Much Ado About Nothingness

Much Ado About Nothingness

There are 6 comments on the Slate Magazine story from Apr 23, 2014, titled Much Ado About Nothingness. In it, Slate Magazine reports that:

Just as "science," in the sense we use the word today, didn't quite exist in Shakespeare's day, atheism, too, was absent in its modern, Dawkins-like form.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Slate Magazine.

“It's just a box of rain...”

Since: May 07

Knoxville, TN

#1 Apr 24, 2014
This is one of the most interesting articles to flash across our news screen of late. I hadn't really considered the signs of Shakespeare's struggle with religion across the spectrum pf his plays. It's all too tempting to see ourselves in our heroes, and for those who love the English language and its literature, good ole Willy the Shake is about as iconic as anyone. I like the idea that he was as skeptical about religion as I am.

But for me, it doesn't really wash. As jaded and irreligious as some of his characters are, others or deeply entrenched in traditional spirituality, reinforcing the impression that he was more conflicted that skeptical.

In the end, it doesn't really matter. As this article makes clear, the times did not allow for the expression of great doubt, thus discouraging the doubts themselves. Our times allow for greater freedom of expression and greater diversification of religious or nonreligious thought. As nonbelief and skepticism become more acceptable and is expressed more openly, more people will feel free to question the beliefs of their parents and peers. For that reason, I think that religious belief and devotion will continue to weaken. In the long run, believers may become a small minority.

I think that would be better.

Since: Jan 14

United States

#2 Apr 24, 2014
NightSerf,
I suppose you are ignorant of the fact that Shakespeare was a mere pen name of a noble man, a staunch advocate of a natural God whose tools are the natural laws.
If you like to know who this double-face ruler of the literary world was, I'll readily tell you.

“It's just a box of rain...”

Since: May 07

Knoxville, TN

#3 Apr 24, 2014
jide oni wrote:
NightSerf,
I suppose you are ignorant of the fact that Shakespeare was a mere pen name of a noble man, a staunch advocate of a natural God whose tools are the natural laws.
If you like to know who this double-face ruler of the literary world was, I'll readily tell you.
There have been several theories bandies about--Marlowe, Bacon, the Earl of Oxford. Why should I believe that you know better than the various Shakespeare scholars I've read over the years when you don't seem to know much of anything about the various other topics in which you claim expertise? And ultimately, it really doesn't matter to me. Shakespeare is best known, not through the uncertain and mysterious details of his biography, but through his plays and sonnets. Where the details of his life are vague, the body of his work speaks volumes about his wonderful mind.

I've read the plays as well as acting in them. I've set his sonnets to music. I've modeled some of my own poetry after his, and I suspect I know a great deal more about him than you ever will. If you understood him at all, your writing would flow with clarity and ease instead of in clumsy clumps and tangles of awkward confusion.

Saturday, by the way, will be his 450th birthday, and the Globe Theater is planning to embark on a world tour to bring Hamlet to every country on earth. It's an ambitious, adventurous, and potentially dangerous undertaking give the instability in some places. My hats (I have many) are off to them.

Since: May 10

Location hidden

#4 Apr 24, 2014
NightSerf wrote:
This is one of the most interesting articles to flash across our news screen of late. I hadn't really considered the signs of Shakespeare's struggle with religion across the spectrum pf his plays. It's all too tempting to see ourselves in our heroes, and for those who love the English language and its literature, good ole Willy the Shake is about as iconic as anyone. I like the idea that he was as skeptical about religion as I am.
But for me, it doesn't really wash. As jaded and irreligious as some of his characters are, others or deeply entrenched in traditional spirituality, reinforcing the impression that he was more conflicted that skeptical.
In the end, it doesn't really matter. As this article makes clear, the times did not allow for the expression of great doubt, thus discouraging the doubts themselves. Our times allow for greater freedom of expression and greater diversification of religious or nonreligious thought. As nonbelief and skepticism become more acceptable and is expressed more openly, more people will feel free to question the beliefs of their parents and peers. For that reason, I think that religious belief and devotion will continue to weaken. In the long run, believers may become a small minority.
I think that would be better.
Don't forget to differentiate among "believers" and followers of religion.

I am a believer who gives not a crap for religion.

“It's just a box of rain...”

Since: May 07

Knoxville, TN

#5 Apr 24, 2014
Buck Crick wrote:
<quoted text>
Don't forget to differentiate among "believers" and followers of religion.
I am a believer who gives not a crap for religion.
Statistical studies show that the links between adherence and belief are far from absolute.. Studies of nones show that many of them believe in God or a universal spirit or feel a spiritual connection to the earth and nature. These beliefs can be appealing on many levels, and I suspect that even most skeptics would be happy to believe given enough evidence.

Do your beliefs make you happy? Then I am happy for you and would not change your beliefs even if I could. Sadly, most of the believers who participate in the forum to not reciprocate that attitude. They come here to disparage atheism and atheists, to preach to us, and to insist that we accept their definitions of our beliefs. Most of us are not even atheists by their definitions. We are skeptics, and we define atheism in terms of that skepticism, accepting the label that society places on us, but refining its definition to fit modern conditions.

You and I have been around the block on this, and it is unlikely that we will ever agreed. You define words according to their derivations from the most ancient of their traceable sources, and I, along with the entire community of lexicographers, define them according to current usage. I think we have to agree to disagree on that. I believe that the purpose of language is to communicate clearly with as little ambiguity as possible, but I see you using it mostly to project your massive ego. My goal is always to understand, yours is to win. It's and East/West, never-the-twin kind of situation. C'est la vie...

“It's just a box of rain...”

Since: May 07

Knoxville, TN

#6 Apr 29, 2014
You know, I should have noted the flip-side of the above: if not all nones are nonbelievers, it is also true that not all nonbelievers are nones. The degree of certainty among the affiliated ranges widely, and some have doubts that place them squarely in the atheist camp. That's what makes the statistics of religion so fascinating--so many apparent contradictions.

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