Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Christian Left part 2

Regulars may remember that I started a series on how I ended up as a member of that slightly obscure group, the Christian Left. Apologies for a lack of an update, events dear readers, events! Anyway, here I am, carrying on. If you are new to this then you may wish to read my first post on this subject before this one where I essentially said that I was a dualist.

So how does this lead to God? While dualism suggests that there is something that doesn't fit with the material world as we understand it I totally accept that this does not lead to the concept of there being a God. Having A does not necessarily lead to B. Hence I have to fully accept that this is the most tenuous area of my thinking and is a clear demonstration of the fact that all religious belief is based on faith. If anyone sits down and tries to convince you of the existence of God through science or logic then they are fooling themselves and, maybe without realising it, fooling themselves as well. But I digress.

Part of it has to be that I can't help myself. No matter how I think about it I keep coming back to the idea of a God. Recent reports suggest that we may have evolved this way, that there is an evolutionary advantage to believing in God, even if there is no God. It's possible that that is true, but if it is true it's hardly surprising that some of us end up believing is it? The big bang doesn't disprove the existence of God (in fact if anything the idea of the universe having a beginning and an end suggests the idea of a deity even more strongly) and neither does evolution, both simply debunk creationism (and I am no creationist by the way). Every time at the back of my mind is always this idea of God.

Part of it, as I suggested before is almost certainly cultural. We are at our most suggestible when we are young, and growing up with a Christian mum and a Theist dad was never the best environment to turn out an atheist!

Part of it must be that I have found a lot of peace and confidence in prayer. Of course that is no proof of the existence of God (and no, I don't believe that there has been any divine intervention in my life either a result of prayer or any other reason, we'll come onto the whole "why pray" thing in another post), but there can be no doubt that the happiness I have found there has reinforced my belief.

All in all taking a step back from things and looking at me from the outside it would be very easy to see a fool that is fooling himself. And maybe you are right, maybe I am, but that thought still doesn't switch off that bit at the back of my mind that still believes.

So over all though it must boil down to faith. Logic suggests that I could be fooling myself (logic if anything leaves to agnosticism), and I also know that dualism doesn't lead to theism, although the two do sit very comfortably together in that dualism suggests that reality stretches beyond the material universe as we understand it.

Next up, why Christianity and not some other religion? Not sure when, but it is on it's way!


Phil Tomlinson said...

I agree with all of this, and I say that as a die-hard athiest. I paradoxically found great peace of mind through science alone; often the idea that there's no God or anything after death is considered cold and unfeeling, but with it comes an ever-expanding picture through scientific evidence of being part of an ever-evolving chain of life, one that has survived numerous global disasters and will continue to do so from an innate desire to survive (or sheer bloody-mindedness possibly), and isn't all that divorced from the traditional concept of being part of God's wider plan (the 'plan' in this case being nature's, who tends to rely on winging the whole thing as it goes along).

I also read about the reports suggesting that religion gave us an evolutionary advantage, and it sounds bang on the money to me. If you haven't already I recommend reading Science of Discworld 2, as it goes into great depth about the role of storytelling and narrative throughout human history in shaping and upholding cultural and moral messages and how religion has been central to it. Something that desperately annoys me is that science as a discipline has badly neglected the potential of stories to present scientific theories in a way that can be easily understood by even young children, relying entirely on simplified versions of theories without the comforting and understandable structure of a narrative that helps the message get delivered. Religion as a whole has a lot to teach in that regard.

Putz said...

if a person came to you and said i have talked to god and he has given me this information to the world, like say tablets on stone that he would smash at your feet in a fiery burst if you didn't embrace and you felt in your heart these things are pure and godley that he gave me and touched the tablets, wouldn't you say ok, and would that npt be all the evidence you would need even for your friend phil tomlinson above me who doen't believe, wouldn't we all become believers....well my mormon missionaries who probably knocked on your door had such a message....honest....HONEST

Akela said...

Putz, if someone did stand in front of me and actually did make stone burst into flame I would probably feel that the existence of God had been proved. But no one has and I don't believe anyone will.

That doesn't mean that I don't believe in God, just that I believe that it boils down to faith and not logic or science.