No Cure For Being Human
- 1 Is No Cure for Being Human religious?
- 2 What does sorry no cure mean?
- 3 Do atheists deny the existence of God?
- 4 Is no longer human a mature book?
- 5 How many 365 books is there?
- 6 Who said never apologize?
What is No Cure for Being Human about?
No Cure for Being Human (2021) is the thoughtful chronicle of Kate Bowler’s attempts to make the most of her life after a brutal cancer diagnosis at only 35.
Is No Cure for Being Human religious?
Pre-Order Kate Bowler’s New Book “Those in need of a wake-up call will find it in this breathtaking narrative. Bowler’s strong faith is present throughout, though the writing, refreshingly, never feels overtly religious. Her convictions underscore the importance of living life on one’s own terms.” Publishers Weekly, STARRED Review “I began reading No Cure for Being Human after dinner one evening and didn’t move until I finished the last gorgeous page. As I finally put this masterpiece down, I thought: Kate Bowler is the only one we can trust to tell us the truth. Bowler is a prophet and her new offering is another true gift to the world. “With grace, wisdom, and humor, Kate Bowler encourages us to cut back on self-help Kool-Aid and teaches us what it means to be human.” Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of THINK AGAIN “Kate Bowler has paid through the nose to become a writer of uncommon spiritual wisdom, coupled with an amazing sense of humor and a heart full of love. She fills me with hope.” Anne Lamott, New York Times bestselling author of Dusk, Night, Dawn “Kate Bowler refuses to jump on the bandwagon of toxic positivity. Instead, she leads us to a truer truth: the work is unfinishable, and so be it.” Kelly Corrigan, NYT bestselling author, host of the podcast Kelly Corrigan Wonders and PBS’s Tell Me More. “Kate Bowler is the rare author who can explore difficult subjects with both breathtaking honesty and light-heartedness. brings profound insight and love to the human experience.” Gretchen Rubin, bestselling author of The Happiness Project “In a culture that asks us to constantly strive and improve, Kate Bowler offers us the recognition that your own pain is neither an aberration or an opportunity, but a fact of life. There is nobody on earth who sees our humanity quite like Kate Bowler.” Nora McInerny, creator and host of Terrible, Thanks for Asking Podcast “With hilarity and courage, Bowler tells the story of being diagnosed with stage-four cancer at thirty-five, forcing her to re-examine the way she (and we) live our lives. This is a brilliant examination of what happens when everything you assumed is suddenly in question.” Lori Gottlieb, New York Times bestselling author of Maybe You Should Talk To Someone “A chronicle of grief, hope, and courage. Bowler debunks the hollow clichés that she has heard too often: to seize the day, live in the present, work on a bucket list. Like others who have suffered traumatic loss or illness—especially during the pandemic—Bowler recognizes that ‘so often the experiences that define us are the ones we didn’t pick.'” “Bowler’s affecting narrative meditates on the things she’s just faced; she also takes it as an opportunity to reflect on the past and the kind of life she wants for herself in the future. Bowler writes about all of it with good humor, occasional anger, and vivid honesty.
How many pages is No Cure for Being Human?
|Random House (September 28, 2021)
| 224 pages
How many books are in the cure?
There are 5 books in this series. Select the number of items you want to purchase. There are 5 books in this series. Select the number of items you want to purchase.
What does sorry no cure mean?
Origin: English/Singlish – literally means saying sorry does not help at all. – Sorry no cure is often used in reply to someone who had just committed an act be it by speech or action that hurt you. The damage had been done and saying sorry will not reverse the damage.
What sin is atheism?
Catholic perspective – The Catechism of the Catholic Church identifies atheism as a violation of the First Commandment, calling it “a sin against the virtue of religion”. The catechism is careful to acknowledge that atheism may be motivated by virtuous or moral considerations and admonishes Catholics to focus on their own role in encouraging atheism by their religious or moral shortcomings: (2125) The imputability of this offense can be significantly diminished in virtue of the intentions and the circumstances.
Can humans be good without god?
Yes, people can be “good” without believing in God. – First, we need to make sure we are simply talking about someone demonstrating good moral behaviors. Scripture is clear that none of us is good enough to merit salvation or earn our way into heaven (Psalm 14:1-3, Romans 3:10-12, Ephesians 2:8-9).
We aren’t talking about that standard. Neither are we speaking of the motivation or heart behind those acts, as those taint even our best acts (Isaiah 64:6). When we speak of “good” in this context, we are speaking of being able to do something that an outside observer would recognize as a positive act toward someone else, in essence: being nice.
In Scripture, we can see the basis for all people being capable of such actions. The biblical view of humanity doesn’t start with Adam and Eve’s regretful bite of fruit. It starts with their being created good and in the image of God. While humanity’s fall has serious and lasting ramifications, it has marred but not destroyed the image of God in us.
- That allows us to reflect our Creator in the way we behave.
- If we assert that no one can be good without God, non-Christians will rightly point to the time they gave money to the Salvation Army or the day they helped their friend deal with a tragedy.
- They can even point to many people outside the Christian faith who have lived sacrificial lives even to the point of death for the betterment of others.
Our faith does not need to be undermined by the existence of your nice Muslim neighbor or the philanthropic atheist. They aren’t proof that the God of the Bible doesn’t exist. In fact, their actions are a further reminder of His existence and His goodness.
Do atheists deny the existence of God?
Atheism and theism – To say that atheism is the denial of God or the gods and that it is the opposite of theism, a system of belief that affirms the reality of God and seeks to demonstrate his existence, is inadequate in a number of ways. First, not all theologians who regard themselves as defenders of the Christian faith or of Judaism or Islam regard themselves as defenders of theism.
The influential 20th-century Protestant theologian Paul Tillich, for example, regards the God of theism as an idol and refuses to construe God as a being, even a supreme being, among beings or as an infinite being above finite beings. God, for him, is “being-itself,” the ground of being and meaning.
The particulars of Tillich’s view are in certain ways idiosyncratic, as well as being obscure and problematic, but they have been influential; and his rejection of theism, while retaining a belief in God, is not eccentric in contemporary theology, though it may very well affront the plain believer. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Subscribe Now Second, and more important, it is not the case that all theists seek to demonstrate or even in any way rationally to establish the existence of God, Many theists regard such a demonstration as impossible, and fideistic believers (e.g., Johann Hamann and Søren Kierkegaard ) regard such a demonstration, even if it were possible, as undesirable, for in their view it would undermine faith,
If it could be proved, or known for certain, that God exists, people would not be in a position to accept him as their sovereign Lord humbly on faith with all the risks that entails. There are theologians who have argued that for genuine faith to be possible God must necessarily be a hidden God, the mysterious ultimate reality, whose existence and authority must be accepted simply on faith.
This fideistic view has not, of course, gone without challenge from inside the major faiths, but it is of sufficient importance to make the above characterization of atheism inadequate. Finally, and most important, not all denials of God are denials of his existence.
- Believers sometimes deny God while not being at all in a state of doubt that God exists.
- They either willfully reject what they take to be his authority by not acting in accordance with what they take to be his will, or else they simply live their lives as if God did not exist.
- In this important way they deny him.
Such deniers are not atheists (unless we wish, misleadingly, to call them “practical atheists”). They are not even agnostics, They do not question that God exists; they deny him in other ways. An atheist denies the existence of God. As it is frequently said, atheists believe that it is false that God exists, or that God’s existence is a speculative hypothesis of an extremely low order of probability.
Yet it remains the case that such a characterization of atheism is inadequate in other ways. For one it is too narrow. There are atheists who believe that the very concept of God, at least in developed and less anthropomorphic forms of Judeo-Christianity and Islam, is so incoherent that certain central religious claims, such as “God is my creator to whom everything is owed,” are not genuine truth-claims; i.e., the claims could not be either true or false.
Believers hold that such religious propositions are true, some atheists believe that they are false, and there are agnostics who cannot make up their minds whether to believe that they are true or false. (Agnostics think that the propositions are one or the other but believe that it is not possible to determine which.) But all three are mistaken, some atheists argue, for such putative truth-claims are not sufficiently intelligible to be genuine truth-claims that are either true or false.
- In reality there is nothing in them to be believed or disbelieved, though there is for the believer the powerful and humanly comforting illusion that there is.
- Such an atheism, it should be added, rooted for some conceptions of God in considerations about intelligibility and what it makes sense to say, has been strongly resisted by some pragmatists and logical empiricists,
While the above considerations about atheism and intelligibility show the second characterization of atheism to be too narrow, it is also the case that this characterization is in a way too broad. For there are fideistic believers, who quite unequivocally believe that when looked at objectively the proposition that God exists has a very low probability weight.
- They believe in God not because it is probable that he exists—they think it more probable that he does not—but because belief is thought by them to be necessary to make sense of human life.
- The second characterization of atheism does not distinguish a fideistic believer (a Blaise Pascal or a Soren Kierkegaard) or an agnostic (a T.H.
Huxley or a Sir Leslie Stephen) from an atheist such as Baron d’Holbach, All believe that “there is a God” and “God protects humankind,” however emotionally important they may be, are speculative hypotheses of an extremely low order of probability. But this, since it does not distinguish believers from nonbelievers and does not distinguish agnostics from atheists, cannot be an adequate characterization of atheism.
- It may be retorted that to avoid apriorism and dogmatic atheism the existence of God should be regarded as a hypothesis.
- There are no ontological (purely a priori) proofs or disproofs of God’s existence.
- It is not reasonable to rule in advance that it makes no sense to say that God exists.
- What the atheist can reasonably claim is that there is no evidence that there is a God, and against that background he may very well be justified in asserting that there is no God.
It has been argued, however, that it is simply dogmatic for an atheist to assert that no possible evidence could ever give one grounds for believing in God. Instead, atheists should justify their unbelief by showing (if they can) how the assertion is well-taken that there is no evidence that would warrant a belief in God.
If atheism is justified, the atheist will have shown that in fact there is no adequate evidence for the belief that God exists, but it should not be part of his task to try to show that there could not be any evidence for the existence of God. If the atheist could somehow survive the death of his present body (assuming that such talk makes sense) and come, much to his surprise, to stand in the presence of God, his answer should be, “Oh! Lord, you didn’t give me enough evidence!” He would have been mistaken, and realize that he had been mistaken, in his judgment that God did not exist.
Still, he would not have been unjustified, in the light of the evidence available to him during his earthly life, in believing as he did. Not having any such postmortem experiences of the presence of God (assuming that he could have them), what he should say, as things stand and in the face of the evidence he actually has and is likely to be able to get, is that it is false that God exists.
Every time one legitimately asserts that a proposition is false one need not be certain that it is false. “Knowing with certainty” is not a pleonasm.) The claim is that this tentative posture is the reasonable position for the atheist to take. An atheist who argues in this manner may also make a distinctive burden-of-proof argument.
Given that God (if there is one) is by definition a very recherché reality—a reality that must be (for there to be such a reality) transcendent to the world—the burden of proof is not on the atheist to give grounds for believing that there is no reality of that order.
- Rather, the burden of proof is on the believer to give some evidence for God’s existence—i.e., that there is such a reality.
- Given what God must be, if there is a God, the theist needs to present the evidence, for such a very strange reality.
- He needs to show that there is more in the world than is disclosed by common experience.
The empirical method, and the empirical method alone, such an atheist asserts, affords a reliable method for establishing what is in fact the case. To the claim of the theist that there are in addition to varieties of empirical facts “spiritual facts” or “transcendent facts,” such as it being the case that there is a supernatural, self-existent, eternal power, the atheist can assert that such “facts” have not been shown.
- It will, however, be argued by such atheists, against what they take to be dogmatic aprioristic atheists, that the atheist should be a fallibilist and remain open-minded about what the future may bring.
- There may, after all, be such transcendent facts, such metaphysical realities.
- It is not that such a fallibilistic atheist is really an agnostic who believes that he is not justified in either asserting that God exists or denying that he exists and that what he must reasonably do is suspend belief.
On the contrary, such an atheist believes that he has very good grounds indeed, as things stand, for denying the existence of God. But he will, on the second conceptualization of what it is to be an atheist, not deny that things could be otherwise and that, if they were, he would be justified in believing in God or at least would no longer be justified in asserting that it is false that there is a God.
- Using reliable empirical techniques, proven methods for establishing matters of fact, the fallibilistic atheist has found nothing in the universe to make a belief that God exists justifiable or even, everything considered, the most rational option of the various options.
- He therefore draws the atheistical conclusion (also keeping in mind his burden-of-proof argument) that God does not exist.
But he does not dogmatically in a priori fashion deny the existence of God. He remains a thorough and consistent fallibilist.
Is no longer human a famous book?
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|Cover of first edition
|Published in English
No Longer Human ( Japanese : 人間失格, Hepburn : Ningen Shikkaku ), also translated as A Shameful Life, is a 1948 novel by Japanese author Osamu Dazai, It tells the story of a troubled man incapable of revealing his true self to others, and who, instead, maintains a facade of hollow jocularity, later turning to a life of alcoholism and drug abuse before his final disappearance.
The original title translates as “Disqualified as a human being” or “A failed human”. The book was published one month after Dazai’s suicide at the age of 38. No Longer Human is considered a classic of postwar Japanese literature and Dazai’s masterpiece, which enjoys considerable popularity among younger readers.
It ranks as the second best-selling novel by publishing house Shinchōsha, behind Sōseki Natsume ‘s Kokoro,
Is no longer human a mature book?
However, I do not encourage students younger than 18 to read the book for its sexual, suicidal, and other heavy content.
How long is the humans book?
|HarperCollins Publishers (July 2 2013)
Is The Cure emo or goth?
The Cure just aren’t a goth band. When people say it to me, you’re goth, I say you either have never heard us play or you have no idea what goth is. One of those two has to be true because we’re not a goth band. I remember just for a while, goths were outraged that people would think we’re a goth band.
How many 365 books is there?
There are 3 books in this series.
Who said never apologize?
Origins of the phrase – The originator of this commonly used phrase, often attributed to members of the House of Windsor (British Royalty), Duke of Wellington, Benjamin Disraeli and others, is said to be John Arbuthnot Fisher, a notable British Admiral of the Victorian and Edwardian era.
Why does no one ever apologize?
When you experience hurtful situations, you may not always get an apology. Forgiveness and acceptance are two ways you can cope with the situation. You may have felt wronged by someone who refuses to apologize or says “sorry,” and it doesn’t lead to changed behavior.
- You may not receive the apology you believe you deserve.
- You may feel sad, overwhelmed, or even angry at the person who hurt you.
- If you’re resentful, this may be a signal to make amends or work toward accepting the situation.
- If you can better understand why someone doesn’t apologize to you, this could help you cope.
As a result, you can choose how you want to move forward. Whatever you decide, moving on from the situation is possible. There are many reasons someone might not apologize when they’ve done something you perceive as wrong. The person may not see the situation the same way as you.
Other times, they may not want to accept responsibility for their actions. If someone has hurt or offended you, they may feel uncomfortable dealing with the guilt and shame surrounding their behavior. It may be challenging for someone to apologize if they’re experiencing painful emotions. You don’t always have to forgive someone who’s wronged you.
But studies do show unforgiveness can harm your health (e.g., this and this ). If you choose to forgive someone, this happens by accepting what happened and consciously letting go of the resentment you may be holding toward that person. There are some benefits to choosing to forgive someone.
- A 2020 study indicates that forgiveness is linked with overall greater psychological and social well-being and can reduce psychological distress.
- Forgiveness isn’t possible in every situation.
- If you have trouble forgiving someone, you may benefit from practicing self-compassion and not beating yourself up.
There are some situations where forgiveness is just flat-out difficult. Forgiveness can be much more challenging when someone doesn’t apologize to you for their behavior. If forgiveness is not an option for you, or you don’t wish to continue a relationship with someone who has caused you emotional pain, you may consider working on acceptance.
Acceptance of emotions: Your willingness to acknowledge emotions you’re experiencing. Mindfulness: A nonjudgmental acceptance of the present moment. Cognitive defusion: A process that can shift how you process thoughts and feelings related to your experiences (from personalizing to observing ). Self as a context : A concept that you exist outside of your current thoughts, feelings, and experiences, and you can be an observer of those concepts in your life. Values : The standards you hold as important, Commitment to action : A concept of working toward a goal or things you want in a way that aligns with your values.
By using these principles to help you accept a situation, you may be able to release the effects of unforgiveness on your mind and body. When you don’t get an apology for something that hurt you, this can be painful. There are many reasons someone may not offer an apology.
Why can’t you say sorry?
Why is it so hard to say ‘I’m sorry’? We all make mistakes. Nobody is perfect. So why is apologizing so darn difficult to do? Most of us like to be the recipient of a heartfelt apology, but giving is different from receiving, isn’t it? As I’m sure you’ve figured out, there are many reasons why saying “I’m sorry” is such a challenging endeavor.
First of all, who likes to admit they’re wrong? It’s NOT fun! Believe me, I know. I’ve had lots of practice. Sometimes it’s the fear of rejection that makes an apology so hard to say. The prospect of getting a cold shoulder, not being forgiven or losing a friend can understandably be unsettling, especially when it comes from someone you still love, care about and want to maintain a relationship with.
Sometimes people feel that initiating an apology is a sign of weakness. Apologizing can make some people feel vulnerable, or feel like they are in danger of losing their power and status. Others simply equate saying “I’m sorry” with admitting they’re inadequate or incompetent, which makes admitting mistakes so much harder to do.
- Some people find saying they’re sorry humiliating.
- Perhaps they were criticized harshly by parents or other important people while growing up, and as a result avoid admitting mistakes because of the horrible feelings it brings up.
- Some people prefer to stay in denial.
- Their logic goes something like this: If you don’t admit you’ve done anything wrong, then it’s almost like not doing anything wrong at all.
If there is no admission of fault, then there is no need to take responsibility. If it were only that easy! Some view giving an apology in very black-and-white terms. Giving an apology is like being the “loser” and the person receiving the apology is the “winner.” The one who is wrong needs to ask forgiveness from the one who is right.
Understandably, that’s not a fun thought. Sometimes it’s our pride or ego that gets in the way. And, of course, those who lack empathy can have a hard time embracing another person’s feelings or perspective altogether, which makes saying sorry virtually impossible to do. Apologies aren’t supposed to be easy.
They are supposed to be soul-baring. That’s why, when done right, they are so powerful and rehabilitative. It’s hard to admit that we’ve hurt someone’s feelings or caused someone pain, whether it’s intentional or not. It’s also hard to see ourselves in a less-than-positive light.
It requires taking off the blinders we wear and facing our flaws. Saying sorry is meant to make us feel vulnerable. How could it not? But here’s the thing: It’s really important to do in order for us to have healthy relationships. We all want and need to feel safe with the people we allow into our inner circle.
We want to know that the people we are close to care about how we feel and are willing to admit their flaws. Not taking responsibility for wrongdoings makes us seem unsafe or untrustworthy. And withholding an apology is certainly not going to win us any friends! Saying you’re sorry shows those you love that you care enough about them and the relationship to be aware of your shortcomings and take responsibility for your hurtful actions.
- In the end, making things right is way more important than being right.
- Psychotherapist Dr.
- Robi Ludwig has hosted two seasons of TLC’s reality show “One Week to Save Your Marriage” as well as GSN’s reality game show “Without Prejudice.” She currently has a private practice in New York City where she treats both individuals and couples.
Find out more at, : Why is it so hard to say ‘I’m sorry’?
Who has the most atheist?
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Nonreligious population by country, 2010. Irreligion, which may include deism, agnosticism, ignosticism, anti-religion, atheism, skepticism, ietsism, spiritual but not religious, freethought, anti-theism, apatheism, non-belief, pandeism, secular humanism, non-religious theism, pantheism, panentheism, and New age, varies in the countries around the world.
According to reports from the Worldwide Independent Network/Gallup International Association ‘s (WIN/GIA) four global polls: in 2005, 77% were a religious person and 4% were “convinced atheists”; in 2012, 23% were not a religious person and 13% were “convinced atheists”; in 2015, 22% were not a religious person and 11% were “convinced atheists”; and in 2017, 25% were not a religious person and 9% were “convinced atheists”.
According to the Pew Research Centre in 2012, 16% of the world is “religiously unaffiliated”, which “include atheists, agnostics and people who do not identify with any particular religion in surveys”; of that overall category, many may still hold some religious beliefs and some engage in religious practices as well.
According to sociologist Phil Zuckerman, broad estimates of those who have an absence of belief in a god range from 500 to 750 million people worldwide. According to sociologists Ariela Keysar and Juhem Navarro-Rivera’s review of numerous global studies on atheism, there are 450 to 500 million positive atheists and agnostics worldwide (7% of the world’s population) with China alone accounting for 200 million of that demographic.
Relative to its own populations, Zuckerman ranks the top 5 countries with the highest possible ranges of agnostics and atheists: Sweden (46-85%), Vietnam (81%), Denmark (43-80%), Norway (31-72%), and Japan (64-65%).
Does the Bible talk about atheist?
The Fool Says in His Heart, “There is no God”: Atheism in the Bible and in Late Antiquity By Craig A. Evans The Bible is nothing if not a small library of books very much focused on God. God is presented as the Creator of the Universe, the architect of the planet earth — humanity’s home — and of humanity itself.
- In the Bible God has revealed his character, his law, his wisdom, his grace, and his redemptive purposes.
- Through his prophets God has spoken to humanity in a variety of circumstances and on a great many themes and topics.
- God has rebuked humanity, including his own special people Israel, for its corrupt and sinful activities.
Chief among these is humanity’s tendency to indulge in idolatry, either in worshipping various gods or in making idols that represent these gods. There are passages in the Bible where humanity is rebuked for ignoring God. Yet curiously, the Bible says very little about atheism, the belief that there is no God.
Of course, having said that, a well-known verse immediately comes to mind: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’.” The verse in fact occurs in two passages in the book of Psalms (at 14:1 and 53:1, verses in this article are from the RSV translation). Psalms 14 and 53 are slightly different versions of the same psalm, appearing in two distinct books (books 1 and 2) that make up the five books of the Psalter.
Most commentators believe Psalm 14 is closer to the original form of the psalm. In yet another psalm the same assertion appears. According to Psalm 10 we are told that the thoughts of the wicked may be summed up as “There is no God” and “God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it” (vv.4, 11).
- What is the meaning of the bold assertion, “There is no God”? Commentators rightly maintain that the statement is not a literal denial of the existence of God (or of gods), but a description of the wicked, who live and behave as though God takes no notice of human behavior.
- The respective contexts of Psalms 10, 14, and 53 support this interpretation.
According to Psalm 10 the “wicked hotly pursue the poor” and the “man greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord” (vv.2, 3). The wicked man believes that God “will never see” his evil deeds (v.4). Moreover, this man believes that he will never encounter adversity, but will get away with theft and murder (vv.6, 8, 9).
- According to Psalms 14 and 53 the man who says there is no God is corrupt, is a liar, and never does good.
- It is no surprise that the Apostle Paul cites portions of these psalms in order to make his point that no human is righteous and that none seeks for God (Rom 3:10–12).
- Similar thoughts are expressed elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible.
According to Psalm 73 the wicked ask, “How can God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?” (v.11). We find the same idea in the Prophets. Jeremiah declares : “They have spoken falsely of the Lord, and have said, ‘He will do nothing ; no evil will come upon us, nor shall we see sword or famine'” (5:12), while in Zephaniah the Lord warns that he will punish men “who say in their hearts, ‘The Lord will not do good, nor will he do ill'” (1:12), that is, the Lord will do nothing in response to human behavior, whether to reward the righteous or punish the wicked.
In short, the declaration “There is no God” is an expression of practical atheism, of living as though God is distant and indifferent. Early Jewish interpreters understood the declaration “There is no God” the same way. This is seen clearly in the Aramaic paraphrase of the Psalter. According to this version (called the Targum), the thinking, “There is no God,” implies the assumption on the part of the wicked person that “none of his thoughts are revealed before the Lord” (Tg.
Ps 10:4). In Tg. Ps 14:1 the fool’s declaration that “There is no God” is paraphrased to read, “There is no rule of God in the land.” Though expressed differently, the same point is made in Tg. Ps 53:1, “The fool has said in his heart that God does not punish him.” Accordingly, the atheists of the Bible are those who believe God takes no notice of human behavior, either to reward or to punish.
The wicked man, therefore, may do as he pleases. He need not fear that God will observe or take action against him. The fool’s assertion that “There is no God” is not an expression of philosophical atheism but rather a reckless assumption that God takes no interest in human affairs. In late antiquity things began to change.
To be sure, belief in God (or, in most cases, in the gods ) remained almost universal. Explicit and outright atheism is very hard to detect in the classical world of late antiquity (though see the discussion of Philo below). Nevertheless, in some philosophical circles traditional beliefs about the gods were beginning to be questioned.
- A small number of philosophers and writers in the Greek world questioned the existence of the traditional gods, that is, the gods of Olympus.
- For example, some claimed that Epicurus, who publicly taught that the gods existed but took no notice of human affairs, was really an atheist but kept this opinion private out of fear of the public ( apud Cicero, On the Nature of the Gods 1.85.121).
In an academic setting as described in Plato the question of the existence of gods or God was raised ( Apology 26c). Elsewhere Plato speaks of contemporaries who believe that the world is governed by chance, not gods, and that morality is man-made, not divine ( Laws 10, 889a–890a).
- Similarly, in a play by Critias a character asserts that the gods are an invention designed to deter crime that other wise would go undetected and therefore unpunished ( Sisyphus frag.19).
- Plato also speaks of those (like “public” Epicurus) who assert that the gods exist but are indifferent to humanity ( Laws 10, 885b, 899d-e).
Here we have a practical atheism not unlike what we see in the Hebrew Psalms. Although theism was almost universal in the Mediterranean world of late antiquity, a “vocabulary of atheism,” one might say, did emerge. The two principal words are atheos, an adjective that means “godless” or “ungodly,” and atheotēs, an adjective that means “ungodliness.” Neither word implies the idea that there is no god.
The words almost always are used in reference to the impious or to those who fail to honor the gods properly. Atheos can also be in reference to a person (or thing) that has been abandoned by the gods, i.e., he is a man who is “without god.” We find an example of this use in Sophocles ( Oedipus Tyrannus 662), as well as in later magical texts (e.g,, P GM 36.319: “I want to flee the godless Typhon”; ibid.36.337: “consume with fire the godless Typhon”).
Examples of atheos meaning showing the gods no respect are found in Sophocles ( Trachiniae 1038), Aristophanes ( Thesmorphoriazusae 671), and Euripides ( Orestes 916). The vocabulary of atheism in late antiquity also includes the adjectives atheei, meaning “without God (or the gods)” or “without the assistance of the gods,” atheia (same as atheotēs ) meaning “impious” or “without respect for the gods,” and atheiastos, meaning “uninspired by God (or the gods).” We encounter some of this vocabulary in Jewish and Christian literature.
- For example, in the Sibylline Oracles pagan temples are said to be “godless” (3:32).
- Later oracles in this diverse collection refer to “godless men” (5:309), “godless laws” (8:106), and “godless service” (8:394).
- The Testament of Solomon, a late first-century Jewish pseudepigraphon, refers to a “godless angel” (6:3).
These examples make use of the adjective atheos, A second-century Christian pseudepigraphon declares, “inful, unrighteous, and impious the man who falls away from piety and righteousness and godliness” ( Apocryphon of Ezekiel 4:1). Here, “impious” translates atheotēs,
In the writings of Philo of Alexandria, the Jewish apologist and allegorist who lived at the turn of the era, most occurrences of atheos mean “without god,” “atheistic opinions” ( Allegorical Interpretation 1.51), “atheistic reasonings” ( ibid.2.57), “impious opinion” (ibid.3.13), “impious disposition” ( ibid.3.212), and the like.
Philo also makes use of atheotēs in the sense of “impious” or “godlessness” (e.g,, Allegorical Interpretation 3.33, 108; On the Sacrifices of Cain and Abel 69; On the Posterity of Cain 2, 52; That God is Unchangeable 21; On Drunkennes 18, 78; On the Confussion of Tongues 2, 114, 121, etc.).
But Philo does make use of atheos and atheotēs in contexts where he speaks of atheism, meaning belief that God does not exist. A half dozen passages are worth considering, even if very briefly. The first appears in Philo’s discussion of creation: “Moses teaches us also many other things, and especially five most beautiful lessons which are superior to all others.
In the first place, for the sake of convicting the atheists, he teaches us that the Deity has a real being and existence” ( Creation 170). In this context Philo speaks of two types of atheists. The first are those of “two minds,” by which he means what we would probably call agnostics, that is, people who are not sure if God exists.
- But Philo also speaks of those who assert that the “Deity does not exist at all, but that it is a mere assertion of men obscuring the truth with myth and fiction” (ibid.).
- Here we have reference to true atheism in the philosophical sense.
- Elsewhere Philo speaks critically of “the opinion which denies any god, and that which worships a multitude of gods,
he who worships no god at all is barren, and he who worships a multitude is the son of a harlot” ( On the Migration of Abraham 69). Indeed, according to Philo, “If you know it not, you are an atheist, and atheism is the beginning of all iniquity ” ( On the Decalogue 91).
In another context, Philo describes atheism, often associated with men who study philosophy, as “the greatest of all vices” ( On the Special Laws 1.32). Later, he speaks disparagingly of those “who are utterly atheistic”(ibid.1.334). The last example to be considered is reminiscent of the charges brought against Socrates.
Philo speaks of one Theodorus : It is said that Theodorus, who was surnamed the Atheist, when he was banished from Athens, and had come to the court of Lysimachus, when one of those in power there reproached him with his banishment, mentioning the cause of it too, namely, that he had been expelled because he had been condemned for atheism and for corrupting the youth.
- That Every Good Person is Free 127) To advocate atheism, it is understood, is to corrupt society.
- This was the very accusation leveled against Socrates, for which the great philosopher was forced to drink hemlock (Plato, Phaedo 117a–118a).
- We may infer from these passages that there were indeed individuals, probably mostly philosophers, known to Philo in Alexandria, Egypt, and probably elsewhere who openly advocated atheism.
They were not especially influential, for there is little reaction to them and no body of atheistic literature, if there ever was one, has survived. The language of atheism, that is, principally words like atheos and atheotēs, was utilized almost exclusively in reference to behavior and morals.
- The word atheos appears but once in the writings that make up the New Testament.
- In his letter to the church of Ephesus Paul reminds the Gentile members : “emember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Eph 2:12).
In describing them in their pre- Christian life as atheoi (“without God”) Paul does not imply that these Gentiles were atheists, that is, people who did not believe in God or in the gods. He simply means that they were estranged from the God of Israel, the Father of Jesus the Messiah.
The perspective presupposed in Eph 2:12 is not too different from what we observe in the book of Acts, where Paul addresses the men of Athens at Mars Hill : “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you” (Acts 17:22–23).
The men of Athens were very interested in gods and divinities, as seen by the numerous statues, temples, and inscriptions in and around the market place and the Acropolis. To underscore his point, Paul calls attention to the inscription that reads, “To an unknown god.” Today visitors to the Acropolis and the market (or agora) that is situated at its foot can see the remains of many of these temples, inscriptions, and statues of various gods.
We should assume that the perspective of the Ephesians was essentially the same as that of the Athenians. That is to say, they were religious, they built and supported various temples, and they devoted themselves to a host of divinities. In short, they were, like the Athenians, “very religious” (Greek : deisidaimonesteros – “very divinities and spirits”), but they were nonetheless without God.
The true God, the God of Israel and Father of Jesus the Messiah, was “unknown” to the people of Ephesus. Hence, in their pre- Christian existence these people were atheoi, “without God.” In responding to the gospel they became acquainted with God and came to share in the promises and covenants that God gave Israel long ago.
By the beginning of the second century, if not earlier, pagans were describing Christians as atheoi, “atheists,” for denying the existence of the Greco -Roman gods. The charge was sometimes leveled against the Jews too in the first century and beyond (e.g., Apollonius Molon, apud Josephus, Against Apion 2.15; Dio Cassius, Roman History 67.14.1–3; Julian the Apostate, Against the Galileans 43B).
The accusation of atheism in large part justified the state’s persecution of Christians. Closely related to the denial of the gods was the refusal to confess Caesar as Lord or as divine. In the Roman world Caesar was regarded as divine, as in some sense a “son of god,” and as high priest ( pontifex maximus ) who represented the people to the gods.
Christians denied both the gods and the divinity of Caesar, which provoked the state and led to severe persecution and martyrdom. Two of the earliest and best known Christian martyrs accused on the grounds of atheism — either denying the gods or denying the divinity of the emperor or denying both — were Ignatius (d.c.110) and Polycarp (d.155).
In custody and on his way to Rome to stand trial Ignatius, bishop of Antioch in Syria, wrote letters to six churches and one letter to Polycarp. Eusebius tells us without providing details that Ignatius was taken to Rome and there was thrown to wild animals ( Hist.
Eccl.3.36.1–15). In his letter to Polycarp (cf. ibid.3.36.10) Ignatius writes, almost in passing, “our God ( is) Jesus Christ” ( To Polycarp 8:3). Such a confession implicitly contradicts the imperial doctrine, well attested on stone and papyrus, that Caesar is lord and god. In the latter part of the first century and on into the second century the Julio – Claudian emperors and the Flavian emperors were routinely called “lord,” “god,” and “son of god” (e.g., for Augustus, see SB 401, BGU 628; for Tiberius, see SB 8317; for Claudius, see SB 4331; for Nero, see P.Oxy.1021; for Vespasian, see SB 1927; P.Oxy.112; for Titus, see SB 1016; P.Oxy.1028; for Domitian, see SB 2084, P.Oxy.2186).1 Their precedent-setting practice continued in the second century under Trajan, Hadrian, and the Antonines.
It is interesting to observe that the language of atheism appears in one of the letters of Ignatius, though not in reference to Christians. In two places in his letter to the church of Tralles Ignatius speaks of the godless : I am sure that you agree with me regarding these matters, for I received a living example of your love and still have it with me in the person of your bishop, whose very demeanor is a great lesson and whose gentleness is his power; I think that even the godless respect him ( Trallians 3:2).
Later in his letter, in reference to the Docetists who deny the reality of the bodily incarnation, Ignatius asks : “But if, as some atheists, that is, unbelievers, say, he suffered in appearance only, why am I in chains ?” ( ibid.10:1). In the first passage Ignatius uses the word atheos as we have already seen many times.
He has called pagans atheoi in the sense that the y are “without God.” We see this in other Christian writings (e.g,, Clement of Alexandria, Paedagogos 3.11.80; Ps.- Clement, Homilies 15.4; Sibylline Oracles 8:395). But the meaning of atheos in the second passage in the letter to the Trallians is harder to determine.
- Its use is admittedly ambiguous, meaning either those who are without God or those who deny the very existence of God.
- If the latter was Ignatius’s intent (and I suspect it was), then it represents a sharp polemical thrust, for Docetists believed in the existence of God.
- But to deny the reality of the incarnation was, in the mind of Ignatius and many other early Christians, tantamount to the denial of God and so in a sense could be called a form of atheism.
A few decades later Polycarp himself is faced with the prospects of martyrdom. As had Ignatius before him, Polycarp refuses to confess the divinity or lordship of the emperor. Standing before his judges he is asked : ‘Why, what harm is there in saying, ‘Caesar is Lord,’ and offering incense’ (and other words to this effect)‘and thereby saving yourself ?’ Now at first he gave them no answer.
But when the y persisted, he said : ‘I am not about to do what you are suggesting to me’ ( Mart. Poly.8:2). Polycarp served in the mid-second century as the bishop of Smyrna in Asia Minor (Izmir in modern Turkey). His refusal to confess the divinity of the emperor, as well as his refusal to worship the gods of the Greeks and Romans, led to the charge of atheism.
According to the Martyrdom of Polycarp, written not long after the death of the bishop, we are told that the pagan multitude shouted against the Christians : “Away with the atheists ! Find Polycarp !” ( Mart. Poly.3:2; the story is retold in Eusebius, Hist.
Eccl.4.15.6; cf.4.15.18). When Polycarp is brought before the Roman proconsul, the latter demands : “Swear by the divinity of Caesar” ( Mart. Poly.9:2; 10:1). Polycarp of course refuses (ibid.9:1–3). The proconsul demands that Polycarp swear the oath to Caesar and revile Christ. His refusal to swear by the divinity of Caesar would have been interpreted as proof of the charge of atheism.
In the trial that follows the crowds shout, “This is the teacher of Asia, the father of the Christians, the destroyer of our gods, who teaches many not to sacrifice or worship” ( ibid.12:2). The bishop continues to refuse and so is executed. The charge against Polycarp is quite remarkable.
His refusal to worship the Greek and Roman gods, including veneration of the Roman emperor, is according to Roman belief tantamount to destroying the gods. To the extent that what is said here in an admittedly rhetorical and apologetic text truly reflects pagan thinking, one can see why the charge of atheism was taken so seriously in late antiquity.
However, there is more than rhetoric and apologetic in play. We know from Governor Pliny’s letter to Emperor Trajan ( Epistles 10.96; c.111 AD) that pagan sacrifice and cultic activity in parts of Pontus (central Asia Minor) had all but ceased thanks to Christian influence.
- It is to this problem that the accusation that Polycarp “teaches many not to sacrifice or worship” refers.
- Ever since the days of Paul, the Christian movement in Asia had a significant impact on religious culture (cf.
- Acts 19:17–20).
- From the mid-second century on pagans regularly accused Christians of atheism.
In his First Apology (c.155) Justin Martyr replies to this charge : “e are called atheists,” though at the same time conceding and explaining, that “we are atheists, so far as gods of (the pagans) are concerned, but not with respect to the most true God” ( 1 Apol,6.1).
What sober-minded man,” Justin further argues, “will not acknowledge that we are not atheists, worshipping as we do the Maker of this universe, ” (ibid.13.1). He adds further that “those who lived reasonably are Christians, even though the y have been thought atheists ” (ibid.46.2). In his Second Apology (c.161) Justin complains that Crescens the pagan philosopher unfairly describes Christians as “atheistic and impious ” ( 2 Apol.3; the story is retold in Eusebius, Hist.
Eccl.4.16.3). Tatian (c.160) complains too that the Greeks exclude Christians “from civic rights as if we were the most godless of men” ( Address to the Greeks 27.1). Athenagoras (c.177) devotes several chapters of his apology, in order to counter the charge that Christians are atheists ( Concerning the Christians 4–30).
- The accusations and counter-accusations of atheism in late antiquity rarely had any thing to do with what we moderns understand as atheism.
- Jews, Christians, and pagans all believed in the existence of God or gods.
- A few pagans may well have entertained philosophical atheism, but they were very few and their atheism seems largely to have been a reaction to the crude and contradictory nature of much of the polytheism of their day.
The real atheism of late antiquity was practical atheism, the belief that God or the gods were indifferent to human affairs or that God or the gods simply did not or could not observe human behavior. The practical atheism of late antiquity is not unlike the atheism that is reflected, as we have seen, in a few of the ancient Hebrew scriptures.
Although people believe in God, they often live as if God is not present. The person who thinks and lives like that, says the Psalter, is a fool. By way of conclusion, what is worth noting is that the practical atheism of the biblical period and late antiquity is much like the atheism of today. Most of humanity believes that God exists, but much of humanity lives as though God does not exist or, if he does, he takes little interest in human affairs.
The atheism of today is much more than what we see in writings and pronouncements of atheist celebrities, such as Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins. Atheism is much more than an explicit denial of the existence of God. The atheism that should concern all who believe in God is the practical atheism reflected in the lives of many theists, including Christians.
- The fools are not limited to those who openly state, “There is no God”; they include those who profess belief in God but live as though he does not exist.1 SB refers to F.
- Preisigke et al., eds., Sammelbuch griechischer Urkunde aus Ägypten (Strassburg : K.J.
- Trübner, 1915–); BGU refers to Ägyptische Urkunden in den staatlichen Museen zu Berlin: Griechische Urkunden, vols.1–9 (Berlin: Weidmann, 1895–1937); and P.Oxy.
refers to B.P. Grenfell et al., eds., The Oxyrhynchus Papyri (London: Egypt Exploration Society, 1898–). Numbers refer to the numbering of the primary texts, not to page numbers. : The Fool Says in His Heart, “There is no God”: Atheism in the Bible and in Late Antiquity