Friday, January 04, 2008

"Christmas Atheists"

Michael Novak has an article over at National Review about the different types of atheists. While the cautions he offers to atheists and theists about arrogance and proper humility are not original, they are well-put. I found his description of six types of atheist thought-provoking.

Novak has a book coming out this year, apparently. That should be interesting.


Anonymous said...

I was a militant atheist in my youth, perhaps in response to a grandmother who was a fundamentalist and also an opponent of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
I have since come to the conclusion that the existence of a Supreme Being can be neither proved nor disproved by logic.The issue is beyond logic.
I dunno, I guess Agnostic sounds right for me.
Whether or not a Supreme Being exists, the construct of the Christian Deity was apparently a factor in why science progressed so far in Europe compared to other places after 1200.(St. Thomas Aquinas, thank you.) Scientists went looking for the assumed order in God's universe, and found it.

But where did all this amazing order came from? For me it is a mystery, a cloud of unknowing. We know and we don't know.For me the metaphor is the fog that often pervades the New England landscape. Nature worshiper?

I do like Christmas carols.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Gringo, I would be interested whether Novak's categories seems fair to you.

Foobarista said...

Personally, I've met examples of all six types. Most tech-libertarians are "science & reason" types, as are seemingly many economists. Lots of academic lefties are nihilists, especially if they're into postmodernism. (It's interesting that he puts Ayn Rand in the nihilist camp since most libertarians I've met are "science & reason" types, even if they're big Rand fans.)

Type 3 could almost be called deists of the Thomas Jefferson type, and I wonder if they'd count as atheists as opposed to agnostics.

Lots of "turned off to religion by fundie relatives" atheists are "Methodist atheists".

His "RINO (R is for religious) atheists" (Class 5) seems to me to be rather ungenerous. I suppose they exist, but I'd be very reluctant to pin that label on anyone myself.

I'm probably in the "Tin Ear group" myself, with strong inclinations towards Class 3.

Anonymous said...

Re Novak's categories being fair or not, my reply is that ANY taxonomy of anything is often going to be problematic. For example, depending on my mood, I might fit into several of those categories, but that is often my response to other taxonomies of other subjects/issues. Novak's wasn't that bad.