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Christianity needs a resurrection according to 'intellectual atheism'

(150 Posts)
Baggs Tue 29-Jun-21 09:00:46

Just read this interesting essay on what is being called intellectual atheism.

Its subtitle is: A growing number of leading serious intellectuals are recognising the need for Christianity’s resurrection but can’t quite bring the faith to life in themselves.

Whitewavemark2 Tue 29-Jun-21 09:04:00

Atheism isn’t a faith, it is an absence of faith.

The two are mutually exclusive.

Baggs Tue 29-Jun-21 09:05:51

Yes. Of course. That isn't the point of this essay though.

Whitewavemark2 Tue 29-Jun-21 09:06:49

Oh I’d better read it then😄😄

Galaxy Tue 29-Jun-21 09:18:32

Yes I have heard that debate a few times particularly from Douglas Murray and Jordan Peterson but they dont convince I am afraid. Peterson in particular is so desperate to believe but so obviously doesnt in my view.

Alegrias1 Tue 29-Jun-21 09:19:55

I really tried hard to read this essay. But I got to the bit that said The sanctity of human life is a Judeo-Christian notion which might very easily not survive [the disappearance of] Judeo-Christian civilisation and I had to give up in order not to throw something at the PC Screen.

What arrogance, what hubris.

As WWM2 says, atheism is not faith, despite Prof Ferguson saying it was the faith he was brought up in. Athiesm is not a metaphysical framework, it is a realisation that the God of the gaps will soon be confined to the tiny spaces between what we know today and what we'll know in the future.

I'd say to anyone, if you need a spiritual aspect to your life, go ahead and have one. Just don't try to pretend that your brand of Bronze Age fairy tales are superior to anyone else's, or are a necessity for civilisation.

Whitewavemark2 Tue 29-Jun-21 09:23:06

Well, I’ve read it and disagree on so many levels, that my contribution will be pointless.

Hopefully there will others who think the central premise is worthwhile.

Galaxy Tue 29-Jun-21 09:26:26

From what I have heard of the debate they believe that people are trying to fill the gap left by the decline in organised religion. I can see what they mean, lots of people searching for meaning and trying to find it in politics, identity, etc, some of the language of identity politics is quite religious in my view. There is a grain of truth in the idea but it's too simplistic and I think over looks those of us for whom religion is as relevant as golf say, if you dont play golf!

Whitewavemark2 Tue 29-Jun-21 09:27:54

Humanism fills the so called gap very well.

Baggs Tue 29-Jun-21 09:29:20

Interesting that people find that disagreeing is a problem for them, in the sense of making any contribution thay make to a topic pointless.

I didn't agree or disagree with the article; I just found it interesting.

alegrias, my interpretation of what Niall Ferguson said about how he was brought up did not see his statement that he "regarded" atheism as the religion he was brought up in as meaning the same thing as stating that atheism is a religion. I think there's a subtle difference in there.

Baggs Tue 29-Jun-21 09:30:35

Whitewavemark2

Humanism fills the so called gap very well.

This is my feeling too but I'm interested in what other intelligent people think and feel about the subject.

25Avalon Tue 29-Jun-21 09:30:59

Very interesting. I studied religion as one of my topics at university. Logically you can neither prove or disprove the existence of God so the rational stance is to be agnostic. Otherwise it boils down to belief. He was brought up to believe there was no God rather than to believe there is one, so in that sense he has an atheist faith.

Alegrias1 Tue 29-Jun-21 09:33:35

Quote from Ferguson: I regard atheism as the religious faith I happened to be brought up in.

I'm afraid the arguments about how many angels on the head of a pin leave me cold, as does much of religious "debate". Did he mean this, did he mean that?

I suspect that's why people find disagreeing with this publicly is pointless; the statements make no sense at all to anyone with a degree of critical thinking about the world.

You'll have guessed, I'm not on the fence about this topic grin

Alegrias1 Tue 29-Jun-21 09:35:18

The idea that atheism is based on faith is quite possibly the most damaging idea I can think of, but convenient for criticising atheists.

I'm off for a coffee before I get really annoyed.

Baggs Tue 29-Jun-21 10:38:34

Alegrias1

The idea that atheism is based on faith is quite possibly the most damaging idea I can think of, but convenient for criticising atheists.

I'm off for a coffee before I get really annoyed.

In general I agree that atheism is a lack of faith. This is because atheists have no faith that gods exist.

However, some people's atheism could be defined, I think, as a strong belief (faith) that gods do not exist.

There is a difference (which perhaps those who oppose pinhead arguments won't see) between those two sentiments. I detect a difference anyway. This sort of discussion isn't about winning an argument or believing only one point of view is worth talking about.

#StandUpForPinheads 📍📍📍📍📍📍 wink

Baggs Tue 29-Jun-21 10:39:53

It certainly isn't worth getting annoyed about, alegrias. Just enjoy the different points of view 🙂

Whitewavemark2 Tue 29-Jun-21 10:47:20

25Avalon

Very interesting. I studied religion as one of my topics at university. Logically you can neither prove or disprove the existence of God so the rational stance is to be agnostic. Otherwise it boils down to belief. He was brought up to believe there was no God rather than to believe there is one, so in that sense he has an atheist faith.

But whoever makes the claim of an existence of a deity carries that burden of proof, and he/she can’t.

So I don’t think agnostic is logical.

Baggs Tue 29-Jun-21 10:47:32

Also, strongly believing one thing does not a religion make so those who argue that atheism is not a religion are still "right".

I think one of the central arguments of the essay referred to in the OP is that some atheists, seeing what they interpret as a rotting, or a decline, of western civilisation, feel the need for a religious philosophy, even if they've never believed in god(s) themselves. I think it was Richard Dawkins who coined the phrase "cultural Christianity". That's what the essay is about in my view.

Alegrias1 Tue 29-Jun-21 10:48:48

Baggs

It certainly isn't worth getting annoyed about, alegrias. Just enjoy the different points of view 🙂

There is a difference (which perhaps those who oppose pinhead arguments won't see) between those two sentiments.

With respect smile I can understand arguments, I just don't think they are useful.

Atheism isn't a lack of anything. Saying its a lack of something minimises it and suggests that once that lack is filled, things will be different.

So, when we engage in arguments that don't downplay a rational outlook, then I'll start enjoying the different points of view smile

Alegrias1 Tue 29-Jun-21 10:51:36

Dawkins's "cultural Christianity" was because he likes singing Christmas Carols in beautiful buildings, not because he was looking for deeper meaning.

HolySox Tue 29-Jun-21 10:59:05

Interesting essay. I like the problem of defining "All human life is precious". Being made in the image of God, then we all have equal value. But atheists, agnostics and humanists have no point of reference (i.e. God). How can they assert this?
Perhaps 'intellectual' are more important? Well maybe in today's society - but if civilisation breaks down (concern of this essay) will it not return to the biggest bully in the playground taking charge?

25Avalon Tue 29-Jun-21 11:02:45

WWM2 it is logical because as an agnostic you are saying as we cannot prove God’s existence or non existence all we can say is we don’t know. It is the difference between knowledge and belief. You might believe God exists or not but you cannot know.

Grandma70s Tue 29-Jun-21 11:09:30

I’ve always felt that God is made in the image of man, not the other way round. Religion is an invention of humankind, often to comfort them about the fact of death.

Caleo Tue 29-Jun-21 11:21:17

25Avalon wrote:

" Logically you can neither prove or disprove the existence of God so the rational stance is to be agnostic. "

Yes, but it is not enough to be agnostic, as we need a pragmatic basis for our common mores. There is a big selection among philosophers, prophets, seers, obviously. Jesus is traditional . I can argue that Jesus (NB not Christ) is incomparable for a moral code not only described but also lived.

catnip Tue 29-Jun-21 11:34:10

I found the article very interesting, and have also read 'Dominion' recently. As this is only the second time I have posted a comment on the forum, I'm hesitating before saying anything more, but here goes...
My background is in theology, and it taught me to express myself with due respect for all points of view. My faith is very shaky at times, but its there. Sometimes it may be a comfort, but more often its a struggle. Very occasionally there is a sense of that Other -which I call God, but others may sense as the spiritual or transcendent in whatever way they choose to express it. We all have valuable ideas to offer.