Re: mapping religious thought space

From: Robert Owen (
Date: Sun Jan 23 2000 - 14:31:27 MST

Joe E Dees wrote:

> Date sent: Sun, 23 Jan 2000 02:15:49 -0500
> From: Robert Owen <>
> Organization: The Orion Institute
> To:
> Subject: Re: mapping religious thought space
> Send reply to:
> > Positivist-Humanist-Liberal-Orthodox-Fundamentalist-Atheist-Nihilist
> >
> > What do you think?
> >
> Sceptic and cynic need to be fitted in there somewhere.


One more datum in support of my hypothesis that there exists a
Variety of our Species the members of which are connected by
internal, in additional to external, relations.

If we take "skeptic" in its most constructive sense, and "cynic" in
its most pejorative, non-Diogenian, sense, this is how I'd do what
we both think needs to be done; to avoid word-wrapping, I'll write
it this way:
             Liberal Fundamentalist

             Humanist Atheist

             Skeptic Cynic

             Positivist Nihilist

[1] Humanism, as the secularization of Christianity, affirms the
     basic social values of Christianity but grounds them optimis-
     tically in human nature; Atheism is not only a theological,
     but an ethical negation of Christianity. It belongs close to
     nihilism for the reasons I stated earlier: it is essentially a
     anti-monarchical/anti-christian term adopted by Marx,
     Engels, Lenin and Trosky to characterize the strategy of
     radical revolution. For this reason, an Orthodox during the
     Cold War almost always referred to "Godless Communism".
     While this same Orthodox is somewhat suspicious of the
     Humanist, I have never heard the phrase "Godless Humanist".
[2] I am using "Positivist" in its cultural rather than logical sense
     as one who affirms the values of the humanist, more-or-less
     but emphasizes the critical role of science and technology
     as a tactic of choice.
[3] We really don't need the term "agnostic" -- it is an epistemo-
     logical concept that specifies certain irreversable limits to
     human knowledge. "Gnosis" means "ultimate or absolute
     knowledge", and "a" its negation. Its venacular use as a
     "religious" concept is a corruption. When Kant discussed
     the termination of certain transcendental postulates in what
     he called "Antinomies", he was being an "agnostic".
[4] I would suppose that Classic Transhumanism would be
     placed between "Skeptic" and "Positivist" and "Extropianism"
     as indicated in the diagram. Of course this will promote
     howls of protest, but I think I can defend this choice.


Robert M. Owen
The Orion Institute
57 W. Morgan Street
Brevard, NC 28712-3659 USA

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