Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Logic’

1. I only like things that are awesome.
2. Beer is awesome.
3. I have no interest in a god that is not awesome.
4. Forbidding things that are awesome is not awesome.
5. Therefore no awesome god would forbid beer.
6. Therefore, a god that forbids beer is a god that is not worth bothering with.

Read Full Post »

Within the limits of possible knowledge, epistemologically speaking, I am as certain as a person could reasonably be that Mormonism is not True. Assuming, arguendo, the truth of Christianity, I believe that Mormonism’s claims to truth cannot possibly be true because of fatal flaws in the fundamental Mormon teachings about the Great Apostasy and the Restoration. As the new “discussions” reflect, Apostasy and Restoration are Mormonism’s lynchpins: without a Great Apostasy there was no need for a Restoration, and without a Restoration, Mormonism’s self-justifying truth claims fall apart.

For the Apostasy-Restoration to have happened, the following must be true:

1. Priesthood authority must indeed work the way the Mormon Church claims it does. This actually means that, in fact, the concept of priesthood authority is actually the most fundamental Mormon doctrine, because Apostasy-Restoration presupposes the existence of a priesthood authority that functions the way Mormonism teaches. The thing is, there is almost no evidence from the apostolic era or before (i.e., from the Bible or other contemporary sources) that priesthood authority–if it exists at all–works like that. Mormon scriptures do not count, because for them to be acceptable, Mormonism must be true which means that priesthood must work the way Mormonism says it does (which is what we’re trying to decide in the first place). That is, unless Mormon scripture was somehow independently verifiable, which it most certainly is not.

2. Said priesthood must have been lost in the manner that Mormonism claims. This requires us to believe a claim of Mormonism at face value, which we have no reason to do unless we first accept that Mormonism’s concept of priesthood authority is true and that the Apostasy-Restoration actually happened. Again, if we could verify this loss of priesthood independently, Mormonism would be more credible. But we can’t. Change in doctrine does not evidence loss of priesthood authority, because that requires us to first accept a Mormon understanding of how priesthood works. Ditto for basically every other Mormon evidence of the loss of priesthood leading to the great apostasy. The Bible verses appealed to by Mormonism do not really help, either: taken alone, without presupposing Mormon priesthood authority, and Apostasy-Restoration, they do not by any means necessarily mean what Mormonism says they mean. The fact that the idea of a Great Apostasy was common in the 19th century is also not dispositive. Nobody thinks that anymore. A vague semi-consensus among some–but by no means all–Protestant Christians in the 1800s that something like the Great Apostasy had happened cannot possibly be credible evidence now that it actually did happen. Furthermore, Mormon claims about the loss of priesthood–and what would have had to have happened for such a loss to occur–are facially implausible. Even if we do accept Mormon ideas about priesthood authority and how it works, the likelihood that it would be lost while Christianity would survive is completely unbelievable. I wrote a post awhile back explaining exactly why. I think it is well worth the read.

So we have no reason to believe that priesthood works the way Mormonism says it does or that a Great Apostasy happened, except for circular logic that requires us to first assume the truth of Mormonism. That means Mormonism’s claims are simply not credible unless we believe Mormonism’s claims of authority based on nothing but… Mormonism’s claims to authority. Even the official Way To Truth (read, pray, feel-the-spirit-confirming-the-truth-and-banishing-all-doubt-and/or-contrary-evidence, rinse, repeat ad nauseum) requires us to begin by assuming that Mormonism is right regarding how you find out what is true. Unless you independently think that the Mormon Way To Truth is the right way to truth, or even one of several reliable ways, we have no reason to trust Mormonism when it tells us the way to truth, since it does it based on its own authority, which is what we’re trying to verify in the first place. This is textbook circular reasoning.

As far as independently thinking–i.e. based on something other than Mormonism’s teachings–that the Mormon Way To Truth is in fact the right way, I have a lot to say about that. But for the moment I will merely point out that no other religion or religious leader teaches it. If it was independently verifiable or somehow self-evident, the chances are pretty good that someone would actually have come up with it on their own (and then if Mormonism was really true, it would have to lead them to Mormonism). Good luck trying to argue that this in fact happens.

Read Full Post »

Like I said in my last post, I’m extremely hesitant to just come out and say that I flat-out don’t believe in God in the typical atheist sense.  This isn’t hedging my bet; I absolutely don’t believe in hell, I’m skeptical about an afterlife anyway (and even if there is one, I doubt very strongly that the particulars can be known), and a quick scan of the state of the world tells me that it doesn’t look like people who believe in God are getting all the breaks.  Part of it is an agnostic approach to epistemology: I don’t see how humans can know anything for sure at all.  All our sensory input is filtered through the double-filter of sensation and perception, and there’s no particular reason to trust that either one of those filters feeds us objective data.  We can’t really be sure that we’re not in The Matrix, so we certainly can’t be sure of something as attenuated from our direct empirical experience as the existence or nonexistence of God.

As far as we know, there is a God who is simply cleverly making the universe look to us like there is no God (I call this “Fossil-Hiding God”).  How would we know?  If an omnipotent or even mostly-potent supernatural being with more or less total control over the universe wanted to cover his tracks completely, I imagine he could do it pretty well.  Either way, like I said in my last post, I’m not actually convinced by the logical arguments of atheists for the nonexistence of God.  Despite all out efforts to reason him out of existence, I think it possible that he nevertheless exists–C. S. Lewis’s fantastic novel, Till We Have Faces, had a proufound the way I thought about the existence of deity and made me extremely reluctant to flat-out deny that the divine exists, even if it is totally unlike the traditional Judeo-Christian conetption of Yahweh.

So in terms of the existence versus nonexistence of God, I’m really more of an agnostic with a theoretically rebuttable presumption God’s nonexistence, at least inasmuch as we’re talking about God as a distinct transcendant supernatural personal entity, with or without a flowing white beard.

That’s not the end of the story, though.  the word “God” can be stretched to fit an amazing diversity of theistic and quasi-theistic concepts, many of which aren’t anything at all like the traditional Judeo-Christian conception of the supreme being, and it turns out that I actually do believe in something that if pressed, I could call God (although I would be reluctant to do so because the label “God” would confuse most people by implying that there’s a beard in there somewhere).  I think it’s worth explaining what I mean by all of this, especially since I’m actually trying to get to a point eventually, but I’m not going to make this post more confusing than it already is.  So hold your horses a bit and wait for the next post.

Read Full Post »

The simple answer is that I just don’t.  While I don’t have a conceptual problem with God’s theoretical existence–I’m not actually convinced by the formal logical arguments of atheists because I’m not actually usually convinced by formal logic at all–I simply have a hard time believeing that a being matching the description of most theists exists.

I will grant that it doesn’t look to me like God is necessary.  We don’t need God to explain the phenomena of the natural world.  no, scientists haven’t figured everything out yet, but they have figured out a surprising amount and there’s no particular reason to assume that there’s any area where they won’t be able to make any headway at all.  At least, to our knowledge there’s not a big off-limits gap in scientific understanding that seems to be marked off by God as his and his alone.  So there’s no need for a “God of the gaps.”

I also don’t think that the existence of God is necessary to make sense of human existence.  Perhaps we need to believe in a God to make sense of our lives, but that doesn’t mean that such a deity in fact exists.  I’m not sos sure that the nonexistence of God necessarily implies a cold and unjust universe, but if it does, then so be it.  If the universe is cold and unjust then it is cold and unjust–the fact that it makes me uncomfortable does not imply the existence of an all-powerful supernatural being who can and will fix everything.

Certainly I do not believe in a personal God.  If something exists in the universe (or as the universe) that we could stretch the term “god” to fit around, and it certainly might, I’m skeptical that it would be a personal entity capable of (or likely to) interact with us on our level.  While I find the idea of a personal god appealing, I’m not going to believe it just because I want to, and it doesn;t resonate with me well enough for me to plunge into the idea without a better reason.  I think that at least some of the burden of proof is on God to reveal himself, especially if he is a personal God and especially if we make an effort to connect with him from our side.  I have never had an experience that would lead me to believe (or even really to infer) that God is personal.  God has never spoken to me, and “spoken to me through his Holy Book/Holy Prophet(s)/Only Begotten Son” absolutely doesn’t cut it.  That is a woefully insufficient copout.  If there’s a personal God, he should be able to talk to me personally.  He hasn’t and he doesn’t, so I have no reason to believe in him except for the testimony of others.

What of the testimony of others?  I realize that plenty of people claim to have had mystical experiences with a personal God.  I know some atheists would just label them crazy, but I’m not comfortable with that.  I’m inclined to think that there is something to these mystical experiences that people have been claiming to have since the dawn of time when the first shaman went on a vision quest, but I am also not inclined to believe that they are reliable evidence for a personal God.  There are too many alternate plausible explanations, even validating the mystical experiences.  Such experiences could be, for example, communication with or journey into the human psyche, clad in metaphor and symbol.  They could even be some kind of state of oneness with the external universe but one that has to me re-interpreted by human consciousness to make sense of it.  In other words, the mystics have touched something too big to be comprehended so their minds put a face and a personality on it so their heads don’t explode.  At the very least the diversity of recorded mystical experience would seem to undermine the likelihood of us being able to take them at face value (as contact with a personal God), especially since as I understand it, people tend to have mystical experiences that are more or less consistent with or at least complimentary to their native religious tradition.  If Jesus is talking to Christian mystics, Allah is talking to the Sufis, and Apollo is talking to the Neopagans, then we have a bit of a problem.  at least, none of their experiences tells us much about objective reality.

If I had a personal experience with a personal God, I might be willing to change my tune.  I realize that such a mystical experience would be intensely subjective and wouldn’t actually tell me any more about the objective universe than the mystical experiences of Joseph Smith or Joan of Arc, but at least I’d be willing to subjectively believe in a personal God.  Of course I would have to retain the reservation that it was extremely likely that the God I was experiencing was merely an aspect of my own psyche, or a face my own brain had imposed on an immense and unknowable transcendant reality.  But in any case, such a mystical experience of a personal God has never happened to me.  Even in twenty-eight years as an active, believing Mormon, the best I got as answers to my prayers were vague feelings and impressions, things that were far more likely to have come from inside my head than from outside it.

I’ve spent a good portion of this last year yearning for contact with God, but it hasn’t happened.  At least, not in a way that satisfies me.  It has come to the point where I don’t think God’s going to give me a call, so I’m not really waiting for it or expecting it anymore.  So while I’m not denying the existence of God, I can’t say that I actively believe in one.  You can only let the telephone ring for so long before you’ve got to eventually conclude that nobody’s going to pick it up.

Read Full Post »

I’m a little bit angry with a particular aspect of Mormonism today. Mostly, I find myself just caring less about the Mormon Church all the time, but when something directly affects me or my relationships, it’s hard to just grin and bear it.  even if it means coming out of blogging semi-retirement.

Mormonism teaches that if you pray to ask with a sincere heart, that God will tell you that the Church is True. It’s a guarantee- you do x and God will do y. That seems innocuous enough, until you apply it to the real world, to real people, and discover that actually plenty of people have prayed about the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and Mormonism in general, and have not gotten a satisfactory answer. This is difficult to reconcile. God has supposedly made a promise, right? So either God breaks his promises, or the people who aren’t getting an answer are the problem. And Mormonism teaches that God is a God of truth and cannot lie. Therefore, people like me must be lying. It’s the only logical conclusion- or something like it. Either we’re being dishonest with ourselves, we’re blinded by our pride, we’re too far in sin or too caught up in the world to recognize the Spirit, or something like that. But any way you want to fold it, the result is offensive and insulting. This line of logic means that everyone who doesn’t join (or stay in) the Church is either lying or has allowed themselves to be in the bondage of Satan.

There are two ways out of this for Mormons. One is the fairly common idea that God answers prayers in his own time, and you’ve just got to have faith. That is total crap. Why should I have faith that God is eventually going to give me a satisfactory answer? How long do I wait? Forever? Why? Why would I do that? There’s a point where it just becomes more likely that the reason why God’s not telling you Mormonism is true is because it isn’t. If I don;t know the Church is true, what possible reason would I have to keep asking and persevering for my entire life until I find out that it is? If I want it that bad, I’ll wind up manufacturing it myself.

Plus, by that same logic, I should be just as persevering with any other Church or religion, if my only assurance is the testimony of others. What makes the people testifying the truth of Mormonism any more trustworthy or reliable than the people testifying the truth of Catholicism, Islam, Quakerism, or Atheism?

Furthermore, what good is a promise that will for all intents and purposes never be fulfilled, or fulfilled in a way that is completely unlike what you expect or is completely unlike what the plain meaning of the promise is, the reasonable interpretation of the promise. If God does that, then he’s wiggling out of his promises on technicalities, and that isn’t really being a God of Truth. Promising something that reasonably sounds like x when you really mean y isn’t honest, even if y is technically one possible interpretation of the promise. That’s not honesty and Truth, that’s deception, which is the opposite.

There’s one other way Mormons can escape the insulting reconciliation that forces them to brand everyone else a liar, and that is the ability to live with paradox. This is the best way, the most productive way- reconciling God’s promises with people who don’t get answers to their prayers by not reconciling it at all. By chalking it up to something they just don’t understand. This allows the Mormon to be a believer without assigning dishonest or evil motives to everyone else. It allows the believer to take people like me at face value, to not have to assume that I have a hidden motive or agenda when I say I just don’t believe the Church is true and I just don’t believe that the Holy Ghost has told me it is.

Unfortunately, not everyone can do this. Living with paradox means maintaining a kind of cognitive dissonance, and cognitive dissonance makes people uncomfortable.

So instead of just accepting the paradox, most Mormons reconcile a (God’s promises) and b (people who don’t get answers) by assigning ulterior motives, by questioning peoples’ integrity, and by assuming that there’s some hidden but grievous sin. In short, reconciling Mormon doctrine with reality requires Mormons to pass exactly the kind judgment that Christ commanded us not to pass.

Read Full Post »

One of the funny things about this blog, wherein I document my spiritual journey to some kind of truth or meaning or whatever, is that whichever twist or turn I take, there’s always a chorus of cheerleaders telling me I’m doing the right thing. That’s why when my journey then takes me away from whatever detour it had me wandering through, I’m often reluctant to say so, in fear of disappointing the people who were excited that I stopped by.

I first noticed this with paganism. When I was looking into neopaganism and druidry, I attracted many neopagans and druids who were excited by the path my journey was leading me down. When it then led me back away from paganism, they mostly kind of faded into the woodwork (with some exceptions- I’ve picked up some good friends along the way). And I was sad to say that I didn’t think paganism or druidry was going to be where I ended up, because I knew those people would be let down in a sense. On the other hand, pagans tend to be really nice, nonjudgmental people, and as long as I’m not making fun of them or damning them to Hel, I’m pretty sure they’ve still got my back.

However, this dilemma was much more acute with atheism. When I ultimately spiralled into nonbelief, I was greeted with accolades and cheers from some of the internet’s atheists, for finally freeing myself from the shackles of atheism and being a mature human being who didn’t need deities as crutches anymore. When I decided that atheism wasn’t going to really work for me, I was reluctant to say so. For starters, accolades are nice. And the opposite of accolades is scorn, and I didn’t really want that.

Of course, I wasn’t really going to let how other people decide how I believe or don’t believe, but there was a minute where I was at least a little bit cagey about saying anything. I was getting so much support for declaring my atheism, and when I recanted, that support would probably vanish.

I say all of that by way of introduction tot his post. My goal hereis to explain why I stopped believing in God and why I started again. This might be a long post, so hang on to your hats.

When I first started seriously questioning the Mormon church last summer, my initial criticisms were centered around my feeling that Mormonism wasn’t Christian enough- Mormonism and Mormon scripture didn’t track closely enough with what I thought Christianity was all about (based on the New Testament, Church history, and the true Christians that I had come across over time). I felt like Mormonism was not leading me closer to Christ, but actually keeping me away from Him. Thus, in leaving Mormonism, my initial question was “what kind of Christian should I be?”

When I started this blog, my wife and I had only recently decided to actually leave Mormonism behind us, after struggling with it for some six months. I had also just read Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz, and I felt like becoming a Christian was something I wanted to do, but I wasn’t sure how to go about doing it. For some reason I didn’t feel like I already was a Christian, like I was already really committed to Jesus.

The problem was that my reasons for believing in Jesus, and in fact my reasons for believing in God at all, were basically the same reasons I believed in Mormonism. That is, I had simply been raised to assume that they were true, and this assumption was backed up by emotional “spiritual” confirmations. In deciding that those bases were insufficient for continued belief in Mormonism, I also took out the foundation, as flimsy as it may have been, for my entire belief in God. In other words, the same conclusions that made me question my belief in Mormonism made me ultimately question my belief in Jesus Christ and in any kind of God whatesoever.

I was waiting for some kind of mystical experience, some kind of contact with the divine that was the real deal, not the easy “warm fuzzy” self-delusion of Mormonism’s Holy Ghost. I was waiting for God to reach out and shake me, to let me know that he was real, to give me some kind of contact. But it kept not happening.

With that in mind, I began giving a loud voice to my innner skeptic. I started reading Ebon Musings’s essays on atheism, which are honestly extremely compelling and very difficult to dispute. Eventually, I was in a place where I had to admit that I had no real reason to believe in God other than wishful thinking, and if I was to be honest with myself, I would have to admit that I simply did not believe.

It seemed like a destination of sorts. It wasn’t what I was shooting for when I set out towards Byzantium, but maybe the place we intend to be is often a lot less realistic than the place we really wind up. I wasn’t a nihilist or anything; I still had some core beliefs that I was more or less confident in. But I could not say that I affirmatively believed in God.

The thing was, I wasn’t happy. I didn’t really want to be an atheist. I actually like religion! Specifically, I was (and still am) convinced that while an aheist can be a very good and moral person, and that a religious person can be a complete jerkwad, nevertheless for me personally, religion in general and Christianity in specific were going to have a much greater potential to make me the kind of person that I wished I was. I could be a good person and an atheist, that was never in question. But no atheist philosophy was going to actually transform me into a New Man. And Christianity made that promise.

But my problem was that if I was going to believe something, it would have to be more intellectually honest than my beliefs had previously been. No putting doubts on the shelf. No convincing myself until I was convinced. Nothing like that. I wanted to believe, but I didn’t want it so bad that i was willing to delude myself into believing.

So I went about tentatively trying to figure out how I could believe in God despite my loud internal skeptic (but without squashing him and pretending he didn’t exist) and despite the very good and compelling logical arguments against God’s existence, and the generally weak and limp logical arguments for God’s existence.

I read some Kierkegaard. I thought about how God and logic would interact, if there was a God. I thought about doubt, and whether there was a place for it within faith. I read Brian McLaren’s Finding Faith. I thought about hope.

In the end, I made a place where I thought I could theoreticaly believe in God. I had room for God in my framework again. However, having room for God, i.e., acknowledging the possibility of God, doesn’t equal belief in God. If, at that point, I had simply declared myself a believer, I would have been guilty of doing the very thing I was most loathe to do: talking myself into believing. Instead, I let it simmer for awhile.

At the same time, I started thinking seriously about Jesus Christ, and I found him extremely compelling. Christianity still kind of gave me the heebie jeebies, so I was still reluctant to even express interest in the religion. But the man? The more I thought about Jesus, the more I felt like there was something to him. Something more. I wasn’t really sure what it was, but I knew I liked it, and maybe I even needed it.

I then let this stew for a bit. The more I thought about God, the more I thought that maybe God exists after all, despite my efforts to logic him out of existence. And the more I thought about Jesus, the more he seemed electrifying, powerful, important. Much more so than a simple wise moral philosopher, however great he may have been.

When I read C. S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces, I finished the book and realized that after reading it, there was no way I could ever say that I do not believe in God. I can’t explain it very well, because the book touched me on an extremely personal, maybe even primal level. But it completely evaporated all of my defenses. It didn’t resolve my concerns or wipe away all of my doubts or anything, but it spoke loud and clear to me: nevertheless, there is a God. It was a life-changing experience that I can’t do justice in writing or even in speaking- it was so strange and powerful that I have a hard time articulating exactly what it was about the book that changed my whole way of looking at God.

Once I had made room for the possibility of God, Till We Have Faces showed me that God was a sure thing.  All of my anger, my logic, my insecurity, my waffling, and my careful arguments are made completely insignificant when faced with God’s existence.

In any case, that’s where I am now. I am sure that there is a God, and I suspect that Jesus might actually have been God. I’ve not got a lot more than that. I suppose it’s a start. I can’t really be the poster child for honest atheism anymore, but I probably never should have been. I’m not at my destination yet- in fact I don’t know if I’ll ever really “have arrived”- but I like where I’m sailing right now, and I’m interested and excited to see what’s ahead.

Read Full Post »

I think I may have provisionally decided to be a Christian.  It boils down to this: I don’t prefer any of the other choices.  I’m certainly not going to choose a different religion over Christianity.  I’m also not satisfied with being nonreligious, irreligious, or just throwing up my hands and saying “I don’t know!”  I don’t want to be an atheist, so I don’t have to be one.

This realization might not be an entirely logical one, but I am not Mister Spock.  I am simply not governed entirely by logic, and I am not willing to govern myself entirely by logic, because I am not happy, satisfied, or fulfilled by so doing.  Nor do I believe that anyone is driven entirely by logic and reason.  I’m not saying that logic and reason are unimportant or irrelevant, just that they’re not the only factor that comes into the calculus.

Given all of that, the simple fact is that I like Christianity best.  Given the choice, I pick Jesus.  I am comfortable with Christianity, I find it culturally relevant, and I find it good.  Christianity is the standard by which I judge other religions… and so I shouldn’t be surprised when I pick Christianity.  At least I’m recognizing that the game was rigged from the start and acknowledging the answer I was ultimately going to come to anyway.

It’s like Wolverine, you see.  Of all Marvel superheroes, I like Wolvering best.  Whenever I play a Marvel Universe RPG, or HeroClix, or X-Men Legends on my GameCube, I pretty much always play Wolverine.  If I don’t, I’m sad because I’m playing the wrong character.  I like all of the other superheroes, too, but I’ve liked Wolverine the best since I was eleven years old.  I’m always going to like Wolverine best, and admitting that was a big step for me.  I know that he’s kind of a caricature, and he’s in every Marvel comic now, even Avengers, and it borders on ridiculous, and everyone likes Wolverine so it’s not cool to like Wolverine, but all of that doesn’t seem to matter much.  The fact is, picking a different superhero to play means not-picking Wolverine, and that’s not going to happen.

Christianity’s like that.  Other religions, belief systems, etc. are fine and good, and there’s a lot of genuine truth out there that’s worth finding, studying, and grabbing hold of (and not just paying lip service to, “truth everywhere, blah blah”).  But I’m not going to not-pick Christianity, so the sooner I face that and get on with things, the better.

Read Full Post »

I recently read Finding Faith by Brian McLaren.  It’s worth reading, though now it’s being published as two separate books under different names.

The thing is, I don’t know that I really want to be an atheist.  Kind of.  I’m torn in quite a few directions.  The reason why I would be an atheist is not because I’ve been logically convinced of the nonexistence of God.  Logic is great and useful and everything, but to me it isn’t the be-all end-all of existence.  I’m not uncomfortable with being nonlogical or even a bit illogical.  Logical arguments aren’t really going to convince me one way or the other.  I don’t really make any other decision in my life based on pure logic, so why should I decide what to believe (or not to believe) based on pure logic.

I’m not a mathematician, a philosopher, or a scientist anyway, so the sad fact is that other peoples’ logical arguments are likely to dazzle me a bit because I’m not trained to shoot them down.  That’s not to say I reject logic entirely- I even think I’m pretty good with it and I’m actually fairly consistent about being able to see holes and hidden assumptions in other peoples’ logical arguments.  But I’m not an expert, and I don’t claim to be, and I’m not confident enough in my command of logic to want to base really anything on it.  Especially something of this level of importance.

That’s not a new revelation or anything; it’s why I’ve not been totally convinced by anybody’s logic in the past, and I’m unlikely to be convinced by it in the future.

So, with reluctance to let my provisional atheism soldifiy into something more permanent, I’ve been trying to figure out what I can believe, what I want to believe, and what I do believe, in a way that is honest with and true to myself.  McLaren’s book was useful.  It’s not a recipe for instant monotheistic belief- I could probably refute many if not most of the points he tries to make.  The usefulness of the book lies more in McLaren’s honesty and authenticity.  He’s aclearly a guy who’s been spending his whole life trying to figure out life, the universe, and everything, and Finding Faith is basically just a structured set of observations that he thinks might be helpful to someone else on the same journey.  Even when he actively tries to persuade, he admits it up front, and he’s transparent about it, which is refreshing.

I don’t know that Finding Faith was my spiritual panacea.  I didn’t walk away from it suddenly believing in God.  But it did get me to start thinking about important things in some new ways, and it may have helped me get to a place where I think I can start believing again.

Also I had the chance to talk to McLaren at church on Saunday and thank him for the book, and to briefly tell him how it had been helpful to me.  He’s a really nice guy, and he’s speaking at church nexty Sunday, which I am eagerly anticipating.

Read Full Post »

I wonder if God may exist after all, despite our best efforts to logically prove he doesn’t.

I’ve been tossing around this idea. Science can’t really prove or disprove God, right? Science rests on certain assumptions, and at the very least in order to come within the realm of science, something has to be falsifiable. An omnipotent God isn’t falsifiable, so science is simply ill-equipped to deal with the question of God. That’s not to say that science should therefore asssume God’s existence. Actually, it means that science should continue on, assuming God’s non-existence, because science competely breaks down if you start throwing in ascientific variables like “God.”

But who’s to say that you can prove or disprove God with logic, either? I mean, logic seems to be a great thing, but there’s no way to logically prove the rules of logic themselves- they are assumptions. Sure they seem to work on just about everything we have encountered, but if God is transcendent then could he not also transcend things like logic? Even science tells us that there can be places (even theoretical ones) where rules like cause and effect can totally break down (singularities, etc.). Perhaps God simply is not subject to logic. God may very well be a kind of divine paradox. In fact, theological precedent already supports that idea what with mystery (the trinity for example) and all.

Setting aside the ramifications of such a God, I can at least accept the possibility that such a God may exist. This also squares with what little I know about Kierkegaard and his view of religion as inherently absurd, but not in a perjorative way.

I’ve thought about the possibility of a paradoxical God before, but the thoguht sort of coalesced better after I read a very good article about why religion is valuable even if you are an atheist.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: