There is much I don't know.

I've been working with my Dad a lot the last few weeks. It involves running heavy equipment, which gives me lots of time to listen to podcasts. The three that have been in my ear non stop have been Q, Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean, and Conversations From The Pale Blue Dot. I highly recommend all three. Conversations is particularly interesting to me, as Luke does not only interview people that would reinforce his viewpoint. He mainly focuses on the philosophy of religion and the Atheism/Christian divide.  Someone who comes up a lot in discussion is William Lane Craig. Dr Craig is someone who would most definitely destroy me in any sort of intellectual challenge. There is something about him that bugs me though, and I feel as if it is indicative of most evangelicals. The following three quotes illustrate my unease.

"Therefore, when a person refuses to come to Christ it is never just because of lack of evidence or because of intellectual difficulties: at root, he refuses to come because he willingly ignores and rejects the drawing of God's Spirit on his heart. No one in the final analysis really fails to become a Christian because of lack of arguments; he fails to become a Christian because he loves darkness rather than light and wants nothing to do with God." [William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, (Revised edition, Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1994), pp. 35-36.]

"Should a conflict arise between the witness of the Holy Spirit to the fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter, not vice versa." [William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, (Revised edition, Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1994), p. 36.]

"The Bible says all men are without excuse. Even those who are given no good reason to believe and many persuasive reasons to disbelieve have no excuse, because the ultimate reason they do not believe is that they have deliberately rejected God's Holy Spirit." [William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, (Revised edition, Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1994), p. 37.]

I know we all have our bias'. That humans tend to accept evidence that reinforces personal viewpoints, and reject anything that contradicts. With that said, I feel I have changed my mind on many issues when thinking through the evidence, and examining my own inner reasons. My vastly different outlook on Christianity within the last ten years would be an example. These quotes drive home to me the futility of trying to reason with anyone with an entrenched religious position. I know I changed, but I think the change comes organically within the person. It can not be forced. Dr Craig illustrates this perfectly. He claims to be all about reason and evidence, but quotes like this lead me to distrust that. Much like the young earth creationists, it seems that nothing would ever change his mind. I just find that to be very dishonest.
This has led me to think that I will keep my personal intellectually journey to a close few, and try to avoid debate as much as possible. I love the debate, but I am beginning to see the futility of it. People will believe whatever they want, no matter how mind numbingly ignorant and crazy. Let me be clear, in no way am I saying religion makes people stupid. When a person is so committed to a viewpoint that nothing will change their mind, that's just stubbornness, and very human.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the tips on the podcasts. I have been enjoying a few podcasts at work as I code, mind you I try and get music podcasts as the too much talk starts distracting me... I've been enjoying the horrendously cheezy radio3 r3-30 and radio3 grant lawrence podcasts.

    As for stubbornness it's definitely an issue. It occurs to be it may be almost inherent in holding any hard to prove idea. In the case of religion or as yet unproven points of science, basically you have to be the convinced that you're on the right track and then hone one's understanding of the unprovable part through hunches, testing and experience (theory).

    An interesting question would be is stubborn belief a regular precursor of discovery? The term mad scientist exists for a reason :)