The World Can be Sacred to Atheists Too

John Vervaeke’s weaselly resort to “nontheism”

Benjamin Cain
God’s Funeral

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AI-generated image by Alan Frijns from Pixabay

John Vervaeke, the cognitive scientist and philosopher who applies science to the spiritual task of finding meaning in life, often building on Neoplatonic and Eastern religious traditions, sat down with the podcaster Lex Fridman and spoke about what he thinks of atheism.

“I’m a nontheist,” Vervaeke said, “which means I think the shared set of presuppositions between the theist and the atheist are actually what needs to be rejected.” Clarifying the difference between these three, he said theists and atheists both presuppose “that sacredness is to be understood in terms of a personal being that is in some sense the Supreme Being, and that the right relationship to that being is to have a correct set of beliefs.” And Vervaeke goes on to say, “I reject all of those claims.”

More precisely, he said, “The idea that the ground of being is some kind of being is a fundamental mistake…Being is not a being; it is the ability for things to be, which is not the same thing as a being.”

For instance, humans, glasses, and tables are beings, but as to how they all came to be, we don’t say they came to exist by being humans, glasses, or tables; rather, Vervaeke says, “You want to say, no, there’s something underneath it all, and it can’t be…

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Benjamin Cain
God’s Funeral

Ph.D. in philosophy / Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. / https://ko-fi.com/benjamincain / benjamincain8@gmailDOTcom