18 July 2007


What follows is a response of sorts to comments made on “Atheists and Difference in Kind” both from my blog and on the American Thinker.

I think it is important first off to admit that I do presuppose the divine - something greater than man. I would argue that atheists and theists alike believe in something greater than man. That a non-theist puts some idea, some science or some person in the place of the divine does not change the function. So I must admit that a weakness of my argument, if it can be called a weakness, is that I assume that man is not the highest being, that there must be some thing, some perfection (or approach toward perfection) “above” man.

Therefore I do not see it as counterintuitive to discuss the divine or the non-theistic replacement for the divine as beyond human knowledge. That men pretend to have full knowledge of the divine is a human failing. The attempt to use this “certain knowledge” of the divine for purposes of power is an entirely human endeavor, no matter what language and ritual surrounds it. In this way, the “True Believer” – theistic or atheistic – is not religious in the humble sense of the word. He is the usurper of the divine. That is not a commentary on the divine or any replacement for the divine, for that matter. It is a comment on the nature of man.

It is a correct statement that The Bible is a book, and a human book at that. It was not, to my knowledge, divinely created – meaning that God did not whisper in the ear of the writer(s). Therefore the book, like all other things human, is fallible. There are great teachings in the book and guidelines to living a good life, but it takes a thinking, reasoning human to make use of it. Of course, a thinking, reasoning human can also render it useless through selective examination (a term which I know will cause problems) or pervert it to his own ends. That's the catch with free will.

And there, I think, is the catch when attempting to lay fault with God or religion for the woes of the world. Doing so deflects blame from where it ought to be - with the individual man and his own failings. This is the case for the theist’s God as well as the atheist’s divine replacement, whatever that might be. To paraphrase Shakespeare, our faults are not the divine, but in ourselves.


Paul Sheats said...

Thanks for your response. I am always interested in another point-of-view. I think that differences of opinion are the catalysts for better human understanding.

Bob M. said...

Indeed. And calm, composed sharing of opinion is what drives understanding between people. Thanks for posting your views and for reading. I look forwarrd to your comments in the future.

Bob M.