Wednesday, March 24, 2010

An Igtheist's Near-Death Experience

"A.J. Ayer was... the atheist as far as millions of Britons were concerned, ... arguing that the very idea of 'God' was devoid of meaning, a position known in theology as igtheism" — An Atheist Meets the Masters of the Universe. Things changed for him in 1988 after he had "been clinically dead for four minutes."

His doctor reports him saying, "I saw a Divine Being. I’m afraid I’m going to have to revise all my various books and opinions." His mother-in-law said, "He became so much nicer after he died. He was not nearly so boastful. He took an interest in other people." Most interestingly, he "began spending a great deal of time with Father Frederick Copleston," the opponent of "his famous 1949 BBC radio debate about the existence or otherwise of god [sic]" and "Britain’s most formidable modern Catholic philosopher."

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another supposed famous atheist recantation of non-faith that reveals more about the people who go on about it than the actual event itself. The author of the article is more than a bit speculative here. Ayer's wife and so were quite skeptical of what the doctor claimed Ayer said. Ayer was very clear later on about his position:

"He ended the article by asserting that “my recent experiences have slightly weakened my conviction that my genuine death, which is due fairly soon, will be the end of me, though I continue to hope that it will be. They have not weakened my conviction that there is no God.”"

I notice a lot of posts on this blog about atheism. Perhaps the issue is not quite as resolved in your own mind as you'd like to believe?

11:25 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

The post doesn't mention an "atheist recantation of non-faith" but alludes to a healthy move from igtheism to agnosticism.

I reject your attempt at psychoanalysis. I just find atheists entertaining.

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loudmouthed, over-rated academic atheists like Ayer have especially lofty perches, so any minor perturbation results in a huge display of flapping and squawking.

I can see the entertainment value in that.

For those who still want to worship Ayer, a dry and detailed dissection of his academic work would also reveal him to be "human, all too human."

1:26 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

You're a rational being. "Loudmouthed, over-rated academic atheists" are the ones I find entertaining.

I found it funny when a popular Catholic writer Father Benedict Groeschel, invoked Voltaire and said he was tempted to write a proper defense of atheism after readings Dawkins' and Hitchens' books, which he found amateurish.

But I guess since what passes for popular Catholic writing these days pales to what was written in the past, it's not that odd for the same to be true of popular atheist tracks.

I like village atheists, and those like Gore Vidal and Camille Paglia who have other issues in their lives. Come to think of it, I can't really stand Catholics who have no other issues in their lives.

2:20 PM  

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