Christianity… no corresponding chance to suggest that God might, you know, be at the bottom and the top of the whole thing…
Yawn. The atheist/agnostic/unbeliever game has such long white whiskers that it’s hard to get worked up when a new player — howsoever gifted, like Maher, in the arts of entertainment — reports and suits up. The Catholic philosopher, Michael Novak, in a fine new book (“No One Sees God: The Dark Night of Atheists and Unbelievers“) calls atheism “a leap in the dark” and urges “prolonged, intelligent and respectful conversation” among humans who differ on the eternal questions.
Not much chance of a conversation like that with Brother Bill, whose unshakeable grip on certainty protects him well enough from cavils, such as that virtually the whole world is religious in one way or another and so, in his own way is Brother Bill himself: religiously committed to the idea of religion as a nullity, a waste of everybody’s valuable time.
The irony here is that Brother Bill’s absolutist mind-set reveals to him — more or less accurately — the absolutist, profoundly non-humorous, ambitions of extremist Muslims.
Ironic indeed. One of the most profoundly and demonstrably incorrect, (albeit currently popular) saws leveled at orthodox, Bible-believing Christians (small ‘o’, in the Chesterton sense) is that we are mindless. (Of what, precisely, it is usually not specified). Someone might want to let the Apostle Paul know. I suspect that, had the SAT been in place way back then, he (among others) would have scored near the top.