I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Home Uncategorized Deeper than God

Deeper than God

Manus Charleton
Religion Without God, by Ronald Dworkin, Harvard University Press, 180 pp, €19.99, ISBN: 978-0674726826 In the second century AD the Stoic Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote in his Meditations: “Either a universe of order, or else a farrago thrown together at random yet somehow forming a universe.” Since then scientists have been progressively revealing a universe of order by showing that it is comprehensible to human intelligence. The universe is ordered according to demonstrable physical laws. People who subscribe to a religion believe the universe is intentionally organised. God made it that way and is its intelligent designer. Some scientists also locate the source of this order ultimately in their belief in a creator God but, of course, many do not. Then there are those who also regard the universe as structured but without subscribing to a belief in God to account for it. In Religion Without God, based on the Einstein lectures he gave in 2011, and which was incomplete before he died in 2013, American philosopher Ronald Dworkin argues that this makes both groups essentially religious. He argues that, as well as religious theists, there are many others who because they believe the universe is inherently ordered while at the same time reaching beyond our comprehension, should also be regarded as religious. He calls them religious atheists. Among scientists, Einstein is the most famous religious atheist. Dworkin quotes Einstein to illustrate that he was “devoutly religious”: To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms – this knowledge, this feeling is at the centre of true religiousness. The philosopher’s aim is to expand and make more inclusive the meaning of what it is to be religious beyond its tie to a belief in God. He believes that positing the existence of a creator God is but one way of accounting for a religious belief about the universe. As he puts it in his opening sentence, “religion is deeper than God.” For him the central practical point in recognising that many atheists are religious in this way is that it brings closer together many people who do not believe in God with those who do. They are not as far apart as is suggested by their opposing views on a range of moral and social issues,…

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