Thursday, August 16, 2012

Atheism, Nihilism and Mood-Altering Drugs

Harper's Magazine has an interesting piece on how the "new atheists" are going to live without God. We can hope (and pray) that they fare better in the end than the Logical Positivists, many of whom took their own lives.

The new atheists exhibit a great deal of energy and dedication in their efforts to disclaim God's existence and the Judeo-Christian understanding of God as good. To cut God out of the picture, we must also slash centuries of art, music, literature and philosophy. We must seek meaning in a shallow and profane humanism which slips into nihilism. Nihilism is not very fashionable in this age of social media. Nothing isn't much to talk about and the conversation quickly comes to an end.  Mood-altering drugs have been suggested.

Vanity. Vanity.


Thesauros said...

That modern atheists are complaining of physical ailments in the presence of religious icons (9/11 steal beam) betrays a psychosis that does not bode well for the future of said atheists.

Justin said...

I can't help but think that this is a regression, not an enlightenment, of the human condition. I found out that I test for Aspergers, and while reading up on it, I came across a study which showed a correlation between highly functioning autism and atheistic belief. Not to say that all atheists are autistic, but it makes some sense out of behaviors and talents that many atheists exhibit.

In Dallas, a teacher just received a 5 year sentence for having inappropriate relations with four of her students. I initially was sympathetic to the "husband", who announced that he would stand by his wife, until I heard this morning that they both engaged in that lifestyle.

Not being a student of cultural history, having a viewpoint from just one generation and one country, I still can't help thinking that as we "get rid of God", it is a regress and not "progress" that is on display. A regress that makes us, in many ways, less human than those "bronze age goat herders and their silly superstitions", as the atheiss are fond of saying. But perhaps it has always been this way.

Alice Linsley said...

Justin, Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I too believe that the atheist has a skewed and distorted understanding of ancient wisdom which was based on observation of the natural order. Though they did not know the science of astronomy, they knew of "Earth's Great Year" and the existence of binary stars. They understood that the constellations have a clock like motion. They recognized a geometric and mathematical quality to the cosmos. Though they did not know the science of genetics, they were experts at animal husbandry. They knew the Earths is a sphere and that the Sun was the center of our solar system. This means that Europeans in the Middle Ages who thought otherwise represent a loss of wisdom. The notion that humanity steadily accumulates knowledge is a lie. My students know less about the natural order than people their age knew in Abraham's time. Not one of 78 high school students recently surveyed knew that the days of the week are named for the 7 visible planets. They don't teach Astronomy at my school because it would conflict the with Young Earth Creationism that predominates the curriculum.

Justin said...

It really is a loss to society that many curriculum items don't get taught. I've had to teach myself logic, which I was not exposed to in high school or college, but I find it extremely valuable in my work. I would have liked an astronomy class. I'm amazed at how they could teach teens to navigate ships over thousands of miles without a TomTom.

Young Earth Creationism is frustrating, something I wish Christianity could move beyond. Of course, fundamentalists come in many stripes.

Insofar as "superstitions" are concerned, if the first century people were not aware of the regular, orderly workings of nature, how would they have ever recognized a miracle from any other event?

Thesauros said...

"how would they have ever recognized a miracle from any other event?"

Good grief! They weren't idiots. Mary knew that you don't get pregnant without sexual intercourse. She asked, "How can this be, for I am a virgin?"

They knew that people don't get
healed from leprosy or from being crippled since birth by someone speaking a word.

They knew that storms don't quit in an instant at a command from a human.

And they certainly knew that people do not rise from the dead by natural means.

That is why those who knew Jesus, those who were taught by Him and who watched Him interact with people, loving His enemies and forgiving them even as they were killing Him, those who spent time with Him for 40 plus days after He was buried gave their lives to tell the world about His resurrection and His plan of salvation.

Alice Linsley said...


Justin is making a statement of logic.(He is studying logic.) His point is that miracles are anomalies and we recognize anomalies because they depart from the normal pattern. That is not to say that every anomaly represents a miracle. It may be the case as well that some "miracles" have a natural explanation, though the explanation may not be evident.

Justin said...

Sorry for any confusion. I was meaning to say that I don't think the first century people were as unlearned as they are sometimes made out to have been. I agree with your take, Thesauros.

Alice, did I miss your book release?

Alice Linsley said...

The first manuscript - The Ancestors of God - hasn't found a publisher and I don't have time to hunt one down. I'm moving ahead on the next book: A Student's Commentary on Genesis.