I'm curious as to whether you've read any books by Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Victor Stenger, or Dan Barker, or perhaps the two atheist/agnostic books compiled by S.T. Joshi? I ask because these are some of the authors I've read over the past 4 or so years, and their ideas about atheism, and Christianity generally, don't seem to match up with what you are saying. Now it's possible that I'm just not connecting the dots here, that's possible, but I'm not sure that that is the case.
In my own life, when I became an atheist in January 2006, I had read almost no atheist literature. I had read The Antichrist
by Nietzsche, which I thought was rather silly at the time I read it. I had read a few issues of Skeptic Magazine
, though that fine publication is as much agnostic as it is atheist. And I had run across a few "Bible contradictions" sites online, which may have been put together by atheists. But by in large, I became an atheist through reading Christian literature, almost all of which was Eastern Orthodox, with a heavy dose of the Church Fathers. Ozgeorge was describing me in a recent post when he said, in part: "Those who 'think their way' into the Church will not remain but will 'think their way' out of it again."
I believe it was Newman who said that "to be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant". In my own case, I found that to be deep in history was to cease to be a Christian--Orthodox or otherwise. I don't claim that it always works that way. I know on this forum (let alone in the rest of the world) that there are smarter people than I am, people who know the Fathers better than me, know theology better than me, etc. Nonetheless, for me, it was through my search of the deep wells of Orthodoxy that I became a non-believer. As I said in a post back in 2007: "I didn't deconvert because I read Dawkins or Nietzsche, but because I read Chrysostom and Popovich."
Now, maybe you would speculate that I didn't really understand Orthodoxy. There is the idea that if someone leaves your faith tradition, then they weren't really a part of it or a believer to begin with. Or maybe as ozgeorge said, I simply thought my way out of Orthodoxy. That seemed to be the theory of my priest and wife at the time, who complained, of all things, that I had been reading too many books. The atheists that I mentioned above (Harris, Dawkins, et al.) all took a radically different path than mine. Still, I didn't sense in their books what you are speaking of. But perhaps I am missing something, that's possible.
It's impossible to be an atheist if you are a Panentheist. You can simultaneously be an agnostic and a Theist as a Panentheist, but not really an atheist.
I'm not sure if this is directed towards me, or you meant it generally. I'm guessing it's directed towards me since I currently have panend
eist (with a d, not a th) as my faith or religion. But I'm not an atheist now, and I would agree with you that you couldn't simultaneously be an atheist and a panendeist or panentheist. I'm sorry if I spoke in a way which seemed to indicate that I was an atheist. I meant that when I left Orthodox in the past
I became an atheist. Sorry for any confusion on that.