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[religion] A bit more on theism

Yesterday’s post on theism [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ] produced some nice, civil discussion in comments on both sides of my blog. I appreciated that. I did want to elevate a couple of remarks from comments to highlight just a little further.

Me, on losing my religion:

The initial crack in my unquestioning childhood theism was when I was 6(ish) and found myself in Sunday School wondering why we were celebrating Passover as a miracle, when thousands of little boys were being killed. Not that I phrased it that way at the time, of course, but that was the thought. That was not the deed of a loving God.

I realize that for someone who holds Christian faith, part of the challenge and mystery is reconciling the inherent contradictions in scripture and God’s message. Some people reconcile this through denialism, claiming Biblical inerrancy and asserting that it is a human failing, not God’s, when contradiction is perceived. Others reconcile this through acceptance. Others yet through lifetimes of fearsome logic chopping. All of that is fine with me. I quarrel with no one else’s faith, not at its roots. (Faith in politics is of course another matter entirely.) But it seems to me a lot like acquiring a taste for Scotch, which to me is like drinking paint thinner. Why would I want to go to all that trouble for something that doesn’t make sense to me in the first place? Personally, I cherish my rationalism.

[info]mmegaera, on the self-reinforcing logic of faith:

Well, as I was told growing up, he is what he is whether you believe in him or not.

Saying you don’t believe in God, I was told, is like saying you don’t believe that you yourself exist.

Scary, huh?

To which I responded:

Wow, does that fail the pink unicorn test hard. Nothing like self-reinforcing nonsense passing as logic.

The pink unicorn test is essentially an Internet version of Russell’s teapot. Put simplistically, it says faith claims aren’t provable, and therefore aren’t subject to external logic. My point to [info]mmegaera was that claim made to them as a child has no meaning outside its own hermetically sealed internal logic, and is therefore meaningless beyond whatever meaning the believer chooses to assign to it.

And I suppose as an atheist, that’s really where I land. Faith has whatever meaning the believer chooses to assign to it. The toxic swamp rises up when faith holders confuse their inner meaning with external reality. I will defend to the bitter end to your right to your faith. I will defend to the bitter end my right to live free of the strictures of your faith.

I don’t find those the least bit contradictory. Frankly, anyone who does is deeply confused in their thinking, or possibly has never heard of majoritarianism.

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