Theologian and Writer David Bentley Hart to Speak on the New Atheists and Christianity

On Tuesday, April 5 at 2:00 p.m. EST, David Bentley Hart will be a guest of the Project on Lived Theology for a Zoom talk on “Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Critics.” In addition to being an Eastern Orthodox scholar of religion, Hart is also a philosopher, writer, and cultural commentator. 

Hart’s lecture will be based on his acclaimed book Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies, published by Yale University Press in 2009. His other books include In the Aftermath: Provocations and Laments (Eerdmans, 2008); That All Shall Be Saved: Heaven, Hell, and Universal Salvation (Yale, 2019); and Tradition and Apocalypse: An Essay on the Future of Christian Belief (Baker Academic, 2022).

In his book Atheist Delusions, Hart dismantles distorted religious “histories” offered up by Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and other contemporary critics of religion and advocates of atheism. He provides a bold correction of the New Atheists’ misrepresentations of the Christian past, countering their polemics with a brilliant account of Christianity and its message of human charity as the most revolutionary movement in all of Western history.

Hart outlines how Christianity transformed the ancient world in ways we may have forgotten: bringing liberation from fatalism, conferring great dignity on human beings, subverting the cruelest aspects of pagan society, and elevating charity above all virtues. He then argues that what we term the “Age of Reason” was in fact the beginning of the eclipse of reason’s authority as a cultural value. Hart closes the book in the present, delineating the ominous consequences of the decline of Christendom in a culture that is built upon its moral and spiritual values.

The April 5 event, which is free and open to the public, can be watched on Zoom at https://bit.ly/3DuhGfE, Passcode: 921417. A question-and-answer session will follow the lecture.

The Project on Lived Theology at the University of Virginia is a research initiative, whose mission is to study the social consequences of theological ideas for the sake of a more just and compassionate world.