This is a blog to discuss philosophy, chess, politics,
C. S. Lewis, or whatever it is that I'm in the mood to discuss.
Its okay not to be Christian. The Universe is a weird place, its hard to figure out exactly what is going on!I do think that B.E.'s biography illustrates how fundamentalism and atheism are related. It looks like once he saw that fundametalism was false, he lost the faith..but of course theism is greater and more powerful than the narrow literalist view.
Bob Prokop writing:Very interesting. So Bart Ehrman seems to lose his faith once he can no longer maintain a literalist take on the Bible. The reason I find this so interesting, is that I find the ambiguities and downright “messiness” of the scriptures to be one of the strongest points in their defense. Maybe this is just me personally, but I could never hold as divinely inspired a book that was too pat, too cut and dried. One good reason why I could never be a Moslem. The Koran is way too “neat” to be genuine. With the Bible, we don’t even have agreement as to how many books should be in it. Catholics and the Orthodox Churches have 73. The Protestants have 66. Then we have debate over which individual verses are spurious. This is great! I consider it evidence of the Bible’s authenticity, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.It also points out, on a very practical level, why fundamentalism and literalism are dangerous doctrines. They are too brittle. Once a crack appears in one’s defenses, the whole edifice is in danger of collapse.
In Bart's books he claims that he deconverted from Christianity due to the problem of evil and gratuitous suffering, not because he realized that fundamentalism was untenable.
It also points out, on a very practical level, why fundamentalism and literalism are dangerous doctrines. They are too brittle. Once a crack appears in one’s defenses, the whole edifice is in danger of collapse.I often quip that fundamentalism produces more atheists than Dawkins could ever hope to.Bob writes: I find the ambiguities and downright “messiness” of the scriptures to be one of the strongest points in their defense.The "messiness" of the bible is probably not a problem for a Catholic whose central authority is the Magisterium of the Church, but this "messiness" is a problem for the Protestant who rejects the authority of the Pope and Rome's Church. The bible is the central authority for most Protestants. Once they realize that it is not what the fundies claim it is, it leaves many of them rudderless; they become either liberal/progressive Christians who place moral intuitions above "scripture", or they go completely skeptical. That is but one of the reasons for my current agnosticism.
Bob Prokop writing:To Walter: alternatively, it might just be an excellent reason to embrace Catholicism!
Walter, why in the world are you blogging at 4:47 AM ???
Walter, why in the world are you blogging at 4:47 AM ???Early to bed, early to rise.It was 6:47 AM local. I like to start my morning with a fresh dose of CS Lewisian apologetics to go with my coffee. :)
This is a weird thread. I find myself in agreement with every point made by every poster so far! Even those that at first glance appear to be in opposition to others! Oh, and for those who don't know me, I was a former atheist turned theist, then turned Christian (at-large) and am now a committed Lutheran (who has thought not infrequently about swimming the Tiber (but then again, some Lutherans still consider themselves catholics!!---small c)).I would like to draw out this one comment though:Walter said: "In Bart's books he claims that he deconverted from Christianity due to the problem of evil and gratuitous suffering"Funny--for me, *the* turning point in my own conversion was my realization that the problem of evil is a real problem, but only for the theist. It isn't a problem for a materialist as there is no such thing as evil if all is nothing but blind matter interacting with other blind matter via the blind and uncaring forces of physics. So, in a twist of irony, when I came to realize that evil was a *real* thing, I began to dismiss strict materialism as an accurate description of reality (which, in my view, is the only other competing theory worth a damn. All others I've encountered are cowardly pretenders). Torturing babies for personal pleasure *really is* wrong, and *really is* evil. Therefore evil exists. Therefore materialism is false. Therefore non-materialism is true. When I realized this, I began to find my way out of the abyss that is agnosticism. Sadly, I need to add this disclaimer---don't read too much into this---there are whole volumes of books, some of which I've read, others I've skimmed, that address the problem of evil, and how it relates to both the theist and atheist. So, onlookers who are looking for a fight, spare me the "that is not an argument" stuff. I know it isn't and it's not my intention to make an argument. Just sharing an anecdote. (For a real argument and treatment on the problem of evil, read a scholarly work. Plantinga would be a good place to start.)
Shackleman,That's very interesting. I seem to recall reading one of Mike Adams's columns on Townhall.com in which he said more or less the same thing: it was when he came face to face with the fact that there really is such a thing as evil -- in his case, human moral evil -- that his atheistic worldview started to crack.
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