Academic Life(style)

Attacking the “New Athiesm” @timeshighered

The “new atheism” promoted by academics and writers such as Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and Christopher Hitchens came under fire at a debate in Cambridge.

Terry Eagleton, distinguished professor of English literature at Lancaster University, opened the discussion, titled Responses to the New Atheism. He said that the last time he had spoken at the University of Cambridge’s Great St Mary’s Church was in 1968, during a debate on student radicalism – something, he noted, that we are likely to see a good deal more of.

“Why is God back centre stage again?” he asked. “Just when grand narratives seemed to be over, He’s back in the spotlight.”

It was the events of 11 September 2001, Professor Eagleton suggested, that brought the issue of religion “to a new focus of intensity and politicised the debate, not entirely to its benefit”.

This had led to the erroneous idea that “all faith is blind faith, an abdication of all rationality”. Although he had great respect for “the kind of atheism which costs something, where you knowingly reject something”, he had none at all for easy “off-the-peg enlightenment”.

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By admin

Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst  (Lion Hudson, 2014; second edition in process) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.

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