Posts tagged ‘reason’
I was a seminary-trained pastor who felt responsible for those I pastored. I was responsible for telling them the truth, and more- for pointing to the Truth, the Way and the Life. My problem was that I could not figure out what the truth (or Truth) was. At one point, I counted at least twelve possible biblical understandings of Jesus and the Christian gospel- all of which were supported by some verses and condemned by others. What was I supposed to teach? The more I studied, the less confidence I had that I could say anything certain about God’s works or will. Eventually, I had to admit to myself that I had no confidence I could say anything certain about God, including whether or not there was one. When I reached that point, I asked my bishop to release me from my ministry.
Back in April, Leopardus posted a video about critical thinking and open mindedness. The same people have now made a video called Putting Faith in its place. This video shows the reasoning that led me to deconversion better than I could. Enjoy.
Pilgrim’s Further Progress
(nod to LeoPardus for the suggestion)
There once was a girl who was looking for love. She was tired of the same old surface relationships; ones that never truly satisfied her heart as well as her intellect. She tried dating off and on. She found a lovely peaceful man named Buddha, but to her, he was too passive. She ended up always having to make the decisions or sit calmly watching him meditate. She needed more excitement than that. She dated a guy named Aristotle and even his best friend Plato, but they were too much “into hanging out with the guys” and didn’t want to commit to romance. Her friends kept trying to set her up with a new guy named Jesus. He was perfect for her and would love her until the end of time. He was manly and heroic. His relationship with his Mother wasn’t so hot, but his dad and he were very close. He sounded wonderful, almost too wonderful, but after a series of failed dating experiences, she agreed to go on a blind date and see for herself.
She was enraptured! Never before had she felt like someone knew her very soul. He would gaze into her eyes, listen to her conversation for hours, and she just KNEW that he was the one. Apparently, he did too, because instantly he professed his love for her and wooed her with all his might. Sure, there were some warning signals. He wanted her to completely renounce all her old friends and even her family…
Recently, many books and websites have been written on the dangers of theism. Theism is described as an irrational belief leading to irrational actions including flying planes into buildings, bombing abortion clinics, or considering prayer to be an appropriate alternative to seeking medical care. Because these actions can affect more people than the acting theist alone, and sometimes affect them in a fatal manner, non-theists are being called to not settle for being non-theist, but to become anti-theist.
There are choices to be made, though, in what goals one will choose to pursue, and what means one will employ to pursue those goals. Is it best to spend time and energy challenging every theist or even every theistic argument one encounters? Or is this like giving money to an individual begging you for money instead of giving to a charity that provides food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless, or medicine for the sick? I have heard this latter question debated in classrooms and hallways, on Internet forums and television shows. In some ways, it depends on what you are trying to accomplish by giving your money away…
I’ve long been familiar with the type of argument that is known as “the God of the gaps”, though it has only been within the last year that I’ve heard that name applied to this particular argument from ignorance.
Shortly, for those who are unfamiliar with the phrase, a “God of the gaps” argument points to one area where either humanity as a group, or the individual making the argument in particular, have less than complete knowledge. The one proposing the God-of-the-gap argument then declares that God fits into that gap of knowledge. At one time, it was possible to respond to any question of how or why by responding that God was the answer, or at least the cause. As humans have discovered how various things work or why they happen, the gaps for this God to live in have gotten increasingly smaller.
The God of the gap is popularly invoked to explain the very beginnings of the universe, consciousness, common understandings of morality or the existence of living organisms. If we don’t quite know how something happened, God did it. If we aren’t sure why something happens the way it does, it happens that way in accordance with God’s plan…