My name is James Fodor, and I’m a student at the University of Melbourne in Australia. I like to learn about everything, and often think about how we can know anything at all. Here I post about some of my recent thoughts concerning philosophy, science, religion, politics, history, and other topics I think are important. If you’re deciding whether to read this blog, you might want to know about some of my views: epistemology (Peircean pragmatist with leanings to Humean skepticism), metaethics (moral realism, lean towards reductive moral naturalism), religion (agnostic atheist, former Mormon), ethical theory (non-dogmatic preference utilitarian with some leanings to virtue ethics), politics (centrist classical liberal), gender (sex-positive feminism), philosophy of mind (functionalism/connectionism, physicalist monist), scientific realism (instrumentalist). I am strongly influenced by David Hume, Bertrand Russell, Friedrich Hayek, Carl Sagan, Peter Singer, Ray Kurzweil, and Friedrich Nietzsche.
About the Title
The title of this blog, ‘The Godless Theist‘, is a deliberate oxymoron. The inherently contradictory nature of this phrase is meant to be reflective of the inherent absurdities, contradictions, and inanities with which life abounds. The title is also reflective of my view of myself as having a foot in two ‘opposing camps’, so to speak. On the one hand, I am an atheist, president of a secular club, and involved in numerous atheist, humanist, and skeptic groups and communities. On the other hand, I grew up as a Mormon, regularly attend a wide variety of Christian events, and have a great many strongly religious friends.
I believe that, in differing ways and in differing degrees, both Atheistic naturalism and Christian theism are rationally justifiable and intellectually imposing worldviews, each deserving of serious engagement and consideration. I believe both hold valuable insights to understanding the human condition and leading a good life, and respect the intellectual history and cultural influences of each perspective.
Strange as it may sound, I see theism and atheism as both contradictory and complementary ideologies. Each requires the other in order to exist, just like the existence of up mandates the existence of down. Each one the yin to the other’s yang, these positions highlight each other’s respective strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately, of course, only one can actually be true, but it is necessary to engage honestly, tirelessly, and earnestly with them both, for a winner cannot be pronounced except by comparison with a loser. Theism and Atheism are thus both opposites and brothers. Both must face the challenge of making sense of this unrelentingly confusing and absurd world we live in. Both must force a balance between faith and reason, between belief and doubt, between optimism and cynicism. Both have their own unique advantages, but also face deep and serious challenges.
I find beauty, power, wisdom, and strength in both theism and atheism. I am not religious, but nor am I purely atheistic. I am The Godless Theist.