Thursday, July 20, 2006

Should Atheism Matter?

Since I seem to be beating a dead horse into a fine little pulp (and because I have this suweet widget that lets me post to blogger straight from Dashboard), I want to pose a question. This question can be either rhetorical or non-rhetorical, it's largely up to you.

I was wondering if atheism should even matter in the arena of public (or private) discourse. It's interesting that I'm now thinking that, because I used to think upon atheists with a bit of confusion. I couldn't get how atheists could possibly believe what they believe. But after reading Sam Harris' book, I realized that my problem wasn't with atheism, but with my definition of atheism. I found, via Harris, that an atheist isn't necesarily a reductionist. You can be an atheist and still believe in higher levels of reality. You just can't be an atheist and believe in those realities without proof.

In that sense, Buddhsim (something I've claimed as my religion) is an atheistic tradition. There is no God in it. There is no god in it. There is no Thor, or Zeus, or Yahweh, or Allah. There is only your direct experience of reality.


Anywho, I'm beginning to think that this whole issue of atheism is a non-point. It doesn't matter to be an atheist. In fact, atheism has little to no affect on just about anything. As Sam Harris stated, being an atheist is more or less not actually something you could be.

The things I fear are reductionism and positivism. No need to fear atheism. Phew.

Namaste. :)


Lord Ebon said...

Your definition of Atheism seems awfully close to my definition of Agnosticism.

To me, Agnositicism is the belief in/realization of a some kind of higher power, but also the complete rejection of organized religion as being unproven and impossible to prove (and thus a Higher Power being impossible for humanity to simplify into something understandable).

To me, Atheism is the complete rejection of the idea that there is a higher power.

It seems that you're saying Atheism is the rejection of the idea of a higher power until it can be proven. This seems like a blend of Agnosticism and Atheism to me.
The word of the day is ngvvd.

Tallxcrunner said...

Yeah... Ed does have a point. But I do believe that there is a new definition of atheism to include some spiritual existance as opposed to actively rejecting any spirituality.

But then again.. I would be the latter so I don't know. To me, there are my desires, then science and intuition to guide the way.

Therefore, I would be included in the rejection definition.