Atheism and Theism by Errol E. Harris (auth.)

By Errol E. Harris (auth.)

Professor Errol E. Harris provided the 1st 3 chapters of Atheism and Theism as public lectures at Tulane college on January 20-22, 1975. The lecture sequence was once made attainable by way of a supply from the Franklin J. Matchette origin of recent York urban. these people who had the excitement of listening to the lectures shaped the judgment that they deserved booklet to arrive a much wider viewers and to guarantee a extra everlasting reeord. We invited Professor Harris to permit us to put up his lectures in Tulane reports in Philosophy. On his half, he de­ veloped the subjects of the lectures right into a extra accomplished and lasting paintings. With Professor Harris's approval, we're taking the extraordinary step of devoting quantity XXVI of Tulane stories in Philosophy to the booklet of Atheism and Theism. we're definite that it'll boost 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 yr. 'Ve desire to show our due to the Franklin J. Matchette starting place for the unique supply sup­ porting the lectures and to Professor Harris for featuring first the lectures after which the publication. R. C. W. A. J. R.

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But Naturalism never can, as we shall see anon, successfully explain the advent of self-transcendent consciousness, and presents us ever with a truncated image of human personality. Meanwhile, both awareness of shortcoming and its attendant self-transcendence THE POSITIVE FUNCTION OF ATHEISM 39 implies an ultimate goal, a goal that Nietzsche, for all his bitter scorn and disavowals, never abandons. And that ultimate consummation conceived by mankind only in vague premonition, is what we call God.

Of N ature, but does not explain the po~ibility of either. Humanism postulates the competenee of self-conscious intelleet as the chief characteristic of human kind, but can give no coherent naturalistic account of it. Attempts like Existentialism, to give a non-naturalistie aecount of humanity and to deny to man a human essenee, at the same time assign one to him. The nature of man which Sartre denies he immediately replaees. Man's nature, he asserts in effect, is freedom, and freedom is choice, and choice is, or at least involves, eonsciousness-and conseiousness is seIf-transeendent.

FAITH AND COUNTERFAlTH am not making this charge, I am pointing out only its plausibility and am appealing for consistency. Atheism, by the same reasoning as Freud uses, could as weIl be a wish-fulfilment fantasy as religion, with the same, or very similar emotional promptings. -None whatsoever. Whatever prompts me to embrace a delusion makes no difference to the actual facts. If I or anybody else is to recognize it as a delusion we must know independently what those facts are, and must judge them by some objective criterion.

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