What happens when Jesus is not the answer?:
Doing good cannot be an optional extra for Christians, but must be at the core of our existence. For our faith is not measured by a list of sound doctrine, but instead by the fruit it produces in doing good.
(Via Red Letter Christians)
Amen. Read the whole post. It’s worth it.
In my experience, I’ve heard tons and tons and tons of trash talk from atheists who insist that the only way the Bible is “true” is if it is literally, historically and scientifically accurate. This is understandable given our indoctrination into truth grounded in the availability of things like camcorders. The ancients had no such luxury and they knew it. They did not write scientifically or historically in our sense but poetically, mythically to convey truth by story and symbol. Even biographies were not called “histories” but “lives.” The ancients knew this as well.
Yet dogmatic (largely atheist) critics continue, even when they are told the historical facts, to read it as 21st century moderns. All too often they then sophomorically demean the ancients and the books they wrote. The loud and proud ignorance from people who practically worship evidence is as one put it, “jaw-dropping.” Continue reading
Because I love Jesus.
That is the only real answer. The End…and The Beginning as well. Alpha and Omega.
Awesome, awesome post by Justin Lee. No quotes. Go to the site and read.
I decided to write about this because it makes Twitter much less of a burden. It’s too imprecise to express real ideas on a micro-blogging service more amenable to smart ass comments than smart ones, so I do so here. I borrowed heavily from John F. Haught’s book God and the New Atheism: A Critical Response to Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens. Great read. He summarizes my intellectual critique of The New Atheism or as I like to call it, The Church of No-God, quite nicely. Generally when I use the word “atheist” in this post, I’m referring to this group.
Let me make clear that this post is not written to make the case that atheists should be believers nor is it an attempt to denigrate them, their personal beliefs (unbeliefs?), or choices in life. It is neither an apologetic for my spirituality nor an attempt at evangelism. I’m writing to explain why atheism has proven problematic for me, nothing more, nothing less. Take it or leave it.
Finally, this post has been edited multiple times as my discussions with saner, less ideological atheist tweeples and further reading have informed my thinking.
For several reasons atheism for me is not, as William James put it, “a living option“:
- I can’t with integrity subscribe to a professed rational philosophy that is based on a self-refuting principle, i.e. the Verification Principle.
- I have never believed religion and science are enemies or even incompatible. Even as a child, I saw their easy compatibility and complementary natures. Militant atheists aren’t going to fare any better than strongly opinionated believers/science deniers.
- I strive for consistency in my beliefs. Being an atheist would require I subscribe to moral nihilism: the logical result of “facing up to reality” or “growing up” to face of an indifferent universe devoid of meaning. I can’t abide by that because it produces evil.
- Finally, atheism is unable to give me meaning in life. Science and reason alone are painfully inadequate for assessing the important things in life and of being human: Love, Justice, Wisdom, Knowledge, and Truth. Avoiding error at all costs just isn’t worth that sacrifice.
If you care for an explanation, please, read on.
Jon Meachem in the NY Times breaks it down:
Then, significantly, MacCulloch adds, “I live with the puzzle of wondering how something so apparently crazy can be so captivating to millions of other members of my species.” That puzzle confronts anyone who approaches Christianity with a measure of detachment. The faith, MacCulloch notes, is “a perpetual argument about meaning and reality.”
This is not a widely popular view, for it transforms the “Jesus loves me! This I know / For the Bible tells me so” ethos of Sunday schools and vacation Bible camps into something more complicated and challenging: what was magical is now mysterious. Magic means there is a spell, a formula, to work wonders. Mystery means there is no spell, no formula — only shadow and impenetrability and hope that one day, to borrow a phrase T. S. Eliot borrowed from Julian of Norwich, all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.
via Book Review – Christianity – The First Three Thousand Years – By Diarmaid MacCulloch – Review – NYTimes.com.
And that’s why fundamentalism, which tries to put God in a box, is problematic from the get go for me.