What Would It Take to Turn Me Atheist?

As an agnostic, here’s my answer: An ability to transcend the cosmos and see all of it whole.

Obviously, I am embedded in the system that I am trying to describe (as are we all) and so I am reluctant to draw too quick a verdict with regard to the origin and nature of the whole.

Did, for example, mind precede matter, or matter mind? The answer to this question is crucial to the question of whether or not God might exist. But with regard to this very question we are in an evidential fog and so must choose one position or the other as an axiom. It is also possible that both mind and matter came into existence at the same time (or have always existed together). Thus, there are really four possibilities:

  • mind preceded matter
  • matter preceded mind
  • matter and mind came into existence together at the same time
  • matter and mind have always existed together 

Once again, the truth is the whole—but as human beings we do not have access to the proper vantage to make a final judgment about the whole—or which of these four positions is, in fact, the correct one. From the vantage that I do have, I must confess that it looks bad for the God team, but the game is not over. One has to have an obituary to tell a final story.

Think about that.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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1 Response to What Would It Take to Turn Me Atheist?

  1. shamelesslyatheist says:

    I think you may be laboring under the idea that atheism is an absolute denial of any god(s). This is a mistake. Not even Dawkins is absolutist in this regard. It is quite acceptable to provisionally reject the god(s) hypothesis in the absence of evidence in its support. Should such evidence ever become available in the future (which I do believe to be extremely unlikely, just as I think it extremely unlikely that natural selection will be overturned as an explanation for evolution), I would provisionally accept the hypothesis, though (since many aspects of the Abrahamic god have been falsified) not the god of Abraham. This is how rational inquiry works and is the only way in which we can have any confidence in our conclusions.

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