I think this is fairly accurate. In my journey from the faith to atheism, I was leaving behind the sky daddy (up), and coming back to earth (down), to the things that really matter. I would,however, take issue with the "no atonement" stair. This is probably because I am a fan of David Quinn, and do believe we humans are looking for some sort of atonement. The sin would be that we think we are special, somehow beyond nature, and have tried to live that way. Even the sciences are largely told in anthropocentric terms. Atonement could be found in living with nature, instead of at odds with it, by understanding that we are members of the community of life, and subject to it's laws.
Well said John R Alley.
I think it's a bone in rib steak.
I know That the picture is attempting to convey descent into ungodlyness, but i see it as returning to the foundation of reality.
All seem 2 agree that it should b an ascent (enlightenment) rather than a descent (ignorance.)
This picture must be a negative, because the light is in the wrong place.
It's drawn by a (fundamentalist) Christian cartoonist Ernest James Pace in 1922. Has to be understood in the proper historical context. The time has long since past for this to make sense even to Christians but to hardcore fundamentalists, who will remain stuck partly in the transition of bronze to iron age in Palestine and pre black plague European dark ages.
It is amusing to see what functions in the cartoon for the intended audience as increasingly horrifying steps downward, from that cheerful light at the top of the stairs in some 7 questioning steps ultimately into the eternal depressing darkness at the bottom, is so innocently intuitively appreciated inversely.
Reaching the solid ground of Atheism.
The imagery suggests, with its step-by-step darkening, that the gradual procession toward atheism is away from the enlightenment of Christianity and toward a dark and miserable pit (sewer?) of despair. To this, I reply - bright lights only blind me; I do my best work in the dark.
"The Modernists" is referring to the disenchantment of society as the institutional aspect of organized religion became less influential as the world grew. Nietzsche, Nabokov, and Kierkegaard have all written about how the world seems darker without the presence of a deity. This does not necessitate that the darkness is negative; in fact for some it means quite the opposite. In darkness there is sublimity, that is, an infinity of worldly possibilities. With organized theological structures, the light implies a finite world that relies on the faith of an afterlife to provide meaning. The image is not suggesting anything, with only the possible exception of the distinction between agnosticism and atheism, which is regrettably all-too-often misunderstood by you people.
Assuming the man depicted is the same man, he has grown in wisdom with age. He reaches a solid footing without all the "fluff" of religion in the steps upward, which have to be taught to a child to begin with (read: no child is born knowing religion, so if a person "knows" religion, that person has been taught to know religion). Also, notice the archway through which we can see a light. We can only surmise that the ground floor is large, with many rooms. Hence, no walls to keep him in, no ledges to fall off (no railings on the second floor or the staircase).
What we also see here is the revelation of no "heaven," and no "afterlife." As we discuss in our house, oblivion meets the dead. When we die, we become worm food, and become as nothing. We become what we once were: we revert back to the carbon atom.
All hail to the carbon atom!
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