Friday, May 9, 2014
The Ex You Can't Get Over
Then I read Thomas Well's Why I am Not an Atheist: Better Apathetic Godlessness than Illiberal Scientism. How masterfully he expressed something I have been feeling. Wells does make well the point that the New Atheism is pretty much the counterpart to religious fervency. So if we believers are having trouble discussing our "passion" with nonbelievers, maybe its because of those emotional strings attached.
Then there was something he wrote which I had to borrow for my post title. He wrote:
New Atheism isn't nearly godless enough for me. These atheists seem somewhat obsessed with the quite unremarkable fact that god doesn't exist, like an ex they claim to be over but can't stop talking about.
I don't know if his example there is original, but it isn't mine so I will just point to him as my source of inspiration.
Next he adds this as his main point:
Atheism should not look like another option on a "select your religion" drop-down menu; it should be beyond religion.
But it does. That is exactly what it often looks like when presented by those who have been hurt by religious fundamentalism and/or dogmatism. I read and I appreciate their very real pain. Yet I wonder if deep down they (maybe unconsciously) are swinging from one extreme to the other. It's not for me to say. But I can't help but wonder.
Wells expresses his view of unbelief as apathetic and something that "simply follows from my materialism."
Perhaps then those of us who take seriously the God-hypothesis but are unwilling to be narrow in our thoughts about it should take a cue from Wells and make sure our belief is also somewhat apathetic; in other words, that it is something that naturally follows from our spiritual worldview, and not something grounded solely in our emotional thoughts.
Then either an apathetic believer or nonbeliever would be free to look at the opposing viewpoint without rancor. If we are really "over our ex" we should be able to discuss her somewhat dispassionately, as a fellow human to whom we could only become so attached. If we can't do this, in either case, perhaps it is fair to recall that old saying, "there is a fine line between love and hate."