Christianity and the Errors of Our Time: Simone Weil on Atheism and Idolatry1: Mario von der Ruhr


In his 1985 book on philosophy and atheism, the Canadian thinker Kai Nielsen, a prolific writer on the subject, wonders why the philosophy of religion is ‘so boring’, and concludes that it must be ‘because the case for atheism is so strong that it is difficult to work up much enthusiasm for the topic.’ Indeed, Nielsen even regards most of the contemporary arguments for atheism as little more than ‘mopping up operations after the Enlightenment’ which, on the whole, add little to the socio-anthropological and socio-psychological accounts of religion provided by thinkers like Feuerbach, Marx and Freud, as any ‘reasonable person informed by modernity’ will readily acknowledge. On this view, the answer to Kant's question – ‘What may we hope?’ – does not gesture towards a resurrection and personal immortality, but instead to the death of religious discourse itself: I think, and indeed hope, that God-talk, and religious discourse more generally, is, or at least should be, dying out in the West, or more generally in a world that has felt the force of a Weberian disenchantment of the world. This sense that religious convictions are no longer a live option is something which people who think of themselves as either modernists or post-modernists very often tend to have.

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Author's Profile

Mario Von Der Ruhr
Swansea University

References found in this work

Waiting for God.Simone Weil - 1951 - Harpercollins.
Gravity and Grace.Simone Weil - 1952 - New York: Putnam.
Wittgensteinian Fideism.Kai Nielsen - 1982 - In Steven M. Cahn & David Shatz (eds.), International Journal for Philosophy of Religion. Oxford University Press. pp. 191-.
Gravity and Grace.Simone Weil - 1953 - Philosophy 28 (106):276-278.

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Citations of this work

Atheisms and the Purification of Faith.Mikel Burley - 2014 - International Journal of Philosophy and Theology 75 (4):319-331.

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