All thought begins somewhere, and there is more than one place to begin. There is more than one way to think, and no one way is conveniently marked out as better than all the others. Western philosophy came to see this over the course of the twentieth century. This was part of the collapse of the Enlightenment project, which had supposed there to be only one way to be rational, namely the enlightened way. This is a welcome collapse. It is a genuine advance to acknowledge more than one mode of rationality, as is the realization that all thought involves prior commitments…
As an immediate result, secular thought is not privileged over religious thought by means of some obvious and effortless superiority… A certain secular worldview is increasingly prevalent, which we might call ‘naturalistic’. It claims the natural sciences as its model and will not allow for anything to be real other than what the natural sciences can measure or discuss. It interprets the world on the basis that there is no God and that moral positions are human inventions. Every day we see, read and hear people assuming that this is the default option for reason and that it needs no justification.
Here the twentieth century’s tectonic shifts over reason come to our aid. Because there is no thought without prior commitment to axioms, no way of seeing and thinking has automatic pride of place… Atheist rationality must state its case like any other. Indeed, it is a pretty incredible faith commitment, and one that naturalists deny in their daily lives and loves.
This is all old news. This particular light dawned some time ago, especially for anyone exposed to thinking from Continental Europe. It was a real breakthrough in understanding what it means to understand, but it came decades ago. That throws some light on the demographics of the New Atheists. It is no accident that they come, predominantly, from those few enclaves yet to have been affected by twentieth-century philosophy of a ‘Continental’ flavour. They are typically English or American, and from the old universities; they belong to one or other of two worlds least in touch with contemporary philosophy: the ‘New Atheists’ are lifelong scientists or neoconservative political writers.
|—||Andrew Davison in “Christian Reason and Christian Community”, published in Imaginative Apologetics (pg. 17-8)|