Atheism and Agnosticism–Some Links

Martin Amis wrote an appeal to Christopher Hitchens that he should convert from atheism to agnosticism. In a marvelous essay that provides fascinatin detail about Hitchens’ life in addition to anecdotes about his skill as a debater, Amis attacks Hitchens’ atheism (as well as atheism in general):

The atheistic position merits an adjective that no one would dream of applying to you: it is lenten. And agnosticism, I respectfully suggest, is a slightly more logical and decorous response to our situation – to the indecipherable grandeur of what is now being (hesitantly) called the multiverse. The science of cosmology is an awesome construct, while remaining embarrassingly incomplete and approximate; and over the last 30 years it has garnered little but a series of humiliations. So when I hear a man declare himself to be an atheist, I sometimes think of the enterprising termite who, while continuing to go about his tasks, declares himself to be an individualist. It cannot be altogether frivolous or wishful to talk of a “higher intelligence” – because the cosmos is itself a higher intelligence, in the simple sense that we do not and cannot understand it.

Here is Mark Vernon’s response. His take:

For me it’s as much, probably more, the immensity of our inner, rather than outer, space that makes agnosticism so appealing. We are the creature who can plunge into the depths of existence; life at its most real comes to us as a troubling, glorious excess. It’s why we suffer and love. It’s surely something of that energy that Hitchens so powerful channels too.

A thoughtful review by Eric Reitan of Vincent Bugliosi’s Divinity of Doubt: The God Question. Reitan finds the premise of Bugliosi’s book lame: that we simply don’t know whether God exists. For Reitan, that’s obvious, perhaps especially to devout Christians who use language of faith rather than knowledge when talking about God’s existence. Reitan sees the interesting question to be: What do we do in the face of such uncertainty? Bugliosi doesn’t answer that question and Reitan marshalls arguments from Kierkegaard and James to argue his point.

An interview with A.C. Grayling, author of The Humanist Bible: How can you be a militant atheist? It’s like sleeping furiously’.

And then there’s this.

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