Dr. Stephen A. OgdenLIBS 7023
ATHEISM: A RELIGIOUS STUDY
Keep in mind that,‘God’ is not a necessary component of religion.‘Church ‘ (temple, mosque,etc.), priests (ministers, imams,etc.), written doctrines, services, and all ecclesiastic form, are not a necessary component of religion.Quakers (who congregate in meeting halls and wait for God to cause them to quakeHouse Church Protestantism (incl. China)Nagasaki Roman Catholics (16thC. Japan)
A-Theism(Gr.θεός=God.)By its name, Atheism defines itself:antagonistically by what it isagainst, ornegatively, by what it denies.in an irony, a historically-powerful line of theology exists called ‘negative theology’—a description of God by what He isnot.Leaves open, and questionable, what it isfor
God is an independently existing Being withperson(agency, feelings, cognition, justice): an active party in the life and affairs of the World (supernaturalevents) known byrevelation.Monotheistic Religions:IslamJudaismChristianity
God is an independently existing Being withperson(agency, feelings, cognition, justice) who isnotan active party in the life and affairs of the World (naturalevents.) Revelation is through Nature and Reason.
Qualities:CreativityDistantPassivePhilosophicalKnowable through Scientific study of nature & ReasonKnowable thoughconscience.Deistic Religions:Stoicism (Roman)FreemasonrySome lapsed Christians & JewsVoltaire, Rousseau, American Founding Fathers (Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin), SpinozaSeveral Philosophers & schools of PhilosophyAristotle, Locke, Hobbes
Thereare many Gods, small and great; supernatural Beings who interact with human affairs, and may or may not respond to human appeals.Polytheistic Religions:ManichaeismSikhism ?HinduismPaganGreek, Norse, Roman,etc.
Qualities:IndividualHumans enlargedPersonalised‘superhero’Capricious (non-static)Fecund and variable
God is everywhere and everything; all is God. God and Nature are indistinguishable, where God-Nature is animate and purposeful. ‘Mind’ is more real than ‘Matter’.Pantheistic Religions:BuddhismDaoism (‘the Way’)Animism (e.g.Shinto, Druidism, Wicca)
Qualities:Quiet, calmImpersonalVitalSacredUnifyingSpiritual (adds aquiddityto nature)
Dogmatic claim that no form oftheosexists.Atheism at present asserts that only matter exist.Effectively, Occam’s razor is Atheism’s Prime Doctrine:William of Ockham (England, 13thC.): “do not multiply theories beyond necessity.”In modern Atheism, ‘the simpler theory is the more correct.’Example: Barond'Holbach(1772) "All children are born Atheists; they have no idea of God."
Qualities:ScienceReasonMaterialismPhenomenaOntological MinimalismHumanistAtheist Religions:Pre-Socratic GreeksProtagoras, Democritus,Positivism (e.g.Fr.AugusteComte)ConfucianismJainismWestern (explicit) Atheism post-19thC.