The Doubtful Promise of Nothing

I like Captain Cassidy over at Roll to Disbelieve.  She’s a fantastic writer who seems to share somewhat of my distaste for confrontational debate tactics (she left a very nice comment on my mission statement for this blog) — I recall having several pleasant discussions with her on her blog and mine.  Plus, I infer that she shares my appreciation for RPGs 🙂

She recently wrote what I regard as an excellent article, where she gives her point of view on the Christian doctrines of being born again and of the existence of an eternal afterlife.  I say it is excellent not because I agree with her viewpoint (I, in fact, thoroughly do not, much to the surprise of no one) — but because it is, as most of her works are, brilliantly crafted and even, in the beginning, quite beautiful and poetic.  I found myself legitimately moved by her ode to the purpose of life on this planet, which serves as a sort of introduction to her assessments of the aforementioned doctrines themselves.  I thoroughly recommend that everyone give it a read from top to bottom.

I wasn’t a few paragraphs in before I knew that I desired to respond to her strong points and opinions, and as I read I took notes on the statements in particular I wished to comment on.  I quickly found that my response fit better as a post on my own blog rather than as a comment on hers — for though I usually try to comment on others’ blogs for the sake of keeping the discussion on their platform, at the same time I do not wish to be inhospitable to her site by posting a novel in her comment section.  Plus, posting my response here gives me the opportunity to plug her blog, which in my opinion is well worth a subscription.

The rest of this entry will be directed at the good Captain, in direct response to her latest article: (more…)

I hope I’m wrong

Before typing a single word of this post, I knew it was going to be a raw one.

I hope my readers don’t mind a little personal transparency — but even if some of them did, it would probably go to show that this may not be the place for them anyway.  I set out on this blogging endeavor hoping to foster a community of individuals who could handle honest, forthright theological discussion without feeling the need to score rhetorical points or use manipulative debate tactics to twist the truth or evade it completely — where people can be open about their own doubts and questions, can admit that they don’t have all the answers without fear of losing the respect of others, can have at least one place in this online world where people are more important than ideas, and ideas are more important than winning.  So, bound up in that vision is this concept of being real — and part of being real is being willing to share at least one real part of you, unadulterated, without makeup, warts and all.  And since I got us into this mess, I suppose I should lead by example.

So here’s my confession, and I imagine it has the potential to alienate people on both sides of the God issue: I hope I’m wrong about God. (more…)

Does naturalism encourage questions, or discourage them?

In this third part of my Meaning of Life series, I would like to discuss another objection I have to the naturalistic worldview.

I have seen religion denounced for stifling skepticism and scientific curiosity, and sadly this criticism can be somewhat well-deserved — at least, when it comes to certain religious circles.  As for myself and my local church, however, the opposite is true; I think asking questions — always asking questions — is the keystone of a circumspect life, whether religious or not.  The presence of faith in one’s worldview does not, in my opinion, change this one iota.  The kind of faith that discourages questioning is called blind faith, and that’s a brand of faith in which I have no interest.

Implicit in the criticism above (which is often given by naturalists) is the unspoken assertion that naturalism, in contrast to theism, does encourage individuals to ask questions.  To many a naturalist, the theist appears as a broken record whose every question about the universe is met with the definitive “Goddidit,” with absolutely no curiosity or drive to go beyond the why and attempt to understand the how or the what.  One day I would like to dissect this caricature and debunk some myths to these ends; but for the moment I would instead like to turn the objection around on the naturalist and point out one of perhaps several questions that rarely seem to be asked by naturalists — and yet, are preeminently important.

The question is:

What happens when we die? (more…)