Calmeyer Lawyer 1s

Calmeyer’s Legacy

Hans Calmeyer Righteous Gentile 1903-1972

“The Dutch Schindler”

 Lawyer for Life



Calmeyer was no Atheist, whatever he was, he held firm and strong beliefs in a Godly perspective on life and conduct which dominated his actions. Against this was Hitler, a humanist in fact if not in pretense. Are Atheism and Secularism and Humanism the same? Atheists prefer to believe in “no-god” at all, while secularists want the government and societal organization to have nothing to do with gods, though they may accept that a potential god may exist. In their belief in “no-god” atheists essentially take natural laws and scientific interpretation as guide, while refusing to call them gospel (even as they follow). Atheists argue with other religions, as if they were a religion themselves. Secularists do not argue specifics, but want religions out of worldly institutions entirely.

Secularism and secularist anti-religions are ineffectual and naive dreams, with only military and economic power over believers, repeatedly imposed over the millennia just as various religions have been imposed by force from time to time. Without a cultural religion, however, fully secular governments such as kingships, the Nazis, North Korea and Cuba do not tend to last unless there is a cult of leader-worship and cults of personality that in turn cannot easily be maintained without reference to Godly legitimacy, and are thus uncommon in the long run. So too with Atheists, who might be said to believe in natural and chaotic determinism, where there is no higher legitimacy, no intelligent design and no extra-terrestrial guidance, just the progression of time, in progress or decline.

Atheists among American Jews:

Among Jewish people there is a yype that Jews themselves call a Bagel And Lox Jew. Kagan the pagan is a Bagel And Lox Jew.

       anonymous web commentary

Those skeptical of God’s existence may awaken to him as the only one that can save people from the great crises now facing America. The greatest upside to all the downsides of politically correct attempts to chase religion from the public square (PC freedom from religion as opposed to the constitutional freedom of religion) may be the sweeping realization that conservative Americans will never again tolerate the American Founders being taken hostage by a false leader through false hope and change.                                                                                     blog by historyrepeatz

We must admit here to finding a certain intellectual pleasure (which Calmeyer would surely have shared)  in reading the arguments for and against Atheism, especially in the apparently deeply felt debates between always-articulate and entertaining Christopher Hitchin (who must rue his first name) and the equally verbose and compellingly thoughtful David Hart. We proceed here to copy the entire text of Hart’s review of Hitchin’s tome: Why we are Atheists, admittedly and perhaps unfairly jumping ahead of the actual tome of Hitchin himself, which has some extracts from his publisher featured on a linked subsequent page here at the HansCalmeyer site. Our profound apologies to you the reader for the length, and to David Hart for daring to simply copy all of his blog as is, but we do admire the content:

 David B. Hart

I think I am very close to concluding that this whole New  Atheism€ť movement is only a passing fad, not the cultural watershed its  purveyors imagine it to be, but simply one of those occasional and  inexplicable marketing vogues that inevitably go the way of pet rocks,  disco, prime-time soaps, and The Bridges of Madison County.  This is not because I necessarily think the current marketplace of  ideas€ť particularly good at sorting out wise arguments from foolish. But the latest trend in Ă la mode godlessness, it seems to me, has by now  proved itself to be so intellectually and morally trivial that it has to be classified as just a form of light entertainment, and popular  culture always tires of its diversions sooner or later and moves on to  other, equally ephemeral toys.

Take, for instance, the recently  published 50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists. Simple  probability, surely, would seem to dictate that a collection of essays  by fifty fairly intelligent and zealous atheists would contain at least  one logically compelling, deeply informed, morally profound, or  conceptually arresting argument for not believing in God. Certainly that was my hope in picking it up. Instead, I came away from the whole drab  assemblage of preachments and preenings feeling rather as if I had just  left a large banquet at which I had been made to dine entirely on  crushed ice and water vapor.

To be fair, the shallowness is not  evenly distributed. Some of the writers exhibit a measure of wholesome  tentativeness in making their cases, and as a rule the quality of the  essays is inversely proportionate to the air of authority their authors  affect. For this reason, the philosophers who are no better than their  fellow contributors at reasoning, but who have better training in giving even specious arguments some appearance of systematic form tend to come off as the most insufferable contributors. Nicholas Everitt and Stephen Law recycle the old (and incorrigibly impressionistic) argument that  claims of God’s omnipotence seem incompatible with claims of his  goodness. Michael Tooley does not like the picture of Jesus that emerges from the gospels, at least as he reads them. Christine Overall notes  that her prayers as a child were never answered; ergo, there is no God.  A.C. Grayling flings a few of his favorite papier-mache caricatures  around. Laura Purdy mistakes hysterical fear of the religious right for a rational argument. Graham Oppy simply provides a praecis of his personal creed, which I assume is supposed to be compelling because its  paragraphs are numbered. J.J.C. Smart finds miracles scientifically  implausible (gosh, who could have seen that coming?). And so on. And  Mercier comes closest to making an interesting argument that believers  do not really believe what they think they believe but it soon collapses under the weight of its own baseless presuppositions.

The  scientists fare almost as poorly. Among these, Victor Stenger is the  most recklessly self-confident, but his inability to differentiate the  physical distinction between something and nothing (in the sense of not anything as such€ť) from the logical distinction between existence and  nonexistence renders his argument empty. The contributors drawn from  other fields offer nothing better. The Amazing Randi, being a magician,  knows that there is quite a lot of credulity out there. The historian of science Michael Shermer notes that there are many, many different and  even contradictory systems of belief. The journalist Emma Tom had a  psychotic scripture teacher when she was a girl. Et, as they  say, cetera. The whole project probably reaches its reductio ad absurdum when the science-fiction writer Sean Williams explains that he learned to reject supernaturalism in large part from having  grown up watching Doctor Who.

So it goes. In the end the book as a whole adds up to absolutely nothing as, frankly, do all the  books in this new genre and I have to say I find this all somewhat  depressing. For one thing, it seems obvious to me that the peculiar  vapidity of New Atheist literature is simply a reflection of the more  general vapidity of all public religious discourse these days, believing and unbelieving alike. In part, of course, this is because the modern  media encourage only fragmentary, sloganeering, and emotive debates, but it is also because centuries of the incremental secularization of  society have left us with a shared grammar that is perhaps no longer  adequate to the kinds of claims that either reflective faith or  reflective faithlessness makes.

The principal source of my  melancholy, however, is my firm conviction that today’s most  obstreperous infidels lack the courage, moral intelligence, and  thoughtfulness of their forefathers in faithlessness. What I find  chiefly offensive about them is not that they are skeptics or atheists;  rather, it is that they are not skeptics at all and have purchased their atheism cheaply, with the sort of boorish arrogance that might make a  man believe himself a great strategist because his tanks overwhelmed a  town of unarmed peasants, or a great lover because he can afford the  price of admission to a brothel. So long as one can choose one’s  conquests in advance, taking always the paths of least resistance, one  can always imagine oneself a Napoleon or a Casanova (and even better:  the one without a Waterloo, the other without the clap).

But how  long can any soul delight in victories of that sort? And how long should we waste our time with the sheer banality of the New Atheists with,  that is, their childishly Manichean view of history, their lack of any  tragic sense, their indifference to the cultural contingency of moral  truths, their wanton incuriosity, their vague babblings about  “religion” in the abstract, and their absurd optimism regarding the  future they long for?

I am not honestly, I am not simply being  dismissive here. The utter inconsequentiality of contemporary atheism is a social and spiritual catastrophe. Something splendid and  irreplaceable has taken leave of our culture some great moral and  intellectual capacity that once inspired the more heroic expressions of  belief and unbelief alike. Skepticism and atheism are, at least in their highest manifestations, noble, precious, and even necessary traditions, and even the most fervent of believers should acknowledge that both are often inspired by a profound moral alarm at evil and suffering, at the  corruption of religious institutions, at psychological terrorism, at  injustices either prompted or abetted by religious doctrines, at arid  dogmatisms and inane fideisms, and at worldly power wielded in the name  of otherworldly goods. In the best kinds
of unbelief, there is  something of the moral grandeur of the prophets a deep and admirable  abhorrence of those vicious idolatries that enslave minds and justify  our worst cruelties.

But a true skeptic is also someone who  understands that an attitude of critical suspicion is quite different  from the glib abandonment of one vision of absolute truth for another say, fundamentalist Christianity for fundamentalist materialism  or something vaguely and inaccurately called humanism.€ť Hume, for  instance, never traded one dogmatism for another, or one facile  certitude for another. He understood how radical were the implications  of the skepticism he recommended, and how they struck at the foundations not only of unthinking faith, but of proud rationality as well.

A truly profound atheist is someone who has taken the trouble to  understand, in its most sophisticated forms, the belief he or she  rejects, and to understand the consequences of that rejection. Among the New Atheists, there is no one of whom this can be said, and the  movement as a whole has yet to produce a single book or essay that is  anything more than an insipidly doctrinaire and appallingly ignorant  diatribe.

If that seems a harsh judgment, I can only say that I  have arrived at it honestly. In the course of writing a book published  just this last year, I dutifully acquainted myself not only with all the recent New Atheist bestsellers, but also with a whole constellation of  other texts in the same line, and I did so, I believe, without  prejudice. No matter how patiently I read, though, and no matter how  Herculean the efforts I made at sympathy, I simply could not find many  intellectually serious arguments in their pages, and I came finally to  believe that their authors were not much concerned to make any.

What I did take away from the experience was a fairly good sense of the real scope and ambition of the New Atheist project. I came to realize that  the whole enterprise, when purged of its hugely preponderant alloy of  sanctimonious bombast, is reducible to only a handful of arguments, most of which consist in simple category mistakes or the kind of historical  oversimplifications that are either demonstrably false or irrelevantly  true. And arguments of that sort are easily dismissed, if one is hardy  enough to go on pointing out the obvious with sufficient  indefatigability.

The only points at which the New Atheists seem  to invite any serious intellectual engagement are those at which they  try to demonstrate that all the traditional metaphysical arguments for  the reality of God fail. At least, this should be their most  powerful line of critique, and no doubt would be if any of them could  demonstrate a respectable understanding of those traditional  metaphysical arguments, as well as an ability to refute them. Curiously  enough, however, not even the trained philosophers among them seem able  to do this. And this is, as far as I can tell, as much a result of  indolence as of philosophical ineptitude. The insouciance with which,  for instance, Daniel Dennett tends to approach such matters is so torpid as to verge on the reptilian. He scarcely bothers even to get the  traditional “theistic” arguments right, and the few ripostes he ventures are often the ones most easily discredited.

As a rule, the New  Atheists concept of God is simply that of some very immense and  powerful being among other beings, who serves as the first cause of all  other things only in the sense that he is prior to and larger than all  other causes. That is, the New Atheists are concerned with the sort of  God believed in by seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Deists. Dawkins,  for instance, even cites with approval the old village atheist’s cavil  that omniscience and omnipotence are incompatible because a God who  infallibly foresaw the future would be impotent to change it as though  Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, and so forth understood God  simply as some temporal being of interminable duration who knows things  as we do, as external objects of cognition, mediated to him under the  conditions of space and time.

Thus, the New Atheists’ favorite  argument turns out to be just a version of the old argument from  infinite regress: If you try to explain the existence of the universe by asserting God created it, you have solved nothing because then you are  obliged to say where God came from, and so on ad infinitum, one turtle after another, all the way down. This is a line of attack with a long pedigree, admittedly. John Stuart Mill learned it at his father’s  knee. Bertrand Russell thought it more than sufficient to put paid to  the whole God issue once and for all. Dennett thinks it as unanswerable  today as when Hume first advanced it although, as a professed admirer of Hume, he might have noticed that Hume quite explicitly treats it as a  formidable objection only to the God of Deism, not to the God of  traditional metaphysics. In truth, though, there could hardly be a  weaker argument. To use a feeble analogy, it is rather like asserting  that it is inadequate to say that light is the cause of illumination  because one is then obliged to say what it is that illuminates the  light, and so on ad infinitum.

The most venerable  metaphysical claims about God do not simply shift priority from one kind of thing (say, a teacup or the universe) to another thing that just  happens to be much bigger and come much earlier (some discrete, very  large gentleman who preexists teacups and universes alike). These claims start, rather, from the fairly elementary observation that nothing  contingent, composite, finite, temporal, complex, and mutable can  account for its own existence, and that even an infinite series of such  things can never be the source or ground of its own being, but must  depend on some source of actuality beyond itself. Thus, abstracting from the universal conditions of contingency, one very well may (and perhaps must) conclude that all things are sustained in being by an absolute plenitude of actuality, whose very essence is being as such: not a  supreme being,” not another thing within or alongside the  universe, but the infinite act of being itself, the one eternal and  transcendent source of all existence and knowledge, in which all finite  being participates.

It is immaterial whether one is wholly  convinced by such reasoning. Even its most ardent proponents would have  to acknowledge that it is an almost entirely negative deduction,  obedient only to something like Sherlock Holmes’ maxim that when you  have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. It certainly says nearly nothing about who or what  God is.

But such reasoning is also certainly not subject to the objection from infinite regress. It is not logically  requisite for anyone, on observing that contingent reality must depend  on absolute reality, to say then what the absolute depends on or, on  asserting the participation of finite beings in infinite being, further  to explain what it is that makes being to be. Other arguments are called for, as Hume knew. And only a complete failure to grasp the most basic  philosophical terms of the conversation could prompt this strange  inversion of logic, by which the argument from infinite  regress traditionally and correctly regarded as the most powerful  objection to pure materialism is now treated as an irrefutable argument  against belief in God.

But something worse than mere  misunderstanding lies at the base of Dawkins’ own special version of the argument from infinite regress—a version in which he takes a pride of  almost maternal fierceness. Any being, he asserts, capable of  exercising total control over the universe would have to be an extremely complex being, and because we know that complex beings must evolve from simpler beings and that the probability of a being as complex as that  evolving is vanishingly minute, it is almost certain that no God exists.Q.E.D. But, of course, this scarcely rises to the level of  nonsense. We can all happily concede that no complex, ubiquitous,  omniscient, and omnipotent superbeing, inhabiting the physical cosmos  and subject to the rules of evolution, exists. But who has ever  suggested the contrary?

Numerous attempts have been made, by the  way, to apprise Dawkins of what the traditional definition of divine  simplicity implies, and of how it logically follows from the very idea  of transcendence, and to explain to him what it means to speak of God as the transcendent fullness of actuality, and how this differs in kind  from talk of quantitative degrees of composite complexity. But all the  evidence suggests that Dawkins has never understood the point being  made, and it is his unfortunate habit contemptuously to dismiss as  meaningless concepts whose meanings elude him. Frankly, going solely on  the record of his published work, it would be rash to assume that  Dawkins has ever learned how to reason his way to the end of a simple syllogism.

To appreciate the true spirit of the New Atheism,  however, and to take proper measure of its intellectual depth, one  really has to turn to Christopher Hitchens. Admittedly, he is the most  egregiously slapdash of the New Atheists, as well as (not  coincidentally) the most entertaining, but I take this as proof that he  is also the least self-deluding. His God Is Not Great shows no  sign whatsoever that he ever intended anything other than a rollicking  burlesque, without so much as a pretense of logical order or scholarly  rigor. His sporadic forays into philosophical argument suggest not only  that he has sailed into unfamiliar waters, but also that he is simply  not very interested in any of it. His occasional observations on Hume and Kant make it obvious that he has not really read either very  closely. He apparently believes that Nietzsche, in announcing the death  of God, literally meant to suggest that the supreme being named God had  somehow met his demise. The title of one of the chapters in God Is  Not Great is The Metaphysical Claims of Religion Are False, but  nowhere in that chapter does Hitchens actually say what those claims or  their flaws are.

On matters of simple historical and textual  fact, moreover, Hitchens’ book is so extraordinarily crowded with errors that one soon gives up counting them. Just to skim a few off the  surface: He speaks of the ethos of Dietrich Bonhoeffer as an admirable  but nebulous humanism, which is roughly on a par with saying that  Gandhi was an apostle of the ruthless conquest and spoliation of weaker  peoples. He conflates the histories of the first and fourth crusades. He repeats as fact the long discredited myth that Christians destroyed the works of Aristotle and Lucretius, or systematically burned the books of pagan antiquity, which is the very opposite of what did happen. He  speaks of the traditional hostility of religion(whatever that may be) to medicine, despite the monastic origins of the modern hospital and  the involvement of Christian missions in medical research and medical  care from the fourth century to the present. He tells us that countless lives were lost in the early centuries of the Church over disputes  regarding which gospels were legitimate (the actual number of lives lost is zero). He asserts that Myles Coverdale and John Wycliffe were burned alive at the stake, although both men died of natural causes. He knows  that the last twelve verses of Mark 16 are a late addition to the text,  but he imagines this means that the entire account of the Resurrection  is as well. He informs us that it is well known that Augustine was fond  of the myth of the Wandering Jew, though Augustine died eight centuries  before the legend was invented. And so on and so on (and so on).

In the end, though, all of this might be tolerated if Hitchens’ book  exhibited some rough semblance of a rational argument. After all, there  really is a great deal to despise in the history of religion, even if  Hitchens gets almost all the particular details extravagantly wrong. To  be perfectly honest, however, I cannot tell what Hitchens’ central  argument is. It is not even clear what he understands religion to be.  For instance, he denounces female circumcision, commendably enough, but  what pray tell has that got to do with religion? Clitoridectomy is a  widespread cultural tradition of sub-Saharan Africa, but it belongs to  no particular creed. Even more oddly, he takes indignant note of the  plight of young Indian brides brutalized and occasionally murdered on  account of insufficient dowries. We all, no doubt, share his horror, but what the hell is his point?

As best I can tell, Hitchens’ case  against faith consists mostly in a series of anecdotal enthymemes that  is to say, syllogisms of which one premise has been suppressed.  Unfortunately, in each case it turns out to be the major premise that is missing, so it is hard to guess what links the minor premise to the  conclusion. One need only attempt to write out some of his arguments in  traditional syllogistic style to see the difficulty:

Major Premise: [omitted]

Minor Premise: Evelyn Waugh was always something of a bastard, and his Catholic  chauvinism often made him even worse.

Conclusion:  Religion” is evil.


Major Premise: [omitted]

Minor Premise: There are many bad men who are Buddhists.

Conclusion:  All religious claims are false.


Major Premise: [omitted]

Minor Premise: Timothy Dwight opposed
smallpox vaccinations.

Conclusion: There is no God.


One could, I imagine, counter with a series of contrary enthymemes.  Perhaps:

Major Premise: [omitted]

Minor Premise: Early Christians built hospitals.

Conclusion:  “Religion” is a good thing.


Major Premise: [omitted]

Minor Premise: Medieval scriptoria saved much of the literature of classical antiquity from total eclipse.

Conclusion: All religious claims  are true.


Major Premise: [omitted]

Minor Premise: George Bernard Shaw opposed smallpox vaccinations.

Conclusion: There is a God.

But this appears to get us nowhere. And, in the end, I doubt it  matters.

The only really effective antidote to the dreariness of  reading the New Atheists, it seems to me, is rereading Nietzsche. How  much more immediate and troubling the force of his protest against  Christianity seems when compared to theirs, even more than a century  after his death. Perhaps his intellectual courage his willingness to confront the implications of his renunciation of the Christian story of  truth and the transcendent good without evasions or retreats is rather a lot to ask of any other thinker, but it does rather make the atheist chic of today look fairly craven by comparison.

Above all, Nietzsche  understood how immense the consequences of the rise of Christianity had  been, and how immense the consequences of its decline would be as well,  and had the intelligence to know he could not fall back on polite moral  certitudes to which he no longer had any right. Just as the Christian  revolution created a new sensibility by inverting many of the highest  values of the pagan past, so the decline of Christianity, Nietzsche  knew, portends another, perhaps equally catastrophic shift in moral and  cultural consciousness. His famous fable in The Gay Science of  the madman who announces God’s death is anything but a hymn of atheist  triumphalism. In fact, the madman despairs of the mere atheists: those who merely do not believe to whom he addresses his terrible  proclamation. In their moral contentment, their ease of conscience, he  sees an essential oafishness; they do not dread the death of God because they do not grasp that humanity’s heroic and insane act of repudiation  has sponged away the horizon, torn down the heavens, left us with only  the uncertain resources of our will with which to combat the infinity of meaninglessness that the universe now threatens to become.

Because he understood the nature of what had happened when Christianity entered history with the annunciation of the death of God on the cross, and the elevation of a Jewish peasant above all gods, Nietzsche understood also that the passing of Christian faith permits no return to pagan naivete, and he knew that this monstrous inversion of values created within us a conscience that the older order could never have incubated. He  understood also that the death of God beyond us is the death of the  human as such within us. If we are, after all, nothing but the  fortuitous effects of physical causes, then the will is bound to no  rational measure but itself, and who can imagine what sort of world will spring up from so unprecedented and so vertiginously uncertain a vision of reality?

For Nietzsche, therefore, the future that lies  before us must be decided, and decided between only two possible paths: a final nihilism, which aspires to nothing beyond the momentary  consolations of material contentment, or some great feat of creative  will, inspired by a new and truly worldly mythos powerful enough to  replace the old and discredited mythos of the Christian revolution (for  him, of course, this meant the myth of the Übermensch).

Perhaps; perhaps not. Where Nietzsche was almost certainly correct, however, was in recognizing that mere formal atheism was not yet the same thing as  true unbelief. As he writes in The Gay Science, “Once the  Buddha was dead, people displayed his shadow for centuries afterwards in a cave, an immense and dreadful shadow. God is dead: —but as the human  race is constituted, there will perhaps be caves for millennia yet where people will display his shadow. And we have yet to overcome his shadow!  It may appear that Nietzsche is here referring to persons of  faith, those poor souls who continue to make their placid, bovine trek  to church every week to worship a God who passed away long ago but that  is not his meaning.

He is referring principally to those who  think they have eluded God simply by ceasing to believe in his  existence. For Nietzsche, scientism, the belief that the modern  scientific method is the only avenue of truth, one capable of providing  moral truth or moral meaning is the worst dogmatism yet, and the most  pathetic of all metaphysical nostalgias. And it is, in his view,  precisely men like the New Atheists, clinging as they do to those  tenuous vestiges of Christian morality that they have absurdly  denominated humanism,€ť who shelter themselves in caves and venerate  shadows. As they do not understand the past, or the nature of the  spiritual revolution that has come and now gone for Western humanity, so they cannot begin to understand the peril of the future.

If  I were to choose from among the New Atheists a single figure who to my  mind epitomizes the spiritual chasm that separates Nietzsche’s unbelief  from theirs, I think it would be the philosopher and essayist A.C. Grayling. For a short time I entertained the misguided hope that he  might produce an atheist manifesto somewhat richer than the others  currently on offer. Unfortunately, all his efforts in that direction  suffer from the same defects as those of his fellows: the historical  errors, the sententious moralism, the glib sophistry. Their great  virtue, however, is that they are mercifully short. One essay of his in  particular, called Religion and Reason, can be read in a matter of  minutes and provides an almost perfect distillation of the whole New Atheist project.

The essay is even, at least momentarily,  interesting. Couched at one juncture among its various arguments (all of which are pretty poor), there is something resembling a cogent point.  Among the defenses of Christianity an apologist might adduce, says  Grayling, would be a purely aesthetic cultural argument: But for  Christianity, there would be no Renaissance art—no Annunciations or  Madonnas—and would we not all be much the poorer if that were so? But,  in fact, no, counters Grayling; we might rather profit from a far  greater number of canvasses devoted to the lovely mythical themes of  classical antiquity, and only a macabre sensibility could fail to see  that “an Aphrodite emerging from the Paphian foam is an infinitely more  life-enhancing image than a Deposition from the Cross.” Here Grayling  almost achieves a Nietzschean moment of moral clarity.

Ignoring  that leaden and almost perfectly ductile phrase life-enhancing, I,  too, red of blood and rude of health would have to say I generally prefer the sight of nubile beauty to that of a murdered man’s shattered  corpse. The question of whether Grayling might be accused of a certain  deficiency of tragic sense can be deferred here. But perhaps he would  have done well, in choosing this comparison, to have reflected on the  sheer strangeness, and the significance, of the historical and cultural  changes that made it possible in the first place for the death of a  common man at the hands of a duly appointed legal authority to become  the captivating center of an entire civilization’s moral and aesthetic contemplations, and for the deaths of all common men and women perhaps to be invested thereby with a gravity that the ancient order would never  have accorded them.

Here, displayed with an altogether elegant  incomprehensibility in Grayling’s casual juxtaposition of the sea-born  goddess and the crucified God (who is a crucified man), one catches a  glimpse of the enigma of the Christian event, which Nietzsche understood and Grayling does not: the lightning bolt that broke from the cloudless sky of pagan antiquity, the long revolution that overturned the  hierarchies of heaven and earth alike. One does not have to believe any  of it, of course the Christian story, its moral claims, its metaphysical systems, and so forth. But anyone who chooses to lament that event  should also be willing, first, to see this image of the God-man, broken  at the foot of the cross, for what it is, in the full mystery of its  historical contingency, spiritual pathos, and moral novelty: that tender agony of the soul that finds the glory of God in the most abject and  defeated of human forms. Only if one has succeeded in doing this can it  be of any significance if one still, then, elects to turn away.

David Hart’s most recent book is Atheist Delusions: The Christian  Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies.

It reminds me of the atheists. They say that they don't believe in God, even though no one can ever prove that He doesn't exist. Indeed, there is far more evidence for His existence than for the lack of it. But, that doesn't stop them from acting as if they have proven to themselves that God is not there, allowing them to live a Godless life.

If they do it for that reason, to be able to justify anti-Torah behavior that allows them to satisfy their personal desires, then there are plenty of places where they can live and do their thing without human retribution. If it's secularism they want, they can get it just about anywhere these days, without having to parade their beliefs in public and antagonizing those who believe and live otherwise.

But, no, it is not enough. Rather, not only must they let the world know what they believe, but they do it in an in-your-face-way. They literally take on God, taunting him by doing that which challenges Him to prove they are wrong. I mean, why bother? Why take the risk, when you can have the life you want without make a public spectacle of your beliefs?

Parshas Vaera

Judeo-Christian Cross