Atheology

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The table of contents of the "Atheology" book section, from Michel Onfray, Atheist Manifesto (2005), who defines atheology as a new field of study, opened up on the wake of the previous Feuerbach, Nietzsche, Marx, Freud, focused on the examination of the "mechanisms of theology", which he outlined above.[1]

In terms, atheology, from a- "not" or "without" + -theos "sun god" + -ology "study of", refers to the study of the ramifications of the belief that sun is not divine, that the power, heat, work, and energy derived from the sun, which power humans (see: powered CHNOPS+20E) in their movements and reactions, are not divine "things", that the universe was not created, and that there is nothing supernatural in the universe; aka the study of "positive atheism".

The six main "branches of atheology" (Thims, 2015), are shown below, listed in order of chronological arrival, not by term coining date, but by when people began to state or publish views to that affect:

  1. Atheism | Disbelief in the existence of god | Coined: Polydore Vergil (1534)[2]
  2. Ahereafterism | Disbelief in the afterlife | Coined: Libb Thims (2021) (66AE)[3]
  3. Aspiritism | Disbelief in the existence of spirit | Coined: Libb Thims (2015)
  4. Achristism | Disbelief in the existence of Christ | Coined: Philip Henry (1694)[4]
  5. Asoulism | Disbelief in the existence of the soul | Coined: David Weisman (2010)
  6. Abioism | Disbelief in the existence of life | Coined: Libb Thims (2015)

An "atheologist" refers to one who studies and or practices atheology as their profession, occupation, or past time.

Etymology

Sutton (1854)

In 1854, Henry Sutton, an English journalist and religious poet[5], an associate of Ralph Emerson, and fan of the ‘divine philosophy’ Emanuel Swedenborg, published Quinquenergia: Proposals for a New Practical Theology, wherein he sought to outline a new theology called ‘quinqu-energia’, from the Latin quinque- "five" + -energia "energy", i.e. a new age theology based on five types of energy, beyond that of positive science, Comteanism, and secularism. Towards the end of this treatise, Sutton defines the secularism of George Holyoake and his group as "atheology" and defines them as "atheologists", as follows:[6][7]

“I have of late been reading some of the writings of George Holyoake and his friends. Their object is to teach men that the ‘sum of all knowledge and duty is secular, that it pertains to this world alone.’ Accordingly, they call themselves ‘secularists’, and their system ‘secularism’. But, which is special to this sect is not its secularism, but its antagonism to theology; for in attending well to the affairs of this life, these persons are not peculiar; nay, they attend to those affairs less well, in the true sense, than they would if they accepted a good theology. It is only in their opposition to theology that they are peculiar; they should therefore be called ‘antitheologians’, or ‘atheologists’; and their system ‘atheology’, or ‘anti-theologism’. Of Holyoake, judging him by his writings in the Cabinet of Reason, and some recent numbers of the Reasoner, I should say, this is a clear-sighted, but not profound, thinker, disgusted, naturally enough, with the errors and mischiefs of revelationism; and driven by his disgust to the opposite extreme. He is, moreover, a conscientious and a brave man-a man, therefore, by no means without Religion, as I understand that word; and certainly, with more of it than vast numbers of persons are who may be found amongst Revelationists. But as yet he has by no means appreciated the true nature of the human being; the highest necessities of mankind; the impossibility of action and daily life on the bare terms of ‘positive science’; and the fact that the highest and best secular welfare of the race depends on the establishment and success of a new and true theology.”

Sutton's co-called quinqu-energia theology, barring a full read, conjectures on things such as the “faunal soul” (pg. 41), and how flowers, when “animate”, vs being “inanimate”, have within them an “invisible vital substance”, related to “excited energy; and that muscles in animals are a type of “chemic matter”, that is animated by energy put in it by “heat and other chemical excitants”. The following seems to be the core of his argument:

“There remains yet one other order of substance to be spoken of: of all substances that which is the most subtle, ethereal, noble, because the nearest to the state of spiritual or ‘absolute being’. This is what we term ‘viral soul’; – that order of mind which, when in energy, develops industrialism, mechanism, science, poetry, and religion.”
— Henry Sutton (1854), Quinquenergia (pg. 42)

Here, Sutton, in short is attempting to sell a "god synonym" argument; a step in the right direction, but a god-based argument, nonetheless.

Democritus (410BC) → Tyndall (1874) | Atomic atheology

In 1875, an anon, in The Southern Review, in review of John Draper’s book History of the Conflict Between Science and Religion (1875) and John Tyndall’s Oct 1874 famous BAAS address, introduced the term "atomic atheology" as follows:[8], we find the following:[9]

“Be this as it may, it is certain that Democritus was not the predecessor of Empedocles in philosophy; nor did the latter introduce any changes into the atomic atheology of the former. On the contrary, Cudworth has ‘proved plainly, that Empedocles who was a Pythagorean physiologized atomically’; as did all other believers in the system of atoms, before it was corrupted and depraved by Democritus, and made to subserve the purposes of atheism. ‘Anaxagoras’, says Ueberweg, (and Empedocles also, so far as love and hate are represented by him as independent forces, separate from the material elements) advanced in principle to a dualism of mind and matter; while the atomists [i.e. Leucippus and Democritus] proceeded to materialism.’ It was not Empedocles, then, who adopted and developed the atomic atheology of Democritus. It was Democritus, on the contrary, who corrupted and depraved the atomic physiology of Empedocles, as well as of Anaxagoras and other believers in one supreme ‘nous’ or mind. Empedocles was the disciple of Pythagoras, and not of Democritus. We have now seen, in passing, how many strange and unaccountable blunders Tyndall has contrived to crowd into a single paragraph. But these are not all. His errors of omission are as strange and unaccountable as his errors of commission. He is the only writer on the history of philosophy, for instance, whom we have ever known to name Democritus as the founder of the school of the atomic atheology. Leucippus was the founder of that famous, or rather of that infamous, school, by whom the first principle or cause of all things was reduced to mere dead atoms and local motion; and Democritus was his pupil.”

The premise of "dead atoms", in atomic atheology, leads to water-testing thoughts on "panbioism", which are dismissed; then eventually to "abioism", the solution.

Recent

On 29 Mar 1950, Georges Bataille, a former Christian, who once considered the priesthood, but renounced Christianity becoming atheist in the 1920s[10], in a letter to Raymond Queneau, proposed that he was going to write a three-volume treatise, based on his collected works, entitled Summa Atheologica, but in the end only finished this project up to the unfinished notebook level, with one volume or book entitled Pure Happiness and other The Unfinished System of Nonknowledge.[1]

In 1974, Alvin Plantinga was using the term “natural atheology”, defined as the attempt to prove that god does not exist or that at any rate it is unreasonable or irrational to believe he does.

In 2005, Michel Onfray, in his Atheist Manifesto: the Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, stating that with the work of Immanuel Kant, Ludwig Feuerbach, Nietzsche, Marx, and Freud, decoupled “reason and faith”, thus “clearing the battlefield”, and opening up a “new space set free”. This new space his says is to be filled with the new field of "atheology". To explain this term, he opens to a preface section entitled "Atheology’s Dazzling Light", wherein, building on Bataille's use of the term, proposed that atheology, as a course of study, be defined as follows:[1]

“I am proposing the concept of ‘atheology’ as a countercurrent to theology, a channel to carry us past discourse on god and flow upstream to the source, where we may examine the mechanisms of theology up close. On a world stage saturated with monotheism, it is high time to expose the back side of the theological scenery. This is an opportunity for philosophical deconstruction. Beyond this preliminary Atheist Manifesto, then, the effort requires a mobilization of multiple disciplines. Psychology and psychoanalysis: consideration of the mechanisms of the fable-generating function. Metaphysics: plotting the genealogy of transcendence. Archaeology: giving a voice to the substrata beneath the surface geography of religions. Paleography: establishing archival texts. History, of course: acquainting ourselves with the epistemologies and their development in the areas where religions were born. Comparative psychology: establishing fundamental principles of thinking, learning, and behavior in various time periods and widely separated regions. Mythology: research into the details of poetic rationality. Hermeneutics, linguistics, languages: stressing local idiom. Aesthetics: tracing the iconic propagation of beliefs. And then of course philosophy: for philosophy seems best fitted to preside over the organization of all these disciplines. And the stakes? A ‘physics of metaphysics’, a true theory of man’s inherent nature (immanence), a materialist ontology.”

In 2013, Bo Jinn defined atheology as the “study of atheism”.

Thims (2015)

The main components of atheology, comprised of six main denials: atheism (deny god), amortalism (deny afterlife), achristism (deny the existence of a Christ, Jesus, or Jesus Christ), abioism (deny the existence of life [or bio]), asoulism (deny the existence of the soul), and aspiritism (deny the existence of the spirit or spiritualism); followed by digression on the replacements of the former denials, in the form of new beliefs and creeds, in the areas of: moralism (morality), purpose, chance (and free will) vs determinism, and dualism (two natures) vs monism (one nature), and justice (universal or indifferent) to name the dominate ones.[11]

In 2014, Libb Thims, began to undertake a mass study of atheism, in respect to the history of atheism, religio-mythology, famous atheists, a ranking of atheist's bibles, concordant with all the key terms, and their replacements, related to the usurpation of old myth-based active religions with new physico-chemical thermodynamics based so-called "new religions" of the future, generally based on the Goethe model and atomic theory.

In 2015, Libb Thims, in Hmolpedia 2020, had “atheology” listed as a term, but no article attached to it, in the “atheism terminology” table, defined according to the Bo Jinn and Alvin Plantinga definitions.[12]

In Feb 2021 (66AE), Thims started this Hmolpedia “atheology” page, generally defined focused on the study of the top beliefs (creeds) and disbeliefs (denials) of the top two dozen atheists and their atheism systems, as tabulated on the "atheism types by denial and belief" page.[11]

Modern | Branches

The subject of atheology, is divided into six main branches of study:

Atheism | A-the-ism

The oldest branch of atheology, concerns disputations on "atheism" or denial of the gods, which began with the ancient Greek philosophers, e.g. Heraclitus, Anaxagoras, Protagoras, and Empedocles who was said to have "taught atheism".[13] Newer professors of atheism include: Wilhelm Ostwald, and his "Monistic Sunday Sermons" (1910)[14], and Libb Thims, and his "Zerotheism for Kids" (aka "Atheism for Kids") Monday School lecture (2015).[15]

Aspiritism | A-spirit-ism

The second oldest atheology category is "aspiritism", aka denial of the spirit and the ramifications, repercussions, and reforms brought about by this denial. In 600BC, the Charvaka, an Indian materialism sect, denied the spirit, for the most part:

“Uncivilized ignorant fools, who imagine that spirit is something different from body, and reaps the rewards of actions in future state; we might as well expect to find excellent fruit drip from trees growing in the air.”
— Anon (c.600BC), Charvaka position; voice of: Passion in The Rise of the Moon Intellect (1200) [16]

The atheist study of spirituality, however, continues to this day; such as found in many "god synonym" hues, teetering around "spiritual energy" new age ideas and beliefs.

Ahereafterism | A-hereafter-ism | Mortalism

In the 600BC writings of the Charvaka[17] are explicit statements of the denial of the so-called after-realm or hereafter:

“There is no other world other than this. There is no heaven and no hell. The realm of Shiva and like regions, are invented by stupid imposters.”
— Anon (c.600BC), Charvaka position; in: Sarva-Siddhanta Samgraha (Verse 8) [18]

This Indian afterlife scheme, however, is a rescript of the Egyptian afterlife model, and seen reformulated in all modern religions, e.g. the "realm of Shiva" above, reduces to a continuity model for one's actions, choices, and movements. Throwing the god out the window, and hence divine afterlife model, leaves the "continuity question" open and unsolved, as per modern science stands extant. It is a famously unsolved "god void" question or puzzle. In 66AE, Libb Thims introduced the term "ahereafterism" as meaning disbelief in the afterlife.

Asoulism | A-soul-ism

The next oldest atheology subdivision is "asoulism" (Weisman, 2010), aka to question the existence of the soul.[19] Held water to be the first principle, out of which fire arise; believed the soul to be made of water (not blood); classified as a materialist and atheist. In 450BC, Hippo, to cite one example, while not denying the soul, held that water is the first principle, out of which fire arise; and believed the soul to be made of water (not blood); he was classified as a materialist and atheist. Semi-modern asoulists include: Jean Meslier (1729), Julien Mettrie (1745), Francois Broussais (c.1820), Thomas Edison (1824), Kurt Bell (2011), Patrick Fergus (2014), and Libb Thims (2015).

Achristism | A-christ-ism (A-Jesus-ism)

The subject of "achristism" (Henry, 1694), or denial of "Christ", is a peculiar subset of atheology.[20] What a "Christ", aka "chosen one" aka "son of god", is however, is an old subject, pre-dating that of atheism, as an extant subject. The subject of a "Christ", e.g. was already embedded into the Greek language, during the formation of the Greek alphabet (1000BC), mathematically, in terms of isopsephy of the word "god", aka "theos", which has a numerical value of "284", which is the larger value of the first amicable pair, the other being "220", which is the "Christ", chosen one, or messiah; which means that "Christ" figures existed prior to the formation of Greek theology and afterwards, into Roman theology.

The Greeks, e.g. had schools of study that denied that Dionysus was a "Christ". The Egyptians, likewise, had disputation on whether or not the pharaoh was "Christ", aka Horus in life, and Osiris in the afterlife. In the modern "active" religions sense of the matter, however, achristism, in the sense of denial of Jesus Christ, can be said to have begun in the years 100AD to 250AD, as found in the questionings about this purported to exist character in the writings of the silent historians.[21]

Secular dating system

A synopsis of the new "atoms seen first" calendar dating system, wherein all calendar years are dated to before (BE) and after (AE) the zero year of 1955 when atoms were first seen by the eyes of a human.

A subset subject of achristism, at least in the Western world, is the problem of dating calendar years using the Christ-based dating system invented in 524 by Dionysius Exiguus.

Attempts at reform, objection, and or complete abandonment, include efforts by: Johannes Kepler (1615), Isaac Newton (1700), John Walking Stewart (1790), the French revolution calendar (1792), Thomas Paine (Christ myth calendar, 1802), Johann Goethe (Newtonian era calendar, 1810), Benito Mussolini (1923), Isaac Asimov (Foundation Series, 1951), Herbert Simon (1953), Joseph Needham (1954), Floris Berg (Copernican era calendar, c.2009), and various draft attempts by Libb Thims, e.g. Guttenberg era calendar (2012) and a Goethean era calendar (2014), which were tested out in Hmolpedia.

On 25 Apr 2020, Thims invented the “atomic era calendar” (BE/AE), the zero year being the year in which atoms were first seen by the eyes of a human, namely the year 1955 by the eyes of Erwin Muller who saw tungsten atoms via his field ion microscope. This has sense, going into early 2020 or 66AE been successfully employed in hundreds of Hmolpedia articles and in print book title page publications, and seems to be a workable replacement for the former myth-based calendar.

Abioism | A-bio-ism

The most recent branch of atheology, is "abioism" (Thims, 2015), aka denial of the existence of "life", and its synonyms, e.g. "bio", alive, living, and so on. The subject first began to be broached, not so much from the atheism basis, but from the science basis, in what is called the "defunct theory of life" conjecture, which is found addressed in the works of Jean Fernel (1548), Johann Goethe (1770-1809), particularly his Elective Affinities (§4), Karl Pearson (1900), Alfred Lotka (1925), Charles Sherrington (1938) and Francis Crick (1966).[22] Goethe, in this mix, being an openly-defined "achristist", is the only one in this group who attached the problem for an atheism-inclining standpoint.

The coining of the term "atomic atheology" (author, 1875), as discussed in the etymology section (below), however, occurred in reaction to John Tyndall, in his famous Oct 1874 BAAS address, speaking about "dead atoms", in a dialogue, via the voice of a fictional Lucretius, as follows:

“Thus far our way is clear; but now comes my difficulty. Your atoms are individually without sensation, much more are they without intelligence. May I ask you, then, to try your hand upon this problem? Take your dead hydrogen atoms, your dead oxygen atoms, your dead carbon atoms, your dead nitrogen atoms, your dead phosphorus atoms, and all the other atoms, dead as grains of shot, of which the brain is formed. Imagine them separate and sensationless, observe them running together and forming all imaginable combinations. This, as a purely mechanical process, is seeable by the mind. But can you see, or dream, or in any way imagine, how out of that mechanical act, and from these individually dead atoms, sensation, thought, and emotion are to arise? Are you likely to extract Homer out of the rattling of dice, or the differential calculus out of the clash of billiard balls?”
John Tyndall (1874), “BAAS Address” (voice of Lucretius), Belfast, Oct [8]

The problem, following the "defunct theory of life debate" (2009 to 2012), has now largely been solved; resolved via the use of "life terminology reform" in scientific writings.

Quotes

The following are quotes:

Atheology is narrowly focused on questioning the existence of anything divine or supernatural, but it not primarily about atheism. Atheology is for almost everyone, not just atheists, because most religious believers deny other religions' gods.”
— John Shook (2011), The God Debates (pgs. #) [23]
Atheology: is the exploration of how religion has been — and is — constructed and navigated, both in antiquity and in modernity, as well as the intersection of ancient religion and the modern world. Decidedly non-religious, it nonetheless aims at meeting religious and theological thought at the highest levels for constructive dialogue and understanding, and the development of more nuanced criticisms—and to encourage others to do so, too. Atheology, in short, focuses on ‘encouraging irreligious literacy’.”
— Stewart Felker (2017), “Atheology” [24]

End matter

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Onfray, Michel. (2005). Atheist Manifesto: the Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam (§P5: Atheology’s dazzling light, pgs. 6-8) (translator: Jeremy Leggatt). SkyHorse, 2011.
  2. Vergil, Polydore. (c.1534). English History (“Godd would not longe suffer this impietie, or rather atheonisme”, pg. 165). Publisher.
  3. Note: in 2015, the term "mortalism" was the employed column header, but this term has much ambiguation, e.g. with various theories about the mortality of the soul implied.
  4. Achristism – Hmolpedia 2020.
  5. Henry Sutton – Wikipedia.
  6. Sutton, Henry S. (1854). Quinquenergia: Proposals for a New Practical Theology. Publisher.
  7. Holyoake, George. (1854). “Quinquenergian Criticism on Secularism” (quote, pg. 171), Extracts from New Book (pgs. 297-98); Reasoner (editor: George Holyoake), 16:170-71.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Tyndall, John. (1874). “Address”, British Association for the Advancement of Science, Belfast, Popular Science Monthly, Oct; in: Address: Delivered Before the British Association Assembled at Belfast: With Additions. Longmans, 1874.
  9. Author. (1875). “The Conflict Between Science and Religion” (atomic atheology, pg. 132), The Southern Review, 18:122-53 (continued), Jul.
  10. Georges Bataille -  Wikipedia.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Atheism types by denial and belief – Hmolpedia 2020.
  12. Atheism terminology – Hmolpedia 2020.
  13. Famous atheists (subdomain) – Hmolpedia 2020.
  14. Monistic Sunday Sermons – Hmolpedia 2020.
  15. (a) Thims, Libb. (2015). “Zerotheism for Kids” (co-host: Thor), 14-part [4:41-hr] lecture playlist (YT), 5-intro sides (Ѻ), 56-main sides (Ѻ), 11AM-3PM, Chicago, Aug 10 (recorded), Sep 7 (published).
    (b) Zerotheism for kids – Hmolpedia 2020.
  16. (a) Maithila (Kirsha Misra) (Ѻ). (1200). Prabôdha chandrôdaya, or Rise of the moon of intellect: a Spiritual Drama ; and, Âtma bodha, or The knowledge of self (translator: J. Taylor) (Arc). Publisher, 1893.
    (b) Hecht, Jennifer M. (2003). Doubt: A History: The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas (§:The Carvaka, pgs. 94-100; fruit, pg. 95). HarperOne.
  17. Charvaka – Hmolpedia 2020.
  18. Billington, Ray. (1997). Understanding Eastern Philosophy (pg. 44). Routledge.
  19. Asoulism – Hmolpedia 2020.
  20. Achristism – Hmolpedia 2020.
  21. Silent historians problem – Hmolpedia 2020.
  22. Defunct theory of life – Hmolpedia 2020.
  23. Shook, John. (2011). The God Debates: a 21st Century Guide for Atheists and Believers (and Everyone in Between) (atheology, 5+ pgs). Wiley.
  24. Felker, Stewart. (2017). “Atheology: About”, Blog, Patheos.com.

Further reading

External links

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