Thursday, 17 June 2010

Pictures of reality

Is Atheism is a state of mind? It is a question I ask since it is sometimes said that religious belief is merely a state of mind. If so, why can we not explain atheism in the same way?

My view on things theological chimes with the Danish philosopher, Soren Kirkegaard who is once supposed to have said:

"The objective truth can be known subjectively."

I believe this is true not only because of my own subjective experience but that of others. Atheists are apt to dismiss personal explanation. I think this is a mistake especially when about 25% of the people in this country are reported to have had some kind of religious experience.

Reductionism may seek to explain that what 'really' happens is because of a chemical reaction in the brain. This may be so but this does not refute religious or spiritual experience. It is simply an observation of the micro physical effects.

Man is a religious animal which infers the existence of spirit/soul. But do animals have a soul?

My answer would be yes they do but one unlike that of Man. Something happened to the animal we call Man about 50,000 years ago which increased our consciousness and gave us the ability to be creative and use language; a big bang of the mind.

Some 20,000 years later cave paintings and tiny figurines appeared in a variety of different places around Europe. Evidence not only of Man's newly evolving creative power but also of a desire to transcend the confines of the immediate environment.

This desire found further expression in ritual and religion and has shaped Man ever since to be more than the sum of his parts. Transcendence in art and a reverence of beauty can often point to something greater than ourselves.

What is love? Is it man made or does love exist outside of ourselves? Are we a channel or conduit for love or religious expression? These questions remain even after Atheism.


  1. Hello, Nobby,

    Surely all is a state of mind. Without mind we know of nothing. An appreciation of the idealist point of view is essential to understanding the world of phenomena we actually live in. The mistake that some idealists make is to assume that there is nothing beyond the phenomena.

    If you ever get around reading Owen Barfield, you'll find him interesting.

  2. Hello Jamie. The question mainly had rhetorical value but your explanation is ideal :-)