« Trashing the Bible...and God | Main | Pleasure? »

May 25, 2006

Religion v. Spirituality

Slovoj Zizek's writing against religion has drawn the attention of this blog. Recently he spoke out, in the London Review of Books, on a subject that is not ostensibly among the blog's concerns: the struggle for the soul of what is left of a left. Zizek sums up, and holds up to ridicule, the position of Bill Gates, George Soros, Thomas Friendman, etc. -- who, in good fun, have been dubbed "liberal communists."

Zizek's unsympathetic characterization of their position on religion is among our concerns:

Liberal communists do not want to be mere profit-machines: they want their lives to have deeper meaning. They are against old-fashioned religion and for spirituality, for non-confessional meditation (everybody knows that Buddhism foreshadows brain science, that the power of meditation can be measured scientifically).

Is it time for the irreligious also to have at this more-fashionable-in-some-circles spirituality? Which returns us to the Harris question debated below. And to various ways "spiritual atheists" have of standing for something (or Something) rather than nothing.

Posted by Mitchell Stephens at May 25, 2006 9:46 AM


Well, yeah. We're ALL looking for meaning. But atheism can provide none. Atoms that happen to arrange themselves into configurations that happen to be complex enough to trigger the (inexplicable) phenomenon of consciousness as an epiphenomenon cannot, by definition, have meaning. Are you more than atoms? If so, welcome to the path to theism . . . .

Spirituality? What the #$@%&* is that? You mean atoms can have weird experiences? Rock on!

Posted by: Heresiarch at May 26, 2006 9:16 PM

It isn't atheism's job to provide meaning. Atheism just clears the decks of irrationality and superstition. Then you can look for meaning on a rational basis. Perhaps "looking" is a misleading word. There is no "meaning" carved in stone by God and binding on everyone. You have to learn from others but ultimately look within yourself for meaning.

Posted by: No More Mr. Nice Guy! at May 29, 2006 2:03 AM

You missed the point. We can assign all kinds of "meanings" to our lives, but in a godless world, these meanings are just our own psychological projections. If that's enough for you, fine, I guess.

Posted by: Heresiarch at June 3, 2006 11:59 AM

Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)