Friday, September 21, 2007

Wilber has moved on, left the likes of Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins in the dust

Re: Open Letter To Rational Pundits Posted on Sep 20th, 2007 by ~C4Chaos (Crossposted from
I've been blogging a lot about The New Atheists lately and wondering why there is no official response/rebuttal/aggreement from Wilber or I-I. That's not entirely true. A while back, Stuart Davis, almost immediately after he interviewed Sam Harris on Integral Naked, posted a rebuttal entitled, Open Letter To Rational Pundits. But for some reason it is no longer available on Stu's blog. I wonder why. Good thing the people at the Multiplex posted the entire text. So far, that's the only response from the integral camp to the New Atheists that I know of. I'm not even sure if it was official. I take it as Stu's personal passionate response to Sam Harris during that time. I would love to see Stuart Davis have a genuine decent conversation with Sam Harris again. Only this time, Stu should bring up his disagreements with Sam and have a debate/dialoge on it instead of posting a rant... Access: Public 2 Comments Print Send views (26) Tagged with: integral, New Atheists, religion, Sam Harris, Stuart Davis, atheism
Until joe perez an Integral voice on culture, politics, and spirit
In recent days, ~C4Chaos has been pleading for more Integrally informed looks at the New Atheism (i.e., the popular bestselling authors who have made a good living at attacking God and religion without ever defining the terms that they are using and who cite mostly fundamentalist examples of religious faith). As I've said to him in comments, I think if he's looking for a lengthy response from Wilber himself he's probably barking up the wrong tree. Wilber covered the ground tackled by the "New" Atheists back in 1999's The Marriage of Sense and Soul, and the question to ask is why haven't the "New" Atheists responded to these 1999 criticisms? It seems to me Wilber has moved on, left the likes of Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins in the dust, and is plowing ahead to more fertile pastures. I'd be sad to see his upcoming work derailed by any lengthy foray into this sideshow (apart from his comments on Integral Naked, etc.)...
I love the passionate spirit with which Stuart writes, and agree with the thrust of his challenge (but not some of the specific language). The problem with Stuart's response is that when he wants to make the case for DEVELOPMENT, he seems to adopt the very narrow and ignorant view of religion that the New Atheists do. For Christianity, he picks Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and President Bush as his exemplars. And then he draws the conclusion that it's "a bunch of preposterous, ridiculous poison (It is)."
Let me make two points. First, this is too narrow a view of mythic religion, and secondly, it's too unfair and narrow a view of Christianity. On point one: Let me state clearly that in my view most mythic religion is not ridiculous poison. For many it is a noble and virtuous path of making sense of the world, living with decency, and striving to do what's best as humble servants of a loving God. The mythic religion of the poor, the uneducated, the backwards and underprivileged of society is not to be romanticized but neither should it be demonized as ridiculous. It's far too respectable a station of life for that, and if saying so draws the ire of the oh-so-respectable New Atheists, so be it. On point two: it's important to stress that post-mythic Christianity has progressed to decidedly orange and green and beyond levels. Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and President Bush do not define Christianity any more so than (to name some figures recently in the news) Bishop Gene Robinson, Mother Theresa, and Peter Phan.
Finally, rather than directly engage the reader in my own response to the New Atheists (truth be told, I find their views too dull), I will instead point the reader to a piece I wrote on a skeptical-minded critic of the New Atheists who engaged Sam Harris in heated dialogue on religious faith. Andrew Sullivan made a case for religious faith in the face of the skeptical alternative in a series of blogologues last year, and in "Andrew Sullivan, conservative religionists, and development" I make the case that Sullivan is a closet developmentalist. Whereas Stuart wants the New Atheists to take development seriously, I think it would be more valuable to convince their religious and spiritual foes to take a closer look at the developmentalism implicit in their own responses. Posted by joe perez on September 20, 2007 03:39 PM

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