12 October 2010

The End of Atheism?

My friend Steve in this article champions an uncompromising form of atheism which takes the ignostic viewpoint championed by Rabbi Sherwin Wine in the 1960's.

In brief it says that, although the concept of god is meaningful, the word god is not - in that there is no coherent definition of what that word means, or there are perhaps as many meanings to it as there are users of it.

As science advances, and with ever increasing desperation, believers seem to be retreating god further and further into the realms of the unfalsifiable, and the - is there, isn't there? - debate rumbles on with both theists and atheists approaching boiling point, at which time, of course, a nice hot cup of tea will be in order.

I see it slightly differently however, in that I see it as quite a gentle form of atheism: because although it sais we can't know what the word god means, we understand the concept and how and why it has developed in humans, we nevertheless have lots of important things to discuss even if we do lay the word to one side.


Marie Claude Janvier said...

Who is God? Why we have a god? Why do we need a God? Why do we exist?
Imagine there is no universe, no world, no people. In college, as a biology student, I learned that the universe, including our planet, was created from a big bang of gazes. I used to ask myself when I was a child, if God is the creator of the universe, who created God? Who was the creator of God's creator and so on? I would feel a complete silence in my mind, and I would stop asking these questions.

clodhopper said...

Hi Marie. Thank you for your comment. My own view is that the human brain is hard wired to view the world in terms of 'agency' and 'intention' and then naturally projects this onto the universe as a whole. I think that is why there are so many different gods in so many different cultures and our need to project 'purpose' onto the universe is, well, very human, even if it is wrong.

The magnificence of the universe and all it holds is quite awe inspiring enough for me and I see no need to hold to supernatural explanations. Silent reverence for the natural world and a quiet mind will do quite nicely :-)