Re: Fragility and tendentiousness

From: Steve Petermann (
Date: Thu Sep 18 2003 - 22:08:32 EDT

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    Dr. Nelson wrote:
    Most atheist screeds,
    for example, talking about how ridiculous christian
    belief is a strawman caricature of christianity and
    are just plain theologically ignorant and wrong.
    Sadly, there are people whose beliefs probably
    coincide in a folk religious way with those strawman

    I agree. What readers of the likes of Dennett or Pinker probably don't know
    is that the guys are not consistent in their approach. When they talk
    against religion they pick on, as you say, folk religion instead of the best
    theological thinking they could find. However, they would throw a fit if
    their own technical work was dismissed by someone based on a critique of
    folk science.

    Second, I think that it is not due to "rational"
    reasons why people leave.

    That may be true of many, but the thinking people I see at the UU church
    have left for that very reason. If religions are not compelling to the
    intelligentsia there is a problem. Some will say that the intelligentsia
    are not important but to the contrary those are the teachers and professors
    who are shaping young minds. While it takes time for the "beliefs" of the
    intelligentsia to pervade popular culture, it eventually does. Just look at

    Or arational as William James refers to it in the Will to
    Believe, which I think encapsulates part of the
    problem very well and which I wont go into here at the

    True. Probably most people make religious choices based on some sort of
    "feel" for it. However, as we see with the increasing efforts in the
    science and religion arena(particularly among clergy and the educated
    laity), there is a growing number who want a *well reasoned* faith as well.
    The question for Christianity and all religions is how to address this
    desire for a well reasoned belief system. Included in this good reasoning
    is also an embrace of a modern worldview. While it may be immanently
    rational to believe in God(which I also think it is), where the religious
    framework goes from there may not be.

    Scientism is just plain bad philosophy and uncritical


    I am all for people thinking critically
    about what science means and does and what it doesn't.
     It is only in bad theology or ignorance of theology
    that a scientific worldview has much of anything to
    say about religion.

    That sounds just as prejudicial as a scientism. Surely science has
    something to tell us about how the cosmos unfolds. When religion does the
    same thing then there can either be a conflict or partnership.

    Steve Petermann

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