Posted by: cjobrien | 20 April 2008

It’s Not Only Bigger Than We Imagine; It’s Bigger Than We CAN Imagine

This is one of the reasons why, despite my general foray around the margins of atheism, I still keep reading those with a more spiritual bent then myself, such as James McGrath: I need to get this book. It is not that my atheism/spirituality is absolute, it that it is complex – I cannot abide by simple black-and-white answers to larger problems. And my beef with theism is not its spirituality, it is that it is far too simplistic (in all its varieties) to be credible. If there is anything out there, it is far more complex and magnificent than any Iron-Age text:

I concur absolutely with Comte-Sponville’s challenge to take the world seriously, and even give the evidence from it priority over sacred texts in important respects. “The world is far more interesting to me than the Bible or the Koran,” Comte-Sponville writes. “It is far more mysterious than they are. It is vaster, since it contains them; more unfathomable; more astonishing; more stimulating, since we can transform it, whereas the holy books are reputed to be untouchable; and, last but not least, it is truer, because it is entirely true, something the Bible and the Koran, with all their inanities and inconsistencies, could never be, except insofar as they are part of the world (there is nothing inconsistent about a human text being inconsistent” (Comte-Sponville, pp.103-104).

Now THAT’s spirituality…



  1. That is a post that even this fundamentalist Christian can relate to. Simplistic? Yes, there are many in the fundamentalist camp who revel in being simpletons. Then there are the sophisticated mainline Christians who bury their simplistic denial of Christ as lord and savior under their fancy rhetoric while insisting that they are Christians. And the atheists who bury their simplistic spontaneous generation under some fancy techno-babble. Simpletons are everywhere, even among the most highly educated and successful

    What I really like about the Bible, both old and new testament, is that it gets to the core of human nature – and the character of people. For me, spirituality begins by examining my character flaws. Being a simpleton, I probably won’t get it right, but it seems to me that this is the beginning of spirituality.

  2. Yes Looney. The Bible “gets to the core of human nature” but it’s certainly not history. No evidence any part of it is true even as late as Solomon’s Kingdom, no evidence that any particular group of people in the region descend from just one man such as Abraham. No tower of Babel etc. Ahab is an historical figure but as represented in the Bible he is a gross distortion of history. Where does anything such as a God fit into all this then?

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