Saturday, 3 April 2010

Good Friday in the media

For a special Good Friday broadcast, I was interviewed on ABC's Radio National – talking about Richard Dawkins, the death of Christ, and the meaning of atonement. You can listen to the programme here (my segment starts around 25:20). Alas, I can now add radio to the long list of things that I'm not very good at!

But elsewhere (and more eloquently) in the ABC, Scott Stephens offers a powerful critique of the recent Global Atheist Convention: Hillsong for the unbelievers.

17 Comments:

Anonymous said...

Stephens article is very good, and the comparison to Hillsong is right on. Unfortunately, the comments immediately turned into stuff like, "Well, who cares what a theologian says? Religionists are stupid and evil." What's a religionist anyways?

kim fabricus said...

Top notch, Scott. And you couldn't have wished for a better bunch of comments to confirm your thesis.

Anonymous said...

Contra Scott: At last, and inevitably, the ancient exoteric "rulerships" have failed, and official exoteric Christianity is now reduced to all the impenetrable illusions and decadent exercises that everywhere characterize privileged aristocracies in their decline from worldly power. Exoteric Christianity is a chaos of power seeking corporate cults and Barnumesque propagandists that "rule" nothing more than chaotic herds of self-deluded religion-consumers.

Therefore, the myth of the "cultural superiority" of "official" Christianity has now come full circle. The "religious" mythologies of the semitic "world-religions" are now waging global wars with one another (like so many psychotic inmates of asylums for the mad, each confronting the other with obnoxious and absurd claims of personal absoluteness),but the public masses of "religion"-bound people---who, all over the world, for even thousands of years, have been controlled in body and mind by ancient institutions of "religiously" propagandized worldly power--are now in a globalized state of "religious" delusion and social psychosis.

Reality Itself - Indivisible, Spiritually Self-Evident, and Self-Evidently Divine - s neither seen nor known, nor even worshipped in the common anywhere on public Earth.

Anonymous said...

Ben, I thought you did a great job on the programme. Succinct replies, well thought out, going to the heart of the question; thankyou!

kim fabricius said...

I propose that Anonymouses choose a Synonym(ous), e.g. Nameless, Faceless, Invisible, Incognito, Unsigned, UBO (Unidentified Blogging Object), etc. Anonymous #2 ("Contra Scott"), however, might call himself Contra Mundum, or perhaps, modestly, The Übermensch.

Paul said...

2nd Anonymous:

The Christianity I experience doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to your caricature, but I guess that's the point: caricature's are fun, and digging deeper usually eliminates them.

"There are few things more annoying than people saying 'I know what you mean'." - Rowan Williams

Anonymous said...

What's your synonym Kim? Yankee Panky or Kimbustible?

First Anonymous said...

I enjoyed 2nd Anonymous' response. If you took a passage from Dawkins and used sophisticated, more serene language instead of his typically angry filth, this is exactly what you get. Of course, the argument beneath the language is the same, and that's the faulty part where we cry "Foul!"

Anonymous said...

Caveat Actor! Prof. Ben Meyers, your radio commentary was "eloquent" too. While you shouldn't fret much about it really, false modesty may be a sin too. Moreover, it's much more difficult to make a fashion mistake on the radio. The problem with poor souls like Dawkins is that, as they say in psychoanalysis, "his resistance is very high". Which not to say that Christians must not counter him when he pipes up.

Derek said...

Ben,

absolutely great job; loved it! Also, in a weird way, it was cool to hear what your voice sounds like.

bruce hamill said...

Bravo Ben! You must have been well prepared, barely an um or an ah, great answers.

Ben Myers said...

Thanks Bruce. I wasn't prepared in the least — but thankfully, they gracefully edited out my (many) ums and ahs.

Paul Tyson said...

Interesting piece Scott. A few comments. Having read Kierkegaard in considerable depth, I have no idea what you mean by describing him as an atheist, particularly as your designation here seems to situate Kierkegaard’s faith in Christ in some sort of sympathetic relationship to the explicit rejection of that faith so powerfully put forward by Hume, Marx and Freud. Your comparison of Hill Song with the GAC is very well placed though – that connection makes perfect sense. But then the manner in which you powerfully use Marx to defend Atheism against Hill Song Atheism, but then seem to conflate Marxist atheism with Hart’s description of the ‘atheism’ of the Christian martyrs, seems a somewhat tangled exercise in conceptual obfuscation. Sure, it is not hard to put better atheist arguments forward than Dawkins (one does indeed feel embarrassed for Dawkins as an atheist if one has read Marx), but Christians are not atheists, we actually believe that God, most primarily, is (whilst God is indeed no ‘thing’ amongst things, we do not believe with Heidegger that Void ‘is’ ‘God’). Let me shade things a little here. A critique of religion as a form of idolatrous delusion that sustains economic oppression and infantile superstition may be an atheist (and self worshipping) critique premised on the disbelief in God, or it may be a theistic critique of false religion, or a theistic critique (a la Barth/Ellul) of religion. Because Marx critiques religion very well does not mean that Christians should embrace historical materialism and disbelief in God if they also want to critique religion or the global economic order, or consumerist sentimentalism by which the culture industry disciplines our desires and keeps us drugged and controlled. But you have tangled all ‘atheisms’ together here, and I suspect you do so because you yourself are a theological atheist. And here, things are not surprising. Theologians have always been better atheists than scientists or journalists. Indeed, Buckley finds that modern atheism is entirely a theological invention. But it is also a heretical theological invention that departs from the Christian faith. So, I’m afraid Scott, if I am understanding you correctly, then I do not believe you. For I not believe that Christians, like Marx, should be atheists if they want to have any real intellectually and politically powerful theological integrity.

bruce said...

Thanks for the inspiration for Sunday's sermon...
http://dbhamill.wordpress.com/2010/04/09/unleashing-the-power-of-forgiveness/

Ben Myers said...

Many thanks, Bruce — I'm glad it was helpful.

Justin Ireland said...

Great interview Ben. Good to hear the voice again - I still have the Kenneth Slessor lecture from the Book Club ringing in my ears. I thought this interview was more like a Good Friday sermon actually, especially at the end... Brilliant.

Pamela said...

Just listened to your Good Friday Radio National segment - a bit late I know. The gospel music in the program was sublime esp. "Steal away" and your comments were thoughtful and well-considered Ben. Maybe a career in radio awaits?
Also, would have been good to see you on the Q&A panel when Richard Dawkins appeared. I watched the program and wished for someone to really rebut his arguments!

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