Karl Barth on Atheism

“Atheism too denies religion. It loves iconoclasm, the refutation of dogmas and moral emancipation. Its whole interest is in

denial as such.

Atheism is for this reason always artless. It fails to see that absolute denial has no meaning except against the background of a relative affirmation. Atheism lives by its negation and therefore is always in danger of finishing at a dead end.

It is much less astute than mysticism, though more rational. Far less developed in its range, though intense in its focused logic. Atheism always means secularism and the allying of self with secular authority and power and against religion.

But in so doing, it exposes itself to the danger that all kinds of new and disguised religions may arise behind its back and with its support.”

Karl Barth 17:320-321

Adapted by Alan Pieratt

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