Atheist and God

"Paradoxically, the atheist 'knows' more about God than the sophisticated theist -- he knows so much that he knows no such thing could exist. He 'knows' the divine nature and knows that it is incompatible with the existence of evil -- to mention one line of attack. Aquinas, by contrast, held that the existence of God is far better known than God's nature -- which remains shrouded in a cloud of unknowing."

Bill Vallicella, Maverick Philosopher


Comments

Komal said…
Good article. I especially liked this part:

"It is vastly more a seeking than a finding. More a cleansing of windows and a polishing of mirrors than a glimpsing. And certainly more a glimpsing than a comfortable resting upon dogmas. Perhaps when religion and philosophy are viewed as quests they merge into one another."

That is exactly how it is for me. I never want to compartmentalize my 'religious' and philosophical views, but I'm forced to by the social unacceptability of theism in the academy. At university my theistic identity is more hidden than my lesbian identity, and will have more serious repercussions for me if revealed (this is even more true of people in the higher reaches of academia; I'm merely an undergraduate).

Atheists complain about not being accepted (some going so far as to say they are persecuted or oppressed), but I wish they would realize that in many circles, and perhaps even entire societies, it is much easier and more common to be an atheist than a theist.
Malang said…
I've always felt this discussion to be distended in the middle, as if the innate implacation is that an atheist has no 'soul', or better 'soulfulness' because he rejects a 'theistic' God.

I find that several atheists believe in an abstract God, a spark if you will. They simply reject an anthropomorphic, theistic, vengeful god described in texts and personal accounts.

Its terribly exhausting to say, when asked 'are you religious?' that 'no you dont believe in God as he appears in the books, but you stand agnostic on deism and etc etc etc.' It is just simpler to say 'nope atheist, and be left alone.' Then again there are as many fundamentalist atheists as anyone else...
Salman Latif said…
Great excerpt! And true indeed!
I believe a thiest turns into an athiest when he has left no stone unturned in the quest of finding a reason to realize that God exists. And when he fails, he turns over to the other side. Thiests, on the other hand, have a tendency to stay in a closed circle - most of them, that is.