Saturday, December 25, 2004

MERRY CHRISTMAS

As this is my first post, a bit of explanation might be in order. This blog is dedicated to the question 'Is God a myth?' The author of this present post is convinced that we can rationally answer this question and that there is a compelling case for answering this question negatively. There is no God. God is a myth.

At 8 my parents broke my heart by telling me that there wasn't really any such thing as Santa Claus but they never bothered to tell me that there wasn't a God either. That I had to figure out on my own. I was sceptical from an early age. It was around that age when my mother and I began to read through Edith Hamilton's Mythology. No, she told me, there wasn't really a Zeus or a Hera, there were just a lot of people who thought there were. It struck me then that the situation of those around me were just like the situation of the Greeks. If they had gotten it wrong, why was my mother and all of the other adults I new so confident that they had gotten things right? Did they know something I didn't? Photographs of Jesus performing miracles perhaps? Really they had nothing better to go on than the ancient Greeks did, I knew that even as a child, and as a consequence, religious belief never stuck.

I used to assume that everyone had undergone this sort of questioning. It wasn't as if I was that bright as a child. What I've found is that this problem, though completely intelligible to most children of average intelligence, has been given little attention by most educated people. I'm not saying that these people are unintelligent. Their religious beliefs, like their beliefs about aspirin, umbrellas, and mutual funds was based on testimony they had received from others. They punted and tried to abdicate intellectual responsibility. It only takes a little effort to show that theological belief is special. We can't begin to imagine what it would be like to verify that some religious belief of ours is correct and this difference is perhaps partially responsible for the fact that when pushed, they will say that they are entitled to hold their religious beliefs because of faith. I've not met anyone who is willing to base judgments about the structural integrity of bridges on such inner convictions, but for some reason that is beyond all of us, religious belief is supposed to be special. I doubt that it is.

What I hope to have here is dialogue. What I'll offer are considerations. For the most part what I've seen in church services is a command to the effect 'Believe this'. That isn't my style. I offer things for your consideration. The reader can take them or leave them. There are times when I very much do wish to tell people that God is a myth and grow up, but I'll resist the temptation. There are very smart people who believe that there is a God but I'll try to convince you that there best intellectual work isn't what led them to this conclusion.

For the most part, I shall be engaged in exposing where arguments for the existence of a God go wrong and presenting my own case against the existence of a God. I'll also comment occassionally on the ways in which religious faith and conviction is being used to forward terrible causes in this country. I'm not blind to the fact that organized religion has some positive effect on society, but I'm not so impressed by this fact that I think we should assume that its overall positive effect is still positive. I think the reader should be open to the possibility that organized religion is no longer useful and that it is an impediment to progress.

1 Comments:

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April 29, 2006 at 10:59 AM  

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