Friday, December 14   Sign in or Register
Evangelical Focus

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud

Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.

Do the media in your country usually portray evangelical Christians accurately?



René Breuel

Skepticism is blind to itself

To believe or not to believe, that is not the question. The question, instead, is: what to believe?

CULTURE MAKING AUTHOR René Breuel 17 NOVEMBER 2018 17:00 h GMT+1
Foto: Juan Pablo Serrano. / Pexels.

Skeptics are finding skepticism hard to take serious lately.

Take The Spectator’s parody of Richard Dawkins, for instance. In an article named The bizarre – and costly – cult of Richard Dawkins, Andrew Brown lists the Dawkins Foundation’s shrewd segmentation of his followers.

Donations start with $85 a month and allow you discounts on Dawkins merchandise. For $5,000 a year you can attend an event where he speaks. But only for $100,000 or more can you see the man face-to-face yourself.

After reproducing more than a few overly enthusiastic tweets – ‘You’ve changed my life and my entire world’ – Brown’s conclusion is straightforward:

At this point it is obvious to everyone except the participants that what we have here is a religion without the good bits.

The larger point here is not the fundraising methodology of an increasingly fringe personality. It is that no one – nil, not a single person – can escape religion. Even hardcore atheists end up with religious zeal.

It is quite easy to avoid organized, official religion of course. Just don’t show up at church. But no one is able to not believe. Those who profess to be able to are just subscribing to an alternative set of beliefs.

They are rejecting certain dogmas on the basis of their own unproven assumptions. They are deconstructing other people’s faith while remaining blind to their own faith.

Luc Ferry describes this intrinsic contradiction of hardcore skepticism brilliantly. A major French philosopher and atheist himself, Ferry does not spare blows.

The materialist says, for example, that we are not free, but he is certain of declaring it freely, without any external constraint… He declares that we are a product of our history, but he continues to invite us to liberate ourselves, transform it, start a revolution if possible! … In other words, the materialist defends profound philosophical theses, but always for others, never for himself. He always reintroduces transcendence, freedom, a project, an ideal, because he can’t not regard himself as not free and driven by values above nature and history. (his italics) [1]

That this contradiction exists is remarkable. One would never guess it, given some skeptics’ dogmatism and rhetoric of reason.

But it is there, obvious to anyone but themselves and impressionable teenagers. Ferry continues:

But it cannot end there: criticism cannot be valid just for others… Critical thinking needs to critique itself, something which modern philosophers are just beginning to realize, but which Nietzsche and the great materialists paradoxically refuse to do. [They] do wonders when it comes to bursting the metaphysical and religious bubbles … but when it comes to themselves, nothing can be done…. Their lucidity is remarkable when it comes to others, but when it comes to self-reflection, it remains blind. [2]

To believe or not to believe, that is not the question. The question, instead, is: what to believe?

[1] Luc Ferry, Vivere con Filosofia [A Brief History of Thought] (Milan: Garzanti, 2007), 215.

[2] Ibid., 228.




    If you want to comment, or


18:48 h
Great article!

YOUR ARE AT: - - - Skepticism is blind to itself
Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA

“Prostitution is nobody’s dream,  it’s a very traumatic lifestyle”, says Kathy Bryan, director of the Elevate Academy. She mentors former victims.

Bulgaria: Evangelicals ask government to protect religious minorities Bulgaria: Evangelicals ask government to protect religious minorities

Christians rallied in Sofia on November 18 to defend their rights. It is the second Sunday of peaceful demonstrations against a new religion draft law that could severely restrict religious freedom and rights of minority faith confessions.

Photos: #WalkForFreedom Photos: #WalkForFreedom

Abolitionists marched through 400 cities in 51 countries. Pictures from Valencia (Spain), October 20.

Photos: Reaching people with disabilities Photos: Reaching people with disabilities

Seminars, an arts exhibition, discussion and testimonies. The European Disability Network met in Tallinn.

Photos: Hope for Europe Photos: Hope for Europe

Unity in Diversity is the theme of the conference. Representatives of Evangelical Alliances and many other church leaders gathered in Tallinn (Estonia).

“We need prayers for Bulgaria” “We need prayers for Bulgaria”

An interview with Pastor Vlady Raichinov, Vice President of the Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance.

The Impact of the Reformation on the social  reforms The Impact of the Reformation on the social reforms

David Hilborn, Principal, St. John's College, explains how has the Reformation view of justification led to social and political reforms.

The Manzanas case The Manzanas case

A short documentary about how retired pastors and widows of an evangelical denomination in Spain fight a legal battle for their pensions after the favourable ruling of the European Court of Human Rights.

‘Mediterráneo’ ‘Mediterráneo’

“Something will change if you have hunger and thirst for justice”, sings Spanish artist Eva Betoret in a song about the refugee crisis.

Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube

EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.