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Atheists Giving Thanks to the Sun

Abstract

I argue that it is rational and appropriate for atheists to give thanks to deep impersonal agents for the benefits they give to us. These agents include our evolving biosphere, the sun, and our finely-tuned universe. Atheists can give thanks to evolution by sacrificially burning works of art. They can give thanks to the sun by performing rituals in solar calendars (like stone circles). They can give thanks to our finely-tuned universe, and to existence itself, by doing science and philosophy. But these linguistic types of thanks-giving are forms of non-theistic contemplative prayer. Since these behaviors resemble ancient pagan behaviors, it is fair to call them pagan. Atheistic paganism may be part of an emerging ecosystem of naturalistic religions.

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Correspondence to Eric Steinhart.

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Steinhart, E. Atheists Giving Thanks to the Sun. Philosophia 49, 1219–1232 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11406-020-00269-4

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Keywords

  • Atheism
  • Thanks giving
  • Grooming
  • Rituals
  • Prayer