Can Atheists Simply Ignore Theology?

Can Atheists Simply Ignore Theology?

Joined: May 4th, 2005, 1:31 pm

May 30th, 2010, 1:01 am #1

Can Atheists Simply Ignore Theology?
Only if they're seeking a formula for intellectual irresponsibility.
By Eric Reitan
Eric Reitan, an award-winning scholar and writer, teaches philosophy at Oklahoma State University. His new book, Is God a Delusion? A Reply to Religion's Cultured Despisers was released by Wiley-Blackwell in November.

The other day, Terry Sanderson-president of the United Kingdom's National Secular Society-published a short, scathing indictment of theology in The Guardian, a piece titled "Theology-truly a naked emperor."

This title deliberately recalls H.C. Andersen's famous fable, "The Emperor's New Clothes," and by implication its ongoing use by popular atheist critics of religion to defang criticism that they know next to nothing about theology. The fable was first made use of a few years back by atheist blogger (and biologist) PZ Myers in a bit of satire called "The Courtier's Reply," a response to H. Allen Orr's scathing review of Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion in the New York Review of Books. "The Courtier's Reply" so delighted Dawkins that he quoted it at length in the preface to the paperback edition of his book.

In briefest terms, Orr's chief complaint about The God Delusion is that it displays a profound ignorance of relevant theology. Myers' satirical response runs as follows:

I have considered the impudent accusations of Mr. Dawkins with exasperation at his lack of serious scholarship. He has apparently not read the detailed discourses of Count Roderigo of Seville on the exquisite and exotic leathers of the Emperor's boots, nor does he give a moment's consideration to Bellini's masterwork, On the Luminescence of the Emperor's Feathered Hat. We have entire schools dedicated to writing learned treatises on the beauty of the Emperor's raiment, and every major newspaper runs a section dedicated to imperial fashion. Dawkins arrogantly ignores all these deep philosophical ponderings to crudely accuse the Emperor of nudity.

It goes on, but that is enough to capture its flavor. Since Myers first published it, this bit of satire has been invoked widely by atheists who want to quickly dismiss those who think atheist critics of religion should engage seriously with important works of theology.

I became painfully conscious of this propensity shortly after Religion Dispatches published an interview with me about my book, Is God a Delusion? The link to that interview quickly appeared on Richard Dawkins' Web site under the heading, "Another Flea," invoking the practice of Dawkins' supporters to call critics of The God Delusion "fleas." The very first posted comment was this: "Just from reading the abstract it sounds like another book in `The Courtier's Reply' category." The subsequent comments were riddled with mockery.

But can theology really be dismissed so readily? Myers' satire has as its backdrop a story in which a pair of con men have pretended to make a new set of clothes for the emperor but present him instead with nothing but thin air, along with a cockamamie story to the effect that those who are stupid or unfit for their positions can't see these fine clothes at all. Since no one wants to be accused of these things, everyone pretends to see what they don't in fact see.

In Myers' version of the story, this pretense has spiraled out of control, becoming an entire literary genre with recognized masterworks, all of it serving only to perpetuate the con game and silence anyone with the temerity to state the obvious.

Myers' satire sees theology as a pretentious obfuscation: high-sounding nonsense whose only function is to obscure the obvious truth that there is no God.

But notice: Myers doesn't argue for this conclusion. He seems to take it as an obvious premise-making one wonder whether this isn't just a clever bit of question-begging. After all, there is no real attempt to look at works of theology to see if the judgment fits.

Terry Sanderson, in his recent Guardian piece, might be seen as trying to support Myers' presumption by offering up some examples of theology's pretentious obfuscation-or at least one, an example from Rowan Williams which Sanderson characterizes as "convoluted writing that nobody with their feet in reality can comprehend." He describes watching the "theological" programs he finds on television as akin to having had "one of those strokes that make your native language incomprehensible to you. You recognize the individual words as English, but they have no meaning."

And on the basis of this subjective assessment of some unscientifically selected samples, Sanderson is happy to embrace the premise underlying Myers' "Courtier's Reply." In Sanderson's words, "Theology is an excuse for grown men to spend their lives trying to convince themselves, and others, that ridiculous fairy tales are true."

Put more simply, Sanderson has looked at some theology, found it incomprehensible, and concluded that this must mean it is meaningless nonsense whose only possible function is to hide fictional beliefs behind a cloud of obscurantism. I might as well conclude that string theory is nonsense, since it's incomprehensible to me.

Fortunately, Myers' more prominent follower is also a more careful thinker. Dawkins offers an interpretation of "The Courtier's Reply" that, at least at first glance, lends it more plausibility. In the preface to the paperback edition of The God Delusion, Dawkins distinguishes between two kinds of theology: the kind which presupposes God's existence, which I'll call substantive theology; and the kind that attempts to make the case for God's existence. We might call this apologetic theology.

Dawkins admits he needs to take apologetic theology into account-which he claims to have done adequately and with "good humor" in The God Delusion. What he needn't do, he thinks, is pay heed to the other kind of theology.

Now Dawkins doesn't display any understanding of what this other kind of theology is, what its practitioners actually do. He hasn't studied it, after all. Whatever it is, it's something like fairyology, by which Dawkins has in mind the study of such things as "the exact shape and colour of fairy wings." In other words, Dawkins takes it that this other kind of theology devotes itself to theorizing about what God is like. But since all such theorizing is premised on the assumption that there is a God, this other kind of theology begs Dawkins' question-and hence can be ignored. This is what he takes Myers to be pointing out.

Now, the distinction Dawkins makes here seems reasonable enough. But there are some important questions. First, does Dawkins really understand and appreciate the force of apologetic theology in all its diversity? In fact, I think it's quite clear he doesn't. But since this is an issue I take up at some length in my book, I want to set it aside here so I can focus on another question: Is Dawkins right that he and other atheist critics of religion don't need to take substantive theology into account? Are Myers and Sanderson right that they can justifiably ignore theology's perplexing techno-babble, making no effort to learn the academic language of theology, on the ground that these theologians are simply assuming as true the very thing that atheists are calling into question?

I think not. First of all, the kind of question we are asking when we ask whether or not God exists is a very different kind of question than we are asking when we wonder about the emperor's state of undress. Belief in the existence of the emperor's pantaloons involves belief that the empirical world we encounter with our senses includes (among other things) a garment of a certain shape and size draped over the emperor's nether parts. But if something lacks all empirical properties, then it can't have a size or shape, let alone cover the emperor's naughty bits, and so it can't be a garment.

And so if we conduct an empirical test on the emperor and fail to detect any empirical properties consistent with his wearing pants, then he isn't. To be a garment requires the possession of empirical properties. Take those away, and there is no garment.

But belief in God isn't primarily a belief about the contents of the empirical world. It is, rather, a certain holistic interpretation of our experience, one that offers an account of the meaning and significance of the empirical world and the lives we lead within it. To believe in God is to understand the world of ordinary experience in terms of an interpretive worldview that posits the existence of "something more."

In this respect, belief in God is more like belief in metaphysical naturalism-by which I mean the doctrine that the empirical world exhausts what is real. Whether or not there is more to reality than meets the empirical eye isn't a question we can answer through empirical investigation, the way that we can answer whether the poor emperor's fruits are hanging free.

So how do we address this kind of question? The answer, I think, is that we have to "try on" alternative interpretations to see which offers the best fit with the whole of human experience-not merely with what we experience through our senses, but also with the broader and ultimately more important dimensions of our lived experience, including our moral and aesthetic experience and our sense of the numinous. Is a naturalistic worldview, one which explains away these latter features of our lives (or at least the last), ultimately a better fit with the whole of human experience than some alternative which posits a transcendent element of one kind or another?

How can we even begin to answer such a question without seriously "trying on" the alternatives? In its broadest terms, theology is the intellectual project of developing and exploring a range of alternative worldviews that all have something in common-namely, they include belief in a transcendent reality that is in some way both fundamental and good. As such, theology falls within a much broader intellectual project, one that develops and explores not only theistic worldviews, but other worldviews as well, such as the naturalistic one endorsed by Dawkins, Myers, and Sanderson.

Of course, an interpretive worldview has to fit with our experience, including what science teaches us about the world. And not every theistic worldview meets this criterion (Young Earth Creationism comes to mind). But while a specific formulation of theism might have to give way before scientific evidence in just the way that a specific version of Darwinian theory might need to give way to a more nuanced and comprehensive version, the overall theological project-to shape a theistic worldview consistent with experience-remains viable regardless of what science teaches us. What this means is that in a broad sense a theistic worldview is empirically unfalsifiable. just like a naturalistic one.

Simply put, we don't test our holistic worldviews the way we test whether the emperor is naked or clothed. We test them by trying them on, trying to live them out, and then reflecting on how well they work as organizing principles for individual and communal lives. We test them not only in terms of their internal consistency and consistency with empirical facts (something that the best theologians always strive to maintain), but in terms of such issues as pragmatic impact on the quality of human life.

We also assess them in terms of simplicity-a criterion according to which naturalism may have an edge (although some theologians argue otherwise). And all else being equal, a worldview that forces us to explain away huge swaths of our lived experience as nothing but delusion and error is less satisfactory than one which offers a meaningful and coherent account of those same elements.

The task of deciding which worldview to embrace-and hence whether or not we should believe in some kind of transcendent reality or God-is an enormously challenging task that cannot be answered through empirical investigation. It is a question which, in fact, will probably never be answered wholly or fully. But we cannot ignore the question, because which worldview we adopt makes a big difference for how we live our lives.

And so we must struggle to assess the relative merits of the alternatives available to us-something that we simply cannot responsibly do by ignoring those thinkers who, as part of a rich traditional of rigorous inquiry, attempt to construct plausible theistic world views and uncover the explanatory power of theism in relation to the full breadth of our human experience.

In other words, we cannot responsibly assess the question of God's existence by ignoring in advance the work of substantive theologians. The strategy of satirical dismissal championed by Myers, embraced by Dawkins, and recently promulgated on the pages of The Guardian by Terry Sanderson, is nothing short of a formula for intellectual irresponsibility.


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Joined: April 30th, 2005, 4:27 am

May 30th, 2010, 1:49 am #2


I love those dark places where no human light shines. Often it means having to travel far out into the outback (a name we give for the deserted places). When you look up into the sky it is as if all the stars have come out to greet you. Even the light of the campfire does not diminish their brightness. Sometimes the light of the world blinds us to seeing things that exist around us. Often God is only a still moment away from us.

Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10).

And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not (John 1:5) JB

 
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Joined: October 1st, 2006, 10:04 am

May 30th, 2010, 9:07 am #3

Can Atheists Simply Ignore Theology?
Only if they're seeking a formula for intellectual irresponsibility.
By Eric Reitan
Eric Reitan, an award-winning scholar and writer, teaches philosophy at Oklahoma State University. His new book, Is God a Delusion? A Reply to Religion's Cultured Despisers was released by Wiley-Blackwell in November.

The other day, Terry Sanderson-president of the United Kingdom's National Secular Society-published a short, scathing indictment of theology in The Guardian, a piece titled "Theology-truly a naked emperor."

This title deliberately recalls H.C. Andersen's famous fable, "The Emperor's New Clothes," and by implication its ongoing use by popular atheist critics of religion to defang criticism that they know next to nothing about theology. The fable was first made use of a few years back by atheist blogger (and biologist) PZ Myers in a bit of satire called "The Courtier's Reply," a response to H. Allen Orr's scathing review of Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion in the New York Review of Books. "The Courtier's Reply" so delighted Dawkins that he quoted it at length in the preface to the paperback edition of his book.

In briefest terms, Orr's chief complaint about The God Delusion is that it displays a profound ignorance of relevant theology. Myers' satirical response runs as follows:

I have considered the impudent accusations of Mr. Dawkins with exasperation at his lack of serious scholarship. He has apparently not read the detailed discourses of Count Roderigo of Seville on the exquisite and exotic leathers of the Emperor's boots, nor does he give a moment's consideration to Bellini's masterwork, On the Luminescence of the Emperor's Feathered Hat. We have entire schools dedicated to writing learned treatises on the beauty of the Emperor's raiment, and every major newspaper runs a section dedicated to imperial fashion. Dawkins arrogantly ignores all these deep philosophical ponderings to crudely accuse the Emperor of nudity.

It goes on, but that is enough to capture its flavor. Since Myers first published it, this bit of satire has been invoked widely by atheists who want to quickly dismiss those who think atheist critics of religion should engage seriously with important works of theology.

I became painfully conscious of this propensity shortly after Religion Dispatches published an interview with me about my book, Is God a Delusion? The link to that interview quickly appeared on Richard Dawkins' Web site under the heading, "Another Flea," invoking the practice of Dawkins' supporters to call critics of The God Delusion "fleas." The very first posted comment was this: "Just from reading the abstract it sounds like another book in `The Courtier's Reply' category." The subsequent comments were riddled with mockery.

But can theology really be dismissed so readily? Myers' satire has as its backdrop a story in which a pair of con men have pretended to make a new set of clothes for the emperor but present him instead with nothing but thin air, along with a cockamamie story to the effect that those who are stupid or unfit for their positions can't see these fine clothes at all. Since no one wants to be accused of these things, everyone pretends to see what they don't in fact see.

In Myers' version of the story, this pretense has spiraled out of control, becoming an entire literary genre with recognized masterworks, all of it serving only to perpetuate the con game and silence anyone with the temerity to state the obvious.

Myers' satire sees theology as a pretentious obfuscation: high-sounding nonsense whose only function is to obscure the obvious truth that there is no God.

But notice: Myers doesn't argue for this conclusion. He seems to take it as an obvious premise-making one wonder whether this isn't just a clever bit of question-begging. After all, there is no real attempt to look at works of theology to see if the judgment fits.

Terry Sanderson, in his recent Guardian piece, might be seen as trying to support Myers' presumption by offering up some examples of theology's pretentious obfuscation-or at least one, an example from Rowan Williams which Sanderson characterizes as "convoluted writing that nobody with their feet in reality can comprehend." He describes watching the "theological" programs he finds on television as akin to having had "one of those strokes that make your native language incomprehensible to you. You recognize the individual words as English, but they have no meaning."

And on the basis of this subjective assessment of some unscientifically selected samples, Sanderson is happy to embrace the premise underlying Myers' "Courtier's Reply." In Sanderson's words, "Theology is an excuse for grown men to spend their lives trying to convince themselves, and others, that ridiculous fairy tales are true."

Put more simply, Sanderson has looked at some theology, found it incomprehensible, and concluded that this must mean it is meaningless nonsense whose only possible function is to hide fictional beliefs behind a cloud of obscurantism. I might as well conclude that string theory is nonsense, since it's incomprehensible to me.

Fortunately, Myers' more prominent follower is also a more careful thinker. Dawkins offers an interpretation of "The Courtier's Reply" that, at least at first glance, lends it more plausibility. In the preface to the paperback edition of The God Delusion, Dawkins distinguishes between two kinds of theology: the kind which presupposes God's existence, which I'll call substantive theology; and the kind that attempts to make the case for God's existence. We might call this apologetic theology.

Dawkins admits he needs to take apologetic theology into account-which he claims to have done adequately and with "good humor" in The God Delusion. What he needn't do, he thinks, is pay heed to the other kind of theology.

Now Dawkins doesn't display any understanding of what this other kind of theology is, what its practitioners actually do. He hasn't studied it, after all. Whatever it is, it's something like fairyology, by which Dawkins has in mind the study of such things as "the exact shape and colour of fairy wings." In other words, Dawkins takes it that this other kind of theology devotes itself to theorizing about what God is like. But since all such theorizing is premised on the assumption that there is a God, this other kind of theology begs Dawkins' question-and hence can be ignored. This is what he takes Myers to be pointing out.

Now, the distinction Dawkins makes here seems reasonable enough. But there are some important questions. First, does Dawkins really understand and appreciate the force of apologetic theology in all its diversity? In fact, I think it's quite clear he doesn't. But since this is an issue I take up at some length in my book, I want to set it aside here so I can focus on another question: Is Dawkins right that he and other atheist critics of religion don't need to take substantive theology into account? Are Myers and Sanderson right that they can justifiably ignore theology's perplexing techno-babble, making no effort to learn the academic language of theology, on the ground that these theologians are simply assuming as true the very thing that atheists are calling into question?

I think not. First of all, the kind of question we are asking when we ask whether or not God exists is a very different kind of question than we are asking when we wonder about the emperor's state of undress. Belief in the existence of the emperor's pantaloons involves belief that the empirical world we encounter with our senses includes (among other things) a garment of a certain shape and size draped over the emperor's nether parts. But if something lacks all empirical properties, then it can't have a size or shape, let alone cover the emperor's naughty bits, and so it can't be a garment.

And so if we conduct an empirical test on the emperor and fail to detect any empirical properties consistent with his wearing pants, then he isn't. To be a garment requires the possession of empirical properties. Take those away, and there is no garment.

But belief in God isn't primarily a belief about the contents of the empirical world. It is, rather, a certain holistic interpretation of our experience, one that offers an account of the meaning and significance of the empirical world and the lives we lead within it. To believe in God is to understand the world of ordinary experience in terms of an interpretive worldview that posits the existence of "something more."

In this respect, belief in God is more like belief in metaphysical naturalism-by which I mean the doctrine that the empirical world exhausts what is real. Whether or not there is more to reality than meets the empirical eye isn't a question we can answer through empirical investigation, the way that we can answer whether the poor emperor's fruits are hanging free.

So how do we address this kind of question? The answer, I think, is that we have to "try on" alternative interpretations to see which offers the best fit with the whole of human experience-not merely with what we experience through our senses, but also with the broader and ultimately more important dimensions of our lived experience, including our moral and aesthetic experience and our sense of the numinous. Is a naturalistic worldview, one which explains away these latter features of our lives (or at least the last), ultimately a better fit with the whole of human experience than some alternative which posits a transcendent element of one kind or another?

How can we even begin to answer such a question without seriously "trying on" the alternatives? In its broadest terms, theology is the intellectual project of developing and exploring a range of alternative worldviews that all have something in common-namely, they include belief in a transcendent reality that is in some way both fundamental and good. As such, theology falls within a much broader intellectual project, one that develops and explores not only theistic worldviews, but other worldviews as well, such as the naturalistic one endorsed by Dawkins, Myers, and Sanderson.

Of course, an interpretive worldview has to fit with our experience, including what science teaches us about the world. And not every theistic worldview meets this criterion (Young Earth Creationism comes to mind). But while a specific formulation of theism might have to give way before scientific evidence in just the way that a specific version of Darwinian theory might need to give way to a more nuanced and comprehensive version, the overall theological project-to shape a theistic worldview consistent with experience-remains viable regardless of what science teaches us. What this means is that in a broad sense a theistic worldview is empirically unfalsifiable. just like a naturalistic one.

Simply put, we don't test our holistic worldviews the way we test whether the emperor is naked or clothed. We test them by trying them on, trying to live them out, and then reflecting on how well they work as organizing principles for individual and communal lives. We test them not only in terms of their internal consistency and consistency with empirical facts (something that the best theologians always strive to maintain), but in terms of such issues as pragmatic impact on the quality of human life.

We also assess them in terms of simplicity-a criterion according to which naturalism may have an edge (although some theologians argue otherwise). And all else being equal, a worldview that forces us to explain away huge swaths of our lived experience as nothing but delusion and error is less satisfactory than one which offers a meaningful and coherent account of those same elements.

The task of deciding which worldview to embrace-and hence whether or not we should believe in some kind of transcendent reality or God-is an enormously challenging task that cannot be answered through empirical investigation. It is a question which, in fact, will probably never be answered wholly or fully. But we cannot ignore the question, because which worldview we adopt makes a big difference for how we live our lives.

And so we must struggle to assess the relative merits of the alternatives available to us-something that we simply cannot responsibly do by ignoring those thinkers who, as part of a rich traditional of rigorous inquiry, attempt to construct plausible theistic world views and uncover the explanatory power of theism in relation to the full breadth of our human experience.

In other words, we cannot responsibly assess the question of God's existence by ignoring in advance the work of substantive theologians. The strategy of satirical dismissal championed by Myers, embraced by Dawkins, and recently promulgated on the pages of The Guardian by Terry Sanderson, is nothing short of a formula for intellectual irresponsibility.


###
The same way we can live totally without television!
It is just thrust at us yet we can, and some do, exist without either.

A question from my kids school from one of their lessons. where was 'God' during world war two? A possible, and my answer. 'God' does not exist.

Love
Jackie


Know Thyself
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Joined: July 1st, 2008, 11:52 pm

May 30th, 2010, 11:55 am #4

God is a concept that needs to be explored as all concepts do if we intend to take them seriously and add them into working parts of our lives.

what others say about God no longer matters if I don't find God to be a working part of my own experience. When the masses were influenced to believe in God without having their own experience, they could sit in churches, synogogues, shrines, mosques and let the "one who did have an experience' tell them about God: It was like watching TV where the rich, powerful, beautiful and creative tell us about how it is to be them: We can then "IMAGINE" what this is like and let them define future attempts at becoming happier ourselves. We copy them in whatever ways we are able to with our limited resources; we buy their stuff, (the rich and famous or the people of God), but only for so long.

Suffering makes us realize quickly where we are in this whole arena and how much these "others" who take up our prescious time (rich and famous or people of God) really have answers for US and OUR PROBLEMS.

When we realize all our efforts do not produce the psychology of a Billy Graham, Pope or Madonna, Frank Sinatra or whatever superstar we are drawn to, our INNER dissapointment reaches levels of anger, fear or indifference.


We become more selfish in our pursuit to match at least a little of these perks that the superstars have or we become fearful and depressed that we just don't have the stuff that they are made of, and finally our depression reaches the level of INDIFFERENCE where we don't try, don't work to have, but regress into "receivers" without effort at giving. We don't even want to impress the world with gifts and talents we do have, much less trying for things that we don't have.

When we find ourselves without a place to turn or worse, no DESIRE to turn to any place, we are ready to consider our OWN EXPERIENCES of God. Here then we become ripe and anothers definition of God or fame or superstardom doesn't cut it anymore.

we NEED our own motivation or we simply die out as an organism till dust is all thats left.

God is able to reach us when we want him with all our heart, all our soul and all our strength, however little we have left. If we use it to cry out to God, we will find God.

What do we find at this time? A POWER that we didn't recognize within us before. If God is still associated with our own power, we haven't FOUND God, but only our vain imagination of God:


the TRUE GOD is an ADDITIONAL POWER we have never experienced before and this POWER actually begins to move us to the DESTINY of GOD which is the same yesterday, today and forever......God moves us to be LIKE HIM......to see from his point of view and act from his point of view:

to know this point of view we have to COME AND SEE what God is like as we watched our superstars, our "people of God" that simply left us without anything of our own before.

when we truly SEE GOD, we see him within or we don't see him:


the GOOD NEWS IS ONCE WE SEE HIM WITHIN


WE SEE HIM EVERYWHERE that HE IS.....we see him in others, in nature, in all things, even if nobody can see us SEE

that leaves us all with the same need in the end:


WE all have to see something as "REAL" and beneficial to us, in order to trust it enough to be changed by it:
every day is a new day to die to the old and live to the newness of life
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Striver
Striver

May 30th, 2010, 12:53 pm #5

Can Atheists Simply Ignore Theology?
Only if they're seeking a formula for intellectual irresponsibility.
By Eric Reitan
Eric Reitan, an award-winning scholar and writer, teaches philosophy at Oklahoma State University. His new book, Is God a Delusion? A Reply to Religion's Cultured Despisers was released by Wiley-Blackwell in November.

The other day, Terry Sanderson-president of the United Kingdom's National Secular Society-published a short, scathing indictment of theology in The Guardian, a piece titled "Theology-truly a naked emperor."

This title deliberately recalls H.C. Andersen's famous fable, "The Emperor's New Clothes," and by implication its ongoing use by popular atheist critics of religion to defang criticism that they know next to nothing about theology. The fable was first made use of a few years back by atheist blogger (and biologist) PZ Myers in a bit of satire called "The Courtier's Reply," a response to H. Allen Orr's scathing review of Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion in the New York Review of Books. "The Courtier's Reply" so delighted Dawkins that he quoted it at length in the preface to the paperback edition of his book.

In briefest terms, Orr's chief complaint about The God Delusion is that it displays a profound ignorance of relevant theology. Myers' satirical response runs as follows:

I have considered the impudent accusations of Mr. Dawkins with exasperation at his lack of serious scholarship. He has apparently not read the detailed discourses of Count Roderigo of Seville on the exquisite and exotic leathers of the Emperor's boots, nor does he give a moment's consideration to Bellini's masterwork, On the Luminescence of the Emperor's Feathered Hat. We have entire schools dedicated to writing learned treatises on the beauty of the Emperor's raiment, and every major newspaper runs a section dedicated to imperial fashion. Dawkins arrogantly ignores all these deep philosophical ponderings to crudely accuse the Emperor of nudity.

It goes on, but that is enough to capture its flavor. Since Myers first published it, this bit of satire has been invoked widely by atheists who want to quickly dismiss those who think atheist critics of religion should engage seriously with important works of theology.

I became painfully conscious of this propensity shortly after Religion Dispatches published an interview with me about my book, Is God a Delusion? The link to that interview quickly appeared on Richard Dawkins' Web site under the heading, "Another Flea," invoking the practice of Dawkins' supporters to call critics of The God Delusion "fleas." The very first posted comment was this: "Just from reading the abstract it sounds like another book in `The Courtier's Reply' category." The subsequent comments were riddled with mockery.

But can theology really be dismissed so readily? Myers' satire has as its backdrop a story in which a pair of con men have pretended to make a new set of clothes for the emperor but present him instead with nothing but thin air, along with a cockamamie story to the effect that those who are stupid or unfit for their positions can't see these fine clothes at all. Since no one wants to be accused of these things, everyone pretends to see what they don't in fact see.

In Myers' version of the story, this pretense has spiraled out of control, becoming an entire literary genre with recognized masterworks, all of it serving only to perpetuate the con game and silence anyone with the temerity to state the obvious.

Myers' satire sees theology as a pretentious obfuscation: high-sounding nonsense whose only function is to obscure the obvious truth that there is no God.

But notice: Myers doesn't argue for this conclusion. He seems to take it as an obvious premise-making one wonder whether this isn't just a clever bit of question-begging. After all, there is no real attempt to look at works of theology to see if the judgment fits.

Terry Sanderson, in his recent Guardian piece, might be seen as trying to support Myers' presumption by offering up some examples of theology's pretentious obfuscation-or at least one, an example from Rowan Williams which Sanderson characterizes as "convoluted writing that nobody with their feet in reality can comprehend." He describes watching the "theological" programs he finds on television as akin to having had "one of those strokes that make your native language incomprehensible to you. You recognize the individual words as English, but they have no meaning."

And on the basis of this subjective assessment of some unscientifically selected samples, Sanderson is happy to embrace the premise underlying Myers' "Courtier's Reply." In Sanderson's words, "Theology is an excuse for grown men to spend their lives trying to convince themselves, and others, that ridiculous fairy tales are true."

Put more simply, Sanderson has looked at some theology, found it incomprehensible, and concluded that this must mean it is meaningless nonsense whose only possible function is to hide fictional beliefs behind a cloud of obscurantism. I might as well conclude that string theory is nonsense, since it's incomprehensible to me.

Fortunately, Myers' more prominent follower is also a more careful thinker. Dawkins offers an interpretation of "The Courtier's Reply" that, at least at first glance, lends it more plausibility. In the preface to the paperback edition of The God Delusion, Dawkins distinguishes between two kinds of theology: the kind which presupposes God's existence, which I'll call substantive theology; and the kind that attempts to make the case for God's existence. We might call this apologetic theology.

Dawkins admits he needs to take apologetic theology into account-which he claims to have done adequately and with "good humor" in The God Delusion. What he needn't do, he thinks, is pay heed to the other kind of theology.

Now Dawkins doesn't display any understanding of what this other kind of theology is, what its practitioners actually do. He hasn't studied it, after all. Whatever it is, it's something like fairyology, by which Dawkins has in mind the study of such things as "the exact shape and colour of fairy wings." In other words, Dawkins takes it that this other kind of theology devotes itself to theorizing about what God is like. But since all such theorizing is premised on the assumption that there is a God, this other kind of theology begs Dawkins' question-and hence can be ignored. This is what he takes Myers to be pointing out.

Now, the distinction Dawkins makes here seems reasonable enough. But there are some important questions. First, does Dawkins really understand and appreciate the force of apologetic theology in all its diversity? In fact, I think it's quite clear he doesn't. But since this is an issue I take up at some length in my book, I want to set it aside here so I can focus on another question: Is Dawkins right that he and other atheist critics of religion don't need to take substantive theology into account? Are Myers and Sanderson right that they can justifiably ignore theology's perplexing techno-babble, making no effort to learn the academic language of theology, on the ground that these theologians are simply assuming as true the very thing that atheists are calling into question?

I think not. First of all, the kind of question we are asking when we ask whether or not God exists is a very different kind of question than we are asking when we wonder about the emperor's state of undress. Belief in the existence of the emperor's pantaloons involves belief that the empirical world we encounter with our senses includes (among other things) a garment of a certain shape and size draped over the emperor's nether parts. But if something lacks all empirical properties, then it can't have a size or shape, let alone cover the emperor's naughty bits, and so it can't be a garment.

And so if we conduct an empirical test on the emperor and fail to detect any empirical properties consistent with his wearing pants, then he isn't. To be a garment requires the possession of empirical properties. Take those away, and there is no garment.

But belief in God isn't primarily a belief about the contents of the empirical world. It is, rather, a certain holistic interpretation of our experience, one that offers an account of the meaning and significance of the empirical world and the lives we lead within it. To believe in God is to understand the world of ordinary experience in terms of an interpretive worldview that posits the existence of "something more."

In this respect, belief in God is more like belief in metaphysical naturalism-by which I mean the doctrine that the empirical world exhausts what is real. Whether or not there is more to reality than meets the empirical eye isn't a question we can answer through empirical investigation, the way that we can answer whether the poor emperor's fruits are hanging free.

So how do we address this kind of question? The answer, I think, is that we have to "try on" alternative interpretations to see which offers the best fit with the whole of human experience-not merely with what we experience through our senses, but also with the broader and ultimately more important dimensions of our lived experience, including our moral and aesthetic experience and our sense of the numinous. Is a naturalistic worldview, one which explains away these latter features of our lives (or at least the last), ultimately a better fit with the whole of human experience than some alternative which posits a transcendent element of one kind or another?

How can we even begin to answer such a question without seriously "trying on" the alternatives? In its broadest terms, theology is the intellectual project of developing and exploring a range of alternative worldviews that all have something in common-namely, they include belief in a transcendent reality that is in some way both fundamental and good. As such, theology falls within a much broader intellectual project, one that develops and explores not only theistic worldviews, but other worldviews as well, such as the naturalistic one endorsed by Dawkins, Myers, and Sanderson.

Of course, an interpretive worldview has to fit with our experience, including what science teaches us about the world. And not every theistic worldview meets this criterion (Young Earth Creationism comes to mind). But while a specific formulation of theism might have to give way before scientific evidence in just the way that a specific version of Darwinian theory might need to give way to a more nuanced and comprehensive version, the overall theological project-to shape a theistic worldview consistent with experience-remains viable regardless of what science teaches us. What this means is that in a broad sense a theistic worldview is empirically unfalsifiable. just like a naturalistic one.

Simply put, we don't test our holistic worldviews the way we test whether the emperor is naked or clothed. We test them by trying them on, trying to live them out, and then reflecting on how well they work as organizing principles for individual and communal lives. We test them not only in terms of their internal consistency and consistency with empirical facts (something that the best theologians always strive to maintain), but in terms of such issues as pragmatic impact on the quality of human life.

We also assess them in terms of simplicity-a criterion according to which naturalism may have an edge (although some theologians argue otherwise). And all else being equal, a worldview that forces us to explain away huge swaths of our lived experience as nothing but delusion and error is less satisfactory than one which offers a meaningful and coherent account of those same elements.

The task of deciding which worldview to embrace-and hence whether or not we should believe in some kind of transcendent reality or God-is an enormously challenging task that cannot be answered through empirical investigation. It is a question which, in fact, will probably never be answered wholly or fully. But we cannot ignore the question, because which worldview we adopt makes a big difference for how we live our lives.

And so we must struggle to assess the relative merits of the alternatives available to us-something that we simply cannot responsibly do by ignoring those thinkers who, as part of a rich traditional of rigorous inquiry, attempt to construct plausible theistic world views and uncover the explanatory power of theism in relation to the full breadth of our human experience.

In other words, we cannot responsibly assess the question of God's existence by ignoring in advance the work of substantive theologians. The strategy of satirical dismissal championed by Myers, embraced by Dawkins, and recently promulgated on the pages of The Guardian by Terry Sanderson, is nothing short of a formula for intellectual irresponsibility.


###
Are interpretations, doctrines, dogmas of any religion synonymous with theology? I think so.

I assume this author is refering to exoteric, orthodox, Christian theology, not that of the esoteric Eastern or Western World View. As for atheists, I have known several. For a time, was one myself. Every atheist I have ever known is a thinking person, otherwise they would not be atheists. The atheist can say to the religionist belittling the atheist, "how is it Grasshopper that you do not understand why I am an atheist?"

How can a thinking person not come to the point at which they deny accepted, orthodox, theology?

How can a thinking person 'NOT IGNORE' orthodox theology's exoteric, literal interpretation of Genesis?

It is becoming a question of why the Orthie cannot reject this theology. A fair question to an adult would be, how is it you don't ignore the Easter Bunny fable?

Are atheists those stuck between having put childish things away and beginning to be inclusive of adult (spiritual) "things?" They remind me of Homing Pigeons circling before choosing a direction. Most don't know there is another direction, a new and sensible direction for those coming under the magnetic influence of what is called the God within. I went through just such a period before blundering into a spiritual path I've followed since 1965.

In my case, and I have discovered in the case of many others, I ignored theology for a time, but then couldn't get past the thought that something had to create manifestation; that there had to be something that made caveman a da Vinci or an Einstein. What I was to learn from those having climbed to a much higher elevation on the Mt of Transfiguration than I, is the hidden meaning behind the symbolic language of theology. Once one has the mental key that unlocks the door to meaning, the theology makes sense.

A thinking person (which all eventually become) runs headlong into the question, "well, if it isn't the theology in which I was raised, then what is it...there has to be a Cause of all that is. I believe the answer is found in John 16:25.

So, can theology be ignored? I'd say no. Our evolutionary urge within, our growing, maturing, Christs within, our hope of glory, won't allow it. By trying so hard to ignore theology, one is thinking about it. Thinking about theology is not ignoring it.

There is no Culture which hasn't had, doesn't have, its theology. Theology is part of the fabric of our being. Theology can't be ignored. It can, and is, superseded, understood, on an ever increasing scale of intellect, but not ignored.

Theology is simply what men think is in the mind of a God.
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May 30th, 2010, 1:10 pm #6

I read this somewhere.......the great danger in religion is outgrowing a belief before one is able to find a higher concept to hang onto about that same belief:

if people just come to the reality of God as nothing like they "thought" he was, but don't FEEL God as he really is, they are in danger of abandoning God completely:

why is this dangerous?

Because of the REALITY of God;

if God were just a concept and we outgrow that concept, we don't need God anymore.


but if God is REAL and our ability to discern this reality doesn't reach us in time to cling to the truth of God before we give up childish beliefs of God, how will we BE in the world of believers or unbelievers? how will we be period?


If all people were intelligent and interested enough in science, they would eventually be led back to God, but if they aren't, then they just find their own limited ideas of life less and less able to touch any reality:


then its just a matter of "make believe" in all areas and this is when we are less valuable than animals who at least LIVE according to the laws of nature:


our mind needs to find the truth in order to be at REST

the mind is the spirits attempt at being fulfilled (hence the carnal mind is the seed of the serpent and I wrote about that on another forum this morning that I may now bring over here):

if the mind can't FIND what the spirit is looking for, the mind will go crazy looking for it even if it doesn't have the motivation to seek in areas of reality i.e. science.

Thank God the internet brings us information about science freely so most people are more INFORMED than ever before and like I said, if we are really and truly seeking for the TRUTH, we will find it; science will lead us back to God even if our intelligence or lack of it, leads us away from God first:


Last edited by Harpazo on May 30th, 2010, 1:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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May 30th, 2010, 1:12 pm #7

thats why Im putting it here to continue with my point:


oh the senses...
May 30 2010 at 7:49 AM
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yvonne (Login Harpazo)


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the more I accept my sensuality the less I have to give into it: This was a freedom that came from being able to SEE myself from a higher perspective as "real" and not as a POSSIBILITY:

when I wavered between spirit and flesh through the consciousness of ego or the carnal mind, I couldn't walk by the spirit because it was not really available to me on a continual basis.

its like God would tap me on the shoulder and say, here I am, smile and leave: I was left with a beautiful feeling and a huge let down: I wanted to feel that good but didn't have the means to do so and this led me to more sensual pursuits to make up for the lack the spirit created in me but didn't fill me with.


God does this thing where he shows up to MOTIVATE US to grow, seek, desire greater levels of pleasure. Leaving us without the promise fulfilled can make us crazy inside. Only God knows how crazy he can make us before we give up; I have often wondered if God missed it with the masses, but that is just another illusion of the ego: That somehow God the creator of everything we perceive with our natural eyes, could be so STUPID as to forget how to make us happy when it comes to our "inner" dimension or that which truly satisfies us:


our animal is happy to live among other animals, even lesser intelligent ones as long as they don't have the ego of King Kong: Our Spirit is what makes us unhappy because it LONGS FOR SOMETHING that it can't have.....something that eye has not seen, ear has not heard, and therefore the spirit feels lack no matter how many senses we fill. The spirit says "not enough", do it again....nope, try again....try again....please get it right this time....do it again, eat some more, ingest some more, touch some more.....



the spirit can't receive the things of the flesh either so it stays as unhappy as a person living in their body would be if they have to live without water or food or shelter or the ability to MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN for those they are connected to like their families:


the spirit needs its food as the body needs its food: The body can't make it up to the spirit for not having a connection to its source but it tries via the ego or the seed of the serpent/spirit:


the ego is the attempt of the spirit that is not connected to its source to get its food from that which is not really satisfying to it: IT FEELS LIKE ITS NEVER ENOUGH....because it isn't:


my body got enough when I was able to FEED MY SPIRIT....which was dead to God till it was given a second birth, joined to God again:


once I got that connection, my body was able to be more and more NATURAL, or do what nature does....it doesn't OVERDO unless it is out of course, sick, no longer functioning by its LAW

now when I need something more than my five senses need, I know where to turn: NOT OUT THERE......

unless it is that extra piece of apple pie with carmel ice cream......yuuuummmmm


but the good news is that it isn't my spirit looking for something in that


it is just the taste buds and as much as they like a little more than they need, they really don't want that much more.....


all that need for excess came from my sick spirit;

I too cook meat for my family and doggies......but I do feel a little guilty even here.....have to admit that. I try not to think about it too much or I will become one of those intollerant people and maybe even join PETA or something......Im too old:)




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May 30th, 2010, 1:51 pm #8

Can Atheists Simply Ignore Theology?
Only if they're seeking a formula for intellectual irresponsibility.
By Eric Reitan
Eric Reitan, an award-winning scholar and writer, teaches philosophy at Oklahoma State University. His new book, Is God a Delusion? A Reply to Religion's Cultured Despisers was released by Wiley-Blackwell in November.

The other day, Terry Sanderson-president of the United Kingdom's National Secular Society-published a short, scathing indictment of theology in The Guardian, a piece titled "Theology-truly a naked emperor."

This title deliberately recalls H.C. Andersen's famous fable, "The Emperor's New Clothes," and by implication its ongoing use by popular atheist critics of religion to defang criticism that they know next to nothing about theology. The fable was first made use of a few years back by atheist blogger (and biologist) PZ Myers in a bit of satire called "The Courtier's Reply," a response to H. Allen Orr's scathing review of Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion in the New York Review of Books. "The Courtier's Reply" so delighted Dawkins that he quoted it at length in the preface to the paperback edition of his book.

In briefest terms, Orr's chief complaint about The God Delusion is that it displays a profound ignorance of relevant theology. Myers' satirical response runs as follows:

I have considered the impudent accusations of Mr. Dawkins with exasperation at his lack of serious scholarship. He has apparently not read the detailed discourses of Count Roderigo of Seville on the exquisite and exotic leathers of the Emperor's boots, nor does he give a moment's consideration to Bellini's masterwork, On the Luminescence of the Emperor's Feathered Hat. We have entire schools dedicated to writing learned treatises on the beauty of the Emperor's raiment, and every major newspaper runs a section dedicated to imperial fashion. Dawkins arrogantly ignores all these deep philosophical ponderings to crudely accuse the Emperor of nudity.

It goes on, but that is enough to capture its flavor. Since Myers first published it, this bit of satire has been invoked widely by atheists who want to quickly dismiss those who think atheist critics of religion should engage seriously with important works of theology.

I became painfully conscious of this propensity shortly after Religion Dispatches published an interview with me about my book, Is God a Delusion? The link to that interview quickly appeared on Richard Dawkins' Web site under the heading, "Another Flea," invoking the practice of Dawkins' supporters to call critics of The God Delusion "fleas." The very first posted comment was this: "Just from reading the abstract it sounds like another book in `The Courtier's Reply' category." The subsequent comments were riddled with mockery.

But can theology really be dismissed so readily? Myers' satire has as its backdrop a story in which a pair of con men have pretended to make a new set of clothes for the emperor but present him instead with nothing but thin air, along with a cockamamie story to the effect that those who are stupid or unfit for their positions can't see these fine clothes at all. Since no one wants to be accused of these things, everyone pretends to see what they don't in fact see.

In Myers' version of the story, this pretense has spiraled out of control, becoming an entire literary genre with recognized masterworks, all of it serving only to perpetuate the con game and silence anyone with the temerity to state the obvious.

Myers' satire sees theology as a pretentious obfuscation: high-sounding nonsense whose only function is to obscure the obvious truth that there is no God.

But notice: Myers doesn't argue for this conclusion. He seems to take it as an obvious premise-making one wonder whether this isn't just a clever bit of question-begging. After all, there is no real attempt to look at works of theology to see if the judgment fits.

Terry Sanderson, in his recent Guardian piece, might be seen as trying to support Myers' presumption by offering up some examples of theology's pretentious obfuscation-or at least one, an example from Rowan Williams which Sanderson characterizes as "convoluted writing that nobody with their feet in reality can comprehend." He describes watching the "theological" programs he finds on television as akin to having had "one of those strokes that make your native language incomprehensible to you. You recognize the individual words as English, but they have no meaning."

And on the basis of this subjective assessment of some unscientifically selected samples, Sanderson is happy to embrace the premise underlying Myers' "Courtier's Reply." In Sanderson's words, "Theology is an excuse for grown men to spend their lives trying to convince themselves, and others, that ridiculous fairy tales are true."

Put more simply, Sanderson has looked at some theology, found it incomprehensible, and concluded that this must mean it is meaningless nonsense whose only possible function is to hide fictional beliefs behind a cloud of obscurantism. I might as well conclude that string theory is nonsense, since it's incomprehensible to me.

Fortunately, Myers' more prominent follower is also a more careful thinker. Dawkins offers an interpretation of "The Courtier's Reply" that, at least at first glance, lends it more plausibility. In the preface to the paperback edition of The God Delusion, Dawkins distinguishes between two kinds of theology: the kind which presupposes God's existence, which I'll call substantive theology; and the kind that attempts to make the case for God's existence. We might call this apologetic theology.

Dawkins admits he needs to take apologetic theology into account-which he claims to have done adequately and with "good humor" in The God Delusion. What he needn't do, he thinks, is pay heed to the other kind of theology.

Now Dawkins doesn't display any understanding of what this other kind of theology is, what its practitioners actually do. He hasn't studied it, after all. Whatever it is, it's something like fairyology, by which Dawkins has in mind the study of such things as "the exact shape and colour of fairy wings." In other words, Dawkins takes it that this other kind of theology devotes itself to theorizing about what God is like. But since all such theorizing is premised on the assumption that there is a God, this other kind of theology begs Dawkins' question-and hence can be ignored. This is what he takes Myers to be pointing out.

Now, the distinction Dawkins makes here seems reasonable enough. But there are some important questions. First, does Dawkins really understand and appreciate the force of apologetic theology in all its diversity? In fact, I think it's quite clear he doesn't. But since this is an issue I take up at some length in my book, I want to set it aside here so I can focus on another question: Is Dawkins right that he and other atheist critics of religion don't need to take substantive theology into account? Are Myers and Sanderson right that they can justifiably ignore theology's perplexing techno-babble, making no effort to learn the academic language of theology, on the ground that these theologians are simply assuming as true the very thing that atheists are calling into question?

I think not. First of all, the kind of question we are asking when we ask whether or not God exists is a very different kind of question than we are asking when we wonder about the emperor's state of undress. Belief in the existence of the emperor's pantaloons involves belief that the empirical world we encounter with our senses includes (among other things) a garment of a certain shape and size draped over the emperor's nether parts. But if something lacks all empirical properties, then it can't have a size or shape, let alone cover the emperor's naughty bits, and so it can't be a garment.

And so if we conduct an empirical test on the emperor and fail to detect any empirical properties consistent with his wearing pants, then he isn't. To be a garment requires the possession of empirical properties. Take those away, and there is no garment.

But belief in God isn't primarily a belief about the contents of the empirical world. It is, rather, a certain holistic interpretation of our experience, one that offers an account of the meaning and significance of the empirical world and the lives we lead within it. To believe in God is to understand the world of ordinary experience in terms of an interpretive worldview that posits the existence of "something more."

In this respect, belief in God is more like belief in metaphysical naturalism-by which I mean the doctrine that the empirical world exhausts what is real. Whether or not there is more to reality than meets the empirical eye isn't a question we can answer through empirical investigation, the way that we can answer whether the poor emperor's fruits are hanging free.

So how do we address this kind of question? The answer, I think, is that we have to "try on" alternative interpretations to see which offers the best fit with the whole of human experience-not merely with what we experience through our senses, but also with the broader and ultimately more important dimensions of our lived experience, including our moral and aesthetic experience and our sense of the numinous. Is a naturalistic worldview, one which explains away these latter features of our lives (or at least the last), ultimately a better fit with the whole of human experience than some alternative which posits a transcendent element of one kind or another?

How can we even begin to answer such a question without seriously "trying on" the alternatives? In its broadest terms, theology is the intellectual project of developing and exploring a range of alternative worldviews that all have something in common-namely, they include belief in a transcendent reality that is in some way both fundamental and good. As such, theology falls within a much broader intellectual project, one that develops and explores not only theistic worldviews, but other worldviews as well, such as the naturalistic one endorsed by Dawkins, Myers, and Sanderson.

Of course, an interpretive worldview has to fit with our experience, including what science teaches us about the world. And not every theistic worldview meets this criterion (Young Earth Creationism comes to mind). But while a specific formulation of theism might have to give way before scientific evidence in just the way that a specific version of Darwinian theory might need to give way to a more nuanced and comprehensive version, the overall theological project-to shape a theistic worldview consistent with experience-remains viable regardless of what science teaches us. What this means is that in a broad sense a theistic worldview is empirically unfalsifiable. just like a naturalistic one.

Simply put, we don't test our holistic worldviews the way we test whether the emperor is naked or clothed. We test them by trying them on, trying to live them out, and then reflecting on how well they work as organizing principles for individual and communal lives. We test them not only in terms of their internal consistency and consistency with empirical facts (something that the best theologians always strive to maintain), but in terms of such issues as pragmatic impact on the quality of human life.

We also assess them in terms of simplicity-a criterion according to which naturalism may have an edge (although some theologians argue otherwise). And all else being equal, a worldview that forces us to explain away huge swaths of our lived experience as nothing but delusion and error is less satisfactory than one which offers a meaningful and coherent account of those same elements.

The task of deciding which worldview to embrace-and hence whether or not we should believe in some kind of transcendent reality or God-is an enormously challenging task that cannot be answered through empirical investigation. It is a question which, in fact, will probably never be answered wholly or fully. But we cannot ignore the question, because which worldview we adopt makes a big difference for how we live our lives.

And so we must struggle to assess the relative merits of the alternatives available to us-something that we simply cannot responsibly do by ignoring those thinkers who, as part of a rich traditional of rigorous inquiry, attempt to construct plausible theistic world views and uncover the explanatory power of theism in relation to the full breadth of our human experience.

In other words, we cannot responsibly assess the question of God's existence by ignoring in advance the work of substantive theologians. The strategy of satirical dismissal championed by Myers, embraced by Dawkins, and recently promulgated on the pages of The Guardian by Terry Sanderson, is nothing short of a formula for intellectual irresponsibility.


###
I think atheists do not ignore theology, they simply consider it insignificant in relation to what it asserts because claims without (conclusive) evidence can be dismissed the same way.

As long as the best theists can come up are concepts such as Pascal's Wager, the Watchmaker Analogy/Argument and so on, meant to be in support of what those concepts/arguments actually refute (ardent believers, in whatever, create a Bozone Layer rendering it impossible for them to grasp a concept such as self-refutation), their advertising keeps backfiring and we can ignore it for what it is - untill the day theists produce a deductive, valid and sound argument in support of their case, then it becomes interesting.

As it stands, the theist has been unable to construct such an argument in support of their case, while it's quite easy to do the opposite.


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May 30th, 2010, 2:16 pm #9

even if a theist doesn't understand God as much as he feels him, he does discuss the writings of those who have experienced him and come up with a language that tries to discuss another dimension besides the five senses;

its not so easy to discuss the cross with those who only understand reality from the five senses so a theist discusses the cross which he himself may not have experienced yet in a manner that makes no "sense" to the senses (of course not).


the cross for instance takes us outside the realm of the "senses" but it does take us to a HIGHER LEVEL than "the carnal mind, sensual mind" is able to perceive:


there is a scientific experiment called the 'Casimir affect" that describes the experience of the CROSS, at least it does for me and my own experience, and this truly will give a scientific mind a "concept' to look into:

but its not that easy to grasp conceptually because of the lack of sensual proof except through a lab experiment: HOW many people will be willing to do that?


here is Rabbi Leitman with the article on the Casimir affect:


I understood this immediately based on my experience of the cross which I wrote about somewhere below on this forum:


http://www.laitman.com/2010/04/casimir- ... dimension/
Last edited by Harpazo on May 30th, 2010, 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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May 30th, 2010, 2:45 pm #10

The same way we can live totally without television!
It is just thrust at us yet we can, and some do, exist without either.

A question from my kids school from one of their lessons. where was 'God' during world war two? A possible, and my answer. 'God' does not exist.

Love
Jackie


Know Thyself
"God's Plan" and WWII



________________________
Explicit contains Implicit.

If what is explicitly posed is true
then what it infers or implies
must be true as well. If not,
then there's something amiss
with the explicit.
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