Interview with Dinesh D’Souza

I first became acquainted with the work of Dinesh D’Souza back in law school when I read Illiberal Education. It was both interesting and eye opening in its willingness to take on directly the sacred cows of the left wing thought police.

His more recent book is What’s so Great about Christianity. In this book, Dinesh is speaking up on behalf of Christianity and taking on directly the sacred cows of the new atheists like Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens.

Here is an interview with Salvo Magazine regarding this book and new atheism. Go read the whole thing. Very good stuff.

Two excerpts to give you a tease, but you have to go read the rest:

You write in your book that “the Christian villain, Satan, has now become the atheist hero.” What do you mean?

If you read John Milton’s Paradise Lost, you discover that the book is populated with heroes and villains. The heroes, of course, are God, Jesus, and the good angels, man is sort of in the middle, and then you have the bad guys: Satan and his legion of deputy devils. Critics have noted that the action in the book always intensifies when the devils come into the picture, and Satan himself is an irresistibly attractive character. God is changeless; he always takes the same position and says the same things. But Satan is incredibly creative. Every time he is thwarted, he comes up with a new scheme or a new project. He is, from a literary perspective, a very rich and adaptive character.

Years ago, the suspicion began to arise that Satan was actually Milton’s hero. As one critic put it, “Milton is of the devil’s party without even knowing it.” Look at Satan’s reason for rebelling against God. It’s not that he doesn’t recognize that God is greater than he is. He does. It’s just that he doesn’t want to play by anybody else’s rules. This idea that it is better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven is Satan’s motto, and it turns out that this is also the motto of contemporary atheists such as Christopher Hitchens.

How so?

Hitchens has argued in his debates with me that he is not an atheist at all, but rather an anti-theist. It’s not that he doesn’t believe in God; it’s that he rejects this kind of God who acts in this kind of way and demands this or that of us. This is not scientific atheism; it’s more like the atheism of Nietzsche. Unlike Dawkins, Hitchens is not spending much time in the biology lab. His idea is that God is interfering with the way he wants to live his life. He simply doesn’t like this Christian God with all of his commandments, the demand for complete allegiance, and his divine observance and scrutiny. Hitchens asks, “If I play by the rules, what’s my reward? Well, I basically get to be a servant boy in heaven. I don’t want any of that. It sounds terrible.”

So Satan’s doctrine—I will not serve—is the poetic root of the New Atheists, many of whom claim that they would rather go to hell than heaven. “All my friends will be there,” they say. “We’re all going to party; it’s going to be great.” The Satan whom Milton portrayed as a resourceful and ingenious villain has to some degree become a modern atheist hero.

I don’t believe in unicorns, so I just go about my life as if there are no unicorns. You’ll notice that I haven’t written any books called The End of the Unicorn, Unicorns Are Not Great, or The Unicorn Delusion, and I don’t spend my time obsessing about unicorns. What I’m getting at is that you have these people out there who don’t believe that God exists, but who are actively attempting to eliminate religion from society, setting up atheist video shows, and having atheist conferences. There has to be more going on here than mere unbelief.

If you really look at the motivations of contemporary atheists, you’ll find that they don’t even really reject Christian theology. It’s not as if the atheist objects to the resurrection or the parting of the sea; rather, it is Christian morality to which atheists object, particularly Christian moral prohibitions in the area of sex. The atheist looks at all of Christianity’s “thou shalt nots”—homosexuality is bad; divorce is bad; adultery is bad; premarital sex is bad—and then looks at his own life and says, “If these things are really bad, then I’m a bad guy. But I’m not a bad guy; I’m a great guy. I must thus reinterpret or (preferably) abolish all of these accusatory teachings that are putting me in a bad light.”

emphasis added

hat tip to Allahpundit at Hot Air


3 Responses

  1. Yep, most people who become atheists do so just after puberty arrives. “I’d rather quit God than quit jerking off.” That’s Hitchens.

  2. Two things:

    One, I took a Milton class in college and it turned out to be one of my favorite classes. Of course I had very low expectations. 🙂

    Two, I think this is also a teachable moment for Christians. We have become (especially in America) the religion of “Thou shalt not” and are known more for what we oppose than what we favor, what we are good at, or areas of common ground. Rather than taking a prideful stance on our moral superiority, which only feeds Hitchens’ sentiments, we need to refocus the argument. This is a huge wedge when it comes to spreading the gospel.

    How much different would the argument be if we were known as the religion of selfless sacrificial love and loving your neighbor rather than anti abortion, anti gay, anti sex anti dancing, drinking, etc? We have let the atheists frame the argument.

  3. Well said, Frank. Well said. We are just as bent and broken as any other person. All of us are equal in our need for God’s mercy and the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

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