Spiritual Warfare

“Behind the pieties of the pagan world, Christians believed, lurked forces of great cruelty and guile: demons, malign elemental spirits, occult agencies masquerading as divinities, exploiting the human yearning for God, and working to thwart the designs of God, in order to bind humanity in slavery to darkness, ignorance, and death. And to renounce one’s bonds to these beings was an act of cosmic rebellion, a declaration that one had been emanicipated from (in the language of John’s Gospel) ‘the prince of this world’ or (in the somewhat more disturbing language of 2 Corinthians) ‘the god of this world.'” -David Bentley Hart, Atheist Delusions, pg. 113

Preparation for Baptism

“Whether brief or protracted, however, the period of one’s preparation for baptism could not conclude until one had been taught the story of redemption: how once all men and women had labored as slaves in the household of death, prisoners of the devil, sold into bondage to Hades, languishing in ignorance of their true home; and how Christ had come to set the prisoners free and had, by his death and resurrection, invaded the kingdom of our captor and overthrown it, vanquishing the power of sin and death in us, shattering the gates of hell, and plundering the devil of his captives. For it was into this story that one’s own life was to be merged when one at last sank down into the ‘life-giving waters’: in the risen Christ, a new humanity had been created, free from the rule of death, into which one could be admitted by dying and rising again with Christ in baptism and by feeding upon his presence in the Eucharist.” -David Bentley Hart, Atheist Delusions, pg. 112

Baptism is

For Christians of the early centuries, “baptism was of an altogether more radical nature. It was understood as nothing less than a total transformation of the person who submitted to it; and as a ritual event, it was certainly understood as being far more than a mere dramaturgical allegory of one’s choice of religious association. To become a Christian was to renounce a very great deal of what one had known and been to that point, in order to be joined to a new reality, the demands of which were absolute; it was to depart from one world, with an irrevocable finality, and to enter another.” -David Bentley Hart, Atheist Delusions, pg. 111

Secularism As Dependent on Christianity

“It is my governing conviction… that much of modernity should be understood not as a grand revolt against the tyranny of faith, not as a movement of human liberation and progress, but as a counterrevolution, a reactionary rejection of a freedom which it no longer understands, but upon which it remains parasitic.” -David Bentley Hart, Atheist Delusions, pg. 108

Some Forms of Freedom Are Actually Slavery

“It is, at the very least, instructive to realize that our freedom might just as well be seen–from certain more antique perspectives–as a kind of slavery: to untutored impulses, to empty caprice, to triviality, to dehumanizing values. And it can do no harm occasionally to ask where a concept of freedom whose horizon is precisely and necessarily nothing–a concept that is, as I have said, nihilist in the most exact sense–ultimately leads.” -David Bentley Hart, Atheist Delusions, pg. 105

Western Cultural Hegemony Defined

“Truth be told, there is no remotely plausible reason–apart from a preference for our own presuppositions over those of other peoples–why the convictions and experiences of an African polyglot and philosopher, whose pastoral and social labors oblige him to be engaged immediately in the concrete realities of hundreds of lives, should command less rational assent from us than the small, unproven, doctrinaire certitudes of persons who spend their lives in supermarkets and before television screens and immured in the sterile, hallucinatory seclusion of their private studies.” -David Bentley Hart, Atheist Delusions, 102-103

Medicine and Christian History

“There was, after all, a long tradition of Christian monastic hospitals for the destitute and dying, going back to the days of Constantine and stretching from the Syrian an Byzantine East to the Western fringes of Christendom, a tradition that had no real precedent in pagan societies…” -David Bentley Hart, Atheist Delusions, pg. 30