Sunday, September 12, 2021

Dostoyevsky on Atheism

 Atheism leads to oppression The Possessed by Dostoyevsky.

Talk by Alister McGrath 2005?

Link: from 26:46

Kirilov speech: 'If God exists then everything is his will and I can do nothing of my own apart from his will, If there is no Gd, then everything is my will and I am bound to express my self will.'

Dost is asking what is the supreme moral authority. If there is Gd, Gd is the supreme moral authority and my actions are shaped in some way and limited by the way Gd is and the fact Gd is: I am not free to do anything I please. I am in some way beholden to behave in the way Gd wants me to do. Therefore, there are limits placed on human action.

But, if there is no Gd, or I can so persuade people, then the ultimate seat of moral authority comes to us, to me.

And as you can see, the second point he makes is if there is no Gd, I am under a moral obligation to do what I want and there is no moral authority beyond me.

The point Dost. is making in this quotation is that atheism is not liberating, that you might think that the removal of limits was liberating, but, in fact, it simply removes the limits that prevent human beings from oppressing each other.

He anticipates the rise of totalitarianism: take away Gd and you take away the limiting factor that prevents human beings oppressing each other and leads to totalitarianism.

Atheists very often take the view that there is an obvious dimension to atheism that makes it a liberator, a movement that brings people to their true achievement.

But, I want to make the point that in many ways atheism actually prevents that achievement of our destiny by making it possible to oppress each other in ways that Christianity, for example, would never allow.

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