Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Epiphany? No.

I wasn't looking for a religious epiphany from my experience with Myles, and I haven't had one. Having said that, it's 2am and for the first time in a long time I've started asking religious questions again. Not the really lame cliche religious questions that probably jump into some of your heads (Andrew!) but I've begun to look more deeply at my atheism from a philosophical point of view. Because it was in 2004-2005, right around the Presidential elections that I closed the book on all of that pondering and uncertainty. I embraced my atheism wholeheartedly and never looked back (except maybe to crack jokes). Good times. But part of me knows that closing that book was a reaction to the politics of the time. I was pretty bitter, and now that I think about it, perhaps what happened is I lost hope. So anyway, I haven't got it all figured out yet (I've all of the sudden got some big questions to chew on and some books to read), but do expect more long drawn out posts about my atheism alla Fall of 2006.

What I'm contemplating right now (yes at 2am on a Tuesday):

Does atheism=nihilism. I've never thought so, but I recently read an argument by John Haught that made me question it. The question is: can you be an atheist and justify hope for humanity? So, to any atheists out there who want to step up to the plate, are you nihilists? If not, why not? No, I'm not asking if atheists can be moral, most atheists I know have much more deeply held values than most christians (and certainly they are more just). The question isn't the can, its the why? And it's not the why, as in tell me about social justice. It's the why as in, what in your consciousness keeps you striving for those values? Why do you still hope and what are you hoping for?


vixanne wigg said...

This is a good question. I actually had to go back and look up nihilism to make sure I fully remembered the meaning. (I was an English major. Not a philosophy major!)

Basically, the gist is that nihilists believe that life has no meaning or purpose, right? And that there is no real truth and no real right or wrong?

Going on that....yeah. I guess I would consider myself a nihilist. I don't think that we're here for any reason unless it's a reason that we create for ourselves. I think inherently people are all selfish in that we do what makes us feel good. But people generally feel good making other people happy and feeling like we have some kind of purpose, so I think many people create their own reasons for living.

In my own case, I grew up Jewish, and I think that although I don't believe in a god, the Jewish sense of ethics I was taught...the concept of tikkun olam...improving the world...probably has stuck with me. I suppose I'm also a romantic and although I don't really believe that people are basically good, I want to believe it. So I keep hoping.

anarchist mom said...

Despite my strong atheist leanings, I've always been so certain there is a higher ground. A more just world to achieve. I'm not a nihilist, I see their argument, but it actually starts to make a case for me to move from atheist to agnostic again. I do believe in objective good, and hope, and how can I do that with atheism?