Chaplains and Evangelists

So, we’re agreed then. Comfort and safety and enjoyment are not what’s needed, not unless one is ill or injured or a refugee from a war zone. We need our gadflies and lecturers and correctors and reformers, our troublers of the peace. We need our evangelists.

The Guardian has a review of Richard Dawkins’ new book, A Devil’s Chaplain, today. The reviewer (who, a correspondent tells me, used to be the bishop of Edinburgh) makes an interesting distinction between Darwin’s ‘classically Anglican’ atheism and the classically Evangelical variety Dawkins goes in for.

A friend of mine once remarked that he liked Anglicanism, because it didn’t interfere with your religion or politics, whereas Evangelicalism couldn’t leave anyone alone and meddled endlessly in people’s lives. If Darwin was a non-interventionist atheist, Dawkins is a great believer in the pre-emptive strike.

Well what else are teachers for? That’s their job, isn’t it, that’s what they do and what they’re supposed to do. Isn’t it? Not leaving people alone and meddling endlessly in the contents of their heads? Surely if one actually cares about politics and religion, ‘interfering with them’, i.e. arguing that there are better versions, is the logical thing to do. But then I’m an Evangelistic type myself, so I would think that.

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