TDA Atheism and Postmodernism mind map

Jaime  Preston
Mind Map by Jaime Preston , updated more than 1 year ago
Jaime  Preston
Created by Jaime Preston about 4 years ago
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GCSE Religious Studies (TDA AS Philosophy) Mind Map on TDA Atheism and Postmodernism mind map, created by Jaime Preston on 03/21/2016.
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TDA Atheism and Postmodernism mind map
1 Definitions
1.1 Negative Atheism: is the lack of belief in God or gods. A negative atheist does not believe in God or Gods.
1.2 Positive Atheism: is the belief that God or gods do not exist. Positive atheists do not believe in God and go further affirming there is no God or gods.
1.3 Agnosticism: the belief that it is not possible to know anything about God's existence. Agnostics do not believe in God or gods; but nor do they deny the possibility that God or gods might exist.
2 Reasons and responses for the rise in atheism
2.1 Science. Ray Billington describes God as God of the gaps. Says that Science is a supreme catalyst for the rise in atheism. This is due to three main developments: 1. Galileo and Copernicus and the telescope. 2. Biological revolutions by Darwin. 3. Psychological developments by Freud.
2.1.1 Responses to Science- Darwin agrees that Science cannot disprove God. Hawkings will not engage in a conversation about whether God exists... maybe there is not enough evidence either way?
2.2 Empiricism. Only believe what is experienced through the 5 senses. Hyman- 'God is precisely that which is non empirical.' God is not a physical object and so cannot be experienced through the five senses. Hume- can only draw on conclusions from known phenomena. Hyman- theism is completely incompatible with empiricism. A.J.Ayer- Verification principle- meaningful statements are ones that can either be proved/ you know how to prove true or false. We cannot and do not know how to prove God's existence and so it is meaningless.
2.2.1 Responses to Empiricism- Verifiation principle is meaningless as it too cannot be proved true or false.--> Whole argument doesn't work. Is there not a sixth sense of intuition? Billington admits that not all beliefs can be proved through the five sense.
2.3 The Problem of evil- inconsistent triad. If God is Omnibenevolent, Omnipresent and Omnipotent, there is no reason why there is evil in the world. God cannot be all of these things and evil still exist. Evil does exist and so therefore God cannot. D.Z. Philips- It is never justifiable to hurt someone in order to help them. When we consider the magnitude of suffering in the world , this problem is all the more serious.
2.3.1 Reponses to the problem of evil: St Augustine argues that evil had entered the world through human misuse of freewill. St Irenaeus argues evil is an unavoidable risk if humans have freewill. Hick argues that God wants humans to be genuinely loving however he cannot get the if he made everyone the same like robots so evil need to be in the world to allow people the opportunity to stray from the correct path and learn from it.
2.4 The rebellion against moral absolutes- Moral absolutes are unchanging ethical truths. Moral absolutists rebel against moral absolutes arguing that what is wrong or right varies according to the individual situation. H.P Owen states that it 'is impossible to think of a command without also thinking of a commander. ' Immanuel Kant rejected all rational proof's of God's existence and emphasised that moral laws are not divine commands. He says that a sense of unconditional obligation justifies us in postulating God's existence. Cultural Relativists go a step further, arguing that what is right and wrong is based is based on nothing more than the attitude of our culture.
2.4.1 Response to the rebellion of moral absolutes - It is only a threat to God when it is taken to extremes such as religious nihilism- the view that there are no objective standards. If relativism is seen as a rejection of moral absolutes- it could take a more subjective approach such as that by Joseph Fletcher in Situation Ethics. Not all atheists reject absolutes as they too see need in some moral laws such as not intentionally killing innocent people.
2.5 Awareness of other faiths- John Hick claims that there is a challenge posed by awareness of other faiths. Where you are born often decides what religion you are from. Different religions say incompatible things from one another which often contradict one another and can arise questions about whether there is an absolute God. If one of them is false, how do we know they all aren't? Hume says that 'in religion, whatever is different is contrary.' He discusses the fact that all religions make conflicting claims about the objective nature of God and if we disbelieve one, what is to say that they are all not false as well.
2.5.1 Religious Pluralism: Hick interprets this view that all religions are human responses to the transcendent reality and that they are all equally valid responses. There are many routes up the mountain to God.
3 Nietzsche: 'God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.' Nietzsche wanted to focus on the way society no longer has a need for a God rather than trying to prove God does not exist. He said that where God was once relied on for answers, we have managed to get answers from areas such as science and philosophy.
4 Postmodernism refers to the cultural era following the modern era. The modern era focused on absolutes and you knew where you stood whereas the postmodern era rejects absolutes and meta narratives and focuses on a more subjective and personal approach to life and religion.
4.1 Cultural Constructs: Postmodern rejection of meta narratives involves the rejection of absolute truth claims from western faiths. Emile Durkheim argued that religion was a product of the society in which it was developed. What is required by the religion is the way in which society expects people to behave. He uses the example of a Christian Cross. To some, the cross would only symbolise a shape of a cross however to Christians is has so many more connotations such as salvation and resurrection. Jean Francois Lyotard argued that beliefs that have been understood as meta narratives should be seen as local interpretations on the nature of reality. For Examples a Hebrew view of God would be one of a caring and protective God because of the way that they were given freedom and support to escape slavery. However for people of a different background that do not know this story, so would differ.
4.2 No right or wrong religions: Having rejected all claims to absolute truth, there cannot be a claim for right or wrong religions. Os Guiness states that if we reject absolutes, then we need to reject a religions claim to exclusive knowledge. Jacques Derrida further develops this stating 'deconstruction is not an enclosure in nothingness but an openness to other.' He says that postmodernism allows us to open up to other religions and not feel marginalised into a 'correct' choice. He says we should have an agnosticism about the existence of God. If we say anything definite we would be sticking to meta- narratives and so instead we should consider an other- gives us a sense of mystery. Caputo adopts this approach in his book. He promotes an ideal 'religion without religion' He says tru religion refers to virtue of being truly religious or truly loving God rather than 'one true religion' or 'my religion is better than yours'. Still agnostic-Don't know what God refers.
4.3 Religion as a spiritual search: As no religions can be seen as right or wrong, it is up to the individual to create their own mini narratives. James Beckford identifies the pick and mix approach. He says that it is like a religion supermarket and we can pick and choose the ideal and teachings that suit us best. Heelas identified with this and offers the example of New Age Spiritualism which has branches in Christianity, Islam and Wiccan traditions. Cupitt is an anti realist. He says that there is no God in terms of an external being. Instead a construct of our minds that represents our spiritual search to our goal.
4.3.1 Oh wait!! A set spitual search with a set spiritual goal is an absolute. --> word it instead as a personal spiritual search to a subjective goal.
4.4 Living religion rather than intellectual faith: Due to the deep agnosticism of many postmodern views of religion, it is not surprising that religion focuses on a living approach to religion rather than a set intellect. Caputo says religion is about the way you live your life, not gaining or having knowledge. God and religion is what you do and not what you know. Andrew Wright talks about 'deeds rather than creeds'. Not teaching us about set religious beliefs teachings about God but rather how to live our lives in these positive roles,
5 Does postmodernism affirm or deny religion
5.1 1. Most religions emphasise the importance of a living religion e.g. Jesus commanded 'love thy neighbour'.
5.1.1 2. Rejection of intellectual knowledge of God. E.G. Quakers- refer to 'light of God'. Have no creeds. Don't refer to a God as a personal being.
5.1.1.1 3. God cannot be contained in the bounds of human knowledge. E.G. focus on faith/ belief rather than certainty- could be seen as a rejection of absolute knowledge.
5.1.1.1.1 4. Some traditions and practices fir into postmodern ideas. E.G. Christian mysticism- ineffability- PINT. Intuitive knowledge rather than intellectual E.G. St John of the Cross. Via Negative- Don't say what God is- describe him by saying what He isn't.
5.1.1.1.1.1 5. Exposes atheism as a meta narrative- open to the idea of religion/ God. Widening the understanding of religion and God. Preserves sense of mystery--> New possibilities to accept religious interpretation of life.
5.2 1. No universal truth- contradicts key religious teachings E.G. Jesus is the way, the truth and Life. To get to God, you go through Jesus.
5.2.1 2. Religious Pluralism- lots of routes but mine is best= absolute. By saying you are open to the possibility of God- this is not meaningful faith.
5.2.1.1 3. Living religion- Hand in hand with meta-narratives. Practise + truth claims = important.
5.2.1.1.1 4. Rejection of absolute- Difficult to have specific ethical code of conduct. Do not kill- not relevant?
5.2.1.1.1.1 5. Freedom of thought- threatens many traditional understanding of religions. Challenges basis of right and wrong.
5.2.1.2 Closer to atheism than agnosticism- Cupitt- anti realist. Is this not admitting you are atheist in another name? If you reject objective existence - disallows Derrida's open ended view.
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