Re: [asa] Morality Without God?

From: Merv Bitikofer <>
Date: Wed Nov 11 2009 - 21:06:24 EST

Fascinating response! I was wondering what any of you might say about
his reference to Plato. I'm not quite sure what you mean by 'theism
X.O'. Do you mean some early Roman version of Christianity? Or
something theism arrived at later?

Regarding whether or not this 'atheism 3.0' is a splinter of a splinter,
I'm not so sure as you seem to be. If the '2.0' variety (Dawkins et
al.) are obnoxiously loud and therefore make disproportionate noise
compared to their actual numerical representation in the entire atheist
camp, then how are you so sure that the vast relatively silent majority
of atheists wouldn't be more favorably predisposed towards the 3.0 crowd
than the 2.0 crowd? Maybe they just aren't all gushy about it, but yet
share in the distaste for Dawkin's arrogance.

We could call this line of thought: "'morality with God' for the
masses, but not for me." (not that I think they are striving to sound
or be elitist about it; --but it is what it is.) What strikes me is an
internal contradiction of the message: "It's great for you & most
others to believe in all this stuff because it inspires you to do great
things --but I just don't think it happens to be true." What they don't
seem to realize is that belief can't be mocked. None of us will be
radically inspired or changed by things we don't really believe are
true. There is no pretending in this. If we all thought as they did
(and maybe too many in the pews do already anyway, but are keeping up
the pretense because they think it important to do so) then the first
Love is already lost anyway, let alone any other true deeds to follow.

All this said, though, cordiality or maybe even some mutual respect
would be a welcome change (I think).


Schwarzwald wrote:
> Skepticism and cordiality. And it depends which of the bedfellows you
> mean in the article.
> Bruce Sheiman comes across as thoughtful and positive, and reminds me
> vaguely of an atheist doctor whose name I forget - in the UK, has a
> regular column and a similar approach. But I don't think this is
> "Atheism 3.0". I mean, "Atheism 2.0" is, frankly, a tiny group itself.
> "3.0" is a tiny splinter of that tiny group - and happens to have
> views that are not just divergent from, but antithetical from that
> larger group. (Religion has value? Specifically western religion has
> accomplished many important things? Religion has a place in the public
> square? Talk of intrinsic value?) It's like calling Camille Paglia
> "Liberalism 2.0". No, it's not 2.0. It's just Camille Paglia,
> refreshing as she can be at times.
> After Sheiman, though, the article takes weird twists. To say (briefly
> as he's mentioned) the presentation of Plato is a butchered one is an
> understatement: Plato has vastly more in common with Aquinas and
> Augustine than any New Atheist, and quite possibly (but not
> definitely) Bruce Sheiman. I would go so far as to say that if
> "atheism 3.0" had a hallmark of broadly subscribing to Plato's
> metaphysics - ideas of a transcendental "good" that certainly exists
> and that man pursues, etc - then it wouldn't be "atheism 3.0". It
> would be "theism X.0".
> On Wed, Nov 11, 2009 at 6:54 PM, Merv Bitikofer <
> <>> wrote:
> Bruce Shieman is the author of a new book: "An Atheist Defends
> Religion: Why Humanity is Better Off With Religion than Without It."
> He and others are quoted about this gentler, more respecting
> 'Atheism 3.0' that wants to find room for those of religious
> faith, even in the public square, while not sharing in any of it
> themselves. Since the article prohibits reproduction, I can't
> paste it here like I wanted, but here is the link:
> What should be the Christian response to these new bedfellows?
> --Merv

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Received on Wed Nov 11 21:06:47 2009

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