Wednesday, June 20, 2007

More Atheism. Alright!

In addition to the slew of new books that challenge the neo-religiosity of America, we can add The Atheist's Bible by Joan Konner. It appears from this excellent review that it is in all seriousness a Proverbs-esque collection of aphorisms, including the following:

Aristotle: "men create the gods after their own images"

Schopenhauer: "Religions are like glow-worms. They need darkness in order to shine."

Santayana: "Fear first created the gods."

What a book like this offers, as the review notes, is that it has the kind of check out lane appeal that could make it a big seller. But beyond this, a book like this excells insofar as it is not an argument. The debate about belief is a doomed debate because by its very nature must rely on non-empirical information, and Konner's book doesn't try to say that religion is bogus or the biggest source of violence in history, or anything like that. Instead, it attempts to build no case where no case can be built. Fragments often have the uncanny ability to communicate more than can be stated in the most well-reasoned and articulate discourses. As Wyndham Lewis wrote about Virginia Woolf in Men Without Art, "We must reconcile ourselves to a season of failures and fragments. We must reflect that where so much strength is spent on finding a way of telling the truth the truth itself is bound to reach us in rather an exhausted and chaotic condition."

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