81 chapters of the Dao de jing
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with 81 chapters of the Shaman Atheist |
... on the right side.
There is a new definition of atheism not found among the current orthodox: it is the non-experience of deity. It is not anti-theist, it is supportive of the natural quest for meaning in myth, symbol and practice, and challenges any construct that places itself in the position of worship or unquestioning obedience, whether it be called deity or law. Atheism is substantiated by the experience of no-god, or the lack of experience, not by belief or rational counter-arguments to theism. This definition comes, in part, from Pascal who conceives of a person so made that s/he cannot believe - a person who by nature is experientially limited to atheism. (Pensées, translated by W. F. Trotter, Chicago 1952)
Long before we concern ourselves with the problem of deity's existence or non-existence, we need to ask the fundamental question of epistemology: how do we know what we know? There are several methods that we commonly use to arrive at what we call knowledge, but most frequent is communal experience. Yet even communal experience as a source of knowledge is only a barometer of public opinion at the time taken, and ultimately leaves us no closer to the truth of deity's existence or non-existence. Communal rationalism and logic in religion can get us no closer to certainty. Thus we are left without any shared knowledge of deity's objective reality. Personal experience as a source of knowledge, however, has never been pursued by atheist thinkers. In fact, subjective experience is considered antithetical to atheists who want to prove that deity is objectively false.
Personally, i do not know whether the existence of deity is objectively true or false. I do know that i live my life without a conscious relationship to a supernatural being, that i am entirely ignorant about the existence of any supernatural being, and that i am content living without this experience of deity.
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