Posts tagged ‘agnostic’
…or you may get mauled by a she-bear..!!
Since my recent comment about irrelevant and forgotten old radio Bible teachers, I thought I would re-publish this rant from my old website. It is several months old, and I am beating up on a dead guy, but hopefully some of the younger folks out there can relate. Dig?
It was darker than usual this morning due to turning the clock ahead an hour, so I was able to pick up a distant AM station on my drive into work. It was broadcasting a rerun of one of those ancient J Vernon McGee Thru The Bible programs. He was working his way through 2 Kings when he hit this troublesome passage concerning the prophet Elisha…
Have I not written to you excellent things Of counsels and knowledge,That I may make you know the certainty of the words of truth,That you may answer words of truthTo those who send to you?-Proverbs 22:20-21
Lately, I have been considering the point and purpose of Christian apologetics. As a Christian, I felt persuaded to ‘defend the faith’ against the humanistic attacks of my friends at work. Our Thursday night Bible studies at church emphasized apologetic studies, and I devoured each teaching with great enthusiasm. I bought countless tapes from the back catalogue of Bible studies, and listened to them at home, and sometimes, to the great annoyance of my friends, at work. And of course, I prayed constantly for my dad who had converted to Mormonism, because he was deceived from the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. – Romans 1:20-21
As I witnessed to friends and family, I was astonished how they could so easily reject the Truth. The Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was just so obvious and self-evident to any honest person that I felt they really were truly without excuse. Nature speaks to the reality of God…
The fallacy that we all abide by one paradigm (or at least that we should) has led many Christians, both those of the conservative typology as well of the “floundering liberal” (Falwell’s words, not mine), to believe that non-believers have no ultimate purpose or meaning in life. Yet they do not realize that this unfair accusation is no different than the atheist who would also unfairly place his or her paradigm on the Christian and proclaim that a worship of an imaginary being and the subsequent false hope for a life after this one is foolishly nihilistic and deters the “believer” from living a purposeful life.
In my previous post I expressed my wariness with the so-called meaningful Christian purpose. I stopped short, however, of offering my own “secular” meaning of life. The conservative pundit I quoted in the previous part recognized, more or less, that a non-believer is fully capable of living of meaningful life. This meaning, however, is limited to the ontological realm. The pundit could not see an ultimate, or teleological meaning for a secularist’s life. To many Christians, the atheist’s view is that we are born, we live for ourselves, we die by ourselves. Finito. Apparently, if their god is added to the equation, even if the only purpose is to bow before him, at least it is something. I believe that this has led Christians to adhere to a false dualism that is so present in gnostic paradigms: the material is empty, the spirit is where life is found. Yet everything in observable reality tells us otherwise. The lack of evidence for either a god or heaven leads one to wonder how it is that a theist can have such a pessimistic view of the material realm…
I’m going to be honest. I think that there is one thing that scares humans so much that we make fantasy worlds that flow with milk and honey, worlds that are controlled by perfected beings of enlightened wisdom and ultimate power: the meaninglessness of life. Amongst the fury of passionate arguments in the responses to one of Roopster’s posts, one commenter (#42) randomly proclaimed,
“You are confused yourself Mr. Ape…
Try to understand. Why do you exist? What is your purpose in life? Do you exist to eat, work and sleep? Think again Mr. Ape…”
I shrugged off the comment along with the brutally useless dialogue I had gotten myself into. Yet I have come to understand that this seems to be a core issue whenever religionists of any sort proselytize to secularists, so I bookmarked the comment in my mind and promised myself to get around to it. We all know that the question itself is quite poor from an apologetic standpoint. Christianity, on any level, does not really offer any more “meaning” than any other religious movement. It is, rather, a purely rhetorical device that plays on an individual’s insecurity with who or what they are in the universe. It is used by almost every major religion, almost universally as a evangelical tool, or, at best, an apologetic for belief itself…
Have you ever had a conversation with God? Have you ever heard his voice? There was a time when I would have absolutely answered these questions in the affirmative. After all, modern day Christianity is all about having a “personal relationship” with God. As with all good relationships, this relationship includes regular communication.
Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when [men] shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all kind of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven… You are the light of the world. (Matthew 5:10-14a)
It could be argued that this is the beginning of the Christian persecution complex – or at least the reason for it. Of course, the early church had plenty of “valid” reasons to be persecuted – their core beliefs were directly opposed to the established Jewish community from which they arose and, furthermore, the early Christians, especially of the Pauline variety, were downright treasonous in the eyes of the Caesar-worship of the time. These beliefs had little to do with morality, and everything to do with loyalty. Martyrdom – not the kamikaze murderous kind of present extremism – became an increasingly noble cause. In the time of Ignatius – writing in the late 1st century, possibly predating some canonical gospels and pseudo-Pauline epistles – martyrdom was perhaps the single greatest act of faith that a Christian could show (see Ignatius’ letter to the Romans). It was, after all, the ultimate act of following Christ…
Here’s a typical Christian claim (from A Christian on the Sidelines):
The Agnostic/Atheist is attempting to explain religion through empirical methods while Theists attempt the same by using theology. The mixing of these concepts into the other field is a clear injustice to both disciplines.
But is this really true? Is it true that theology sits on the primary, or even exclusive rights to say something about religion and gods? I happen to think that this is false; in fact, I think theology is little more than the rational analysis of theologians’ imaginations. Since theologians often have a rather good imagination, I will in this post use my imagination. For completeness, I’ve written about this before, but what I will say now isn’t exactly the same.
Imagine that I believe that the Moon is made of cheese. Now, being naturally curious, I start thinking about the implications of having a satellite made of cheese for Earth, and what current observations can tell us about the type of cheese that the Moon is made of, and countless other issues that a moon made of cheese would raise. After some time, I come to the conclusion that not only the Moon, but all other celestial bodies are made of cheese. Then I start publishing my investigations into the heavenly bodies and the material they’re made of. Only, I don’t publish my papers through the usual scientific means; instead, I found a whole new field, which I call Astronomical Cheesology.