Atheism aimed too high

This short “Thought of the Day” post presents a personal opinion on atheism and proposes opening a debate on the same. It is informed by personal experience resulting from an exploration of different faiths this past decade.

A Roman Catholic since I was a foetus, I rebelled by exploring spiritism, wicca, agnosticism and atheism in what I now know to be a search for the meaning of Life in the wrong place: others.

As a re-re-re-converted Roman Catholic version 4.1, I oftentimes reflect on past choices. Here’s a reflection on atheism.

Atheism aimed (what I think is a poorly constructed ideology) mostly against God and the hierarchy of the Church, lead by a Messiah. Atheism doesn’t exist as a faith in its own right but as an antagonistic belief that automatically opposes all divine, supernatural figures and their related rites. It also forgot that all organised society, and most of us in it, need role models and life advice. These are the reasons why I think atheism will never be valid to anyone beyond those seeking attention, social dissociation and recognition from self-appointed “analytical, down-to-earth minds” that curiously assume the same status and burdens that Church leaders have.

The trait that gives atheism away as a “rebellion without cause” is its failure to consider the great mysteries that are human conflict and context. Internal and environmental. Atheism failed to address the critical and humane needs to assert identity and answer existential questions. A topic that C. G. Jung explored in depth.

To live without wondering where everything originates from is to lead a half-life in my opinion.

Admittedly, it could be argued against the above that atheism does attempt to fill the existential void by turning to a divine figure that jealously guards all the answers to existence: science. A figure that will be channelled in due course by a saviour figure in lab robes and thick glasses.

I considered this (in more serious and unbiased terms) but it didn’t do much to amend my view of atheism’s purpose. Science to me is a tool, a methodology, nothing more.

Maybe this personal bias makes it difficult for me to accept (again) that there is any validity in the anthropocentric belief that is atheism. I’d need some reading or ideas on that and any reader’s feedback might help too : ). Please rate, comment, share much appreciated.

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5 thoughts on “Atheism aimed too high

  1. Some would like to believe in God, but cannot. If they have to call themselves something, then agnostic is generally the right word: they cannot ‘believe’, but acknowledge that there might just be a god. Atheists sometimes say it’s a bit weak to be an agnostic, because you haven’t committed yourself to either side of the philosophical divide. I like to think of myself as a pious agnostic, because I like churches (and temples) and value the historical and social riches they have given us.

  2. Atheism doesn’t exist as a faith of its own, that much is correct, but it only opposes (per definition) the belief in one or more gods, not necessarily everything supernatural (of course, many atheists are skeptics). And no, atheism doesn’t “forget” that humans need role models and life advice – it just doesn’t accept role models or life advice in the basis “because our holy books says that god wants it”. Atheists have perfectly fine lives, proving that they have good enough role models and get good enough life advice.

    I am not sure where you got the idea from that atheists don’t wonder where everything originates from. They just refuse to accept the first made up answer – “God did it.” – because, for example, there is no evidence for it.

    And surprisingly, you are right: Science is a tool, nothing more. Atheists don’t pray to it and for atheist it isn’t dogma – simply because science knows that it can be wrong – but science learns from it. Religion, on the other hand, claims that it cannot be wrong and only slowly adapts (if there is no other way), afterwards claiming that it knew it all along.

    And honestly… Atheism is anthropocentric? Christians believe that the world was created for them, that they were created in god’s image, that the whole universe revolves around them, that the creator gave them a special purpose and really cares about them – but atheism is ANTHROPOCENTRIC??? The same atheism that is said to be nihilistic, because most atheists accept that they are completely irrelevant for the universe itself? You really can’t be serious…

    • Thanks for the comment and ideas.

      Thankfully none of us can claim to be fully right or wrong because each of us has a different perception of life and, the right to choose what we want to believe. I think respect is important when it comes to discussing religion.

      What is “correct” for any one of us doesn’t have to be “correct” for everyone else. This is where I see atheists also fail to really make an impact: their forceful approach. One pretty much in line with the one that other religions’ lay communities follow, to “protect” their beliefs (against what, I will never know – food for thought…).

      We don’t only need role models… this is an idea that I had some trouble describing well: from a psychology perspective, according to Jung, we also need complementary figures that either enhance aspects of ourselves or embody something we desire, in order to feel complete.

      This is a psychology theory that I am only beginning to grasp and one that Jung devised and developed, if you are interested.

      If applied to religion, it can help understand the reason why we have relied on religions and their icons for millennia and are easily led to kill or be killed in their name.

      Going beyond what Jung wrote (maybe too early but I can change the idea later) is that infants follow a process of individuation to construct their “self” as they become aware they are not at one with the world they exist in, but an isolated being in it. It would seem religious figures help keeping us sane, significant and complete during that process and beyond. It is theorised to be a very deeply routed need (I have experience of this, as most of us seem to do) which would explain the wisdom of religions filling in an existential void with divine figures. Figures that curiously resonate with the apparent order of the world we live in. This last is a tough idea to write down without devaluing it.

      Do forget this if I didn’t explain it right…

      I am confident I have a personal opinion to give to each of the remarks in the comment but I feel that it will not contribute as much to the debate as it would to develop what I wrote in the post and above.

      Briefly, I think that, because it was originated by the same race that originated and perpetuated other religions, atheism (whatever it defines itself as) is really very much alike every other religion. Only perhaps a lot less in tune with psychological and natural needs. Hopefully comments can be kept general and respectful please? Thanks.

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