Happy Woden’s (Odin’s) Day.
As I explore the spiritual side of atheism, I have to talk about a danger that I see atheists falling into which is creating a new god for themselves. I am part of a couple atheist groups and one is a group fo fellow atheist libertarians. One discussion we were having was on this very issue and one of them remarked that some people leave faith and worship of a god and only turn around and start worshiping the government god or the climate change god, etc. I agree.
Gods of all types are usually constructs of our own minds. When we don’t understand something in truth by investigation our mind fills the gaps with some sort ‘god’ to hold that place and we either gather more evidence to find the truth or settle for this imaginary gap filler.
A good example is when an atheist starts talking about climate change and starts saying – ‘the science is settled’. Such a statement of antithetical to science, as science is supposed to always be amendable to new information. Yes, theories form, and scientific theories are strong (such as the theory of evolution) but science is a tool, not an omniscient force. If it tries to pass itself off as omniscient, or the final word on a matter, then it isn’t science anymore.
Time to Look Through the Eye:
“To see the truth, change one eye for another”
Faith is becoming a difficult subject for me. Mostly because I don’t see it as a virtue anymore and am starting to come to the point of view it is the most dishonest position one can take to simply believe something without evidence. Then to assert it as an absolute and try to force it on others compounds the dishonesty with violence. I have noted historically speaking faith has caused far more wars than reason.
I meditate on virtues, the caution for me is not to make them ‘gods’ either, they need to be amendable and in a week I may be doing some editing of them for this very reason. Noting can be so absolutely known by us human beings that should not be amendable to reason and wisdom.
I find there is a mystery in the world, but the danger is to use mystery as an excuse to keep my ‘gods’ instead of casting them on the fire with the rest of the nonsense. I need to never accept mystery as an answer like theologians and the religious. Nothing is exempt from being a subject of being studied and better understood. Nothing is exempt from criticism. Mystery should be an identifier of these things, not a cop-out.
I have wrestled with how to get the human side of atheism expressed more and one of the things is not to be so dogmatic about so many things. Humans are prone to error and so even making humankind a god through humanism is no a good idea. I put a lot of stock in humanities’ ability to overcome their problems but also know we could fail and that will mean the end of us and the universe would be off to form something else.
I simply want to avoid making anything substitute for my former faith in the same way. Filling the gaps with faith, mystery, and causes as substitute gods is not a good idea. The results are of the same negative vein as religion. People get religious in their fervor to the point of harming others and that same fervor can be in atheists if they take on a new ‘god’. This is something I wish to avoid.
The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.