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What the New Atheists Donít See
http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_4_oh_to_be.html ^ | Theodore Dalrymple

Posted on 10/28/2007 3:39:04 PM PDT by ventanax5

The British parliament’s first avowedly atheist member, Charles Bradlaugh, would stride into public meetings in the 1880s, take out his pocket watch, and challenge God to strike him dead in 60 seconds. God bided his time, but got Bradlaugh in the end. A slightly later atheist, Bertrand Russell, was once asked what he would do if it proved that he was mistaken and if he met his maker in the hereafter. He would demand to know, Russell replied with all the high-pitched fervor of his pedantry, why God had not made the evidence of his existence plainer and more irrefutable. And Jean-Paul Sartre came up with a memorable line: “God doesn’t exist—the bastard!”

Sartre’s wonderful outburst of disappointed rage suggests that it is not as easy as one might suppose to rid oneself of the notion of God. (Perhaps this is the time to declare that I am not myself a believer.) At the very least, Sartre’s line implies that God’s existence would solve some kind of problem—actually, a profound one: the transcendent purpose of human existence. Few of us, especially as we grow older, are entirely comfortable with the idea that life is full of sound and fury but signi-fies nothing. However much philosophers tell us that it is illogical to fear death, and that at worst it is only the process of dying that we should fear, people still fear death as much as ever. In like fashion, however many times philosophers say that it is up to us ourselves, and to no one else, to find the meaning of life, we continue to long for a transcendent purpose immanent in existence itself, independent of our own wills.

(Excerpt) Read more at city-journal.org ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: atheist; atheists; cityjournal; dalrymple; faith; painfulread; religion
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1 posted on 10/28/2007 3:39:05 PM PDT by ventanax5
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To: ventanax5

If you cease to exist after death, not much matters as you wouldn’yt know it anyway. Of course it’s a much different story if you do exist after death. Then ya kinda wish you’d done things differently. I think it’s probably better to go prepared.


2 posted on 10/28/2007 3:47:18 PM PDT by umgud (Axis of Propaganda; lib academia, lib media, lib entertainment)
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To: ventanax5
"...what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." Romans 1:19-20, emphasis added

Evidently, Mr. Russell's complaint was baseless.

3 posted on 10/28/2007 3:48:31 PM PDT by Hebrews 11:6 (Do you REALLY believe that (1) God is, and (2) God is good?)
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To: umgud

That was Pascal’s idea, too.


4 posted on 10/28/2007 3:49:38 PM PDT by Hebrews 11:6 (Do you REALLY believe that (1) God is, and (2) God is good?)
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To: ventanax5
He would demand to know, Russell replied with all the high-pitched fervor of his pedantry, why God had not made the evidence of his existence plainer and more irrefutable.

In other words, he wanted belief in God to be a foregone conclusion and devoid of any element of faith. Russell was simply a man devoid of faith and, for that, he deserves our pity.

5 posted on 10/28/2007 4:03:21 PM PDT by FormerLib (Sacrificing our land and our blood cannot buy protection from jihad.-Bishop Artemije of Kosovo)
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To: ventanax5

Eh, time will tell one way or another who is correct and who is not, It seems to me that an Atheist has to take in on faith that there is no God nor afterlife.


6 posted on 10/28/2007 4:14:45 PM PDT by padre35 (Conservative in Exile/ No more miller brewing products, pass it on/Isaiah 3.3)
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To: FormerLib
[Russell]would demand to know...why God had not made the evidence of his existence plainer and more irrefutable.

God made his existence and nature plain in the life, ministry, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which are historical facts more irrefutable than most of the vague blather Russell did believe in.

7 posted on 10/28/2007 4:18:24 PM PDT by hellbender
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To: FormerLib
he wanted belief in God to be a foregone conclusion and devoid of any element of faith.

A lot of folks never quite get it. I was always very much a "show me" kind of guy, and I wanted to understand how everything works, and what God was thinking when he did certain things. Then my eyes were opened and I realized that the mind of man cannot hold these things. It's not a matter of reason and understanding. Without the centrality of faith, you can't get anywhere.

8 posted on 10/28/2007 4:21:22 PM PDT by ClearCase_guy (The broken wall, the burning roof and tower. And Agamemnon dead.)
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To: ventanax5

.... Russell replied with all the high-pitched fervor of his pedantry, why God had not made the evidence of his existence plainer and more irrefutable.


Geeze....talk about not being able to see the forest for the trees. The fact is that the evidence for G-d is all around us. I am especially amused when athiests try to explain the Big Bang (an organized universe created out of chaotic nothingness) in one breath and then say there is no evidence for G-d in the next.

Part of the problem, I think, is that people see misery in the world and think G-d must not exist, else why would he allow it. These people fail to see that we are but pawns on a gigantic chessboard. G-d must take the longview required to win the game, even if it means sacrificing some of us pawns.


9 posted on 10/28/2007 4:22:36 PM PDT by rbg81 (DRAIN THE SWAMP!!)
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To: ventanax5

bump


10 posted on 10/28/2007 4:28:30 PM PDT by VOA
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To: ventanax5

The Bible can be proven in one word - Israel.


11 posted on 10/28/2007 4:30:44 PM PDT by aimhigh
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To: ventanax5
He would demand to know, Russell replied with all the high-pitched fervor of his pedantry, why God had not made the evidence of his existence plainer and more irrefutable.

I've always wondered how someone could come to the conclusion that God did not exist.

12 posted on 10/28/2007 4:31:36 PM PDT by oldbrowser (Orwell was off the mark by 24 years.)
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To: ventanax5

“...Bertrand Russell...was once asked what he would do if it proved that he was mistaken and if he met his maker in the hereafter. He would demand to know, Russell replied with all the high-pitched fervor of his pedantry, why God had not made the evidence of his existence plainer and more irrefutable.”

To which He, I hope, replies in a voice quite like Leo McKern’s, “That would be telling.”


13 posted on 10/28/2007 4:39:03 PM PDT by RichInOC (I believe that God exists, that He intervenes in His creation, and that He's a bit of a comedian.)
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To: ventanax5

Theodore Dalrymple (real name Dr. Anthony Daniels) is an amazingly prolific writer. This is the second piece of his I’ve read this week. And it seems I’ve read dozens of pieces by him this year.

Dalrymple is an outstanding wordsmith and a deep thinker. His work, and his biography, is respected by the other side. When he talks, it’s to the advantage of any truth-seeker to listen.


14 posted on 10/28/2007 5:03:31 PM PDT by beckett (Amor Fati)
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To: ventanax5

Odd that Jean Paul Sartre would come up in this discussion.


15 posted on 10/28/2007 5:09:49 PM PDT by TexanToTheCore (If it ain't Rugby or Bullriding, it's for girls.........................................)
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To: umgud

There was a RC priest who put it this way (paraphrased):

If there is no Almighty and just eternal sleep, then when we die, we won’t know anything more.

However, if the Almighty does exist, then when we die, we will surely know it and be judged accordingly.

Now, with this in mind, how would a reasonable person hedge his bets?


16 posted on 10/28/2007 5:14:01 PM PDT by Lord Basil
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To: ventanax5

I once heard an interesting debate on the subject of a personal, versus an impersonal God. It began with the statement: “What good is a god that doesn’t kick your ass?”

The debate began with the description of God as a singularity, which automatically negates His description as “a god”, which implies more than one. A true singularity, God, cannot be compared with any thing or any condition, as there is only one of It. No size, shape, color, sound, etc. compares with anything. It also means that God cannot be a dichotomy, say God and the devil.

But within the singularity, even though everything is of the singularity, things can be compared to other things within the singularity. Therefore there can be “gods” within God, or angels, men, whatever, that while subordinate can be contrasted with each other.

God, the singularity, is so unique that It, or He, is hard to communicate with. Moses found this out when he asked God’s name, and God, rather philosophically, replied, “I AM THAT I AM”. Truly one of the most profound philosophical statements of all time. Trouble is, there is not a whole lot else God *can* say. God cannot describe God. The great Jewish philosopher, Martin Buber, made a magnificent short book about these personal pronoun dilemmas entitled “I and Thou”.

Kabbalists point this out as God’s reason for creating the universe in the first place. That is, God wanted to find out if there was anything that was “not God”. So first, He created a true vacuum, an “absence of God”, in which He could put the universe. Then with something like a lightning bolt, he created a single particle within that emptiness, whose purpose was to replicate itself, creating the universe, which would be like a gigantic mirror. And when the universe is “complete”, God will see His reflection, know His answer, and the universe will cease to exist.

In the meantime, how does mankind address God? God took care of this problem by making a series of “contracts” with various figures, such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Moses. Conveniently, these were done in the contractual format of the ancient world.

In short, God told mankind, and subsets thereof, of things to do and things not to do. If they obeyed they were to be rewarded, if disobeyed, punished. But it was always as a group, not individually.

In a manner of speaking, after Noah, God even put the rewards and punishments on “auto pilot”, in that if you did what you were told or didn’t the reward or punishment was integral to what you did.

Well, Jesus came along and threw out most of these contracts, and the extrapolated laws, statutes and judgments associated with them, and also created the concept of a personal deity.

The Mohammed came along with a last contractual agreement, making things terribly confusing.

This means that from the Jewish point of view, the original contracts, except Mohammed’s, still apply. Especially the Mosaic (Moses) law, that only applies to them. All other God believers only have to obey the Noachide (Noah) Law, which most people have never heard of, but is not particularly hard to conform to, anyway.

The Christians believe that Jesus is such a significant subset of God that He can alter reality and be a personal savior. And Muslims are only concerned with Mohammed’s contract, generally ignoring the others.

“So what good is Jesus if he doesn’t kick your ass?” This remains a problem with a personal deity, one that Christians accept, but remains a paradoxical problem.


17 posted on 10/28/2007 5:26:37 PM PDT by Popocatapetl
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To: ventanax5

My belief in God has more to do about living this life than worrying about death.

It is a shame that atheists think the whole thing is about the fear of death. It must be an obession with them.


18 posted on 10/28/2007 5:42:21 PM PDT by Raycpa
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To: ventanax5
A good current book to read that encompasses the rise of "the new Atheists" as well as the worldwide spread of Christianity in our time .... (Many get discouraged when we see the culture around us degrading and the churches in Europe so empty....but that is only half the story..)....

is Dinesh D'Souza's What's So Great About Christianity

Am reading it now...Also was able to watch part of Dinesh's debate with Christopher Hitchens (was on Cspan 2) regarding the Atheist position that there is no God.

Could have listened to that for hours....

19 posted on 10/28/2007 5:58:39 PM PDT by Freedom'sWorthIt
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To: ventanax5
I cannot do otherwise than love God. My soul would be nothing without him; He shields me from the world's storms and shows me delight in its beauty. He makes me walk the straight path and avoid the evil ways; my soul takes refuge in contemplation of still waters. For the sake of His Name, he has given me the world and also the world of the life to come. For all these treasures both mortal and immanent, I owe Him my everlasting gratitude.
20 posted on 10/28/2007 5:58:56 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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