Monday, March 2, 2015

I don’t believe I’ll disbelieve

   “Fervid atheism is usually a screen for repressed religion.” – Wilhelm Stekel.

   Atheism certainly is a religion and, like any other religion, it is dogmatic and therefore subject to inconsistency, error and debate. Just as every religion has its doubters, atheism must also be open to doubt.

   “There is no God” is a bald and brash assertion which can no more be proven through our powers of perception than can the assertion “God exists.” If religions positing a god are to be held up to criticism, disbelief and derision, then atheism, which posits the non-existence of any god, must be, as well.

   The fallacies and absurdities of every religion likewise abound in atheism. “The existence of evil proves that there is no God,” for example, is a proposition that can be attacked from all angles: Maybe God allows evil; maybe God can’t prevent evil; maybe what we see as evil is only something else in disguise.

   In fact, EVERY proposition in support of atheism is contingent on atheism’s negation; that is, you can’t make a claim about “no-God” that doesn’t refer to some type of God. So we must always ask the atheist: What is it that you’re denying?

   Atheism, then, has nothing solid at its core: it is simply an aggregation of denials. And since it doesn’t affirm anything, as religions go it is especially threadbare, unsatisfying and baseless.

   The atheist sees that all of man’s religions – all of our attempts to account for the mysteries all about us – are inadequate, and so he puts forth a religion of his own that is just as inadequate.

   I propose the establishment of a new religion, one that, if followed closely, will always be robust and sane. It is based on Bertrand Russell’s observation that “the ignorant are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.” I’d call it Paulism, but that name’s already taken. As a purely descriptive name, I’d use “okay-ism,” or “uh-huh-ism,” or “live-and-let-live-ism,” or maybe “whatever-ism” – anything to denote a bemused skepticism. It’s a religion to sustain us 24 hours a day, even through the dark night of the soul, because we don’t have to agonize to stay faithful to it.

   We can never go wrong by doubting everything. Doubt will never let us down.   

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