Friday, January 05, 2007

The Infantilization of Atheism

WSJ has a great piece that contrasts today's postmodern atheists with the Victorian atheists.
Anyone who has actually taught young people and listened to them knows that it is often the students who come from a trained sectarian background--Catholic, Orthodox Jewish, Muslim, Mormon--who are best at grasping different systems of belief and unbelief. Such students know, at least, what it feels like to have such a system, and can understand those who have very different ones. The new atheists remind me of other students from more "open-minded" homes--rigid, indifferent, puzzled by thought and incapable of sympathy.
I can personally vouch for that after teaching religion in an urban Jesuit high school for a couple of years. The Catholic majority had more in common with "open-minded" indifferentism Schulman alludes to, thanks again in large part to the "Spirit of Vatican II." It was the Muslim students who took to Catholic theology with far greater verve and seriousness than their confused and boneless Catholic counterparts. The constant apathetic skepticism of the nominally-raised Catholic boys was truly depressing to behold.