One does kind of have to admire the balancing act being attempted here: make God transcendent and ineffable enough to remain above criticism and rejection, yet actual and specific enough to actually mean, you know, something instead of nothing. But even the big guns like Aquinas sound more like the Mad Hatter when called into service:
“God is what sustains all things in being by his love, and … is the reason why there is something instead of nothing, the condition of possibility of any entity whatsoever.”
Hm. Maybe it’s better if you’re high. Anyway…
(Eagleton) describes Jesus as a Jewish “lifestyle revolutionary” who urged his followers to love their enemies, give away their possessions, and leave their dead unburied, who expressed his love and solidarity for whores, criminals and other “shit of the earth” (the phrase is Paul’s), and was tortured and killed for it.
Such a figure, Eagleton suggests, represents “the truth of history,” and those who deny it “are likely to adopt some bright-eyed superstition such as the dream of untrammeled human progress,” a naive Enlightenment ideal expressed in our time by the likes of Ditchkins. […] And what are the greenhouse effect and the melting of the glaciers, if not artifacts of the Enlightenment?
So… the “truth of history” is to be a (quite possibly insane) apocalyptic prophet/cult leader preaching the imminent end of the world and violent retribution to all his enemies (“a man who preached a message of love”, according to O’Hehir, after having accused Dawkins and Hitchens of knowing nothing of the beliefs they attack. Luke 14:26, anyone?) and anyone who disagrees is superstitious? And the apparent answer to problems such as global warming, caused by science and technology, is not further application of reason and science, but a retreat into some discount-store Joseph Campbell mythological wankery? You know, I don’t really have anything to add to that.
Yes, fellows, I know it’s embarrassing to have the overwhelming majority of believers insist on a God that actually answers prayers and provides a literal, eternal paradise, but they’re the only reason anyone has to take this garbage seriously in the first place. The irony being that one of the most common accusations hurled at the New Atheists is of being condescending and dismissive of something so important to so many people; yet here are people like Eagleton and O’Hehir brushing them all off as, well, literal-minded rubes who aren’t privy to the secret, esoteric knowledge necessary to appreciate the Almighty.
Hey, assholes, the Gnostics lost, get over it.