File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0106, message 59

Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001 21:15:23 +0100
Subject: Re: Tantalizing times - arguing for atheism....

Eric etc

Your note is dense and I need to read it throughly before replying but some
things can be stated upfront.

My error is that I was perhaps not sufficently clear in my comments. The
rejection should be taken as standing for all religions and all varieties of
spiritual approaches. It is correct in that I would suggest that all the
major contemporary religions are either mono-thesitic or poly-theisms. That
a variety of religion does not exist easily within such a theistic frame
does not especially concern me...

I selected the theisms because in some sense all Western varieties,
including dear old Epicurus construct some variety of god in the frame. The
recent post-modern theocratic approaches that place some variety of god or
the spirit as a self image in the mind of the beholder are far to dangerous
to accept, I can hear the machine guns and the justifications already. The
unpleasent sight of French TV-philosophers asking for the bombing of Kosovo
whilst at the same time arguing for the centrality of the human subject and
the 'soul' should not be forgotton.

The only other point I want to address immediately is the Gilson discussion
- I reject this understanding of atheism completely - atheism is simply a
position that rejects religion, all religions and related forms of
spirtualism as valid forms of knowledge. It is not as such a 'theism',
possibily you can define it as an anti-theism but this does not go far
enough in a world complete with such things as 'The church of scientology'
and other such horrors.

As such atheism places 'religious knowledge' as myth. Religions are
interesting phenomena that require understanding and analysis, perhaps under
the generic title of 'comparative mythology'. But not as valid forms of
knowledge and certainly not the sort of thing that you should encourage
children to learn about as truth, like guns, herion, sexism and racism. To
analyse and understand religion(s) as anything other than myth and illusion
is incorrect. It, religion does deserve the same level of analysis as any
other human institution.

Incidentally I checked this afternoon on the and there is substantial
amounts of recent philosophical work on religion available. I did not have
time to identify titles...




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