Belief and freedom


Responsible Persons

Conducted by: Andreas Feldmar
Supervisor: Ulrich Lüke


New atheisms and mysticism in contrast


My project covers a vast span of new atheisms. A couple of them claim, that religion will go away sooner or later because there are earth-inherent reasons for their existence, which means appearing of religions and their continued existence as well. Other critics claim religion will survive on being parasitic to human properties und needs.
This contrasts with Andrew Newberg´s ideas as expressed in his book "Why God won´t go away", citing "religious" experiences of christian nuns and buddhist monks – as well as Karl Rahner´s views, the famous austrian theologian, who is renowned for his quote "21st century´s christian will be a mystic or he won´t exist[as a christian]".
So at first I set out to refute the bulk of accusations by Richard Dawkins and his kind and afterwards I try to map the way into the future as shown by Rahner and Newberg.
I agree with Newberg, that religion will prevail, especially because of the experience made by religious people, something William James used to know very well, and I would like to prove, that Rahner knew a lot more about the secrets of mysticism than the Atheists imagine – or want to hear.
My method of exploring comprises the critical review of the new atheists´ position towards genesis and prevailing-methods of religions as well as their description of central elements of many religions – mysticism, myths, ethics and rituals – and their critical remarks concerning religious practices and teachings, especially as far as proofs of god´s existence are concerned.
It´s obvious, that there are a lot of tactics, religious groups make use of to sustain their existence, though they are not always intentiously applied. Many of these tactics aren´t immoral either, but they are nothing specific regarding religion as well. I have to notice, that critics of religion every now and then make assumptions on religion, that make it easy to defeat.
Anyway my project takes a catholic stance strengthened by logic, not denying appreciation to appropriate criticism of the church, as there are quite a few high ranking clergymen, who seem to want to avoid the truth even today. This is in contrast to the word of the Lord "The truth will set you free".(John 8,32) Relying on Kenneth I. Pargament I try to set out, in how far the truth can set humans free, as Rahner indicates with his thesis about the 21st century´s christians.