I'm not religious, nor am I an atheist (and certainly not an anti-theist), I'm just another agnostic* muddling through and pretty confident that I'll never find an answer that convinces me one way or another of the existence of god
Yet I'm about to offer a defence of Christianity here. Not in the attempt to try and win any of you out there in blog reader land round to this particular religion, but as a way of explaining in part why I'm not convinced by atheist arguments that organised religion is all hogwash.
My thinking on this has been informed by discussions with a very smart (religious) Jewish friend of mine and another friend who is atheist (or maybe agnostic) but the son of devout liberal Christians.
I'll offer my defence as a dialogue, which won't be elegant but it will be easy - which is good as I am tired and my back is starting to hurt.
Atheist: You just have to look at something like the problem of hell to realise that the bible can't in any way literally be true.
Muddling person: Granted, but I can still be a believer in some form of deity, some larger power.
Atheist: Yes, but why call yourself a Christian when as you've just admitted some central parts of that belief system just can't be right.
Muddling person: The reason why I can still call myself a Christian is because I think god is bigger than reason, bigger than comprehension, and I've been raised in a Christian culture - so this is my particular window into the larger entity that is god. I don't believe everything in the bible but I find strength in its messages of love and forgiveness and I find a framework in which to house my belief.
Atheist: hhhhmmmm...ok but if, as you say, we can't understand the mind of god, we certainly can't appeal to him/her/it to when creating rules and laws.
Muddling person: No of course, the belief can only be a personal one.
*Occasionally, on a good day, when everything seems just sparkley in the universe, I do have moments of pantheist belief.
Thursday, February 01, 2007