Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, June 1, 2015

"Wanted: A Theology of Atheism"

Speaking for myself, that's NOT what I want at all. The rich tradition of godless thought and writing (see Jennifer Michael Hecht's Doubt: A History, for ex.) needs no theological frame or (as a friend put it) "codification," but it does need to be acknowledged. And most of us don't feel the need to go to Atheist Church or sing secular hymns.
Still, an interesting essay from UNC historian Molly Worthen:
...Pragmatist philosophers like Philip Kitcher offer a different approach to the question of atheist morality, one based on “the sense that ethical life grows out of our origins, the circumstances under which our ancestors lived, and it’s a work in progress,” he said. In the pragmatist tradition, science is useful, but ethical claims are not objective scientific facts. They are only “true” if they seem to “work” in real life.

“Successful experiments” — the trial and error of weighing self-interest against the needs of the community — “built the human conscience,” Mr. Kitcher wrote in his 2014 book, “Life After Faith.”
Continue reading the main story
POSTSCRIPT, June 7. Interesting reader-response in Sunday's letters. To Ms. McGIRR of Greenwich...
I suggest there are few because atheism’s central tenet — there is no God — is a denial, and something of beauty is, above all else, an affirmation.
Greenwich, Conn.
...may I respectfully direct you to Mr. Penn Jillette's affirming personal credo: "There IS no god!" Of course, he also says he's "beyond atheism." In my experience, most atheists are.

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