Thursday, September 26, 2013

"theologians in an arrested condition of denial"

Many atheists "lag well behind even the theologically necessary levels of negation, which is why their atheisms are generally lacking in theological interest.  So, I repeat:  such atheists are, as it were, but theologians in an arrested condition of denial:  in the sense in which atheists of this sort say God 'does not exist', the atheist has merely arrived at the theological starting point:  theologians of the classical traditions, an Augustine, a Thomas Aquinas or a Meister Eckhart, simply agree about the disposing of idolatries, and then proceed with the proper business of doing theology."

     Denys Turner, "How to be an atheist," New Blackfriars 82, nos. 977/978 (July 2002):  321 =How to be an atheist:  inaugural lecture delivered at the University of Cambridge, 12 October 2001 (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2002), 10.
I am here trying to encourage the atheist, not the theist, to have a decent go at denying God. All I am saying to the atheist is that she had better sharpen up a bit on her denials, for on the score so far, Thomas is well ahead. 
     That said, now for some words of encouragement for the atheist, for, poor bewildered chap, having abandoned a merely parasitical anti-fundamentalism, he must by now be feeling quite at a loss to know how to set about denying God. 
Ibid., 323 =15. 

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