Homo novoatheiensis

Karen Armstrong is awfully bossy for someone who talks so much about compassion.

Homo sapiens is also Homo religiosus. As soon as we became recognizably human, men and women started to create religions. We are meaning-seeking creatures. While dogs, as far as we know, do not worry about the canine condition or agonize about their mortality, humans fall very easily into despair if we don’t find some significance in our lives. Theological ideas come and go, but the quest for meaning continues. So God isn’t going anywhere. And when we treat religion as something to be derided, dismissed, or destroyed, we risk amplifying its worst faults. Whether we like it or not, God is here to stay, and it’s time we found a way to live with him in a balanced, compassionate manner.

That’s a terrible non sequitur, it seems to me – the quest for meaning continues, so God isn’t going anywhere. Eh? The quest for meaning doesn’t necessarily end up at God; God is not the only kind of meaning there is; one can ‘quest for’ or construct meaning without resorting to God. Besides – if the quest for meaning continues, then God must not be much of an answer to the problem, or the quest would have ended, because meaning would have been found.

Anyway, I always hate those ‘like it or not,’ ‘it’s always been this way and always will,’ ‘you might as well get used to it’ announcements. They piss me off. You don’t know what’s always going to be around, you don’t know what can or can’t be changed, and you don’t get to tell me what to get used to and put up with and quit struggling against. My quest for meaning involves fighting doomed battles, okay? You might as well get used to it.

I like PZ’s take.

In some ways, I’m always flattered by this argument that we need to define humans as a species by their religious beliefs, because I don’t have them…which means I get to claim that I, and my fellow atheists, are a new species. Let us go forth, my fellow Homo smartiepantsius, and take over the hominid niche.

Yeah! I’m a new species! Beats being a new atheist any day.

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