[Irish Times] 8 Oct 2008--A media preoccupation with sensationalist critics of religion drowns out the many intellectual voices who claim a significant place for Christian thinking in today's western civilisation, it was argued last night.
Delivering the annual CS Lewis lecture in Dublin, Dr Greg Clarke of Macquarie University in Sydney said there was immense scholarly interest in whether or not the Christian understanding of humanity, the world and God was basic to social good.
"This must be stressed, because the intellectual media does not pay sufficient attention to these voices and this direction of thinking. An anecdote from Dawkins is more quotable than the deeper reflections of an archbishop," he said. Addressing the question of whether the West still needed its Christian roots, Dr Clarke cited a number of thinkers who challenged the arguments of the "new atheists" whose recent polemical books had reached such prominence. "These voices come from places of deeper learning concerning how societies are formed, what holds them together, and what is lost when key beliefs are removed."