The conservative historian Getrude Himmelfarb has a rather lame essay in The Wall Street Journal: “The once-born and the twice-born: the militant quest for certitude among the New Atheists has a peculiarly old-fashioned feel about it.”
It’s a rather rambling piece, most of it devoted to simply recounting William James’s famous book, The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902), a description of how men and women come to believe in God, largely because of their personal revelations and presumbed encounters with the ineffable.
Himelfarb recounts how James divided believers into two types: the “once-born,” the light-hearted and romantic religionists who make light of suffering and deny the existence of hell, and the “twice-born,” whom Himelfarb describes as:
. . . the “sick souls” and “morbid-minded”—are all too aware of the existence of evil, indeed, of the “experience of evil as something essential.” Where the once-born look upon…
View original post 861 more words