Re: atheism & theism

From: george murphy (
Date: Wed Sep 13 2000 - 14:23:49 EDT

  • Next message: Joel Z Bandstra: "RE: atheism & theism"

    Bjoern Moeller wrote:

    > >From a seminar at grad school I attend now called
    > "Epistemology and Religion", I have learnt this
    > thoughtful insight from the instructor Dr. Paul Moser
    > (this is only an incomplete abstract of his thought):
    > Atheism is not only an issue of lack of empirical
    > evidence of God, strict arguments disclaiming the
    > existence of God, science not apprehending God etc.
    > Atheism is also a volitional issue, a fact which is
    > not very often debated in philosophy, theology or
    > natural science. Whether you believe in God or not has
    > to do with your will to believe in God. Seemingly this
    > is a simplification of a complex matter, but that is
    > exactly what Moser is at. It is an assumption of
    > theism that, at least, the atheist (or anyone else)
    > could want to believe in God. If he doesn't, and never
    > will want to believe in God, he would probably kill
    > himself if he met God, or if sufficient evidence for
    > God's existence was provided (as one Moser's atheist
    > friend's claimed).
    > I find this idea very compelling, for if it is true, a
    > lot of people probably aren't atheists after all.
    > Now, remember that this is not an accurate account of
    > Moser's idea, but it is sketchy outline.

            "The proconsul sought to persuade Polycarp to deny Christ,
    saying 'Have respect to thy old age,' and other similar things,
    according to their custom, such as 'Swear by the fortune of Caesar;
    repent, and say, "Away with the Atheists."' But Polycarp, gazing with a
    stern countenance on all the multitude of wicked heathen then in the
    stadium, and waving his hand toward them, while with groans he looked up
    to heaven, said, 'Away with the Atheists.'"
                                                (From "The Martyrdom of
    Polycarp", ANF Vol.I, p.41)

            The first question to be asked of anyone who claims to be a
    theist is, "OK, what God do you believe in?" And the first question to
    be asked of anyone who claims to be an atheist is, "What God don't you
    believe in?"



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