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Unit 2: The God Question. Meeting the Living God by William J. O’Malley, S.J. The Second Question: Does God Exist? Atheism: No.

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Presentation on theme: "Unit 2: The God Question. Meeting the Living God by William J. O’Malley, S.J. The Second Question: Does God Exist? Atheism: No."— Presentation transcript:

1 Unit 2: The God Question

2 Meeting the Living God by William J. O’Malley, S.J. The Second Question: Does God Exist? Atheism: No

3  Journal Entry Who are you? What do you value? What gives your life meaning?  What gives your parents’ lives meaning?  What gives your friends’ lives meaning?

4 Atheism: No  Atheism The faith belief (calculated risk) that God does not exist The consequence of this choice is the belief that life has only temporary value and ends after death

5 Atheism: No  Modern Atheism Why has atheism flourished in the modern world (from 1750 to present)? What has dramatically changed in the world and our worldview after the Renaissance?  Be careful in distinguishing between Atheism vs. Anti-Religion

6 Atheism: No  Evidence for Atheism (the faith belief that God does not exist) No scientific, rational evidence to prove that God does, in fact, exist The existence of evil and suffering in the world  Personal/Individual Sin  Communal/Social Sin  Natural Evil The ability to solve one’s problems without the assistance of some supernatural power

7 Atheism: No  In a God-less universe (the three-dimensional world plus time), what provides humans with meaning, direction, value, purpose? Time (how long you live) Space (the goods and property you accumulate) Human Accomplishments (your successes)  In this universe, without God and a reality after death, human existence is utterly negligible, objectively trivial, tiny, insignificant, puny, unimpressive, close to nothing

8 Atheism: No  In a God-less universe (the three-dimensional world plus time), what provides humans with meaning, direction, value, purpose?  Propaganda/Value Systems (“Atheisms in Disguise”) Offer substitutes for learning, loving, and growing as the means to living a successful, happy, and fulfilled life These become replacements for God (false idols) 1. The American Dream (the commercial media) 2. Pop Culture 3. The Institutional Churches 4. Formal Schooling 5. Peers and Parents

9 Atheism: No  In a God-less universe (the three-dimensional world plus time), what provides humans with meaning, direction, value, purpose?  Five additional forms of Atheisms 1. Meaning from Power 2. Meaning from the State 3. Meaning from the Self (Psychological Atheism) 4. Meaning from Sheer Bitchery 5. Meaning from Science

10 Atheism: No  Meaning from Power Friedrich Nietzsche, philosopher (19 th Century)  Believed that humans could derive meaning from their own desire for power, glory, and greatness

11 Atheism: No  Meaning from Power Friedrich Nietzsche, philosopher (19 th Century)  Nihilism  The beginning of psychological atheism Religion and divinity are projections of human nature What we want to be at our most powerful is what we project upon god  “Whenever morality is based on theology, whenever right is made dependent on divine authority, the most immoral, unjust, infamous things can be justified and established.”

12 Atheism: No  Meaning from Power Friedrich Nietzsche, philosopher (19 th Century)  “But how have we done it? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the whole horizon? What did we do when we loosened this earth from its sun? Whither does it now move? Whither do we move? Away from all suns? Do we not dash on unceasingly? Backwards, sideways, forwards, in all directions? Is there still an above and below? Do we not stray, as through infinite nothingness? Does not empty space breathe upon us? Has it not become colder? Does not night come on continually, darker and darker? Shall we not have to light lanterns in the morning? Do we not hear the noise of the grave-diggers who are burying God? Do we not smell the divine putrefaction? – for even Gods putrefy! God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him!”

13 Atheism: No  Meaning from the State Karl Marx, philosopher (19 th Century)  Believed that humans could derive meaning from an external social, economic, and political system or state government

14 Atheism: No  Meaning from the State Karl Marx, philosopher (19 th Century)  “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the masses.”  “Since only what is material is perceptible, knowable, nothing is known of the existence of God.”  “The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is therefore in embryo the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.”

15 Atheism: No  Meaning from the Self (Psychological Atheism) Sigmund Freud, psychiatrist (19 th Century)  Believed that humans could derive meaning from an examination of their unconscious mind using the practice of psychoanalysis, the techniques of free association, and the interpretation of dreams

16 Atheism: No  Meaning from the Self (Psychological Atheism) Sigmund Freud, psychiatrist (19 th Century)  “The child’s attitude to its father is colored by a peculiar ambivalence.”  “It would be an undoubted advantage if we were to leave God out altogether and admit the purely human origins of all the precepts and regulations of civilization.”  “Sexual love has given us our most intense experience of an overwhelming sensation of pleasure and has thus furnished us with a pattern for our search for happiness.”

17 Atheism: No  Meaning from the Self (Psychological Atheism) Sigmund Freud, psychiatrist (19 th Century)  “The idea of God was not a lie but a device of the unconscious which needed to be decoded by psychology. A personal god was nothing more than an exalted father-figure: desire for such a deity sprang from infantile yearnings for a powerful, protective father, for justice and fairness, and for life to go on forever. God is simply a projection of these desires, feared and worshipped by human beings out of an abiding sense of helplessness. Religion belonged to the infancy of the human race; it had been a necessary stage in the transition from childhood to maturity. It had promoted ethical values which were essential to society. Now that humanity had come of age, however, it should be left behind.” from A History of God

18 Atheism: No  Meaning from Sheer Bitchery Albert Camus, philosopher (20 th Century)  Believed that humans could derive meaning from their own struggle to conquer the absurdity that exists in the world

19 Atheism: No  Meaning from Sheer Bitchery Albert Camus, philosopher (20 th Century)  The Plague  The Stranger  The Myth of Sisyphus The Argument from Suffering  We wander aimlessly  If life has no purpose, then why not commit suicide?

20 Atheism: No  Meaning from Science Carl Sagan, scientist (20 th Century)  Believed that humans could only derive meaning from the natural, observable world of the physical universe

21 Atheism: No  Meaning from Science Carl Sagan, scientist (20 th Century)  Possibly more of an agnostic than an atheist  “The idea that God is an oversized white male with a flowing beard, who sits in the sky and tallies the fall of every sparrow is ludicrous. But if by ‘God,’ one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God. This God is emotionally unsatisfying... it does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity.”

22 Atheism: No


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