Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What's So Funny Indeed - Part 2

Two days ago, I wrote about this article in a blog post titled "What's So Funny Indeed", in which I talked about the importace of evidence. The author of the article chose to close with a statement I feel deserves to be adressed. The statement went thus:

There is a common thread to these stories, it seems to me; and others like them. That thread is that the acknowledgment of the God of heaven is considered so sensible that disbelief, doubt, and infidelity are contrasted as practically comical.

It should therefore not surprise anyone that disbelief is labeled by the psalmist as foolish. What is not funny, however, is that foolishness, almost by definition, is quite misleading; and when we choose to engage in it (as regards disbelief in God)--as is our God-given right--we are misled into ironically believing, of all things, that this is actually a sign of intelligent reasoning.

If it weren’t for the immediate consequences of disobedience and the eternal consequences of disbelief, it would all perhaps be funny.

I get this banality a lot from Christian friends and occassional correspondences on the 'net, typically with a quote of Proverbs 14:12:

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
As I interpret it, I think this argument posits that human reasoning is imperfect, therefore it cannot be used to obtain a clear picture of reality, the supernatural and so on. But, I'll ask, if not rationality, then what? Are we supposed to take it all on faith?

Most Christians, when I ask them say that I am required to take what they say by faith. The argument that we are simply supposed to take the bible's teachings by faith is fraught with much peril, though. It teakes for granted that Christianity is the only religion and that the person to whom it is being made is Christian. Well, Christianity is only one among many religions, and each of them requires the same of its adherents: faith. There is not a single argument in favour of Christianity that does not apply to or has not found use in any of the other religions in the world, particularly the major religions which virtually have armies of people all working towards making their religion more palatable to others.

When I point out the similarity of Christianity with other religions, people tend try to persuade me to return to the religion I was born into. Return to the truth you were raised in, they say. This seems like a very good argument to most, who tend to have no knowledge of any other religion or viewpoint, having been sheltered and nursed exclusively within the faith. These people tend to overlook anther thing: if this argument ought to work with me, won't it work for and similarly apply to members of other religions? How, then, if we are to remain with the belief we were raised in, do they expect to woo others to their own religion? Once again, this is an argument that, if valid, applies equally to all religions.

Our reason may not be perfect, but in the face of all these conflicting religions spouting the same claims it's the best thing we've got. I see no real worth in this argument, save perhaps as something the faithful tell each other to comfort themselves.

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