Sic et Non
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“Godless congregations”? What a bizarre concept.
If I ever decided to reject God and became an atheist, the last thing in the world I would want to do is attend a weekly “godless congregation”.
Oh well, I guess there is the social aspect, or something.
Nicholas Frankovich writes: “Wonder more: No one disputes that atheism is compatible with wonder at the physical universe and how it works. Wonder at how it came to be just so, however, soon leads to wonder at how it came to be at all, a question that atheists typically sidestep. The pleasure of contemplating it is forbidden fruit to which the Sunday Assembly approaches nearer than a good atheist ought.”
And just how does he come to this conclusion? Can he know the mind of every non-believer and what is sidestepped? Is he reading from a non-believer’s doctrine which alerts him to what this “atheist religion” is or should be? Perhaps he’s referring to the “Militant Atheist’s Manifesto”, co-authored by Dawkins, Dennett, Harris and Krauss?
I didn’t say “every.” I said “typically.”
Thank you Nicholas, for that interesting and thought-provoking article.
OK, how do you know what a “typical” irreligious person believes and what is sidestepped? Your assertion that you know the mind of even a typical nonbeliever is ridiculous. I’d also be interested, since you call atheism a religion, if you could point me to published doctrines which a “typical” atheist holds as fundamental belief?
First, I wrote of atheists sidestepping the question, not of irreligious persons doing so. Not all irreligious persons are atheists. And, depending on your definition of religion, not all atheists are irreligious.
But to the larger point that you address: If you don’t sidestep the question “Why is there not nothing?” you’re interested in what theists call theism, though I appreciate that many atheists are allergic to that word, which is why I suggest that we come up with a new term for what those of us on either side of the “God” debate are talking about. I suggest that the word “nothing” might do.
As for whether atheism is a religion, I don’t say that it is, though I consider the argument, advanced by some atheists, that atheism and religion are compatible. “Religion” is a notoriously elastic term. From the different contexts in which different people use the word, you can infer that everyone is assuming a different definition of it. I think that the word generates more heat than light, but I addressed it because in a discussion of the Sunday Assembly and atheism it’s hard, maybe impossible, to avoid.
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