By Errol E. Harris (auth.)
Professor Errol E. Harris provided the 1st 3 chapters of Atheism and Theism as public lectures at Tulane collage on January 20-22, 1975. The lecture sequence used to be made attainable through a provide from the Franklin J. Matchette starting place of recent York urban. these folks who had the excitement of listening to the lectures shaped the judgment that they deserved book to arrive a much broader viewers and to guarantee a extra everlasting reeord. We invited Professor Harris to permit us to submit his lectures in Tulane reports in Philosophy. On his half, he de veloped the subjects of the lectures right into a extra entire and lasting paintings. With Professor Harris's approval, we're taking the exceptional step of devoting quantity XXVI of Tulane experiences in Philosophy to the book of Atheism and Theism. we're sure that it'll strengthen the essentially philosophical argument surrounding theism and Christianity. we're additionally confident that it'll upload substantialIy to the status of our sequence of annua1 volumes of philosophy, now in its twenty-sixth 12 months. 'Ve desire to show our because of the Franklin J. Matchette beginning for the unique provide sup porting the lectures and to Professor Harris for providing first the lectures after which the ebook. R. C. W. A. J. R.
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Extra info for Atheism and Theism
If I am to wager on the existence of God and the truth of the Christian religion, the presumption is that God is just and benevolent and that his behest to man is love and seIfless devotion. His graee supervenes upon duty that is done only for Christ's sake and faith that is freely given. If my wager is motivated by nothing but the weight of the odds on advantages to be Iost or gained-nothing other than fear of eternaI damnation and a covetous desire for eternaI bliss, I cannot but Iose. On the other hand, if, as we are taught, God is mercifuI and forgiving, will he not exercise clemeney to those who honestly refuse to give eredenee where their intelleet boggles; to those 1 Pensees, 233.
II While Spinoza defines religion in terms of knowledge of God, the highest and most adequate knowledge, his older eontemporary Blaise Paseal builds his argument for faith on the profundity of human ignoranee. We know, he reminds us, only that 'life is but a moment; that the state of death is eternal, whatever may be its nature,' henee all our actions and thoughts must be affected by the nature of that eternity. 1 Either God exists or he does not. Either there is an after-life or death is sheer annihilation.
Atheism, therefore, sets itself a task which it stops shDrt of completing and a question to which its own answer is evidenee of its insufficieney. Even so inveterate a materialist and humanist as Feuerbach, in whose teaching Marx's atheism is founded, recognizes the selftranscendence of the finite in humanity and sees the essenee of religion in that very facto 'The essenee of man, in eontrast to the animal, (he writes), is not only the ground but the objeet of religion. 3 More truly, he should have said that in atheism itself the secret of religion is concealed.
Atheism and Theism by Errol E. Harris (auth.)