God-Talk with Fish

Stanley Fish has a column on his blog at the New York Times. Actually it's his second on Terry Eagleton's dissecting of Hitchens, Dawkins, and their tribe.Fish begins:

According to recent surveys, somewhere between 79 and 92 percent of Americans believe in God. But if the responses to my column on Terry Eagletons Faith, Reason and Revolution constitute a representative sample, 95 percent of Times readers dont. What they do believe, apparently, is that religion is a fairy tale, hogwash, balderdash, nonsense and a device for rationalizing horrible deeds.

And concludes:

So to sum up, the epistemological critique of religion it is an inferior way of knowing is the flip side of a nave and untenable positivism. And the critique of religions content its cotton-candy fluff is the product of incredible ignorance.One more thing. A number of readers chided Eagleton and me for daring to enter the lists against the superior intellects of Hitchens and Richard Dawkins. E.R. Wood predicts that if Fish debated Dawkins, Fish would lose by KO in every round.It would be hard to reply to that without seeming either defensive or boastful, so Im happy to leave it to someone else. I refer you to a piece by syndicated columnist Paul Campos, which begins by asking, Why is Stanley Fish so much smarter than Richard Dawkins? Darned if I know.

In between Stanley fries a lot of fish that should get a conversation going.

Robert P. Imbelli, a long-time Commonweal contributor, is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York. A book of essays in his honor, The Center Is Jesus Christ Himself, edited by Andrew Meszaros, was published this year by The Catholic University of America Press.

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