Monday 4 April 2011

A Secular Bible — and barely disguised disdain

The Today Programme this morning featured a discussion between "famous atheist" A. C. Grayling and Thought for the Day regular the Rev Canon Dr Giles Fraser. Grayling was on to plug his latest book, The Good Book: A Secular Bible — characterized as an atheist version of the Christian Bible. He's an accomplished philosopher with a knack for plain speaking without rancour, and so this is one I'll be checking out.

Giles Fraser — he of woolly theology — was apparently on as "balance". Despite his remarkable claim that very few Christians hold to the idea that belief in God is a necessary precondition for morality1, he could not restrain the typical disdain theists reserve for anyone of a godless persuasion who dares to imagine that a fully engaged life can be lived in the absence of a god. It was all jolly banter in the studio, but with a noticeably condescending subtext.

I doubt, however, that any of this will have put off Grayling from his book-promotion — nor should it. Compared to him, Fraser comes across as an intellectual midget whose jovial ripostes may make for a mildly entertaining end to the BBC's flagship morning news radio programme, but beyond that they are of little consequence.

Incidentally the Guardian has an extensive interview with A. C. Grayling that may serve as an antidote to the foregoing Fraser-frustration:
AC Grayling: 'How can you be a militant atheist? It's like sleeping furiously' | Books | The Guardian

1. So few Christians hold to this belief, and yet atheists debating theists encounter it all the time.