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Zenagain

No One Sees God

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I have just began reading a book titled No One Sees God: The Dark Night of Atheists and Believers by Michael Novak

I am not sure what to make of it so far. I bought the book to see what he says about the Intelligent Design Debate. So far I am not impressed. His book is very well written in some ways but his reasoning ability is lacking. Like other Christian thinkers he often frames topics with the word hate. Why do Atheist "hate" design for example. I will post more on here as I get through more of his book. My main interest besides the ID debate is to understand how Christians think so that the book I am writing will not offend Christians so much that they think I have no compassion or respect for them.This is a bit hard for me because I have little respect for how Christianity was created out of other peoples myths historically and used to repress and conquer nonbelievers for a political agenda. Using historical data I can show that Christianity is based on Judaism which was based around Tribal Deities of the Canaanites and Babylonians. This is sort of an impasse for me having a dialogue with believers.
If you read this book "No One Sees God" you will see why. Michael Novak addresses the historical fact of the Philosophers God being with us very far back into history. But he fails to address the problems this raises. He seems to think along with many other Christians that this supports Theology of Christianity.
Richard Dawkins made it very clear he respects men like Einstein using metaphors to point to at least an appearance of intelligence behind the universe. But he also made it very clear that at best Einstein was talking about a sort of Pantheism. That is we are seeing a conscious universe because we are conscious and we project our intelligence onto the universe.
I think that Einstein really was a Pantheist just not one that used Pantheism to justify Jewish or Christian beliefs. Einstein was influenced by the writings of Spinoza who saw God as the Universe. But Spinoza tried to reconcile Pantheism with a Judeo personal God outside the Universe and a Pantheistic God that was the Universe and failed. I bring this up because in No One Sees God Michael Novak tries to use man's awareness of the Universe being more than stars and planets and random events to conclude that a Christian God directly follows from pure reasoning.
This is a problem because a Christian concept of a God man sacrificing himself to himself as a sort of blood offering doesn't directly follow from the Jewish Concept of God let alone from Pantheism. In point of fact no religion including Judaism directly follows or is anyway connected to Pantheism in any way. And to support this you will find that most Pantheist are actually Atheist.
Anyway I do not mind if you want to make comments on what I posted so far. But what I am really interested in is what anyone has to say after reading this book. What do you think of this book No One Sees God: The Dark Night of Atheists and Believers by Michael Novak
Anyone?

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Zenegain,

 

I find much of Novak's work these days rather pedantic and it seems as though he's desperately trying to join the "hip" conservative crowd. His views on progressive thought are informed with a 1970s perspective. Progressives aren't pot-smoking, free-lovin' hippies anymore!

 

The notion that ethics and morality only exist because of some transcendent, omnipotent deity is an old argument roundly refuted every day in this very secular United States of America. In fact, the more we drift away from dogmatic, patriarchal, triumphalist religions, the more moral and ethical we become!

 

I urge you to not waste your time on this tripe, but rather check out Stephen Cave's Immortality, The Quest to Live Forever and How it Drives Civilization.

 

NORM

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Ok this is strange . I post on a Christianity Forum and get an Atheist view on Novak. I posted on a forum taken over by Atheist called Evc (Evolution/Creationism) and actually got a Christian response. The thing is I know Novak is not necessarily sincere or a serious thinker. I am not surprised that his other writings are so unimpressive. I guess my interest was in the book itself. He makes alot of assumptions about atheist while trying to appear open minded. So here is the reply I got on Evc in response to this same post.

 

Alright. So I have not read the whole book, nor even a majority of it, but I did look into it quite extensively and read up on Michael Novak.

I am, of course, in no position to judge you. But I find much what you say here to be quite interesting. It sounds, looking at your overall theme, you have failed to understand the purpose of this book.

From my reading, I get the impression that Novak approaches this entire topic with a tone of humility and non-bias, going so far as to write in the preface that those who laugh at his beliefs may in fact be "right at the end of all things." This area of writing, at least from the Christian perspective, is often plagued with polemic and defensiveness and yet Novak writes in a completely contrary manner.

On page xxiiii Novak makes his thesis clear: "nonbelievers and believers alike need to learn a new habit of reasoned and mutually respectable conversation."

Throughout the book, it appears that Novak is trying to exhort both sides of the equation by finding commonalitybetween the two, mainly human suffering.

You wrote:

Spiritual Anarchist writes:

My main interest besides the ID debate is to understand how Christians think so that the book I am writing will not offend Christians so much that they think I have no compassion or respect for them.This is a bit hard for me because I have little respect for how Christianity was created out of other peoples myths historically and used to repress and conquer nonbelievers for a political agenda. Using historical data I can show that Christianity is based on Judaism which was based around Tribal Deities of the Canaanites and Babylonians. This is sort of an impasse for me having a dialogue with believers.

Here you have clearly demonstrated that you are unwilling to work towards commonality and mutual respect between different sides of this debate simply because of an assumption made on your part.

.This is a bit hard for me because I have little respect for how Christianity was created out of other peoples myths historically and used to repress and conquer nonbelievers for a political agenda.

While this may be true, you have not proven it thus, therefore your reasoning for rejecting Novak's proposal for community and respect is faulty. If you had proven that Christianity was created out of other peoples myths historically before making your assumption, it would be a conclusion instead of an assumption.

I say none of this because I specifically disagree with you, although I basically do wink.gif I just hope that in everything surrounding this dialogue both sides of the ID debate can approach one another with respect and to knock a respected writer's appeal for commonality simply because of an assumption you had previously made doesn't really seem fair. Just some thoughts smile.gif

Regards!

- Raph

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