Perhaps the primary origin of subjectivism today, at least in America, is the desire to be accepted, to be ‘with it,’ fashionable, avant garde, ‘in the know,’ rather than ‘square,’ ‘hokey’ or ‘out of it.’
We all learned this as children – to be embarrassed is the absolutely primary fear of a teenager – but we put more sophisticated, scholarly disguises on it when we become adults.
- Peter Kreeft
The evidence of God’s existence and His gift is more than compelling, but those who insist that they have no need of Him – or it – will always find ways to discount the offer.
- Blaise Pascal
I don’t like to look stupid. I’ve gotten pretty good at laughing at myself, but any ten-cent psychiatrist will tell you that’s just a defense mechanism. Á la Eminem at the end of “8 Mile,” the easiest way to avoid ridicule is to beat them to the punch. I am also proud, and I like to think that my beliefs and opinions are based on something substantial, not just feelings or hearsay. Accepting things based on “authority” has always been difficult, because in that situation the facts are only as reliable as the source, and how well do we really know anyone, much less their motives? I would willingly label myself a “believer,” but in actuality I have a hard time believing a lot of things.
Confession: I am a skeptic. Continue reading
Posted in Atheism, Behavior/Human Nature, Personal
Tagged apologetics, atheism, christianity, fear, God, insecurity, men, misogyny, pride, skeptic, skepticism
“Not enough evidence, God, not enough evidence.”
- Bertrand Russell, when asked what his response would be if upon his death he was confronted by God demanding to know why he hadn’t believed.
“I didn’t go to religion to make me happy, I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”
– C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock
I would like to ask atheists the following question: “What would it take for you to believe in Christianity?” The answers would be as varied as the people themselves, but they would provide a glimpse into what they feel is not offered by the faith I hold so strongly. Most often, my approach is against the intellectual barriers to belief. However, I know that emotional and moral objections are much more substantial in the final reckoning. If Christianity were just another philosophy, then it would hold little appeal to the hurting, destitute and powerless. And it would only be fair for me to be willing to answer the corresponding question from the opposite side: “What would cause me to abandon my faith?”
You asked for a loving God: you have one…. Not a senile benevolence that drowsily wished you to be happy in your own way, not the cold philanthropy of a conscientious magistrate, not the care of a host who feels responsible for the comfort of his guests, but the consuming fire Himself, the Love that made the worlds, persistent as the artist’s love for his work and despotic as a man’s love for a dog, provident and venerable as a father’s love for a child, jealous, inexorable, exacting as love between the sexes…. It is certainly a burden of glory not only beyond our deserts but also, except in rare moments of grace, beyond our desiring.
- C.S Lewis, The Problem of Pain [emphasis mine]
Which of the religions of the world gives to its followers the greatest happiness? While it lasts, the religion of worshipping oneself is the best.
- C.S Lewis, God in the Dock
In my previous post, I mentioned two main objections to the idea of God that are also reasons that many people hate Him. The first objection was a moral one, in that they find their morals at odds with the Biblical stories of the Judeo-Christian God (where those morals come from is something that they should investigate, as well, but is not the point of this post). The second I claimed was an emotional one: they hate the claim He makes on their lives. I would suggest that an answer to the second objection is directly correlated to the first, in that God acts in the way that He does precisely because He loves us, and wishes that we are perfected through Him. In fact, He acts just like a Father.
It has been said that if you pray for patience, God will give you children. Continue reading
“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sado-masochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”
- Richard Dawkins, “The God Delusion”
“There is one fundamental difference between God allowing death when he has the power to restore life and my taking a life when I don’t have the power to restore it. The story of evil is one part of a greater narrative. To ignore the greater narrative is to continue to raise particulars without accepting the general.”
- Ravi Zacharias, “Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend”
There are a number of reasons that men hate God (even those who claim not to believe in God). However, these reasons typically boil down to one of two actual objections, which are essentially moral and emotional objections:
1) They hate God as they see Him portrayed in religious texts and traditions, or
2) They hate the claim He makes on their lives.
I will focus here on the former, while leaving the latter for another time. I am not doing this because I feel the former is the sturdier argument (quite the contrary, actually), but because it is more likely to serve as an obstacle to consideration of the latter. The more simplistic argument is that made by Dawkins above, and yet it is the most often expressed. I also believe it to be a smokescreen against the greater fear of God claiming ownership of our lives, and that is why it must be dispelled first.
“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde
Our culture is always telling us not only what we can be, but what we should be. Especially in the Western world, we must achieve, we must win, we must succeed. However, we are not all leaders, and we are not all capitalist success stories. We are not all tall and thin, and we are not all poetic and kind. But we are all ourselves, and there is a real genuineness in that.
Now I want to digress momentarily for a story. (Yes, it has a moral. Sorry.) My favorite teacher in high school was not my favorite because he challenged me or taught me things that I could never have learned on my own (although he did both of these things). He was my favorite because he was Cool. He was funny, he had fun, and he let us have fun. Anyone who knew him automatically knew that he was cool. He had a great family, he was smart and kind, and people genuinely liked him. As much as I always liked him, I envied him, as well. If only I could be that well liked. And cool. But then something happened, and some people didn’t think he was as cool any more. Continue reading
“In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at the bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no other good. Nothing but blind, pitiless indifference. DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.” – Richard Dawkins
“… [H]uman beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it. Secondly, that they do not in fact behave in that way. They know the Law of Nature; they break it. These two facts are the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in.” – C.S. Lewis
No really, the light was green...
I vividly remember, many years ago, pulling up to the crosswalk on Duke University’s beautiful Gothic campus on an even more beautiful day. I noticed a woman waiting for her chance to cross, and so I stopped and waved her across. Right as she was in front of my car, the thought raced across my mind for only the briefest second: “What if I just hit the gas right now?” There was a sort of perverse humor in the dichotomy of the idea that I would signify for her to go ahead, and then immediately hit her with my car. As I waited for her to cross, I also remember being horrified that the thought had ever entered my mind, even if it was an obviously impossible act for me to commit. Where had such an idea come from, and what did it mean that I was capable of such a thought, if not necessarily the action it represented? This was only one of a number of times that I have been extremely thankful that my mere thoughts are not exposed for the world to see. Continue reading