Faith and Counterfaith

  • Errol E. Harris
Part of the Tulane Studies in Philosophy book series (TUSP, volume 26)


Theism is the belief in God. Agnosticism is the suspension of that belief on the ground of ignorance. Atheism is a claim to knowledge.


Religious Belief Moral Sentiment Oedipus Complex Anxiety Neurosis Mere Matter 
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  1. 1.
    The Anti-Christ, §55.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    The implication presumably is that at one time there was a God, which if God is taken to. be an infinite and eternal being makes nonsense of Nietzsche’s denial, and if he is taken to be some finite deity, makes it a denial of something that the theist does not assert.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Op. cit., §38.Google Scholar
  4. 1.
    Op. cit., §59.Google Scholar
  5. 2.
    Cf. Op. cit., §47.Google Scholar
  6. 3.
    Cf. Beyond Good and Evil, Pt. I, 12–14.Google Scholar
  7. 4.
    Also Sprach Zarathustra, III, iv ‘Vor Sonnenaufgang’. Google Scholar
  8. 5.
    Contradicted by implication in The Anti-Christ by his castigation of Christianity as anarchy. See The Anti-Christ, §58.Google Scholar
  9. 6.
    Also Sprach Zarathustra, loc cit. I shall return to the theme of compulsion in the following chapter.Google Scholar
  10. 1.
    It is interesting to observe that for Descartes, God’s will, being completely free and infinite, is inscrutable and unaccountable (Cf. Meditations IV). It is, accordingly, so far as man is concerned, equivalent to pure chance. It follows that strictly there is nothing to choose between Nietzsche’s denial of God, with the enthronement of pure chance, and Descartes’s affirmation of God’s existence and inscrutable governance of the world.Google Scholar
  11. 1.
    Cf. J. S. Mill (than whom it would be hard to find a more sceptical writer on religion) : Science contains nothing repugnant to the supposition that every event which takes place results from the specific volition of the presiding Power provided that this power adheres in its particular volitions to general laws laid down by itself.’ Three Essays on ReligionTheism (Longman, London, 1875), p. 136.Google Scholar
  12. 1.
    Vide Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts, Ed. D. J. Struik, (International Publishers, New York, 1964), p. 143.Google Scholar
  13. 2.
    Ibid., pp. 180–181.Google Scholar
  14. 1.
    As do many of those offered by John Stuart Mill, Bertrand Russell, and others more recent. Gf. J. S. Mill, The Nature and Utility of Religion and Theism; B. Russell, Why I Am Not A Christian. Google Scholar
  15. 1.
    Cf. Das Kapital, Bk. I.Google Scholar
  16. 2.
    Cf. Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. Google Scholar
  17. 1.
    Cf. Engels Dialectic of Nature. Google Scholar
  18. 1.
    In Civilization and its Discontents Freud evinces an awareness of this hysteron proteron and even of the possibility that the whole story of the murder of the primaeval father might be mythical. But, somewhat typically, he extricates himself from the difficulty by attributing the sense of guilt to an original ambivalence—a conflict between Eros and the death instinct which will fit virtually any version of the facts one likes to produce, parricidal or pious.Google Scholar
  19. 1.
    Cf. last footnote.Google Scholar

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© Tulane University New Orleans 1977

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  • Errol E. Harris

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