Thursday, February 7, 2008

On Spiritual Defection

Everyone knows of people who have deserted what once they professed to believe. I myself am one who has done such a thing. The existence of defectors from one side of the science/creation dialectic to the other is well-documented: Some examples of highly esteemed individuals who have accepted christ and christianity after having tried to disprove it are most notably C.S. Lewis, Francis Collins and Alistair McGrath. I won’t try to list all the ex-christians who have given up the fantastic claims of the religious, there are too many.I confess I have not read McGrath’s work, The Dawkin’s Delusion, but I have listened to him argue against a fellow rational thinker, Richard Dawkins. I have read Dawkins’ The God Delusion, which is, biasedly-speaking, a fascinating book. I’m not sure if Collins has written anything (he was one of the original geneticists working on decoding the genome, if I’m not mistaken). I have however read Lewis’ works including but not limited to The Chronicles of Narnia. I am currently rereading “Mere Christianity” and I have read “The Joyful Christian”, The Screwtape Letters and others.
Lewis was no doubt a great author and literary giant who argued his points well enough, but made generalizations in doing so. Read Mere Christianity and you’ll see what I mean. I willingly concede his literary prowess, but this in no way diminishes the observed fact of evolution through natural selection. The simple fact that there have been refugees from one camp or the other does nothing to prove or disprove either side, it simply illustrates a rebellion by either side against their own inherited concepts. b. The concept of supposition from above undermines the argument christians make that they are looking for the truth and have found it in Jesus. They look for things they've already read, in a book that contains the answers they already believe. They find only what they’ve already decided to see. You cannot be looking for something if you already believe you've found it.
The same cannot be said of scientists. They have no book, readymade with answers they hope to hear. In order to get an answer they have to and do ask questions constantly, even of things they might have thought they already understood. The very idea of science is to study and to question.
Religion demands the opposite, do not question, have faith. To only make a point, children look for nothing. They only see things as they are. To say that any child has ever honestly asked jesus to “live in their hearts” is to turn them into play dolls. A child is in no way capable of deciding to do anything of the sort that the previous statement suggests. There is no such thing as a christian child, just as there is no such thing as a capitalist child or fundamentalist child to paraphrase Richard Dawkins. There are only children. Only adults can look for such things.
I submit that those who have “found god” have done so at times of trouble in their life, not during times of bliss. You don’t hear the testimony of someone “coming to jesus” because they were having such an easy time in life. Even celebrities such as Kirk Cameron from “Growing Pains” who admittedly was quite comfortable with his wordly possesions but felt he was missing something, come to religion, or christ in his case, from some point of dissatisfaction. Again, I’d like to hear of someone coming to god who wasn’t going through some difficulty in their life, it would at least make the idea more respectable. Christianity is a poor source of meaning for the preciousness of life that we humans have. Our lives can and do have all possible meaning if we recognize that there is no need to pay alms to a ghost of our fear-laden, overactive imaginations.c. As an assay,C.S. Lewis said something I find interesting in Mere Christianity. He said “ either jesus was a lunatic, or he was the son of god. “ I completely agree with this statement. I have seen no proof, or evidence of his divinity, although I was raised to unquestioningly believe in it. I have since read and thought of a great deal of evidence against it. I think it’s clear he was a egomaniacal, adolescent, totalitarian madman who most certainly believed himself to be divine and who had a few good things to say along with a host of more subtle and vastly more influential bad things.

Update: I have since read Mcgrath's Dawkins' Delusion. I found it to be well-written, but ironic in it's analysis of the God Delusion. Mcgrath spends his time belittling Dawkins' blunt stance on the backwardness of religion, as opposed to spending his time defying the philosophical points Dawkins relays in his own book. I thought Mcgrath's book should have actually disproven something from Dawkins' book, but Mcgrath purposefully states that while it is possible to do so, he chose not to. Why not? If it can be done, and Dawkins represents the antithesis of what you as a human believe why not write a book that actually does dispel what Dawkins says (especially when you take time in your book to say it can be done). This is a good example of how a person can sound intelligent and think semi-intelligently, yet still, spiritually speaking, behave as, at best, an adolescent and at worst, an infant.

1 comment:

GardenScrapper said...

I also think that the "good" things that Jesus said were not new; others before him had thought and expounded on the same morals. (Not to mention he often quoted previous scriptures - or whatever they were called back then).