« Conflicted on Narnia | Main | Self-Defeating Old Economy Dinosaurs »

Searching for an Atheist C. S. Lewis

Professor Volokh posts two pieces today showing a concern that Americans hold a negative view of atheists. He focuses on a July 2005 Roper poll in which 50% of respondents view atheists unfavorably (as opposed to 25% for Muslims and 19% for evangelicals, both of whom make out worse than Jews (7%) or Catholics (14%)). I don't have access to the poll itself, but it strikes me that the animosity about which Prof. Volokh is concerned is more a matter of PR than substance.

Take, for instance, two atheists who I read regularly for one reason or another, Prof. Leiter and Pharyngula. The former has his infamous Texas Taliban alerts, the latter is sometimes rhetorically more restrained but has no problem linking to those who are not. Neither blog is designed to make an opponent view the author in a favorable light. Both men are, presumably, talented in their chosen professions. On the other hand, I defy any reader to wander through their archives and derive some bit of joy out of the experience.

That's not to say that the blogs aren't possibly enjoyable. I read through both, after all, to see what has enraged the atheist fringe, and I'd suspect that those who hold athiest opinions find the Leiter Reports to be a sustaining source of agreeable opinion. [1] Nothing agreeable comes through in the tone of the rather perpetual rants, however, with nary a post free of insult or disregard. If these blogs hold a sense of wonderment at the universe, or some sense of brotherhood towards all men (regardless of view), it's hidden rather deeply.

The authors that drew me to conservatism were a different breed. P. J. O'Rourke has a sharp tongue sometimes--especially towards fundamentalists of all stripes--but liberals and conservatives can laugh at him. In a roundabout way through O'Rourke I got to Senator Moynihan (a liberal but a Catholic), a smart observer of culture but still a wit. From there I came to Chesterton, and from Chesterton I rediscovered C. S. Lewis.

These writers shared at least two traits. The first is at least a toleration of religion. The second is a very genuine sense of wonder at the world, a wonder that precedes laughter. I would love to have been at a debate between Chesterton and G. B. Shaw, if only because while I might find the latter more convincing, the former is less curmudgeonly and more fun. But the atheist view seems ever more inclined towards Shaw's path, and ever less inclined towards a happy ending, in a somewhat predictable fashion.

Which leads me to wonder: is there an atheist apologist, a happy atheist author? I have some spare reading time over the holidays, and if anyone can point me towards a Doubting Lewis, I'd greatly appreciate it.

[1]: I can't resist pointing out that the Leiterlings are still waiting for Bush to start a draft with the full backing of Congressman Rangel, but apparently the "reality based community" is quite patient. I never fault anyone for playing the long game, but in this case I think Prof. Leiter may be playing it very long. Like waiting for President Jenna and Gulf War III, by which time I may well be in my grave.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.threeyearsofhell.com/cgi-user/mt/mtPleaseLinktoMe.cgi/2939

Comments

CS Lewis identified as an atheist for a significant part of his life, I believe. Thus an atheist with wonder - however, he converted to Christianity eventually, and then wrote all his pro-Christianity books (incl. Mere Christianity, where iirc he discusses "losing" his faith as an atheist).
Parodie: Perhaps I should emphasize, then, that I'd be more interested in a currently "practicing" atheist, or at least one not known to have lapsed. ;)
Hmm, not sure how much of an atheist I am, as I usually self-identify as a Zen Buddhist, but that is not a confession that believes in a creator-god. Like God in South Park: "as for me, I'm a Buddhist" :-) And I haven't that happy recently, but an undiagnosed seizure disorder will do that! (obviously it's been diagnosed recently!) But I have had much happiness in the 34 years of my life so far, and faith in any sort of God has not had much to do with that, rather the contrary, as the practice of dogmatic religion of various "True Believers" in my life has caused much of the pain.
vonnegut?

Post a comment

NOTICE TO SPAMMERS, COMMENT ROBOTS, TRACKBACK SPAMMERS AND OTHER NON-HUMAN VISITORS: No comment or trackback left via a robot is ever welcome at Three Years of Hell. Your interference imposes significant costs upon me and my legitimate users. The owner, user or affiliate who advertises using non-human visitors and leaves a comment or trackback on this site therefore agrees to the following: (a) they will pay fifty cents (US$0.50) to Anthony Rickey (hereinafter, the "Host") for every spam trackback or comment processed through any blogs hosted on threeyearsofhell.com, morgrave.com or housevirgo.com, irrespective of whether that comment or trackback is actually posted on the publicly-accessible site, such fees to cover Host's costs of hosting and bandwidth, time in tending to your comment or trackback and costs of enforcement; (b) if such comment or trackback is published on the publicly-accessible site, an additional fee of one dollar (US$1.00) per day per URL included in the comment or trackback for every day the comment or trackback remains publicly available, such fee to represent the value of publicity and search-engine placement advantages.

Giving The Devil His Due

Choose Stylesheet

What I'm Reading

cover
D.C. Noir

My city. But darker.
cover
A Clockwork Orange

About time I read this...


Shopping

Projects I've Been Involved With

A Round-the-World Travel Blog: Devil May Care (A new round-the-world travel blog, co-written with my wife)
Parents for Inclusive Education (From my Clinic)

Syndicated from other sites

The Columbia Continuum
Other Blogs by CLS students

De Novo
Theory and Practice
Liberal Federalism?
Good News, No Foolin'


Althouse
Nancy Pelosi covers her head and visits the head of John the Baptist.
Vlogging in from Austin.
Omikase/"American Idol"


Jeremy Blachman's Weblog: 2007
Happy Passover
Looking for Advice re: LA
Google Books


Stay of Execution
What I've Learned From This Blog, or My Yellow Underpants
The End
Mid Thirties


Legal Theory Blog
Program Announcement: Summer Programs on the Constitution at George Washington
Book Announement: Political Foundations of Judicial Supremacy by Whittington
Entry Level Hiring Report


The Volokh Conspiracy
Making the Daily Show:
Civil unions pass New Hampshire House:
Profile of Yale Law Dean Harold Koh:


Crescat Sententia
Hillary II
Hillary
Politics and Principal/Agents


Law Dork
Election Approaches
Following Lewis
New Jersey High Court: 'Same Rights and Benefits'


IrishLaw
Homecoming
Surveying the revival
Birds of paradise


Half the Sins of Mankind
Cheney Has Spoken Religious conservatives who may ...
Does Ahmadinejad Know Christianity Better Than MSN...
Borders as Genocide In discussions of climate chan...


pf.org
Progress
For lovers of garden gnomes...and any China-freaks out there
We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming


Ideoblog
Does SOX explain the flight from NY?
More Litvak on SOX effect on cross-listed firms
What did the market learn from internal controls reporting?


The Yin Blog
Iowa City = Riyadh
Jeffrey Rosen's "The Supreme Court"
Geek alert -- who would win between Battlestar Galactica and the U.S.S. Enterprise?


Letters of Marque
Graduation
And there we are
Oil!


BuffaloWings&Vodka
Signing Off


Dark Bilious Vapors
Jim (The Waco Kid): Where you headed, cowboy?
Bart: Nowhere special.
Jim: Nowhere special. I always wanted to go there.
Bart: Come on.
--"Blazing Saddles"

Technical Difficulties... please stand by....
The Onion should have gotten a patent first....


Legal Ethics Forum
Interesting new Expert DQ case
Decency, Due Care, and The Yoo-Delahunty Memorandum
Thinking About the Fired U.S. Attorneys


Ex Post
Student Symposium- Chicago!
More Hmong - Now at Law School
Good Samaritan Laws: Good For America?


Appellate Law & Practice
Those turned over documents
CA1: courts can’t help people acquitted of crimes purge the taint of acquitted conduct
CA1: restrictions on chain liquor stores in Rhode Island are STILL okay


the imbroglio
High schoolers turn in plagiarism screeners for copyright infringement
talisman
Paris to offer 20,600 bikes at 1,450 stations to rent by the end of the year


The Republic of T.
The Secret of the Snack Attack
links for 2007-04-04
Where You Link is What You Get

Distractions for stressed law students

The Other Side: Twisted AnimationsSomething Positive, a truly good webcomic

Syndicate This Site

Sitemeter

Technologies


Stop Spam Harvesters, Join Project Honey Pot