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Author Topic:   Charismatic Chaos
Otto Tellick
Member (Idle past 1266 days)
Posts: 288
From: PA, USA
Joined: 02-17-2008

Message 47 of 531 (514358)
07-06-2009 9:02 PM
Reply to: Message 46 by Phat
07-06-2009 4:15 PM

Re: Crooks & Liars
John Shelby Spong writes:

There are then two choices. One says that the God in whom I always believed is no more, so I will become an atheist. People make this decision daily. It is an easy way out.

The other says that the way I have always thought of God has become inoperative, so there must be something wrong with my definition. This stance serves to plunge us deeply into a new way of thinking about God...

What I find astonishing about this is the notion that a believer can change beliefs -- even change the very conception of what God is -- in response to (on the basis of) real-world experience and evidence. Prayer really isn't working for you? Well, you should conclude that you have the wrong idea of what prayer is all about, and/or who/what you are praying to, and change your ideas...

What a concept!

The part that strikes me as a cheap shot is describing atheism as "an easy way out", using this phrase in what seems intended as a pejorative sense. I suppose it could be granted that adopting atheism (or at least highly skeptical agnosticism) is easier in some regards than trying to adopt some different form of religious faith. But I don't see anything pejorative about this -- adopting some other form of religious faith means trying to apply some other belief system in the absence (or in spite) of evidence, and that might be just as hard as it was with the ones you just left behind (i.e. impossible).

It seems to me that once you've made the decision that evidence and reality matter, and that you are willing to abandon certain religious beliefs because they are totally unsupported by observation, there's every good reason to keep applying that standard of validation, and to maintain your skills for doing a critical, evidence-based assessment of each new concept that comes along.

Edited by Otto Tellick, : No reason given.

autotelic adj. (of an entity or event) having within itself the purpose of its existence or happening.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 46 by Phat, posted 07-06-2009 4:15 PM Phat has not yet responded

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