Because someone requested it, I guess I’ll let people know when a post from this site is purchased by and reprinted in The New Republic. My recent post on David Bentley Hart and Oliver Burkeman’s Best Evidence for God has been reprinted at the TNR as “‘The ‘best arguments for God’s existence’ are actually terrible.” As always, I rewrote the website post for the magazine, but not extensively. But I do like the new final sentence of the TNR version.
Meanwhile, Damon Linker, who also praised Hart’s “God-as-ground-of-being” book in a piece in The Week magazine, happens to be a contributing editor at The New Republic, and he’s peeved that two people (Isaac Chotiner and I) went after him in that very magazine. So Linker’s come back with yet another defense of Ground-of-Beingism in The Week, “The atheist’s version of God is a straw man.” Hart is one of those nonbelievers who spends all of his time reproving atheists for not going after the most arcane theological arguments. I truly don’t get it. Our job is surely more than mental fencing with academic theologians; it’s also to help rid the world of the bad effects of religion, and those effects are effected by “regular” believers who wouldn’t know a Ground of Being if it bit them in the tuchus.
Nevertheless, I have plenty of ammunition against the charge that most theologians and believers have historically seen God as a G.O.B. rather than as an anthropomorphic disembodied mind in the sky—and one with moral codes for us. My data include statements by famous theologians, some quite Sophisticated, and polls showing that believers overwhelmingly accept a personal God with all the trimmings. But I’m saving that data for my book.