The Two Classes Of Atheists

March 16, 2012

This is from a pamphlet written by Orson Pratt which is included by James E. Talmage in his well known book The Articles of Faith.  It is in an appendix.  I do not believe I have ever met another Latter-day Saint who agrees with this quote by Orson Pratt, but I do.  I believe it completely.  I probably read this before I joined the Church in 1963 a few months before my eighteenth birthday.  I love it because to me it rings true, just as the gospel did when I first heard it from the missionaries so long ago.

What do you think and feel?  Does this brief paragraph by Orson Pratt ring true to you?

Practical Religion

In James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith

9. Immaterialists and Atheists—“There are two classes of atheists in the world. One class denies the existence of God in the most positive language; the other denies his existence in duration or space. One says ‘There is no God;’ the other says ‘God is not here or there, any more than he exists now and then.‘ The infidel says ‘God does not exist anywhere.’ The immaterialist says ‘He exists nowhere.’ The infidel says ‘There is no such substance as God.’ The immaterialist says ‘There is such a substance as God, but it is without parts. The athiest says, ‘There is no such substance as spirit.’ The immaterialist says ‘A spirit, though he lives and acts, occupies no room, and fills no space in the same way and in the same manner as matter, not even so much as does the minutest grain of sand.’ The atheist does not seek to hide his infidelity; but the immaterialist, whose declared belief amounts to the same things as the atheist’s, endeavors to hide his infidelity under the shallow covering of a few words. * * * The immaterialist is a religious atheist; he only differs from the other class of atheists by clothing an indivisible unextending nothing with the powers of a God. One class believes in no God; the other believes that Nothing is god and worships it as such.”—Orson Pratt, in pamphlet Absurdities of Immaterialism, p. 11.