Krauthammer Fears God He Doesn’t Believe In


we have another reluctant conservative atheist on our hands. Charles Krauthammer told Tucker Carlson’s miserable little web rag the Daily Caller that he doesn’t believe in God — but he’s still afraid of him. And lest anyone miss the point, he’s still in awe of the universe.

In the final segment of The Daily Caller’s extensive interview with Charles Krauthammer, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist opens up about his faith — or lack thereof.

“There was once a philosopher who said, ‘I don’t believe in God, but I fear him greatly.’ That’s about where I am,” the author of “Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics” said. ”I’ve had a fairly difficult and complicated notion of the deity. If I tried to explain it I would simply say — and this is by no means associating myself with the greatness of the man — but I would associate myself with Einstein’s conception of God, which was a recognition and an awe before the mystery of the order and beauty of the universe, which would imply that there is something very mysterious and very awesome — awe-inspiring — about the universe.”

Apparently you can’t just be a conservative and an atheist without being tormented over it, like S.E. Cupp’s inane comments about how she wishes she could believe in God and she doesn’t trust atheists — herself excluded, of course — because they don’t answer to a higher power.

Comments

  1. David Marjanović says

    Maybe he isn’t an atheist at all, but is using the other meaning of “to believe in X”, namely “to believe that X is a good idea”?

    Dystheism is common enough to have a Wikipedia article.

  2. colnago80 says

    Well, Einstein said he believed in Spinoza’s god and Dawkins has said that he believes in Einstein’s god so where does that leave the Kraut?

  3. lorn says

    I’m sure Mister Krauthammer believes that he is saying something deeply revealing and is highlighting his own spiritual progress and struggle as he considers himself, and his ilk, to be thought leaders in making spiritual progress. But what strikes me is the dirt simple banality of what he considers to be sophisticated and nuance.

    Even a decade ago I’ve had common tradesmen make comments that seem to indicate essentially the same thought of doubting the existence of God, based upon a lack of interaction and response, while fearing both a vengeful God should he exist, and not knowing what will replace the concept of God as an organizing principle.

    For all his education, and the long checks he gets for deep thoughts and illumination expressed on a regular column in the newspaper of record, it seems that Mister Krauthammer has only now made the connections. If he leads it is surely from behind. A good proportion of the general public came to that groundbreaking conclusion some time ago.

  4. zenlike says

    Apparently, if you are on the intellectual level of fearing something you now doesn’t exist, you can have a high paying job as a pundit and even win one of the most prestigious prices in your intellectual field. Yeah, we’re pretty much fucked as a society.

  5. colnago80 says

    Re lorn @ #@5

    1. It’s Dr. Krauthammer (he’s a psychiatrist by training).

    2. AFAIK, his column appears on Fridays in the Washington Post, which the last time I checked is not the official newspaper of record (that dubious honor goes to the New York Times). It is hoped that Jeff Bezos will give him the heave ho when he takes over ownership of the Post.

    3. At one time (30 years ago), the Kraut was a stand up guy. Since then, he has deteriorated into a shill for the Rethuglican Party, even going so far as to join the global warming deniers.

    4. It is my information that, at one time, he claimed that he was in a wheel chair because of polio. We now know it was because of an accident that occurred while diving into a swimming pool.

  6. tsig says

    colnago80

    December 27, 2013 at 3:18 pm (UTC -5)

    Well, Einstein said he believed in Spinoza’s god and Dawkins has said that he believes in Einstein’s god so where does that leave the Kraut?

    All puckered up with nothing to kiss.

  7. felidae says

    Charlie is the worst of the worst, those who abandon a well reasoned liberal point of view for right wing ideological view, accompanied by David Horowitz, David Mamet, and the like

  8. lorn says

    colnago80 @ 7:

    So, I take it, you have no substantive objection to my characterization.

    Anybody demanding the use of Doctor, outside a hospital or requested opinion on a specific medical issue, is attempting to bias the argument by claiming authority they don’t have. I don’t know about you but I’m not in a hospital and I’m not asking Mr. Krauthammer for a medical opinion. The only other use of the title is for flattery. I have no wish to flatter Mister Krauthammer. Frankly, I see him as an overpaid hack, a potentially good mind wasted by placing it in service to second rate policies and persons.

    Yes, thirty years ago Krauthammer had just started his debasement by placing himself in service to both the rhetoric and ideology of Reagan and his cronies. Yes, he often played the more moderate voice to the firebrands but he has always been careful to mute his arguments just enough to let those paying his bills have their preference. His is not a voice of truth and hard questions if the powers that be are not in the mood for truth and hard questions. Another fine mind wasted by a desire for wealth, fame, and the need for ideology consistency palatable to those who write checks and decide who will be on the Sunday talk shows. .

    The NYT is only ironically the newspaper of record. The highest of a dessicated media format no longer often read or referenced. Perhaps Jeff Bezos can bring it back through the rigorous exercise of journalism. A unique take on how you run a newspaper. Nonetheless Mister Krauthammer’s media footprint is both heavy and very well paid. His speaking fees are lucrative, his book deals gratuitously rich, his appearances on Meet the Press very well compensated. No matter how underhanded his silence on GOP rhetoric and policies, or his own complicity in the troubles we are in, may be, the checks are always fully formed, well written, and full of moral certainty.

  9. Great American Satan says

    Where does this idea come from that Bezos – an avowed libertarian – would be anything but supportive of someone like Krauthammer? Religion is a small thing to quibble over when corporate profits need to be defended in ink.

  10. imthegenieicandoanything says

    He’s as much an atheist as Hitler was – and in the same way!

    Godwin be darned!

  11. Alverant says

    I remember reading an article in USA Today by him about school prayer. He said no one should be forced to pray but was also against the Supreme Court decision banning forced prayer. Of course he didn’t mention that was what the SC decision was about, he just referred to it by a number so no one would notice. So forced prayer is bad unless it’s being done by christians, then it’s not REALLY forced I guess.

  12. dingojack says

    Set Kouwenhoven – Wasn’t “Krauthammer” one of Peter Gabriel’s early, less successful songs?
    :) Dingo

  13. jonathangray says

    Apparently you can’t just be a conservative and an atheist without being tormented over it

    That’s hardly surprising. However vapid or venal individual conservatives may be, and however debased modern conservative ideology may be, the conservative intellectual tradition is immeasurably superior to its progressivist rival. Those who have inherited even a little of this tradition are therefore more likely to have an apprehension, however dim, of what’s at stake.

    More prosaically (and less polemically):

    + Religion values tradition and is wary of attempts by rationalistic busybodies to dispense with the accumulated wisdom of centuries.

    + Religion emphasises human imperfectibility.

    + Religion emphasises personal responsibility.

    + Religion is authoritarian: it puts a premium on social order and the importance of strong authority in maintaining order.

    + At the same time religion has a strong libertarian current: it refuses to acknowledge that the state is omnicompetent and resists attempts to make it omnipotent. It insists on the inviolable integrity of those intermediate institutions which stand between the state and the individual — particularly the family, which is seen as the basic cell of society.

    + Religion underpins the achievements of high culture in the Western tradition. It fosters intellectual and artistic elites.

    + At the same time religion promotes a conception of the organic society in which popular culture is permeated with the same religious values as high culture.

    If all these are also recognisably conservative values, that is simply because religion was the soil from which conservatism grew.

  14. colnago80 says

    Re lorn @ #10

    1. Jeff Bezos is buying the Washington Post, not the NYT.

    2. David Horowitz was a Trotskyite in college, much like Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz. I’m not sure that he was ever what might be termed a liberal as we understand the term. Like many former Trotskyites, he traded one extreme position for another.

    Great American Satan @ #11

    Krauthammer ain’t no libertarian.

    Re Alverant @ #15

    The Kraut is of the Jewish persuasion.

    Re Jonathan Gray @ #17

    What a word salad; Gray has outdid himself here.

  15. dingojack says

    Jonnny – Bwhahahahahahahahahahahaha. Weakest argument you’ve ever attempted. 1/10.

    OBTW – very ecumenical of you to include all religions (Islam, Protestantism, Mormonism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Satanism, Scientology, B’hai, Catholicism, Santaria, animism, Zoroastrianism, Pastafarianism, ‘Last-Thursdayism’ and all the hundreds of thousands – nay, millions of religious belief systems).
    I’m sure being a devout believer you’ll keep this list of yours in mind next time you try to disparage some religion at the expense of you own. God hates liars and hypocrites (or so believers tell me).

    Dingo,

  16. jonathangray says

    dingojack:

    very ecumenical of you

    One can consider religion as a broadly conservative social force regardless of which (if any) particular religion is true. Obviously in terms of Western history, “religion” has basically meant Christianity.

    zenlike:

    Anyone surprised the religious asswipe jonathangrey sees authoritarianism as something good?

    When it comes to formulating government policy don’t you believe moral truth should trump popular will? That moral truth should be enforced with the full weight of political authority even if a majority of people resist it? When it comes to certain issues, I bet you do.

    Ultimately the culture war is not between conservative/religious authoritarianism and tolerant liberalism but between between conservative/religious authoritarianism and revolutionary authoritarianism. America stands in the advance guard of the Revolution and always has. And that’s the problem with American conservatism — even the paeleocons are trying to defend a tradition that is at root revolutionary.

  17. dingojack says

    “Obviously in terms of Western history, “religion” has basically meant Christianity.”

    You’re not very familiar with history are you, Jonny?

    Dingo

  18. Al Dente says

    jonathangray @17

    + Religion values tradition and is wary of attempts by rationalistic busybodies to dispense with the accumulated wisdom of centuries.

    Much of that “accumulated wisdom” is nowadays called “superstition.” Yep, when the guy in the dress says Hocus Pocus then this cracker gets transmogrified into actual Jebus, only it looks, feels and tastes just like it did before it got Jebusized. That’s a prime example of religious superstition.

    + Religion emphasises human imperfectibility.

    God told us that you are BAD! To keep you from being bad, you have to follow the rules that God told us you have to follow, even when those rules are obviously stupid and/or anti-humanist. If you don’t follow the rules, God will punish you forever because you’re BAD! Oh yes, you also have to give us money. That’s one of the rules.

    + Religion emphasises personal responsibility.

    If you don’t follow God’s rules then you’ll be punished and it’s your fault for not following the rules even if you disagree with us about them. Who does God tell the rules to, you or us? It’s us. P.S. You’re not giving us enough money.

    + Religion is authoritarian: it puts a premium on social order and the importance of strong authority in maintaining order.

    We’re the guys in charge. God put us in charge of you and if you object then you’re going against the rules that God told us to tell you to obey. And you’re not giving us enough money.

    + At the same time religion has a strong libertarian current: it refuses to acknowledge that the state is omnicompetent and resists attempts to make it omnipotent. It insists on the inviolable integrity of those intermediate institutions which stand between the state and the individual — particularly the family, which is seen as the basic cell of society.

    If there’s a discrepancy between the state’s rules and God’s rules as expounded by us, the state loses. God told us so. By the way, where’s the money you should be giving us?

    + Religion underpins the achievements of high culture in the Western tradition. It fosters intellectual and artistic elites.

    Bach is great! Too bad about Giordano Bruno and all the other heretics we had killed. They weren’t cultured enough. But Bach is great. Incidentally, we’re still waiting for your payment to us.

    + At the same time religion promotes a conception of the organic society in which popular culture is permeated with the same religious values as high culture.

    Remember, God runs your life. We know this because God told us so. So you have to obey us because that’s what God wants. Don’t forget, God wants you to pay us for ruling your life.

  19. says

    How delightfully insouciant of Johnny lackin’thegraymatter to make a comment that ISN’T obviously racist.

    I’m guessing he’d be really happy with some stern moral governance direct from the Vatican to the MurKKKan Heimat (unless of course the authoritarian was some former bishop from Kenya or somewheres that’s run by his racial inferiors.

    Jonathan Gray = Stupid git + douchebag + lying sack-o-shit racist fucktart.

  20. jonathangray says

    dingojack:

    “Obviously in terms of Western history, “religion” has basically meant Christianity.”

    You’re not very familiar with history are you, Jonny?

    Modern Western history developed out the medieval period, often indeed in reaction against it, and is thus indelibly marked by Christianity. You don’t see atheists railing against the massed hordes of Asatru poised to impose a pagan theocracy on the USA. That standard leftist-atheist excuse for not having the balls to confront Islam is that Christianity is still the dominant religious culture in the West.

    Al Dente:

    Nobody’s saying you have to agree with any of those principles. My point is simply that there is a natural affinity between religion and conservatism; and that therefore it’s only to be expected that atheist conservatives are going to feel conflicted about religious questions. I’m surprised liberals should find that controversial.

    democommie:

    I’m guessing he’d be really happy with some stern moral governance direct from the Vatican to the MurKKKan Heimat (unless of course the authoritarian was some former bishop from Kenya or somewheres that’s run by his racial inferiors.

    A conservative Catholic blog recently posted some photos of a modern Tridentine Mass in Africa. One commentator complained: “… is it really necessary that a Mass in Gabon replicate something from 18th century Rome, even down to the lace collars around the altar boys’ necks? I can understand when it comes to things that are actually part of the rite (chant, language, rubrics, vestments etc.), but why does there have to be such a rigid aesthetic in place that resists any of the organic adaptations Roman Christianity has made to West African culture? This might have worked in the days when every prelate in Africa was a white, but in the 21st century, it reeks of colonialism, even when the celebrant is African himself.”

    That comment brought forth this reply: “… your ignorant comment has made me furious. How dare you insinuate that ‘rigid aesthetics’ is not part of West African culture, or that it is not fitting to be incorporated in the liturgical life of the Church in Africa. What do you know about Africa for you to make such a statement? Should you not be happy that a few thousand miles away, in a culture that does not resemble anything in the West, we can surely identify ourselves as who we are? We are ‘Roman’ Catholics. What would you rather have us wear? Feathers and loin cloth? Or perhaps that is too base. What about a sheet of cloth with a cut out to fit over our heads? And what would you have religious people like the Franciscans and Dominicans wear to give them a more ‘African’ feel to them? Priests in my country of Nigeria where brought up by well meaning Irish priests. In poor villages that had nothing, people chipped in to provide the priests and other missionaries with whatever they needed to give us our own identity as CatholicsAnd so, we received our faith from the missionaries with much humility, accepting all that was given to us and rejecting nothing out of pride. The Church in the West brought to us this splendid gift and we took it–even with the Latin and vestments and the new order of things. I grew up with Latin and marvelous westernized vestments and our Cathedral was in Gothic style–do you have a problem with that too? It reminded me not of colonialism, but of the universality of our Church and our link even to the Pope himself. If an African prelate becomes pope, I suppose he should don a shaman attire more closely suited to the identity of his tribe too.
    What stinks of colonialism is our civil government. It is what the English used to import its terrible democratic republic rule into our country by force and turned us into a country that would always be in turmoil. Subsidiarity was forced out as a principle and changed the way Africans conducted their lives–not the Church. The Church for us has always been the institution that gave us alleviation from the encroachment of colonialism.”

    Catholic means ‘universal’ and is open to everybody — that’s why pagan neofascists dislike Catholicism and tend to blame it for modern liberal egalitarianism. In its more extreme manifestations, this view sees Christianity as part of the international Jewish conspiracy to weaken the healthy Aryan pagan values of ruthlessness, glorification of the strong etc

  21. dingojack says

    Right Jonny you keep telling yourself that, if it’s what keeps you from getting the heebie-geebies at night*, but ‘Western history’ is far longer and ‘Western culture’ is a lot richer than the ‘drizzly kirk of your own imagining’.
    Dingo
    ——–
    * perhaps it’s all those kiddie-fiddling priests of your youth coming back to haunt you. Yet another ‘contribution’ to ‘Western Culture’ from your ‘mother church’.

  22. Nick Gotts says

    In its more extreme manifestations, this view sees Christianity as part of the international Jewish conspiracy to weaken the healthy Aryan pagan values of ruthlessness, glorification of the strong etc – jonathangray@26

    I think you forgot to list “authoritarianism” among the values such people adhere to.

    Those taking the view of Christianity you refer to should really study the origins of their own creed. I recommend Derek Hastings’ Catholicism and the Roots of Nazism. Oh, and it wasn’t an Odinist leader who signed concordats with Mussolini and Hitler, and helped Nazi war criminals escape to South America.

  23. jonathangray says

    dingojack:

    ‘Western history’ is far longer and ‘Western culture’ is a lot richer … &c

    I never said Western history was synonymous with Christianity.

    Although it’s interesting that the rise of liberalism and concomitant decline of institutionalised Christianity has also seen a general decline among the so-called educated classes of familiarity with classical antiquity …

    ‘drizzly kirk of your own imagining’.

    Yeah, dismal, isn’t it?

  24. jonathangray says

    Perhaps it’s all those kiddie-fiddling priests of your youth coming back to haunt you. Yet another ‘contribution’ to ‘Western Culture’ from your ‘mother church

    A venerable institution, organised on hierarchical lines, with claims to moral authority, is discovered to have been infiltrated by kiddy-fiddlers. Shocking!

  25. dingojack says

    Jonny just to refresh your (goldfish-like) memory*:
    “Modern Western history developed out the medieval period, often indeed in reaction against it, and is thus indelibly marked by Christianity.”

    Care to rephrase?
    Dingo
    ——-
    * weirdly you seem to be totally unaware of how the Internet works… :)

  26. dingojack says

    Ooh a school did it too…
    Thanks Jonny for pointing out the salient point – Christians really are, morally at least, 3 year olds.
    Dingo

  27. dingojack says

    And also consider this:
    “You don’t see atheists railing against the massed hordes of Asatru poised to impose a pagan theocracy on the USA. That standard leftist-atheist excuse for not having the balls to confront Islam is that Christianity is still the dominant religious culture in the West.”

    ‘Cause religions, generally, are a net positive, right Jonny…. Even ones you consider heretical?

    Perhaps not.

    Dingo
    ———
    Catholics – not even able to lie straight in bed.

  28. says

    Odd thing about Krauthammer and psychiatry. His bio says he “practiced” for three years, first as a resident and then a chief resident before giving up medicine in 1978. In other words, he has all of three years of training/practice in psychiatry and no experience beyond his residency. Though he hasn’t practiced since his residency, he still holds an active D.C. medical license, which would mean he renews and must take some continuing ed. Just odd. 3 years of combined training and practice total, then keep up a license for 35 years without practice. Maybe it’s his fallback.

  29. steffp says

    @Jonathangray, #26
    Thanks for the reference to tridentine mass rituals, I really did not know there were still people listening to prayers & incantations in a dead language which, to my knowledge is not even taught at the local high school. Especially not in South Africa, nor Nigeria. Thanks for referring to an unnamed (white?) Nigerian fascist to make your position clear.
    ” Should you not be happy that a few thousand miles away, in a culture that does not resemble anything in the West, we can surely identify ourselves as who we are?”
    Latin speakers, obviously…and
    What stinks of colonialism is our civil government. It is what the English used to import its terrible democratic republic rule into our country by force and turned us into a country that would always be in turmoil
    Unless, of course, that terrible democratic rule results in Nigeria’s draconian anti-gay laws.

  30. freehand says

    Late to this discussion, but, jonathanray, I do not take moral advice from people who follow imaginary gods which approve of slavery, including child sex slaves, and genocide.

    And I am not persuaded by claims which are not only devoid of supporting evidence, but (for biblical literalists) are contradicted by reality.

    Both morally and epistemologically – you got nothin’.

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