Bradley Monton: my new favorite atheist

In my prior post, I quoted from Bradley Monton, philosophy professor at the U of Colorado, Boulder. I stumbled upon Monton a few days ago, and enjoy him immensely, even if we disagree on some key issues.  I’ve been very critical of all of those dubbed the “new atheists” for their huffing and puffing and bad logic. Monton is different; he actually seems to have taken the time to examine and understand Theism, and it’s obvious that he doesn’t have the baggage that Dawkins, et al. have.

In the last couple of days Monton has been responding on his blog to posts Tom Gilson has up at Thinking Christian, and vice versa.  Monton started by asking a very perceptive question, “Do people really believe in God?”, in which he discusses apparent conflicts between professed belief and behavior. In his most recent post, he says:

… if Christians think that some people are saved and some are not, and there is something really worthwhile in being saved, and those who aren’t saved are really missing out, then why aren’t they spending more energy encouraging people to be saved? (One standard account is that the saved people go to heaven, while the unsaved don’t, but I recognize that different Christians differ on these details.) Yes, there are people who devote their lives, or at least significant portions of their lives, to missionary work and evangelism, and I admire them for following their convictions. It’s the Christians who don’t do this that I have trouble understanding. I know people who profess to be Christian and yet who live their lives pretty much like atheists do, except for the occasional trip to church, or prayer over dinner. For these people, their behavior is deeply at odds with their professed beliefs, and it makes me wonder if they really believe what they say they believe.

It seems that he may understand some things that most atheists, along with some Christians, don’t.

6 thoughts on “Bradley Monton: my new favorite atheist”

  1. I know WHO the term “new athiests” refers to, but I find it to be a red herring.

    1. If you knew, why’d you ask?
    2. “Red Herring?” I think you’re being way too sensitive. It’s just a term, and I use it because people generally understand who I’m talking about.

  2. I know WHO the term “new athiests” refers to, but I find it to be a red herring. Those atheists referred to with that term aren’t really saying anything that other atheists haven’t been saying for decades. Bertrand Russel, for example. The term is really meaningless, especially some some contemporary atheists get lumped in there, but not others. I’ll have a look at your other posts to see what logic issues you have.

  3. … if Christians think that some people are saved and some are not, and there is something really worthwhile in being saved, and those who aren’t saved are really missing out, then why aren’t they spending more energy encouraging people to be saved?

    Why indeed. As one who hopes to be saved, I must hang my head at this simple but devastating indictment. And though hesitant—MODERATION ALERT!—I include a link to my own, somewhat raw thoughts on the matter: Song of the Damned.

  4. I am not sure who coined the term “New Atheists,” but it refers to a group of authors who have published anti-religion books since about 2006, including Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Danial Dennett and more recently, Christopher Hitchens. Critiques of these books are all over the web; I have dealt with some of the issues on this blog as well. You could start here, or simply look through my faith, science and doubt category for more.

  5. You criticize “new atheists” (whatever that means), especially for their bad logic, yet you give no examples of what you mean by that. If you don’t mind, could you clarify what you mean by “new atheist” and what logic you find faulty?

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