Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Group 1: Baggini - "Atheist, obviously."

Once again, I find myself liking much of what Baggini has to say about atheism. No, not all religions are equally harmful or useless. No, not all religious persons are stupid or victims of a delusion. No, one doesn't have to espouse a vitriolic dismissal of all things religious in order to be an atheist. Yes, it is possible to be both a good person and a religious person.

Of course Baggini finds all the specific doctrines and supernatural claims of religion to be false, even obviously so. But like James, he finds something perhaps worthy of salvaging from the wreckage. The impulse that religion has so thoroughly hijacked should still command our attention and respect. The search for meaning, purpose, and transcendence is just as worthy a pursuit as it was in Biblical times. The difference is that nowadays, we have an unprecedented amount of tools with which to illuminate our search. Embracing reality on its own terms, forsaking obviously false (if comforting and familiar) explanations, being honest with ourselves and with others, recognizing our place in the unbroken chain of life...these are all worthy pursuits that don't need a religious underpinning.

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