Alfred Ayer’s Philosophy of Religion and Understanding of God (What is Igtheism?)

Alfred Ayer’s Philosophy of Religion and Understanding of God (What is Igtheism?)

June 26, 2021 Off By Felso

In a chapter of “Language, Truth, and Logic”, Ayer opposes the idea that we can talk about God in a meaningful way.

According to Ayer, the statement “God exists” is neither true nor false. According to him, this statement is literally meaningless, because it is not true by definition (although the followers of Saint Anselmus used the Ontological Argument to say that God must necessarily exist). Moreover, there is no test that proves that God exists or does not exist, because Ayer rejects the Design Argument.

Thus, Ayer is neither a theist (who believes that God exists) nor an atheist (who believes that God does not exist). Rather, he thinks that the phrase “God exists” is one of the other meaningless statements. Some call this position “igteism”. Therefore, Ayer is an igteist who thinks that it is completely meaningless to argue about the existence or non-existence of God.

Despite this, a shocking event happened to Ayer in his later years. He lost consciousness with a salmon bone stuck in his throat and had a near-death experience. His heart stopped for about four minutes, during which he saw a red light and the “Two Masters of the Universe” talking to each other. This vision did not make him believe in God, but made him question the certainty of the mind as to whether it could exist after death.

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook, “A Brief History of Philosophy” by Nigel Warburton