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Derek Best has contributed to several publications, including Macleans Magazine Canada, and Omni Magazine, USA. He is has also produced many documentary films for Television. For many years, he has been interested in A Course in Miracles, a metaphysical thought system, and maintains the official website for that organization. "ACIM", he says "is central to my personal way of seeing the world." This site is strictly personal however. Derek has an eclectic range of interests, and writes about them here as the mood strikes him.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Birds of a feather

Still on the topic of atheism in college philosophy departments, I could not help noticing that there was very little camaraderie among the faculty. Every faculty member and teaching assistant seemed to have only a kind of murky peripheral interest in their colleagues' ideas. Perhaps they were all too absorbed in their own thought processes? Or perhaps there is a lot of pressure to publish or perish, and ideas are too valuable to spread around? More likely it is a natural response to the tendency of people of faith to congregate. I cannot help feeling that on some level atheists are uncomfortable being "joiners". They wouldn't want (as Groucho said) to belong to any club that would accept them as members. Group activity of any kind is a sign of some kind of community between souls: something an atheist cannot subscribe to. Previously I used the term "church" in relation to critical thinking because I do see it as a kind of blind faith. But adherents to that "faith" all vigorously deny any element of faith in their thinking, so they are obliged not to congregate. It would smell of church-worship or some faith-based activity. It is a fact that the philosophy department in a college is often a sort of poor orphan-child. There are doubtless a number of good reasons for this; in particular this is an age where degrees in "air conditioning and heating," or "criminology" are considered valuable, and liberal-arts is seen as superfluous. (that pendulum is starting to swing back again, though.) But perhaps a more basic and inescapable reason is the self-isolating nature of secularity. Great critical-thinking minds, even if they think alike, apparently can't discuss it, and without cohesiveness or group-spirit, departments seem destined to languish.


Anonymous Jo-Ann said...

Just a comment on Critical Thinking Feathered Birds

How can an atheist join with his fellow associates when he does not believe in God? God was murdered, is dead. God no longer exists. Much underlying fear must be experienced because there is no Peace of God in the mind and no place to find any faith. You are the guilty one who has sinned. There is no way out. Exposing this fear with other critical thinkers would expose your self worth, self-esteem and intelligence. Being silent is safe. The ego has set it up this way.

Do you need to continue with this line of study when you think differently? I don’t know. However, think about this, can you sit in class and find Peace with what is being said?


8:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

every day, every walks of life of people are saying the same kind words over and over full of lips level of greetings deep down people are not what they say so....why are we not what we are...can you please teach me what I should be.and that should be the origin, because the others are able see in me... the real Me. Ah..Ah.....!!!.

11:11 PM  


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