Well, since I'm posting this at all ... the title of the post can't be correct can it? All the same, most of my reading for the past couple of weeks has been various works of what amount to Christian apologetics of one kind or another. This will continue for a bit. It's actually quite interesting reading this stuff - interesting from several points of view. I'm interested in what people think, so I like finding out just what bothers individuals like Alister McGrath, John Haught, and Eric Reitan about atheism, not to mention where they stand more generally.
But after a while it reaches the point where I feel saturated with this material. It doesn't help that I'm taking notes as I go ... but what I'm reading is often so murky, and often seems so wrong-headed, that it's difficult nailing down what the argument actually is, let alone knowing where to start in assessing and criticizing it. As to the latter, I could write pages and pages dissecting some pages of these books, and would still perhaps not nail down the problems properly. I must resist that temptation. Please note that I'm not just reading this stuff to find ways of demolishing it; if there are grains of truth there I want to be able to locate and identify them.
The task involves quite a lot of pressing on regardless, rather than getting bogged down to the extent that could easily happen.
Another interesting thing is observing how gnasty these people can get, even though they seem completely oblivious to it. "Nice" moderate Christians like McGrath, Haught, and Reitan can be just as unfair, personal, dismissive, insulting, and angry as any New Atheist, but I suppose they don't realise that that is how their work comes across. Perhaps they are so sure of their own righteousness that they can't believe this of themselves. Or maybe they think it's justified for the sake of their cause.
Not that I'd necessarily want them to write in a different way. By all means, let people write with passion! What I would like is merely for them to understand that the elements of gnastiness that they see in Richard Dawkins (for example) is what happens when people write about something they feel passionate about, and try to put their points persuasively. When McGrath and company do this, they can also end up sounding pretty "strident" to people who don't see things the same way.
Next up is a book by Dinesh D'Souza, who is not a cozy liberal Christian like these guys that I've mentioned. For better or worse, I don't expect any gniceness from him at all.