Exploring Awe as the Source of the Sacred September 18, 2014

Exploring Awe as the Source of the Sacred

The conversation about how human beings derive meaning from life, and how it ties into atheism and religion, continues on NPR’s 13.7 Cosmos & Culture blog.

On Monday, I covered Alva Noë‘s take on what he sees as “Spockian Atheism,” a godless view of life that leaves no room for value or meaning (and somehow I missed the opportunity to note, “Dammit Jim, I’m an atheist, not a robot!” The shame of it…).

Now, Adam Frank has added his own take to the dialogue, with a piece called, “Is Atheist Awe A Religious Experience?

He proposes that

What makes the elemental human experience of awe significant is it is, first and foremost, an experience of meaning. It saturates the world with meaning. Explanations for the origins of that meaning must always come later.

Awe is “pre-scientific and pre-religious,” he contends. That is, from the perspective of human experience, “[i]t comes before we opt for explanations of any kind…” To Frank, this is where the idea of sacredness is rooted: not in specific religions, but in the “eruption of awe into our everyday lives.”

It’s an interesting piece and certainly worth reading if you get the chance.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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