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Monday, March 26, 2012


fr. richard

So I guess she means that if you're half a believer and half an atheist, you have struck the right balance and thus avoid all danger? Cool!


I'm not so sure. I think a good argument could be made that religion ("theism") should not be an ideology; that is not its proper role. If so, Ms. Le Guin makes a valid point, not philosophical fiction.

Here's what Fr. Longenecker has to say about ideology in the posting "Sentimentalism and Violence" on his blog "Standing on My Head".

An ideology is a single driving idea that sweeps every other consideration aside. Those who follow an ideology are always self righteous, and they will use every means possible to enforce their ideology. The ideologue may attempt to argue logically or philosophically, but this will only be a tactic--it is not because he believes that logic, philosophy or theology have any real weight. These disciplines will serve the ideology--the ideology itself may never be questioned. Not only logic and philosophy are subject to the ideology, but all things are subject to the ideology. All other considerations are subject to his ideology--including moral considerations.

Catholicism in particular cannot be reduced to an ideology, because logic and philosophy -- and reason in general -- are not only permitted, they are required.

Carl E. Olson

Howard: I forgot to include the link; check out the entire article and see what you think. Le Guin, for what it is worth, has said, "I write about gods, I am an atheist." Regardless, even if she is talking about ideology, which isn't clear to me, her logic ultimately lacks because it cannot posit or allow for an ultimate basis for reason and morality. But I completely agree with the quotes about ideology; they echo what Russell Kirk wrote about very insightfully in various works.


I think there is some truth to saying that atheism and theism can both be dangerous. If one holds to anything as an ideal then it reduces reality to our idea of reality. To be a Christian isn't to be a theist, it's to love God which goes beyond the atheist/theist dichotomy.

Carl E. Olson

If one holds to anything as an ideal then it reduces reality to our idea of reality.

Including Jesus Christ? For Christians, he is the ideal, as he is the perfect Son of God, the Incarnate Word, etc. " Jesus Christ is in person the way of perfection" (CCC, 1953).

To be a Christian isn't to be a theist, it's to love God which goes beyond the atheist/theist dichotomy.

"Theism" is commonly understood as belief in one god (as "polytheism" is multiple gods), so Christianity (and Judaism) is certainly theistic. The two central, defining doctrines of Christianity are the Trinity (one God, three Persons) and the Incarnation (God become man). I think it is rather misleading to think of an "atheist/theist dichotomy", as that is somewhat akin to posting a "good/evil" dichotomy, as if they somehow have a real equality. In fact, atheism is the rejection of something (or, better, Someone), and so is defined by a negative, just as evil is a not a "thing", but the absence of the good.

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