Last Updated on October 13, 2021
It’s hard to know where to begin on this topic. I am fairly atheist. I’ve got a long personal story about that, I’m not sure I’m going to write about it on the internet yet. Here’s a few things I will note.
Self righteousness seems be difficult to decouple from religious beliefs – even when it is explicitly denounced in the doctrines. There’s an implicit moral superiority that comes with condemning others’ sins. Although I have to be careful – the humor of the recursion – feeling morally superior about not feeling morally superior -is not lost on me.
Virtue signalling is part of the same territory. I love this post – Outrage makes you feel good, but doesn’t change minds.
The Righteous Mind really influenced me. It’s an amazing book.
Nietzsche – God is Dead
I finally understood the God is Dead idea recently. It’s from Friedrich Nietzsche. He was suggesting the loss fo God was going to be difficult for humanity and hoped for us to replace it with something better. It’s really well explained in this cute book:
‘God is dead’ This legendary statement, which heralds the arrival of the secular age in Western history, appears in Friedrich Nietzsche’s book of 1882, The Gay Science. It can sound triumphant, but Nietzsche didn’t mean it that way. He felt that the death of God was going to be very difficult for humanity. He feared that we would too quickly reject many good things that religion had, at its best, promoted. He predicted a loss of emphasis on community, charity and compassion; a decline in a sense of awe; and a new faith in what he thought were two unreliable sources of meaning: romantic love and professional success. Nietzsche’s hope wasn’t to get rid of religion altogether; it was to replace it with a better sort of religion, one based on art, music and philosophy.Philosophy in 40 Ideas
A Humble Respect
Due to personal experiences I get frustrated with religious beliefs, but on reflection I always end up more nuanced – appreciating the community and structure and ritual that it provides for many. I like how Will Durant says it:
Even the skeptical historian develops a humble respect for religion, since he sees it functioning, and seemingly indispensable, in every land and age.