While atheists have always turned their gaze on religion, scholars of religion have had little interest in atheism. A new book aims to go beyond the “us and them” conflict between religion and atheism. Source: ACU.
The Experience of Atheism: Phenomenology, Metaphysics and Religion is a volume of essays edited by French philosopher Associate Professor Claude Romano, a professorial fellow at Australian Catholic University, and Associate Professor Robyn Horner, researcher in religion and theology at Australian Catholic University.
The book is radical because it demands that theist and atheist take each other seriously and consider concepts such as atheistic faith, the “death of God”, and anarchic faith.
The book argues that the fact that religious faith has become not only optional but also, in many contexts, strangely alienated from society, changes the way people experience both religion and the lack of religion.
“Atheism developed as a response to religion at a time when religious faith was taken for granted. But in our contemporary secular society, being religious is the more unusual position. It can be more viable not to believe.”
Associate Professor Horner said the book revealed the commonalities between the experience of belief and the experience of non-belief. “There is literal atheism just as there are fundamentalists in religion. These people experience certainty. They have a very clear unbelief just as some religious people have an absolute, literal belief.”