Hole Shaped God

The movement of lent is from penance to penitence to repentance. In Atheism for Lent we take seriously the religious critiques of Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Slavoj Žižek, confronting ourselves with the images and idols we have made of God, exposing them for what they are and consequently exposing our belief for what it truly is. In what ways is our desire blinding us to ideological structures? How do our hoped for promises come to be mistaken as guarantees?

We must remember that giving up God, in the narrow sense, does not mean giving up the possibility of God (which is something religion is rarely content with). We desire certainty and absolutes; in short, we desire to be tapped into something powerful enough to guarantee the satisfaction of our desire. And when this desire becomes synonymous with “God,” we have done nothing more than fall into the rut of idolatry, worshiping the object of our desire and declaring it to be divine.

What is it within us that isn’t satisfied short of that certitude? Why does God often plug the hole of desire? Can this be done authentically?

What is important is for each individual to take stock of their beliefs about God and religion and ask why they are important to them, aside from the facile desire for “truth.” What is at stake in the existence of God, or the knowledge of God’s existence? Do we find that we feel empty if all we have are our fellow human beings and relationships? If so, what then is blocking our ability to realize the meaning of relationships apart from an eternal reference point? The underlying current in all of these questions might be, “why aren’t we enough for one another?”

The healthiest person to find love and relationship with a significant other is precisely not the person who is looking for it. It is the person who has accepted who they are, their life, the risk of not meeting someone, who, often, is in the best position to meet someone that changes their life. The former person is looking for someone, anyone, an X to fulfill need Y. This person needs their desired satisfied at any cost. Crassly put, they have a hole and they want it filled.

The truly meaningful relationship occurs when desire can be opened up like a wound, when it takes you rather than you take it, and retroactively, you can never imagine being without it. That is love, that is the difference berween desire and love If we are to get around to Augustine’s question of “What do I love when I love my God,” we must first ask what we desire when we desire God, what is the X that we need filled, what is the hole that we fit God into.

When we identify the need to always satisfy our desire–something that is impossible–and learn that desire is valuable precisely because it is desire, we might cease in our never-ending attempt to extinguish that which makes us truly human, a desire for the impossible. Otherwise all we have is a God of our own making, the object of desire, an idol declared divine.

Our belief in an innate God-shaped hole perpetuates our desire for a hole-shaped God.

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58 Comments

  1. angela February 18, 2013

    I’m beginning to think I was antheist all along and didn’t realize it until now. The possibility of a higher power is nice to think of..like leprechauns and unicorns. My dog had a puppy sat..I named him Jesus?! Not sure why I named him that but he died last night. I’m exhausted and heartbroken.

    • angela February 21, 2013

      Let me reply to myself…This is my first time participating in Lent. What a way to start! I have given up God. People have pretty much freaked out on me. I live in the midwest and it seems so straight and narrow here sometimes. I’m always defending the world and everyone in it. Most Christians in this area are afraid of anything that does not bare a resemblence to what they see in the mirror. They talk about gay marriage..put down other races and religions. I get so tired of ignorant people who hide behind their bibles and bash others like they are the only ones who are perfect..like their beliefs are the only path to take. It’s so disheartening. I had breakfast with my dad and his friends while the TV was playing the inauguration and I felt so alone sitting at a table full of ignorant hicks (including my father) who could rationalize all of their racism and ideas about others standing behind their bible quotes. Blaming how they think and feel on how they were raised..using the N word in the middle of McDonald’s like that was an acceptable word!! I was raised by my racist father and didn’t turn out anything like them!! The one guy always talks about how disgusted he is by gay people. I continually tell him that everyone has a right to their own sexual orientation…and he brings up how the bible doesn’t accept gay people..he also talks about muslims in a bad way too. I mentioned him getting ideas from a dusty old book written by dusty old dead people..A collection of stories from forever ago!! I went to church for 13 years of my childhood and those words just came out of my mouth like I had been holding back for a long time and finally let it go. Just tired of people hating anyone or anything that doesn’t fall into their narrow category of thinking..and so many times they use the bible to back up their idiot thinking. Why do we all have to put ourselves into categories like aethist/buddhist/christian/muslim/on and on..we are all humans first. I feel like I can see points of view from several different ideas and teachings with an open mind to all people. Does this make me a liberal thinker? The area I live in does not have much room for liberal thinking and it makes me sad. I feel like we’ve come so far..then some idiot opens their mouth and we go right back to the dark ages in a flash.

      • Abigail February 21, 2013

        Angela, not all of us in the Midwest are so backwards. I’m in Kansas, so I know what you’re talking about. Keep your chin up–you’re doing a good job. I know how hard it is in this culture.

        • angela February 26, 2013

          Thanks Abigail! I appreciate your comment and it makes me feel less alone in my feelings about the midwest mentality.

  2. Dan February 18, 2013

    Describe my hole shaped God? Wow! Great question! I have never considered this before. I guess I have always assumed he conforms to the shape of the “hole”. He is shaped like significance. He is shaped like a guarantee of peace. In short he responds to whatever shape I need him to be… not too impressed with this…

    • Anna Spencer February 18, 2013

      I would say like Dan that God is often shaped like significance, security, peace, love, and belonging. This is kind of a scary image to think about… how much of our view of God is a perpetuation of what we need.

  3. Angelo February 18, 2013

    Took me so long trying to say something about the questions above. Maybe ’cause I’ve already undertaken a path towards a/theism. But, since the purpose of this, I think I’ve come up with something: maybe my “hole-shaped God” has to do with my desire of belonging. Belonging to a community I cannot see it exists already. I search that community in the Bible, studying and studying things about Jesus and the Church. Maybe I just need that – and that this has nothing to do with God. I really don’t know.

  4. Mark Fitzgerald February 18, 2013

    I would say that the desire to have all the mysteries answered and to be able to live with complete certainty is an impulse that goes right back to the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve traded Oneness with God for the chance to be like God, to have all the answers, maybe it comes down to not fully knowing who we are and not trusting ourselves to be able to journey with God in the right direction… maybe we have too often associated the idea of mystery with misery as it is a lack of control

    • Ole Severin February 18, 2013

      I do recognize myself in what you say here, Mark. Since the beginning of time mankind has always strived to be like God, or be God. We have expanded our minds, our horizons only to find that we do not hold all the answers.
      And so, in my case, my “hole-shaped God” must be answers and certainty where there are only questions and uncertainty. Of course we all want to know how it all really started, before the big bang and everything, and of course we all want to know what happens “next”. What is eternity, if it even is real?
      Like many others, I find myself trusting God with these questions, believing that God knows.

      So, what happens if you lose this trust?

  5. Tim C. February 18, 2013

    Everybody:

    My one observation for the last few days of giving up God for Lent (and reading this first essay):

    Now that I don’t pray for this lenten season, I realize how often I prayed. Not out of any super-spiritual thing, and perhaps more of out of my reaction to my own anxieties more than anything. But so far, I’ve had to stop myself praying tiny thanks, asks, and just dozens of connective “broadcasts out to God” who you hope is there. So now I’ve given up that hope purposefully up until Easter, the loss of it does feel like a tangible loss.

    I can see how people who no longer find theism tenable, replace it with things like trusting in “the Universe.” But for this purpose, that feels like a bit of a cheat too. During this window, no Higher Power, however worded.

    But my need for reaching out to a Higher Power seems very tied to my own daily anxieties, my own fears of being out of power. My hole shaped God seems very tied to my own life’s insecurities and neediness….

    • Abigail February 19, 2013

      That makes sense, Tim. I find myself “praying” that way too. Speaking anxieties, gratitudes, plans, ideas, under my breath, as if to an all-hearing Being who will validate my pettiness.
      Lots of people cheat during Lent. If you find yourself too anxious without god to pray to, maybe you can start praying to the devil instead. :)

  6. Jadoke February 18, 2013

    Does God have ideological structures. I do think He does and has revealed them to us. “God, show me your ideological structures and I will bind my desires to them.”

    I certainly know that my hoped for promise of John 3:16 is never a mistaken guarantee!

    How can I not desire to be with God and He with me. He can’t be any less than Holy and there is always something in me that is not, until I am hid in Christ and all that is less in me taken by Him and removed as far as the East is from the West.

    In me was a missing piece. It was in the shape of the cross. With Christ as my Savior, He lives in me. In Christ I have been made complete. (Colossians 2:10)

    • Matthew February 18, 2013

      Thought: Saints are holy people. That is, saints are people riddled with holes. They are people who live according to the cross in a way which leaves them less-than. Saints are valuable to us as witnesses to the a way of life given not to consuming salvation (personalized hole-shaped gods) but being saved from unfettered desire. The shape of the cross may be useful as a “god-shaped hole” if also we continue to hold active the task of the cross – bloody ruin of self. Thus, in a way, the cross is the making of our holes, the fettering of consumptive desire, the hovering on our lips ” forgive them, they know not what they do”. And this, at least to everyone else, makes us appear holy. And if I am tattered with holes, I wonder what they see in me?

    • Abe February 20, 2013

      “In Christ I have been made complete”.
      That’s what the Bible says.
      Now, what does that mean exactly? How have you been made complete in Christ? So that means that all your needs have been fulfilled and you lack nothing in this world?

      “In me was a missing piece”
      What is the piece that was missing? What were you lacking before that now you’re not?

      • Abigail February 20, 2013

        Abe, the missing piece was the knowledge of insatiable lack. Completion is the recognition of incompletion. How’s that for paradox? Before you stone me for heresy, ask yourself if that’s any more rational than a trinity, a virgin birth, or our free will coexisting with god’s omnipotence.

  7. Chuck February 18, 2013

    A Christian friend pointed me to this site. I am an apostate who has become very comfortable in my agnostic atheism (I don’t know if god exists, it is unfalsifiable, and I don’t take moral direction or life’s purpose from any god concept) but, I commend you all for wrestling with this idea. It took me 3 painful years until I was comfortable giving up on god. Good luck.

    • Abe February 20, 2013

      “I don’t take moral direction or life’s purpose from any god concept”

      And who is saying that we’re doing that here? If that were true, then there is someone telling us how to behave, or there is someone with a series of commandments that we all have to fulfill in order to ____________. (fill in the blanks)

      For me, that’s very far from what is being presented on this video, or this video series. Unless I’m missing your point.

      • Chuck February 20, 2013

        I was defining the terms of my atheism, not commenting on any person’s morality. I know when I was a Christian, aligning my behavior to God’s will through religious practice was my moral guide.

  8. Will February 18, 2013

    Taking on Atheism for Lent offers a refreshing alternative to blind thoughtless faith. I do find, however, that it is impossible to truly experience Atheism as long as your faith is intact. For many faith is part of their identity, a byproduct of the worship of the Idol known as God. To face the world without the great invisible hand of guidance and love is not in the DNA of a “true believer.”

    The questions proposed, though thoughtful, are still reliant on the contemplation of God and not so much on the lack of God’s existence.

    Our desires push upon us the need to continue to shape God in our image in order that our will be done. Disregarding the ideological structures in order to gain God’s perceived favor is a blinding maneuver that can outweigh truth in the mind of a person seeking guarantees of promise. The truth that death is the only guarantee in life, no other promise is a guarantee. When we seek a guarantee out of promise, in a sense we are attempting to “guilt” God into giving us our own selfish way, “because he promised.”

    God “plugs the hole of our desire” by creating in us a never ending optimism in that which we seek satisfaction from. It’s only when that optimism runs out that we see the truth, that ‘we’ perpetuate our own delusion of the hole being plugged. We essentially use God as an excuse or bandage on our damaged view of life, it is the alternative to accepting our own emptiness.

    In a broad sense I have dropped the “hole-shaped God.” There is no fulfillment in false comfort. I accepted that truth years ago but I fight with my former self daily. I think I am still dealing with “culpable deniability.” Atheism, strangely, is more comforting in that it leaves nothing to the powers that may or ma y not be but leaves all of life to chance and your own doing.

  9. Miriam February 18, 2013

    I came across giving up god for lent at Greenbelt last summer. As an atheist who is involved with the Quaker movement, I was interested to hear about Christians who are exploring the rejection of christendom, “safe scaffolding of much loved formulae” ( UA Fanthorpe) and creedal ways and exploring atheist critiques of religion. I will be travelling this lenten journey with you to gain insights about the holy cows of atheism. Of cause you don’t have to be religious or believe in god to be arrogant or addicted to certainty. Your questions are refreshing and sobering. For me, being atheist is less about belief and more about “not knowing”. I was drawn to Quakers because of their rejection of creed and ritualistic intercession and more about embracing and exploring doubt a rejection of belief and exploring faithfulness. I am printing these readings for a group of men in prison who are both theist and atheist and who are interested in exploring this godless lenten journey.

  10. Jim February 18, 2013

    For me God plugged the hole (and whole) of my desires by being the end of the conversation rather than the beginning of the question. There was no question because God was the answer that cut it off before it was even given the chance to be asked.

    However, now I see God as the question, the invitation to explore and discover (rather than declare and defend). Every view of God is subjective, especially this one.

  11. Mark Canney February 18, 2013

    God plugs my irresponsibility hole. My hope is that I am ultimately not responsible for my actions. That, if I drop the ball somehow God will work it out and clean up the mess for me. That is the desire I am reaching from whenever I reach out to God.

    • Jim February 18, 2013

      Mark, are you ok with that God? Do you see that God as all that ultimately is or as the creation and object of your desire (or something else entirely)?

      Also, I know you’re not alone with the posture of “if I drop the ball somehow God will work it out and clean up the mess for me.” Sounds like a God who’s basement I never move out of. The laundry’s always done, there’s always food in the fridge. All I have to do is open a drawer or door and pull out what I need.

      -jkk

      • Mark February 19, 2013

        Oops… Hit the wrong button. Jim see my reply to your question below Alf Barreiro’s post, below Angelo’s reply.

  12. Amy February 18, 2013

    My hole-shaped God is meaning. Most importantly (but not only) meaning in the face of suffering. Even the most unthinkinkable forms of suffering might be endurable if there is meaning associated with it. “God” always provided that meaning. “And we know that ALL things work together for good for them that love God and are called according to his purpose.” I have heard that as the fix all for everything….from the smallest disappoinments to the most unspeakable of tragedies. Without God to love and without his purpose to be called to – how do I rewrite the narratives for the suffering I experience and witness? Meaningless tragedy becomes just that. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless!”

  13. Alf Barreiro February 19, 2013

    Angelo’s reply really resonated with the thoughts I’m having as I pondered the questions…

    Community is something I’ve always desired, especially from my teenage years on (I’m now 42). Belonging, protection, acceptance and ultimately love were (are) things I very muched desired and believed I was missing at various points in my life. I guessed my hole-shaped God answered those desires through the various churches (I’m speaking of the idealogical structure) I belonged to throughout the years.

    In a sense I desired those things and God gave me them. I believe since those desires were very self-focused various things happened to shatter those constructs. For me, I believe God’s mercy allowed me to start to deconstruct my thoughts on church, as well as my thoughts on myself and my desires, hopefully leading me to actually understanding, in some way, that it’s not about me…

    • Angelo February 19, 2013

      Hi, Alf.
      If you don’t mind I’d really like to know what is the meaning of your understanding of “it’s not about me”.
      Does it mean you stopped searching for communities/churches?

      At the point where I am, I think I left desire to have love, protection and those things.
      But, being honest with myself, I know I have desire to put myself into something that has purpose, something that is meaningful for the society. And, I cannot stop to think this has something to do with who God is.

      And, yet, I wonder if maybe this God I see is just the reflection of the desires I mentioned.

      (Hope I’m clear and sorry for my English)

      • Alf Barreiro February 21, 2013

        Hi Angelo,

        I never stop searching for community, but I began to look at the church differently. In a sense, not as an institution or movement, but as his people. I know that might sound a bit trite, but as I started seeing myself and my family as the church to others my community grew. As I started to see the church as people who could actually believe things about God and the Bible that were different than what I believed my community grew, and is growing.

        Another thought about the “it’s not about me” is that I’m (like you, I believe) in the process of deconstructing myself, as much as I’m deconstructing my thoughts about God and the church. In regards to my desires, I’m attempting to understand if they are just self seeking “about me” or maybe hopefully something more where God, other and myself are taken in account…

        I hope this helps, and I look forward to more conversations in this community we are part of.

        • Angelo February 21, 2013

          Thank you for your answer.

          I’m willing to reflect upon the things you said and maybe let you know more about what it’ll pop up.

    • Mark February 19, 2013

      No, I’m not ok with that God. In fact, now, I understand why I have been so angry with that God. My desires have been frustrated because I have been objectifying them into an idol and hoping and praying that, that idol would meet my requests. I have basically been praying to myself, or at least my own projection of my desire.

  14. April February 19, 2013

    My desire to belong has often blinded me to ideological structures. Causing me to ignore the questions that echoed in my depths, in order to keep the peace, or avoid conflict with people who believe they know exactly what God is like.
    I find myself hoping in a God that will make those things that I can’t handle disappear.

  15. Abigail February 19, 2013

    “Hole”-d on a minute. I take issue with the statement “The healthiest person to find love and relationship with a significant other is precisely not the person who is looking for it. It is the person who has accepted who they are, their life, the risk of not meeting someone, who, often, is in the best position to meet someone that changes their life.” This smacks of pop-psychology baloney. (In my humble and very subtly-stated opinion!) :)
    How can you prove that statement? First of all, there’s a false dichotomy being made between “accepting who one is,” etc., and “looking for a relationship.” The two do not necessarily cancel each other out. Secondly, is it even possible to measure the health of a relationship? Many psychologists have tried to devise methods of doing so, but they will probably be the first to admit these methods are built on very subjective conditions, such as “happiness” or “adequate communication.” (What is “adequate”?…) Lastly, even if you could definitively measure the health of a relationship, could you prove that the healthiest relationships are the ones formed by people who don’t really “look for” it? To me, this sounds like saying that the healthiest food is found when you aren’t looking for it, which, of course, flies in the face of what we know about agriculture. To grow healthy food, you have to cultivate, plan, tend, harvest… in other words, you have a specific outcome you are “looking for,” and you must learn the principles that work, and be proactive to achieve it.
    I get that when it comes to the concept of god, being open to the possibility that it might not exist is an important step in not deceiving oneself, but there are a host of very practical reasons that people seek, tend, cultivate, and enjoy relationships. There’s a distinction to be made between irrational desires and real needs.

  16. john bateman February 19, 2013

    all this talk of God plugging our holes is making me nervous, didn’t he do that to Mary?

    • Chuck February 19, 2013

      Good one.

    • Abigail February 19, 2013

      Ha ha ha. Though, I do feel sorry for Mary. She had to endure pregnancy and childbirth without ever having had the pleasure of orgasm etc. to look back on.

  17. john bateman February 19, 2013

    She was only 13 anyway, we have laws against it now.

  18. jcandito February 20, 2013

    I understand Nietzsche. I understand his “vitalism”. I understand giving up God. I don’t understand “for Lent” or “allowing God to transform you through your brokenness”. Why is it necessary to keep God around as a “possibility”?

    • Abe February 20, 2013

      Good point. I would like to hear other opinions on this one as well.

      • Chuck February 20, 2013

        Good point indeed.

    • Abigail February 20, 2013

      It seems to me like this site is geared towards people who haven’t fully committed to atheism. It’s like the proposition is: “Come on, try going without god for 40 days. That’s all. If you don’t like it, you can always go back.”
      Going without god for a period of time can reveal what you are actually “using” god for.

      For some, this idea is so scary they’ll never try it. For some, they will learn some deep lessons, and it will strengthen their faith. For some, it will offer the final nudge they needed to commit to atheism/agnosticism.

      That’s my take on it. I didn’t create the site, though, so I can’t speak for its authors.

      • jcandito February 20, 2013

        Abigal. At first I thought the same thing. But the approach taken by Peter and other a/theistic Christians keep bring back the possibility of God, and certainly God talk back into the conversation. I understand for the devout theistic Christian believer, there would be the “experience” pf the cross-feeling abandoned by a God who never existed. But why is identifying with Jesus on the cross important or even sensible beyond getting the “blind’ to see. I can’t see Nietzsche identifying with the “abandonment of God” as an essential value? Why not just “get over it” and life the best life one can. I have no problem with the concept of creating ones own meaning.

        What sense does it make to talk about feeling abandoned by something that is not there. Doesn’t abandonment presuppose the existence of a being from whom we are separated? Isn’t this a misuse of language or just plain gibberish.

        There is a Christian atheism by Gianni Vattimo that makes “some” sense to me. He interprets Christianity as “shoehorning” believer into a secularization. An emptying of God into humanity through an incarnation/secularizing process. An evolving realization that humans have projected a God into existence that is now “giving” that existence back to them in a radical translation of the New Testament.

        But isn’t this “God without a God” or “God beyond God” just more delusional thinking. Isn’t this as much a false idol as the God who doesn’t exist? I don’t see the urgency or the sense of identifying and “experiencing: the “loss”, Most people that I know who have finally given up their honest heartfelt search for God experience a sense of calm/peace, and dare I say “joy”, for the first time in a long time.

        • Abigail February 21, 2013

          Well, psychologically speaking, it doesn’t matter if an emotional wound is rationally valid or not. It’s still a wound. We are all creating our own existence/meaning, and we can get hurt over things that don’t exist, yes. We do it all the time.
          To use a humorous example… My 5-year-old and 2-year-old have decided, based on watching the movie “Tangled,” that “ever” is a bad word. When they get mad at each other, they yell “EVER!” at each other. (Ha ha ha.) Does it matter that “ever” in actuality has no negative meaning? No, one of them still might cry when his brother shouts “ever!” at him. Or how about when as a child you were convinced there was a monster in the closet? Of course there wasn’t a monster in the closet, but your heart raced, your hands went cold, the entire emotional fight/flight reaction kicked in… All for “nothing.” Does the nothingness of the monster invalidate your experience? As a compassionate person, I say no. Your experience of the monster is real, even if the monster isn’t.

          How about a non-child example. I had a crush on a guy once, I’ll call him “Tom,” and we flirted with each other. We even went out for lunch a couple times. One day his co-worker told me that Tom was married. I was devastated, outraged, humiliated, shocked… After a couple days of stewing, crying, etc., I decided to confront Tom. He told me it was all a practical joke he’d played on his co-worker a few months ago. He’d showed up at a company event with his girlfriend and told his co-worker they were married. Tom assured me he wasn’t, and he’d since broken up with the girlfriend, but never bothered to update his co-worker.
          So, was Tom actually married or wasn’t he? How could I know? Whose words could I trust? You know what, the actuality of whether he was or wasn’t had no bearing on the fact that I was emotionally devastated.

          Those who lose God are undergoing real emotional trauma, wehther or not God actually exists. They are losing the psychological, social, emotional, structures that helped them make sense of the world so far. They are losing a figment of their imagination that has, nonetheless, sustained them through a lot of hard times. The human mind is an incredible thing!

          When someone I love gets their feelings hurt, I comfort them, even if the wound doesn’t seem valid to me. Part of that comfort may involve informing them of the non-existence of whatever they’re upset about, but if you have any experience with the human condition, you know that in and of itself is seldom enough. Oh that it were. But our brains are comprised of the “reptilian” and “mammalian” sections, not just the “forebrain.” Rational arguments address only our forebrains, not the rest of the brain.

          BTW, know what I did with the monster in my closet as a kid? I finally befriended him. I gave him little gifts, talked to him, imagined him dressing up in pretty outfits, asked him to guard me while I fell asleep… Took my fear away. And when I was mature enough to handle the non-reality of the monster, he actually did go away on his own. :) To me, this is a much more effective way of dealing with the monster than trying to convince a child against something he’s fully assured of.
          I’m rambling here, now…

          • Chuck February 21, 2013

            Brilliant insights. Thanks Abigail.

          • jcandito February 21, 2013

            Excellent points, Abigal. Thank you for sharing the personal insights. I understand emotionally what you describe. But once the monster went away on his own, there was no need to keep him around as a “possibility”.

          • Abigail February 21, 2013

            Well, there’s always the “possibility” that monsters exist, somewhere, and one day when I’m not looking, one could come in through my front door and hide itself in my closet… You can’t disprove the possibility! 😉 I shall keep my mind open on the topic of monsters.

        • Angelo February 21, 2013

          Please, share Vattimo with us :-)

          • jcandito February 23, 2013

            Check out Vatimmo’s short (98 page) “testimony” in his book Belief (Cultural Memory in the Present)

      • angela March 1, 2013

        I can feel the nudge.

  19. Joseph Smith February 20, 2013

    I think this site is a trap for people, most on here seem to be liberal bummers and want to infect people with their bullshit.

    • Miriam February 22, 2013

      Are YOU feeling trapped here?

  20. […] Hole Shaped God […]

  21. Alan March 2, 2013

    It appears that there are aetheists here who spend a considerable amount of time trying keep themselves aetheists. Also I find it interesting that aetheists take time out of their day to resurrect god in their daily tasks (reading, typing etc) to only declare him non existent again and again, if god does not exist why do you keep resurrecting him?

    Because, you cannot stop god showing up in your life, in your deepest darkest moments god will always be in your mind, why? Why not butter or uncle Bob or a book or Oprah?

    • Chuck March 2, 2013

      Because so many people wish to asset status by their belief in god. Secular values are not protected by ignoring the superstitions of those who would assert totalizing truth through their obedience to their god.

      Besides this blog is not titled Theism for Lent.We atheists are doing a public good and giving encouragement to those faith heads that might like to join the modern world.

    • Abigail March 2, 2013

      Wow, so many ways to reply to this, Alan. I think your assertion is illogical and misguided. But maybe instead of arguing, I’ll just invite you to follow along the journey as open-mindedly and open-heartedly as you can, and see where you end up. We only have a few more weeks… How bad could it be? :)

      • jcandito March 4, 2013

        I agree with Abigal that Alan’s assertions are misguided, particularly his conclusion. But they are not illogical. I have the same problems with the “for Lent” aspect. I believe giving up God “for God” is illogical and opens the door for twisting postmodern thought into an evangelization tool for reformed theology to help get back to “pre-modern” Christianity. You have folks like James K.A. Smith saying postmodernism such as Derrida and Foucault have something in common with the presuppositionalists (who begin with presuming the truth of the existance of God and his revelation in the Bible). Can’t we just let go of God?

        • Alan March 9, 2013

          j – in answer to “Can’t we just let go of God?”, I do not believe it is possible for humans to ever let go of either believing in God or trying to bury him, many in history have declared or tried and yet here we are, I find that very interesting not just from a ‘faith head’ (Chuck) view but from a ‘Modern Man’ view as well. Also, I am a ‘faith head’ and I do find this ‘journey’ (Abigail) exciting and challenging. Personally when I realised Gods presence in the world, I understood that God is not an entity that can be let go of. God just ‘is’, the great I am, the alpha and omega.

          • Chuck March 9, 2013

            Grownups don’t assert their beliefs they evaluate what can be known. There is ample evidence that everything you’ve experienced can be defined in natural terms. Arguments from incredulity are on their face illogical. Michael Shermer’s recent popular book, “The Believing Brain” explains your experience from a cognitive perspective.

            Of course all of this inspires the question in me, which god is the right god?

          • Abigail March 10, 2013

            Hi Alan,
            Hope I didn’t come across harsh earlier. I have to watch myself; I can be blunt sometimes.
            The reason atheists have to keep talking about their non belief in a deity is that the majority of the culture does believe. It is the culture that keeps beating the dead horse, so to speak. Some atheists are “evangelical” about their worldview; many of them would rather be left alone.
            However, it seems this particular website is geared towards believers, encouraging them to challenge their deep-seated beliefs, to question what they are “using” god for, and so on. It also seems to have attracted some dedicated atheists, who, perhaps, are willing to share their journey to their conclusions with those who may be struggling with questions they struggled with as well. (Though I can’t claim to speak for anyone else on here… just guessing…) Anyway, it seems illogical, to me, to criticize the atheists on here for “trying to re-convince themselves of god’s non-existence,” given the nature of this site. I don’t think they are trying to re-convince themselves; I think they are just sharing their opinions, how they arrived at those opinions, and how their perspectives compare with the points made by the website’s authors.
            Maybe it’s the religious who have to re-convince themselves of their belief in a deity by going to church/temple/meeting/etc. every week. Does that sound like a fair accusation? 😉

            Now, I echo Chuck’s question–this God that you “realized the presence of…” how do you know which god it is? The Christian trinity? The Hindu Brahman? The New-Age Source? How do you define him/her/it, and based on what? How can you be sure of the objective reality of the presence you felt, vs. some kind of projection of psychological desire, idealization, or alter-ego? Or a projection of your culture’s expectations onto YOU, affecting your interpretation of various stimuli?
            These are questions we all have to wrestle with.

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