Looking again at PZ Myers’ desecration of the Eucharist, we here more, albeit smaller, nuggets of truth:
By the way, I didn’t want to single out just the cracker, so I nailed it to a few ripped-out pages from the Qur’an and The God Delusion. They are just paper. Nothing must be held sacred. Question everything. God is not great, Jesus is not your lord, you are not disciples of any charismatic prophet.
Regarding the comments about a cracker, we should respond as Peter Kreeft:
Our enemies are not anti-Catholic bigots who want to crucify us. They are the ones we’re trying to save. They are our patients, not our disease. Our word for them is Christ’s: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” We say this of the Chinese communist totalitarians who imprison and persecute Catholics, and to the Sudanese Muslim terrorists who enslave and murder Catholics. They are not our enemies, they are our patients. We are Christ’s nurses. The patients think the nurses are their enemies, but the nurses know better.
Myers, for his part, is right to say that The God Delusion certainly must not be held sacred, and not for the reasons an atheist might think I mean.
To offer worship to someone who is not God is absolutely wrong — this negative prohibition is phrased as a positive commandment in the Decalogue. Atheists must agree: Insofar as a thing is from God it is worthy of respect, insofar it is not it is not. The disagreement between Christians and atheists is not in the principle but in its mootness. As Lewis wrote:
But surely the reason we do not execute witches is that we do not believe there are such things. If we did — if we really thought that there were people going about who had sold themselves to the devil and received supernatural powers from him in return and were using these powers to kill their neighbours or drive them mad or bring bad weather, surely we would all agree that if anyone deserved the death penalty, then these filthy quislings did. There is no difference of moral principle here: the difference is simply about matter of fact. It may be a great advance in knowledge not to believe in witches: there is no moral, advance in not executing them when you do not think they are there. You would not call a man humane for ceasing to set mousetraps if he did so because he believed there were no mice in the house.
Meyers is also right to imply, as he does, that to be an atheist the way he means it is to be alone. Universal skeptics — heretofore “atheists,” as that is shorter and, in any case, Meyers’ chosen label— must rely on no other man, for, in another true observation, men are fallible. Now the falsehood: You can only rely on only your intellect and senses insofar as you can trust them. Problematically, much of modern philosophy posits that things are not knowable and that you cannot trust your senses, and all of modern philosophy save a few neo-Thomists and Aristotelians deny the common-sense Four Causes. This leaves the thorough atheist not only alone but blind and deaf and despairing of faculties, constantly second-guessing whether he can really disprove the absurdity that is the Cartesian demon. If universal skepticism is the standard, there is no place for knowing truth — how can you trust your senses or your intellect if your intellect reminds you that you are not infallible? how do you even begin to correct it if you have no truth around against which you measure yourself? — and there is no place for trust.
Dictionary atheism when allied to the standard of universal skepticism — anything when allied to universal skepticism — is a kind of sadness and despair like Sartre or a madness and megalomania like Nietzsche. Despair or pride: This is not good for anyone by any stretch of the imagination except insofar as it is honest.