In following video, Carl Jung presents some material that should make the new atheist type rethink the virtue of their constant attacks on religion as though virtuous. Jung points out that a loss of faith and religion is the reason why so many people today are despondent. Young also shows that a loss of faith tends to move a culture towards State-ism along with the development and growth of a will for power in the human spirit, which results in mental disorders and the totalitarian state.
In a past article I pointed out that atheism is a phenomenon which seems to take place at the end of a civilization and is one of the marks of a decaying culture. It is hard to tell whether atheism is the cause, or the fruit, of a culture in declension. However, either way it is not a positive force in the human community.
An honest unbeliever, Dr. E. Wengraf does not seem to share the enthusiasm of the new atheist in debunking people’s faith, “Every piece of anti-religious propaganda seems to me a crime. I surely do not wish it to be prosecuted as a crime, but I consider it immoral and loathsome. This not because of zeal for my convictions, but because of the simple knowledge, acquired through long experience, that, given the same circumstances, a religious man is happier than the irreligious. In my indifference and skeptical attitude toward all positive faith, I have often envied other men to whom deep religiosity has given a strong support in all the storms of life. To uproot the souls of such men is an abject deed. I abhor any proselytizing. But still, I can understand why one who believes firmly in a saving faith tries to convert others. But I cannot understand a propaganda of unbelief. We do not have the right to take away from a person his protecting shelter, be it even a shabby hut, if we are not sure we can offer him a better, more beautiful house. But to lure men from the inherited home of their souls, to make them err afterward in the wilderness of hypotheses and philosophical question marks, is either criminal fatalism or criminal mindlessness.”
God and Einstein
There has been much debate about the religious beliefs and faith of Albert Einstein. Both the atheist community and the believing community have claimed him as one of their own. However, I believe it can be demonstrated that Einstein was somewhat of a mystic and would not be overly comfortable in either group.
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed. This insight into the mystery of life, coupled though it be with fear, has also given rise to religion. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms — this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong in the ranks of devoutly religious men.”
Rudolf Otto wrote a book entitled, ‘The Ideal Of The Holy’ in which he attempts to explain the spiritual experience that Einstein describes and what Otto goes on to refer to as the numinous which he believes is a sign which points to the deity and could be likened to the voice of God that beckons man to his true center.
The sub-title to Otto’s book, ‘The Idea of the Holy’ is ‘An inquiry into the non-rational factor in the idea of the divine and its relation to the rational’. In the book Otto points out that numinous is not rational or reasonable but it’s not irrational or unreasonable, it is simply outside of those categories. You might call it super-rational.
It is this numinous experience that the atheist lacks. Because he has not experienced it, it is impossible for him to understand someone who has experienced it like Einstein. Einstein had experienced the Totally Other which lied beyond his explanatory powers to communicate it to those who had not experienced it, those that he referred to as dead or blind. Otto’s book is the best attempted I have seen to put the experience into words. You can get a PDF copy at the below address.
Can You Be Good Without God?
Can you be good without God? Of the various questions raised in the theist/atheist debate, this question has, I believe, occasioned more witless commentary than any other. That witlessness is again on display in an essay for the Daily Beast, “Can you be good without God?” by Brandon Withrow of the University of Findlay. Withrow interviews a bunch of ticked-off atheists, who get the answer wrong.
He discusses a study titled, “Global evidence of extreme intuitive moral prejudice against atheists”:
“If God did not exist, then we would have to invent him,” said the French philosopher Voltaire. His point: that without a divine being to check right and wrong, any number of atrocities are possible and could go unpunished.
A recent study (of more than 3,000 people in 13 countries) published in the journal Nature Human Behavior echoes Voltaire’s maxim. Looking at intuitive thinking — presumptions drawn by individuals through unconscious biases — researchers led by Will M. Gervais, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky, discovered that most individuals intuitively conclude that a serial killer is more likely to be an atheist (approximately 60 percent) than religious (approximately 30 percent).
From the study’s Abstract:
Preliminary work in the United States suggests that anti-atheist prejudice stems, in part, from deeply rooted intuitions about religion’s putatively necessary role in morality. However, the cross-cultural prevalence and magnitude — as well as intracultural demographic stability — of such intuitions, as manifested in intuitive associations of immorality with atheists, remain unclear. Here, we quantify moral distrust of atheists by applying well-tested measures in a large global sample (N = 3,256; 13 diverse countries). Consistent with cultural evolutionary theories of religion and morality, people in most — but not all — of these countries viewed extreme moral violations as representative of atheists. Notably, anti-atheist prejudice was even evident among atheist participants around the world. [Emphasis added.]
The issue is simple, though. The answer to the question we started with hinges on what you mean by “without God.” Let’s take a look.
- If God does not exist, you cannot be good. You cannot be evil. You can’t conform or fail to conform to anytranscendental standard, because if there is no God, there are no transcendental standards. There is no Moral Law if there is no Moral Lawgiver. If there is no God, there are merely opinions and consequences of acting on opinions. We may label certain opinions “good,” but that’s just our opinion. What we really mean by calling something “good” is that we like it. Which is fine, as long as we understand that “good without God” is just a metaphor for “something I (or we) like.” If there is no God, all of our “moral” decisions are just opinions — perhaps opinions we like, or opinions we don’t like — but neither good nor bad.
- If God does exist, but you don’t believe in Him, then of course you can be “good without God”, in the sense that you can be good without believingin God. It is central to the moral theology of all the great faiths that non-believers may act in accordance with Moral Law without belief in God and even without knowing Moral Law in any formal sense. The Moral Law is written in our hearts, theists universally agree, and we feel the weight of morality whether we believe in God or not.
Now of course an additional question can be asked: Do theists actually behave better than atheists? I think this is the question that ticked off the atheists in the essay. If theists do, on the average, behave better than atheists, there are certainly many exceptions on both sides, and arguments can be made that particular groups of theists/atheists behave better/worse than other groups of atheists/theists. Mankind is a confusing mess.
Atheists, however, are on quicksand when they argue about “goodness” and “evil,” given that their metaphysics, if taken seriously, utterly rules out the existence of either. Also, it would seem to me that atheists could be a bit more contrite in light of the fact that whenever they have assumed state power — from the Reign of Terror to the gang currently launching missiles from North Korea — atheism has brought hell to earth.
The godless would garner more respect if they took their own metaphysics seriously, and if they showed at bit of contrition for what real atheists have done when in power. Author unknown.