Saturday, June 16, 2007

An Addendum to "The Death of God, Pt. II"

I would like first to make a minor addendum to Part II of "The Death of God" posts.

I rather doubt that there was ever any Christian who ever embodied one or the other of the idealized strains of Christianity that I discussed in that blog entry.

It is essential to note that the particular conception of God which would reconcile those two strains of religious feeling is neither believable nor workable.

It was once believed that once one began asking questions, the answers one found would lead to a knowledge of God and at least of the need for salvation. Once theologians began posing ever more difficult objections to theological doctrines, it was only a matter of time before some clever fellow posed objections to theological doctrine that could not be overcome by unaided human reason.

Consequently, these two strains of Christianity are no longer reconcilable. The strain of Christianity that worshiped God as Reason and Rationality gave up on its Creator-God. As perverse as it might sound to some ears, a good deal of atheism has its roots in religion. One, and by no means the only, example is what I have termed not without irony elsewhere in this blog an "honest Christian." An honest Christian quickly finds that he is too honest to remain a Christian. However, his faith in the value of honesty, reason, and rationality, remain largely unshaken.

Such a one still values truth more highly than error and deception. In that regard someone who is too honest to remain a Christian shares a great deal of common ground with his Christian nemeses: they both place a great value on truth and both claim to despise self-deception. The significant difference between the two lies in differences of belief as to the content of that Truth and as to what constitutes self-deception.

A hard question for atheists, myself included: why should questions of truth and self-deception be so very important? Why does honesty matter? These questions by no means lead automatically to the conclusion: "Therefore, I should lie."

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