Saturday, March 08, 2008

An Embryonic Form of Intellingent Atheism in Romania

Among the various manifestations of atheism I came across in Romania, the one expressed by Costi Rogozanu - journalist and literary critic - is one of the most reasonable and articulate ones. He quotes English novelist Ian McEwan in an interview to The New Republic :

"I think it is important that people with no religious beliefs speak up and speak for what they value. It is a bit of a problem, the title "Atheist"--no one really wants to be defined by what they do not believe in. We haven't yet settled on a name, but you wouldn't expect a Baptist minister to go around calling himself an "aDarwinist". But it is crucial that people who do not have a sky god and don't have a set of supernatural beliefs assert their belief in moral values and in love and in the transcendence that they might experience in landscape or art or music or sculpture or whatever. Since they do not believe in an afterlife, it makes them give more valence to life itself."
to sum up his view in the following phrase :
"it is not the anti-God attitude which fundamentally characterizes an atheist (that is if he is a rational individual), but rather the decision to dedicate himself to the immediate palpable values, to analyzing himself and the others"
A very elegant argument by McEwan and a nice conclusion by Rogozanu. "Atheist" is an unfitted word to describe such a person, "humanist" would be much more accurate. Indeed, if one's goal were to narrow one's artistic spectrum only to productions without religious connotation, then he would miss a big part of what human nature is all about, which is not a true humanist's approach.

Side note : As you all know, my favorite form of atheism - for now I have to use this unfortunate word since "humanism" hasn't yet gained enough momentum during the last 5 minutes - is satanism which basically is atheism with a dark sense of humor (in the words of Akercocke).