By Tina Beattie
From its sluggish decline in the course of the latter a part of the 20th century, faith has been catapulted again into public cognizance, no longer least by means of acts of violence, extremism and diverse types of fundamentalism.In this energetic and fabulous contribution to the talk the best feminist theologian, Tina Beattie, argues that the specter of non secular fanaticism is reflected via a no much less virulent and ignorant secular fanaticism which has taken carry of the highbrow periods. Its excessive Priest is Richard Dawkins, writer of "The God Delusion", yet its disciples and acolytes comprise major opinion formers and commentators reminiscent of A C Grayling and Christopher Hitchens, the journalist Polly Toynbee and the novelists Martin Amis and Ian McEwan. "The New Atheists" demands a extra reasoned and artistic discussion among believers and non-believers approximately questions which impinge deeply on all our lives, and may intrigue each open-minded reader, believer or non-believer.
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Additional info for The New Atheists: The Twilight of Reason and the War on Religion
In the end, Darwin’s theory of evolution consolidated rather than undermined the power of men like himself in a world which was becoming increasingly dominated by the British ruling classes. While Darwin was developing his theory and reflecting on its possible reception by his scientific and religious peers, he was shocked to learn that another scientist – Alfred Russell Wallace (1823–1913) – had developed a theory of evolution almost identical to his own. Unlike Darwin, Wallace was not an educated and affluent Englishman but a self-taught Welshman from a poor background.
The capacity of religions for cross-fertilisation and syncretism is likely to increase as global communications facilitate encounters among different cultures. This suggests that religion is likely to become more rather than less dynamic and diverse, with considerable potential not only for new forms of religious extremism, but also for the emergence of new religious visions which weave together ancient wisdom and modern science. Indeed, it is a hallmark of any living tradition that it is able to adapt and survive, just as species are, and all the world religions are today in a phase of quite remarkable adaptation in response to the challenges of modernity and global communications.
It is difficult to know precisely what the word meant in its initial usage, but it referred in various ways to the rituals and cults of the Roman empire and the duties associated with these. Early Christians adopted the word to reflect upon their own practices and beliefs as opposed to those of other religions, but still in a way which had a variety of meanings through different Christian eras. In the nineteenth century, the category of religion came to be more narrowly understood as referring to all those aspects of human behaviour and belief which had been bracketed out of a scientific world-view.