woensdag 6 juni 2018

John R. Shook over Spinoza’s “uitgebreide atheologie” - #spinoza

Eind vorig jaar verscheen
John R. Shook, Systematic Atheology: Atheism’s Reasoning with Theology. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2018 [6 dec. 2017] - 312 pagina's - books.google
Table of Contents
1. The Overture 2. Atheists and Atheism 3. Atheology and Theology 4. Methods and Modes of Atheology 5. Atheology’s Ancient Heritage 6. European Atheologies 7. Rationalist Athology 8. Scientific Atheology 9. Moral Atheology 10. Civil Atheology 11. Complete Atheology

Hier citeer ik de eerste 2 alinea's van het review van Chris Tweedt op NPDR:
This book, "composed mainly for the edification of atheism's defenders," (p. 37) is an attempt to understand and defend atheism in an organized way. The book is divided into three sections. The first attempts to define 'atheist', 'atheology', and their relationship by tracking historical uses of the terms. The second is an extensive history of atheistic and atheological western philosophers, and the third, which occupies the last half of the book, is an attempt to systematically undermine every kind of argument for the existence of a god.
The book's primary strength is its extensive historical summary in chapters 5-6. Though not in depth and sometimes (though rarely) inaccurate, the summary would be an excellent starting point for those wishing to familiarize themselves with the history of atheism and atheology among western philosophers. (For the sake of brevity, this section is not addressed in the more detailed review below.)

Tweedt zegt er in zijn review 'dus' niets over, maar Shook behandelt in zijn historisch overzicht van de atheologie ook Spinoza. Het bevat voor bezoekers van dit blog weinig of geen nieuws, maar ik vind het wel fraai zijn samenvatting hier even over te nemen:

Regarded as an arch-atheist like Hobbes, Baruch Spinoza (1632-77) was the only other seventeenth century philosopher to offer a comprehensive atheology. Revelation, scripture, established religion, Churches, theology—no religious foundations survive his scrutiny. He denied that he was an atheist, for he affirmed a pantheistic, impersonal, and deterministic deity, as demonstrated by the reasonings of his treatise Ethica Ordine Geometrico Demonstrata (1677). Spinoza promptly acquired the firm reputation as a convinced atheist. Cudworth tentatively classified him as reviving ancient hylozoism. Pierre Bayle, an admirer of Cudworth's scholarship, said in his Dictionnaire (1697) that Spinoza was the first modern thinker to produce a coherent intellectual system for atheism. Bayle became interested in the Greek materialist and 'hylozoist’ Strato, but he lacked a good understanding of Spinoza's views about god as that unique substance consisting of an infinity of attributes. Bayle could grasp the idea of Hobbes's corporeal god, so he was inconsistent about labeling Hobbes as an atheist. [p. 166]

Als Shook het probleem van goed en kwaad en de theodicee aan de orde stelt, heb ik mijn twijfels over wat de auteur dan als “het Spinoza dilemma” typeert. Volgens mij gaat het om een probleem van de traditionele theologie waar Spinoza juist helemaal niet mee zat. Shook schrijft op p. 310:
We may label it as the Spinoza Dilemma, because Spinoza's Ethics (1677) denounces the tendency of a theology crediting god and creation with supreme goodness to render humanity ignorant of this true goodness when natural matters seem unmistakably evil.
This Spinoza Dilemma emerges when theology takes a rigid view of divine goodness. If god could not make good and evil other than what it is, then good and evil itself cannot change. Whatever is good is really and truly good regardless of human recognition of its goodness, and likewise whatever is evil is really evil no matter how humanity may perceive it. This rigid view of goodness applies not only to god (who is thoroughly and truly good, for theology), but also to anything god is responsible for, such as the created world. Whatever is truly good or truly evil in the world is a fixed matter, and not something upon which there could be multiple valid perspectives. What then happens to our human judgments of good and evil? As the previous section described, in order to avoid having to say that divine evils are truly from god, theology has to reduce our human judgment about good and evil to just a perspective, and not a valid perspective, but only a fallible and often mistaken perspective. The Spinoza Dilemma is a theological forced choice between whether (a) humanity has a valid perspective on good and evil, allowing us to judge god's goodness, or (b) humanity only has a fallible perspective on good and evil, so we cannot judge god's goodness. This is an easy dilemma for a stubborn theology. In order to prevent humanity from validly accusing god of real evils, theology must select option (b), declaring that human judgment of good and evil is fallible. Even the most religiously pious people are included: no human being can be assured of possessing infallible judgment about good and evil.

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