(review) Seven Types of Atheism, by John Gray

#1
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/a...rial-world

EXCERPT: There has been a rash of books in recent years by thinkers for whom the human race is getting nicer and nicer. [...] rational humanists who believe in progress, however many famines and genocides may disfigure the planet. We are en route to a vastly improved future. Perhaps this return to the values of the western Enlightenment is not unrelated to the threat of radical Islam. The philosopher John Gray’s role has been to act as a Jeremiah among these Pollyannas, insisting that we are every bit as nasty as we ever were. If there is anything he detests, it is schemes of visionary transformation. He is a card-carrying misanthrope for whom human life has no unique importance, and for whom history has been little more than the sound of hacking and gouging. [...]

The answer to the question of whether history has been improving is surely a decisive yes and no. [...]

Gray also believes that humanists are in bad faith. Most of them are atheists, but all they have done is substitute humanity for God. [...]

Unlike the rational humanists, Gray takes a dim view of reason. Yet although reason does not go all the way down in human affairs, without it we perish. [...]

Gray belongs to that group of contemporary thinkers, of whom George Steiner is the doyen, who disdain the secular but can’t quite drag themselves to the church or synagogue. They turn, instead, to a kind of transcendence without content, of which there is no finer example than what one might call Hollywood spirituality. [...]

*Seven Types of Atheism* is an impressively erudite work, ranging from the Gnostics to Joseph Conrad, St Augustine to Bertrand Russell. In the end, it settles for a brand of atheism that finds enough mystery in the material world itself without needing to supplement it with a higher one. Yet this, too, is just as much a throwback to the Victorian age as Dawkins’s evangelical campaign against religious evangelism. Authors such as George Eliot, reeling from the death of God, took solace in the unfathomable intricacies of the universe. Gray condemns secular humanism as the continuation of religion by other means, but his own faith in some vague, inexplicable enigma beyond the material is open to exactly the same charge....

MORE: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/a...rial-world
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#2
(Apr 13, 2018 06:55 PM)C C Wrote: ...a kind of transcendence without content, of which there is no finer example than what one might call Hollywood spirituality.

The transcendence of MR and SS.
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#3
(Apr 13, 2018 10:26 PM)Syne Wrote:
(Apr 13, 2018 06:55 PM)C C Wrote: ...a kind of transcendence without content, of which there is no finer example than what one might call Hollywood spirituality.

The transcendence of MR and SS.

My spirituality is that of Muir, Emerson, and Whitman. A fine American tradition.
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#4
Conflating transcendentalism with transcendence. Cute.
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#5
(Apr 14, 2018 04:02 AM)Syne Wrote: Conflating transcendentalism with transcendence. Cute.

I didn't say transcendentalism. I said the spirituality of Muir, Emerson, and Whitman. Figure out how to read. Then go read those writers' works.
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#6
Yeah, they all defined their spirituality by transcendentalists philosophy. Maybe you haven't read enough.
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#7
(Apr 14, 2018 04:34 AM)Syne Wrote: Yeah, they all defined their spirituality by transcendentalists philosophy. Maybe you haven't read enough.

I wasn't talking the philosophy of transcendentalism. I was talking the spirituality of Muir, Emerson, and Whitman, which involves a direct experience of transcendence. Go back a read what I wrote.
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#8
(Apr 14, 2018 04:43 AM)Magical Realist Wrote:
(Apr 14, 2018 04:34 AM)Syne Wrote: Yeah, they all defined their spirituality by transcendentalists philosophy. Maybe you haven't read enough.

I wasn't talking the philosophy of transcendentalism. I was talking the spirituality of Muir, Emerson, and Whitman, which involves a direct experience of transcendence. Go back a read what I wrote.

Try reading what I wrote. You know, about how all those guys defined spirituality.
Or don't, and continue conflating transcendentalism with transcendence. You're choice.

Naively cute either way.
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#9
(Apr 14, 2018 05:06 AM)Syne Wrote:
(Apr 14, 2018 04:43 AM)Magical Realist Wrote:
(Apr 14, 2018 04:34 AM)Syne Wrote: Yeah, they all defined their spirituality by transcendentalists philosophy. Maybe you haven't read enough.

I wasn't talking the philosophy of transcendentalism. I was talking the spirituality of Muir, Emerson, and Whitman, which involves a direct experience of transcendence. Go back a read what I wrote.

Try reading what I wrote. You know, about how all those guys defined spirituality.
Or don't, and continue conflating transcendentalism with transcendence. You're choice.

Naively cute either way.

The spirituality of Muir, Emerson, and Whitman is a direct experience of transcendence.That's what I'm talking about, not the philosophy of transcendentalism. Quit being a little bitch.
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#10
Okay MR, you just go right on believing that. Want a lollipop, tiger?

Big boy using words he doesn't understand.
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