That Philip is a busy guy—got a double-barreled response from him today—so let’s take a look first at his statement that he supports “equal rights for all, not just those that are approved by the religious establishment.”
I’m not sure what Philip means about “the religious establishment” so I’ll make an assumption. It sounds as if he believes that Christians are non-thinking ignoramuses and that we go to … who? The Pope? I’m not Catholic so that wouldn’t work for me to determine my beliefs. And as far as Catholics—my friend Rooney is Catholic and one of the smartest guys I know. You won’t find anyone telling him what to believe. But he and I are on the same page regarding our foundational beliefs. Yeah, we have faith, but it’s faith based on reason, the Bible, evidence supported by reliable scholarship, first-hand accounts of changed lives, eyewitness accounts, science, medicine, you-name-it.
To quote C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity: … God is no fonder of intellectual slackers than of any other slackers. If you are thinking of becoming a Christian, I warn you that you are embarking on something which is going to take the whole of you, brains and all. But, fortunately, it works the other way round. Anyone who is honestly trying to be a Christian will soon find his intelligence being sharpened: one of the reasons why it needs no special education to be a Christian is that Christianity is an education itself. That is why an uneducated believer like Bunyan was able to write a book [The Pilgrim’s Progress] that has astonished the whole world.
I would say to Philip and others who see Christians as naïve robots—wrap your minds around the writings of C.S. Lewis, Karl Barth, Dinesh D’Souza, Philip Yancey, and N.T. Wright, for starters. While it’s true that the foundational truths of Christianity (i.e., those necessary for salvation) are understandable to 13-year-olds, it is also true that faith and reason are not incompatible. Worshiping God with our minds is actually a command, and thus not an optional extra.
Certainly, compartmentalized Christians separate their faith and thinking but that’s true of any group, including your garden variety atheists. To put it bluntly, Philip’s belief that Christians only support what “the religious establishment” dictates shows considerable naiveté on his part. Or is he believing only what’s approved by the atheistic establishment?
Philip goes on to say: “People who choose to believe in religion (I will use Christianity as an example) are choosing to believe in the Bible, choosing to believe that the Bible is true, and are choosing to believe that God is real. None of it can be one-hundred percent proven. Religion takes faith, because it cannot be proved until death.”
Indeed that is true. But it is also true about everything. Professor Richard Dawkins, who wrote The God Delusion, admitted during a recent debate with the Archbishop of Canterbury that he could not prove that God does not exist. If Dawkins can’t prove it, I doubt that Philip can prove that God does not exist, either.
In fact, all that we do; all that we believe we know—is based on faith of some kind.
Check in tomorrow to see what other surprises might come out of this lively discussion that began by questioning if same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. If you comment—and I hope you do—be sure to check the little box after your comment that asks if you wish to be notified about responses to your comment.