Atheism

June 27, 2007 at 7:48 pm Leave a comment

 Did you notice that in the Toronto Star Saturday (June 23) Ideas section what was normally the “Religion” page was called “Faith and Ethics?” Did you notice that “Your Invitation to Worship” ads have shrunk to almost nothing now that Timothy Eaton Memorial has dropped out? Hmmm …. interesting. I read the article on atheist Richard Dawkins speaking at the IdeaCity conference in Toronto but I skipped the larger article by Tom Harpur titled “Behind the Atheist Upsurge”. Hmpfff … atheist upsurge…. Then on Monday’s “Letters/Comment” page there were a few letters responding to Harpur so I went back and read his article. Atheist upsurge, eh?

This upsurge is phoney in my view. I’m sure there are some real atheists out there but I’m more certain that there are a great many more people who are simply bewildered by the current literal/metaphorical Bible hassle who opt out of organized religion and are being grouped under the atheist banner thus giving the appearance of “upsurge.” It seems the basis of today’s atheism is that evolution and science have answered enough of life’s mysteries that the old bearded man on a throne sitting on the clouds directing our lives is ludicrous and irrelevant. That is hard to dispute and when you add in the literal/metaphorical debate, non-religious people are apt to wonder what all the fuss is about, ignore bewildering things spiritual and just go on living life.

The spiritual are currently facing the challenge of correlating the Bible to this more mature scientific knowledge and religion can be seen as being in retreat. The dust cloud of the literal vs. metaphorical discussion merely obscures the spiritual growth happening in religion today. The out come of this discussion is the emerging church. When I wrestled with the question of science and the Bible, I found this book very helpful and interesting: “Genesis and the Big Bang Theory (The Discovery of Harmony Between Modern Science and the Bible) by Gerald L. Schroeder. It opened a door for me and gave me a number of “AHA” moments.

Whatever the outcome of the debate, for me what atheism fails to address is: What existed prior to the Big Bang? Why do we exist as living, cognizant beings? Atheists and the confused (including Jonathan Haidt author of “The Happiness Hypothesis” who describes himself as a Jewish atheist!?) are satisfied to accept that we simply exist and that is enough. When the fat lady sings, it’s all over. I don’t believe that. I believe when the fat lady sings, the spectacle is over and you get to go home.

God is a concept that we may never fully come to grips with. We have learned that God is not an old man on a misted mountain top. God is not a man or a woman or a child. God is not even called God. Perhaps the best definition/name of God is “Ground of Being” but we just don’t know, hence the many concepts and names for God. For me “God” is being. “God” is a force big enough to bring creation into being and small enough to give being to my hundred pounds (or so…ahem!) of clay. I’m satisfied with that and call it faith. When life is over for my hundred pounds of clay I accept that it is the end for my body but I believe that the spark that made it a being does not end. It is an eternal part of the whole, of what we call “God”. If the Big Bang was the beginning of being as we know it, it is reasonable that it took place in some kind of existence, which for me points to a being that exists beyond what we can comprehend. I think atheists (and again, I believe there are very, very few true atheists) know this deep in their heart too, they just can’t see past the fat lady.

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Entry filed under: Wrestling With God.

Sitting Bull The Doldrums

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