by John Henson
A newspaper columnist believes he has found a way to “bridge the gap” between atheists and people who believe in God.
What he advocates is a “spirituality” that refuses to accept God and spirit. He wants a compromise.
In the September 13 issue of “USA Today,” Chris Mooney said he may have found common ground between atheists and theists, he calls polar extremists.
“Spirituality is something everyone can have, even atheists. In its most expansive sense, it could simply be taken to refer to any individual’s particular quest to discover that which is held sacred.”
Mooney goes on to define “sacred” as just about anything: rocks, trees, wood, houses can all be sacred. Anything that produces a feeling of “awe and wonder,” he said can become sacred to us.
An atheist may find the laughter of a child a spiritual experience, just as long as what is felt is not associated with “supernaturalism.”
Mooney does not understand what the word “sacred” means. Just by a dictionary definition, the word means: “devoted or dedicated to a deity or to some religious purpose; consecrated. Entitled to veneration or religious respect by association with divinity or divine things; holy.”/1
Who has defined “sacred” for Mooney? The atheists have. They are the ones who agree that their notion of spirituality is based on a better-felt-than-told experience. Mooney says spirituality “does not require science and faith to be logically compatible, for instance. Nor does it require that we believe in anything we cannot prove.”
Therefore, Mooney’s idea of spirituality, defined by the atheists, is just about any subjective feeling they wish to have.
Mooney’s spirituality does not mesh with the truth. First, advocating that rocks, trees, wood or houses could be sacred has been known for centuries as pantheism. Named after the mythological Greek god, “Pan,” it is the well-known new-age tenant that everything is God.
Mooney (to please his atheist friends) takes any reference to a divine being out of consideration. So, Mooney’s spiritualism becomes palatable for just about anyone.
This kind of “spirituality” does not require divinity or faith, Mooney says. Faith has to be removed from Mooney’s idea of spirituality because faith means belief in God conjoined to obedience to the true deity.
This feel-good, garden variety, take-what-you-want kind of spirituality doesn’t require proof, one of the building blocks of faith (Hebrews 11:1). Perhaps Mooney would like to defend the proposition, “I know God does not exist.” I will be glad to meet him and prove God does exist. Ah, but our friend doesn’t believe in proof.
Mooney says such a landmark bridge between those who believe in God and atheism will “not immediately vanish.” This is the only statement to which I can heartily agree. The reason why it won’t vanish is because atheism is absolutely untrue and irrational.
Thinking and sensible human beings won’t accept it. Just as Dr. A.G.N. Flew repudiated atheism when it was proven to him that God does exist, Mooney believes atheism and theism are different sides of the same coin. He shows how little he understands faith in God and the irrationality of atheism.
Christians do not deny spirituality, but we do deny the kind Mooney describes. What Mooney suggests isn’t spirituality; it is a compromise that can never be accepted.