Monday, February 17, 2014

How my Year Without God would work

If you read my bog for cutting-edge news from the world of pseudo-religious matters then you have a large problem. I don't break the news.

At the start of the year Ryan J. Bell, a former Sven-Day Adventist minister, started a "Year without God," launching a blog here about his journey.

In the post he announced his plan, one which cost him his job teaching at a religious university, he said he will be...

...embarking on a new journey. I will "try on" atheism for a year. For the next 12 months I will live as if there is no God. I will not pray, read the Bible for inspiration, refer to God as the cause of things or hope that God might intervene and change my own or someone else's circumstances. (I trust that if there really is a God that God will not be too flummoxed by my foolish experiment and allow others to suffer as a result).

I will read atheist "sacred texts" -- from Hobbes and Spinoza to Russell and Nietzsche to the trinity of New Atheists, Hitchens, Dawkins and Dennett. I will explore the various ways of being atheist, from naturalism (Voltaire, Dewey, et al) to the new 'religious atheists' (Alain de Botton and Ronald Dworkin). I will also attempt to speak to as many actual atheists as possible -- scholars, writers and ordinary unbelievers -- to learn how they have come to their non-faith and what it means to them. I will visit atheist gatherings and try it on.

In short, I will do whatever I can to enter the world of atheism and live, for a year, as an atheist. It's important to make the distinction that I am not an atheist. At least not yet. I am not sure what I am. That's part of what this year is about.

There's only one problem with his plan; he's overthinking it.

Many atheists, and the vast majority of agnostics, don't put in the effort he will in order to hold their worldview.

They don't read the "sacred texts."
They don't try to forget God.
They don't drop spiritual disciplines.
They aren't "acting" like something they don't believe.

All they do is put something else as number one in their life.
This falls in line with the way atheists are described in Romans 1.

If I were going to "experiment" with a "Year without God" all I would do is make myself top priority. I would decide that I was more important than God. The actions would flow naturally from there...

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