Cosmic Meaning, Awe, and Absurdity in the Secular Age: A Critique of Religious Non-Theism

The notion of a meaningful life in secular modernism is often caught between two worlds: a deep human yearning for cosmic meaning, on the one hand, and a seemingly random, impersonal, contingent universe on the other hand. This is often referred to as absurdity. One response to absurdity is classica...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Harvard theological review
Main Author: Gillespie, Ryan 1982-
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: Cambridge Univ. Press [2018]
In:Harvard theological review
Year: 2018, Volume: 111, Issue: 4, Pages: 461-487
Standardized Subjects / Keyword chains:B Secularism / Atheism / Cosmology
Online Access: Volltext (Resolving-System)
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Summary:The notion of a meaningful life in secular modernism is often caught between two worlds: a deep human yearning for cosmic meaning, on the one hand, and a seemingly random, impersonal, contingent universe on the other hand. This is often referred to as absurdity. One response to absurdity is classical theism, and another is scientific reductionism. A third response, and the subject of this article, is religious non-theism. This article: (a) explicates the primary tensions of absurdity, in relation to both human expectations and discussions of beauty in contemporary physics and cosmology; (b) analyzes the arguments and motivations of religious non-theists and the attitude of awe toward the cosmos as a rapprochement between-or at least alternative to-classical theism and scientific reductionism, as a sort of post-secular response to absurdity; and (c) begins a critique of the religious non-theist perspective, explicating four worries, expressed as the Commitment Problem, the Standards Problem, the Moral Problem, and the Awe Problem.
ISSN:1475-4517
Contains:Enthalten in: Harvard theological review
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1017/S0017816018000238