An Atheist Defends Religion: Why Humanity Is Better Off with Religion Than Without It

An Atheist Defends Religion: Why Humanity Is Better Off with Religion Than Without It

Bruce Sheiman

Language: English

Pages: 257


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A new perspective.

Defending religion as a cultural institution in the face of resurgent atheistic thought. For centuries, the theism-atheism debate has been dominated by two positions: stringent believers committed to the "yes, there is a God" argument, and atheists vehemently driven to repudiate not only God, but also religion as a cultural institution. To date, this is the first and only mainstream book in which a nonbeliever criticizes atheism and affirms religion. An Atheist Defends Religion persuasively argues that religion is overwhelmingly beneficial for humanity, regardless of whether God exists, based on a new paradigm of 10 affirmative dimensions that make up religious experience. It also puts to rest the theory that religion is behind most of the world's sectarian violence by showing that religion becomes evil when it is politicized. Readers will learn they do not have to be fundamentalists to be believers, and about the value and benefits of religion itself.

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inferiority. Man’s experience of the mysterium tremendum becomes his experience of God. This translates into what Otto has termed the experience of creature consciousness, which is “the emotion of a creature, submerged and overwhelmed by its own nothingness in contrast to that 52 An Atheist Defends Religion which is supreme above all creatures.” The creature exists as contingent existence, as nonexistence. Meister Eckhart says: “All that is created has no truth in itself. All creatures

worm.” Luther similarly referred to the body as a “shameful sack of worms.” As soul, man is godlike, infinite and immortal. Eckhart said, “When God made man, he put into the soul his equal, his active and everlasting masterpiece. It was so great a work that it could not be otherwise 60 An Atheist Defends Religion than the soul and the soul could not be otherwise than the work of God. God’s nature, his being and the Godhead all depend on his work in the soul.” The soul is a vehicle to unite

explains the persistence and pervasiveness of religion is a confluence of irreducible positive factors that cannot in total be replicated by any other institution. Taken together, they powerfully explain why religion is so enthralling, enriching, enlightening, empowering, and enrapturing. They explain how it is that we achieve our fullest humanity only in religion. xii An Atheist Defends Religion Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Religion The debate about the existence of God is neverending.

our physical weakness, a result of the Fall, and, like the other branches of knowledge, are ultimately subsumed under the religious task of restoring our true, prelapsarian nature.” Hence, “through its relationship to man’s final end, the pursuit of the mechanical arts acquired religious and moral sanction.” This, then, “is what the arts are concerned with,” wrote Hugh of St. Victor, “this is what they intend, namely, to restore within us the divine likeness.” This helped to foster in Europe a

citizens and within the global community. Specifically, democracy counters extremist fundamentalism within its own midst in five interrelated ways. Political Recourse Most important, democracy provides a legitimate political outlet for grievances without resorting to violence. American-style democracy in particular allows for conflict resolution that is not possible in an autocratic society; it allows for integration into the political system rather than alienation and exclusion. A government that

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