Stanley Fish in his NYTimes Opinion column titled, “God Talk“, discusses how Terry Eagleton’s new book Reason, Faith and Revolution tries to convince the reader that believing in technology and progress is about as much superstitious, if not more, than believing in religion. I nodded in agreement while Fish continued to paraphrase and quote Eagleton’s ideas and was surprised at how close it might be from the Apologetics that I learned from Westminster, or Cornelius Van Til’s apologetic. Here’s an excerpt from Fish’s column that makes Eagleton sound so close to Van Til:
“That is where science and reason come in. Science, says Eagleton, “does not start far back enough”; it can run its operations, but it can’t tell you what they ultimately mean or provide a corrective to its own excesses. Likewise, reason is “too skin deep a creed to tackle what is at stake”; its laws — the laws of entailment and evidence — cannot get going without some substantive proposition from which they proceed but which they cannot contain; reason is a non-starter in the absence of an a prior specification of what is real and important, and where is that going to come from? Only from some kind of faith.”
It’s a conclusion which I have told people you can get just by watching the movie Matrix and fore go any higher education tuition. All you need to do is keep asking the question: “How do you know that you know [blank] is real?” Eventually you will reach a point where the reason behind the reason is that, you just believe.
An appropriate ending, the last paragraph of Fish’s column is rather sinfully enjoyable for me. He notes how Eagleton’s book becomes angrier and angrier, and he speculates that this is so because Eagleton is angry at “having to expend so much mental and emotional energy refuting the shallow arguments of school-yard atheists like Hitchens and Dawkins.” Hahaha, “school-yard atheists”… maybe a bit juvenile but enjoyable jab indeed.