Years ago on a bright Tuesday in March I was driving to seminary and I found myself stuck in traffic on I-25. Sitting in a dead stop on the interstate I stared up into the clear blue Colorado sky and thought “What in the world am I doing? I don’t believe a word of this Jesus stuff. I mean, It’s a fairy tale”. But then in the very next moment I thought “except…throughout my life…I have experienced it to be true.” I experience the gospel to be true even when I can’t believe it. And honestly sometimes I believe the gospel even when I don’t experience it. [emphasis mine] And I suggest to you today that this is why we have and even why we need Word and Sacrament. Because see, we are a forgetful people.
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 substance, so I do so here.
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.
- 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.
Evidence is powerful in our society. We live in a postmodern world that nearly practically worships it. We exalt science, where material evidence is the sine qua non, as a major source of truth in our world. It is necessary, more or less, in our American legal justice system to convict a person of a crime. But evidence is not the equivalent of truth. It points to it the truth.
[This post has been updated to reflect how people abuse the idea of “burden of proof” and for clarity.]
Evidence is powerful in our society. We live in a postmodern world that practically worships it. We exalt science, where material evidence is the sine qua non, as a major source of truth in our world. It is necessary, more or less, in our American justice system to convict a person of a crime. But evidence is not the equivalent of truth. It points to truth.
A friend asked me if I believed in the resurrection. I’ve been uncomfortable with saying “Yes” because I’m skeptical of the somewhat weak explanations I’ve heard. I’m also uncomfortable with saying “No” because I’ve always believed in my heart of hearts that there is something to it. In other words, I believe in the Resurrection but have not the words to describe it in a way that I feel is honest. Continue reading “Back to Life”