Footnote 6 — Atheist Delusions

Footnote 6 — David Bentley Hart, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2009), pp. 222-223.

“Can one really believe – as the New Atheists seem to do – that secular reason, if finally allowed to move forward, free of the constraining hand of archaic faith, will naturally make society more just, more humane, and more rational than it has been in the past?  What evidence supports such an expectation?  It is rather difficult, placing everything in the scales, to vest a great deal of hope in modernity, however radiantly enchanting its promises, when one considers how many innocent lives have already been swallowed up in the flames of modern ‘progress.’  At the end of the twentieth century – the century when secularization became an explicit political and cultural project throughout the world – the forces of progressive ideology could boast an unprecedentedly vast collection of corpses, but not much in the way of new moral concepts….The process of secularization was marked, from the first, by the magnificent limitlessness of its violence…The old order could generally reckon its victims only in the thousands.  But in the new age, the secular state, with all its hitherto unimagined capacities, could pursue its purely earthly ideals and ambitions only if it enjoyed the liberty to kill by the millions.”

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