There’s another odd thing that Meghan Florian said in that Religion Dispatches/Salon article that’s been nagging at me.
I can’t pull off atheism. I am too enraptured by the mystery of the divine, too convinced of human limitations, too busy continuing this life of faith seeking understanding.
In a way it’s not worth trying to make sense of it or pointing out why it doesn’t make sense, because it’s just normal religious bafflegab – just a string of poeticky words that don’t actually mean much, but sound nice. That’s what they do. They have license to do that, because religion. That’s one of the many reasons I dislike religion: because it not only allows, it encourages empty bafflegab, and expects everyone to be impressed by it. It’s yet another subhead in the major category Cheating, and I’m seriously annoyed by religious cheating.
So in another way it is worth trying to make sense of it or pointing out why it doesn’t make sense, because it disrupts the social habit of politely ignoring the emptiness of the bafflegab.
1. She can’t pull off atheism because she’s too enraptured by the mystery of the divine.
What is the divine?
Does she mean “God”? She must sort of mean that, since the subject is atheism, not adivineism. I don’t bother being an adivineist, because I don’t know what “the divine” refers to.
I suppose she sort of means “God,” but also sort of means something more nebulous and poetical and “mysterious” and pretty.
What does she mean when she says she’s “enraptured” by it? I suppose that it’s nebulous and poetical and “mysterious” and pretty, while also being “God,” who both is and is not mysterious and distant.
Or maybe not. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe she means something much deeper and also more sophisticated and also full of particulars, that she learned from Duke Divinity School, where she earned a Master of Theological Studies. But if so, what?
What does she mean about being enraptured by the mystery? What’s enrapturing about it? Why is it never instead seen as a cold cruel heartless withholding? At least, never except by people who actually take “doubts” seriously as opposed to brandishing them at outsiders as a badge of haha skepticism. Imagine a cold starving ill child whose parents hide themselves. Is that child “enraptured” by the “mystery” of the hidden parents? Or, to look at it another way, is anyone “enraptured” by the “mystery” of the non-appearance of Hamlet or Medea or Huckleberry Finn? Of course not, because we know they’re characters in stories. So why do people bother to be “enraptured” by the “mystery” of the “divine”? What is that melodious phrase but an endlessly repeated advertising slogan?
2. She can’t pull off atheism because she’s too convinced of human limitations.
Wtf? What, because atheism is not convinced of human limitations? Atheism thinks humans are infinite?
Why isn’t it the other way around? Why isn’t it theists who aren’t convinced of human limitations? Theists think we’re immortal! It’s ludicrous to claim that atheists as such are not convinced of human limitations. You don’t have to subscribe to the idea of “sin” to be convinced of human limitations.
3. She can’t pull off atheism because she’s too busy continuing this life of faith seeking understanding.
No, she’s not. She’s kidding herself. “Faith” is not the right way to try to achieve understanding. It’s exactly the wrong way. Atheists have a much better shot of achieving some understanding, other things being equal, because they’re not impeded by the need to defend all the things that are accepted on “faith.”
I take it that what Florian means is that she doesn’t want to be atheist. She should just say that.