The French philosopher Paul Ricoeur wrote:
‘Atheism is not limited in meaning to the mere negation and destruction of religion, but …rather, it opens up the horizon for something else, for a type of faith that might be called …a postreligious faith or a faith for a postreligious age. …it looks back toward what it denies and forward toward what it makes possible.’ (Ricoeur, P. 1974 The Conflict of Interpretations: Essays in Hermeneutics. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 440).
It is interesting to see what kind of opening up the populist atheism of writers such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchins is leading to.
5 thoughts on “Can atheism make a new type of religion possible?”
I think it would be misleading (and probably disreputable) to call Atheism a “religion” or a “faith”. I think atheism is merely a consequence of a rational worldview, and that said, I think that it does not impose any ideology whatsoever on any adherent of atheism. As far as I’m considered, Hitler and Stalin were, first and foremost, narcissistic whackjobs before they were Christian or even before they were Nazis or Communists…
I think that a very good step towards a beneficial ideology would be atheism, because it lets all the irrational bullshit (and quite often, the malignant irrational bullshit) out of the way before people start making laws and rules to benefit society. After that, the only way to go wrong is by human error or just by good old-fashioned innate evil.
NO. Atheism will never be a religion. It is a philosophy, and a STUPID one at that. HOW DARE YOU INSOLENT MORTALS DENY THAT I EXIST?!
This quote basically sums up the thoughts behind my own atheism. We are now at this stage where we can reflect on the past’s religiosity and make positive changes. Thanks for the quote!
Atheism: the lack of belief in any God(s).
It is virtually impossible for atheism alone to become a religion, but it can be part of a religion. For example, Buddhists are technically atheistic, because Buddhism has no God. The atheism of people like Richard Dawkins and myself, however, have nothing to do with religious thought, which is based on faith(ie: believing something because you want to or it makes you feel good). My atheism is based on cold hard logic, and constantly questions itself rationally, something that religion cannot do. Religion numbs the minds of its followers and stops them from asking questions, in my eyes, the more questions a person asks, the more healthy their mind is.
Science and Religion
Science is different from religion. It does not pretend that it knows everything. There are even now deep questions about the origins of the universe that we don’t have answers to now though it is possible we may be able to answer some of them in the future.
But the inability of science to provide answers to these questions does not prove that religious faith, tradition, or an ancient holy text has the ability to answer them. Science cannot prove that God does not exist, but this in no way establishes that God exists. There are millions of things whose lack of existence cannot be established.
The philosopher Bertrand Russel had an analogy. Imagine that there is a teapot in orbit around the sun. It is impossible to prove that the teapot does not exist because it is too small to be detected by our telescopes. Nobody but a crazy person would say “Well, I’m prepared to believe in the teapot because I cannot establish that it doesn’t exist.” This means that maybe we have to be technically agnostics, but really we are all atheists about teapots with orbits around the sun.
But now let us suppose that everybody in our society including our teachers and the sages of our tribes all had faith in a teapot that orbits the sun. Let us also suppose that stories of the teapot have come down to us for many generations as one of the traditions of our own society and there are ancient holy texts about the teapot. In this case people would say that a person who did not believe in the teapot is eccentric or mad.
There are infinite numbers of things like celestial teapots whose lack of existence we are unable to establish. There are fairies, for example, and there are unicorns and goblins. We cannot prove that any of these creatures of the imagination do not exist in reality. But we don’t believe they exist, just as we don’t believe that the gods of the Scandinavians, for example, have any true existence.
We are all atheists about almost all of the gods created by societies in the past. Some of us, however, take the ultimate step of believing that the god of the Jews and the Christians, like the gods of the Greeks and the Egyptians, also does not exist.
Now here’s a version of this text in Interlingua. (For more information about Interlingua, use a search enging to search on the title “Interlingua in interlingua” or go to http://www.interlingua.com.
Le scientia es differente del religion. Illo non pretende que illo sape toto. Il ha etiam nunc questiones profunde sur le origines del universe al quales nos nunc non ha responsas ben que il es possible que nos potera responder a alicunes de illos in le futuro.
Ma le incapacitate del scientia de provider responsas a iste questiones non proba que le fide religiose, le tradition, o un texto sancte e ancian pote responder a illos. Le scientia non pote probar que Deo non existe, ma isto non establi de ulle maniera que Deo existe. Il ha milliones de cosas cuje existentia non pote esser establite.
Le philosopho Bertrand Russell habeva un analogia. Imagina que il ha un theiera in orbita circum le sol. Il es impossibile probar que le theiera non existe proque illo es troppo parve pro esser detegite per nostre telescopios. Nemo excepte un folle dicerea, “Multo ben, io es preparate a creder in le theiera proque io non pote establir que illo non existe.” Isto significa que forsan nos debe esser technicamente agnosticos, ma vermente nos es omnes atheistas sur theieras con orbitas circum le sol.
Ma que nos nunc suppone que omnes in nostre societate includente nostre professores e le sagios de nostre tribos habeva fide in un theiera que orbita le sol. Que nos anque suppone que historias del theiera ha venite usque nos trans multe generationes como un del traditiones de nostre proprie societate e que il ha textos sancte ancian sur le theiera. In iste caso le gente dicerea que un persona qui non credeva in le theiera es eccentric o folle.
Il ha numeros infinite de cosas como theieras celestial cuje manco de existentia nos non pote establir. Il ha fees, pro exemplo, e il ha unicornios e gnomos. Nos non pote probar que iste creaturas del imagination non existe in le realitate. Ma nos non crede que illos existe exactamente como nos non crede que le deos del Scandinavos, pro exemplo, ha ulle existential ver.
Nos es omnes atheistas sur quasi omne le deos create per societates in le passato. Alicunes de nos tamen prende le ultime passo de creder que le deo del judaeos e del christianos, como le deos del grecos e le egyptianos, anque non existe.