Archive for the ‘Theology and Biblical Studies’ Category

Opening the debate about Rushdie’s legacy ‘The Satanic Verses’

October 23, 2012

Online Special Issue: The Satanic Verses

From The Journal of Commonwealth Literature

Joseph Anton, the new memoir by Salman Rushdie  was published with great fanfare and to mixed critical reception in September 2012. Its publication has led to an outpouring of reflections by Rushdie, his supporters, and opponents on the Satanic Verses affair, its long aftermath, and Rushdie’s literary merits (or otherwise). In this online special issue a selection of the best articles past and present, have been collated. In doing so, it is hoped textual weight and complexity is offered to the discussion, especially given that the novel itself often gets lost in debates about the fatwa, freedom of speech versus offence, and so on.

Whether positive or negative, taken together or individually, these articles open up the debate about Rushdie’s legacy, The Satanic Verses as a serious work of art, and the issue of religious groups protesting against creative works. This has continuing relevance today, as we are reminded by the recent violence caused by the (itself violently Islamophobic) film Innocence of Muslims.


The evolution of atheism scientific and humanistic approaches

July 11, 2012

From History of the Human Sciences

Atheism has achieved renewed vigor in the West in recent years with a spate of bestselling books and growing membership in secularist and rationalist organizations. The publication of Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion in 2006 was a major cultural event. It signaled the beginning of a phenomenon now commonly known as the ‘New Atheism’. This article sets the context for the emergence of the movement. The author recognizes two streams of thought, scientific atheism and humanistic atheism. The first closely associated with Darwinism and Enlightenment rationalism, the second aligned with the rise of the social sciences and pioneered by Marx and Feuerbach. The study presents historical analysis to contextualize and enrich understanding of the trends. It outlines the growing tension between the two distinct streams within the movement and considers how the relationship between the two should be a focus of future research.


Denying Darwin: Views on science in the rejection of evolution

May 9, 2012

Denying Darwin: Views on science in the rejection of evolution by Dutch Protestants

From Public Understanding of Science

Since its publication (1859), the evolution theory of Charles Darwin has met with considerable opposition, notably from religious circles. Although scientific opposition decreased soon after, public rejection of evolution never died down. Recent research shows that a substantial part of the western world does not accept the idea of evolution. This article tries to understand the evolution controversy by reframing it as a phenomenon of public understanding of science. Interviews with Dutch Protestant Christians found that the main reason for rejecting evolution was ana priori decision to trust the Bible more than science. Findings suggest that the decision to reject evolution does not involve scientific knowledge. Arguments drawn from science are merely viewed as an addition to a decision that is already made and serve as a rationale to a non-rational decision. The respondents use different levels of knowledge to think about the world. In this case, there is religious knowledge, which says that God created the world. There is also scientific knowledge, which explains the world in scientific terms. The scientific way of thinking does not replace the religious way of thinking about the world, but coexists with it.  However as for the implication for debates concerning evolution and creation, it can be concluded that a scientific discussion about the validity of evolution with Christians who reject evolution can be expected to have limited success.


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