In response to the thread on Nihilism and Traditionalism, I have created a thread on Nihilism and Atheism. This is not to be in opposition to the views expressed on that thread, of course, but to include other nihilists who hold different metaphysical beliefs but similar aesthetic and pragmatic beliefs.
Many people hear the world 'atheism' and they take it to one of two bad places: (1) Scientism, or the belief that everyone must follow and abide by the challenging and counter-intuitive picture of reality that is emerging in the 21st century, or (2) Materialism, the belief that because there are no objective trasncendental values, everyone must worship matter and society must be reduced to the lowest common denominator.
Atheism does not lead to either (1) or (2), a priori. Furthermore, an atheist may content that some of the pragmatic benefits of nihilism are more forthcoming than for the traditionalist nihilist. Atheism allows complete detachment from prior ordained knowledge in order to example any situation from the greatest amount of perspectives and to choose the most appropriate soultion.
Atheism is the idea that reality is the universe operating according to a Logos. Our understanding of this Logos might need to be improved and modified from time to time (i.e. the move from newtonian physics to relativity), but this represents a PROGRESSION in our grasp of 'the mind of god'. The atheist is sustained 'spiritually' (or psychologically) by his aesthetic appreciation of reality that is being revealed by science. His evolved psychological tendencies to value beauty, goodness and truth are not left wanting by, for example, cosmology, evolutionary biology and botany. He is simply more able to function with metaphysical uncertainty than the theist. Alternatively he might favour pagan interpretaitons of reality when pressed for a more orthodox spiritual position.
The understanding of the Logos need not to be restricted to the real of inert matter. It can also be applied the realm of animate matter. Certain ideas and ways of structuring society throughout history have led to 'higher' socieites, higher in the sense of aesthetic appeal. You do not need to believe in a transcendetal order to conclude that electro-pop guzzling, city ghetto dwelling environments are sub par. You simply observe psychological facts of human beings to determine that such environments do not lead to human flourishing. A similar pramatic stance holds in relation to religious belief. Just because the atheist does not accept a literal, metaphysical and anthropomorphic interpretation of reality like exoteric chrisitinaity does not mean he will ruin the organic basis of a soceity by demanding that everyone drop the beliefs which provide the internal glue for a group in individuals to live together and thus aver the need for totalitarian nanny states. He believes that the philosophy of liberalism holds erroneous conceptiosn of the person when it posits pure 'subjects' which are autonomous agents prior to society. He holds a communitarian political philosophy which traces the sources of the self to attachments to family, village, tribe, nation, and not universal humanity. Any criticisms of justice must necessarily draw upon the materials already present in a culture and the liberal advocate is in error when she suggests that there is some universal, rational standard from which to construct rights and obligations from. The Logos contains the word of the universe, it is silent about any 'rights of man'. A greater knowledge of the Logos as it pervades human psychology will increasing reveal, in antithesis to liberal
modernity, that human beings are deprived of energy when they are deprived of roots, culture and communal responsibility. Most great art is produced by metaphysical belief in something, and a society cannot function long term above the level of animals if death is not given a meaninig. In opposition to Francis Fukayuma's proclamation that 'History has ended' in face of liberal democracy, the atheist observes that 9/11 happened and that fundamentalism vs liberalism will be the great antithesis that defines the 21st century, while capitalism/communism was the one which drove the 20th. The atheist acknowledges that fundamentalismm while misguided, respons to elements of the human condition left out by liberal democracy.
Atheism has been correlated with intelligence and this link must be embraced. A love of objective truth and a love of beauty need not be seperate.
* The Will to Power, by Friedrich Nietzsche
* The Leap, by Bill Hopkins
* All great books of the ages