Saturday, January 25, 2014

Existentialism. It's what makes me tick.

I am an atheist and also an existentialist. I thought that I would pass along this outstanding article for those of you in the same camp. 

In a controversial column from last March, I argued that most contemporary atheists are being fundamentally dishonest in claiming that godlessness 'is not only true but also unambiguously good for human beings.' It most certainly is not, I claimed, referencing passages of philosophy and poetry to show that, viewed honestly, atheism is 'utterly tragic' — and that the denial of this tragedy amounted to little more than 'sentimental, superficial happy talk.'

Many readers were not amused. A number of the most indignant critics limited themselves to colorful variations on 'how dare you say that!' But some gave a more substantive reply, wondering if I meant to imply that a genuinely honest atheism would involve living in a state of perpetual psychic misery.

That's a fair question — and one I'd like to answer by making a case for existentialism as the most honest form of atheism.

Read more: How to be an honest atheist - The Week: by Damon Linker

In an interesting bit of family trivia, one of my sons came to atheism via existentialism, only he discovered existentialism for himself as a result of thought and discussion with a friend. He was surprised to find that existentialism (or what he called it) was a thing. Another bit of trivia, I never spoke with my son about atheism. He never even heard the word as a child. I am a firm believer in letting people, especially my kids, come to their own conclusions about life. I’d love them as atheists or theists, or anything in between.