Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Quick Lunch

By chance no one was here during lunch time so I could go online.  I went to Rupert Sheldrake's site to see if there was anything new and found a new podcast

a sort of review discussion of a book by Nick Spencer, Atheists, The Origin of the Species.  Of course, Mark Vernon and Rupert Sheldrake are different in tone from what I write, and I agree with almost everything.  I do think Sheldrake is a bit more charitable and optimistic about the ultimate role that atheism has held and will likely hold in the future.  While I think there is some of their discussion that some more informed atheists either won't find surprising or will be pleased by, I don't think most of them would like it.

I like what Mark Vernon says about the central contradiction of the new atheism, something which if you mention to the blog atheists, they glaze over in total incomprehension.   Then they go on to talk about the kind of "Christianity lite" that some atheists try to adopt.  I really don't agree with Sheldrake at that point about the value of "Humanism" in the civil rights struggle the success of which I think depended, entirely, on the force of religious belief to succeed.  What he says about John Gray's kind of atheism is more likely, I think, to be the result of atheism in the world.   That can be seen by atheists snarking about "human rights warriors", apparently the successor of the "Neville Chamberlain atheists" who they snarked about before.  I totally agree with the idea they discuss that atheism likely will, inevitably, devolve into that kind of amoral atheist assertion, usually based in an especially vulgar, 1920s--30s notion of natural selection.

But, for the most part I agree with them.

Apparently, from the mention of the solar eclipse that happened the day they recorded it was March 20.    I've got to get back to work.

Update:  Malplena poto sonas la plej laŭte.


  1. Interesting: atheism is largely a political reaction to church as an institution allied with political powers.

    Certainly true today. 99% of the on-line atheists I encounter start off with "if 'Christians' would just keep their religion to themselves, where it belongs....".

    Of course, where it belongs is political. I don't know of an atheist who objects to MLK, for example, or ever even notices he was driven by his Christian faith, and his movement was rooted in churches. Point that out and they just ignore you all together, and refer you back to Jerry Falwell & Co.

  2. And, without knowing it, they reference Vattimo's notion of the "kenosis" of Christianity into Western culture.

    Very, very interesting podcast.


  3. Sorry, I keep listening. The idea of "negative capability" is not exclusively atheist. Nor is the idea of a "negative spirituality" (using their terms as best I can). Derrida wanted to craft a "negative atheology," and while there is the notion of apophatic (negative) theology in Christianity, there can be the idea, following on Bonhoeffer and even Merton, the idea of a areligious religion and a negative atheology (Kathleen Norris would find this agreeable, too). Depending, of course, on how you define "atheology" (and what you define it against).

    But, as they say, is this really so different at all from modern expressions of theology, which are working to get beyond the "archaic" language, so to speak, of the KJV (i.e., we think we can't "sound religious" unless we use a special archaic vocabulary) and yet express what people were expressing in Paul's time.

    Sorry, just listening to them discuss the "default atheism" of Europe, which may not be atheism at all. I keep thinking of people who think I must be an atheist (on-line atheists would say so, as would rigid fundamentalists) because I don't talk like a fundamentalist.) And so atheists insist on the defining touchstone that one must prove God's existence in order to NOT be an atheist (which is why they insist on it).

    Which is humorously tautological, but try to explain tautology to them.

  4. Atheism as a white, male, European/American phenomenon.

    A few years ago, I'd expect a lot of heads to explode over that. Now, I expect only a lot of denial and denunciation of "including race" in the subject.

    Because, as Charlie Pierce notes, its not about race, because it's never about race. Especially when the race most involved, is white Americans and Europeans. But mostly white male Americans.