My latest post on agnosticism seems to have elicited much attention and response — my sincere thanks to all who weighed in! I was especially pleased by the variety in the kinds of responses I received — often it seems I am disposed to attract comments chiefly from those who vehemently disagree with me 😉
One response in particular came from Vinny, whose recent addition to our community here has been most welcome — I appreciate his consistently fair-minded and non-inflammatory approach to these discussions, and I always welcome what he has to say. Something he said in this particular discussion caught my attention so powerfully that I felt compelled to devote a post to its response. I’ll quote the comment in its entirety below, but first a quick synopsis of our discussion up to this point: (more…)
It seems of late the most common objections I seem to come against when it comes to my faith have to do with my methodology: Apparently, I lack a compelling link between the God in which I believe and the evidence I claim supports Him. Sure, things like the fine-tuning of the universe, the complexity of life, miracles, prophesy, personal religious experiences, etc. may, to the simple mind, lead to a prima facie acceptance of some divine Agent behind it all — but the superior mind (I’ve come to understand) refuses to accept such hypotheses without an airtight, no-wiggle-room, universally-accepted case that unequivocally and unquestionably shows that X body of evidence leads (and must only lead) to God Y. Until that happens, the rational mind can reasonably — nay, needs must — be confined to the realm of agnosticism.
It’s a neat little case — but I’m not convinced that this is actually how people make decisions. If I wait until I’m absolutely sure about something before I jump, then you can be assured that I will lead a very uneventful life, because I’ll never do anything. Good decisions are not predicated upon certainty — they are founded on a reasonable analysis of the available data coupled with an assessment of the applicable risks. I would posit that this is a far more pragmatic approach when it comes to making decisions — including those having to do with God. (more…)
I think most of my readers can agree on one thing at least: Blind faith is a bad thing. You know what I’m talking about — it’s the kind of faith that holds onto belief not only in incomplete evidence, but in a complete absence of evidence, and sometimes even in the face of contrary evidence. If we were to set up a belief spectrum, where as you move more and more to the right you are willing to accept claims with less and less evidence, then blind faith would fall to the rightmost extreme — and if Aristotle taught us anything, it’s that extremes are bad, right?
Here are some of the things that make blind faith lame: (more…)
I promised Vinny that I would respond to his excellent comment in a post, which I plan to put the finishing touches on in a day or so. In the meantime, I wanted to share a quote I saw while scanning his blog that I thought was hilarious (and on point):
Isn’t an agnostic just an atheist without balls? — Stephen Colbert to Bart Ehrman
Happy Monday, everyone 🙂
(This portrait of Colbert I came across is pretty funny too. Enjoy it — and enjoy America too, darn it.)
Stop me if you’ve heard this one. (Oh wait, by the time you read it, I will have already finished writing it, so how can you stop me? Sorry, looks like I’m running the show for a little bit.) (more…)