I've spent the last couple of months dipping into a discussion thread over at Richard Dawkins brilliant website for reason and science. I've had the opportunity to listen to and engage with a theologian who on many levels has been hugely impressive. He is bright, articulate, knowledgeable, and tremendous at picking out the specifics behind the objections raised by others. What's this, I hear you say? Is Rob softening in his views on religion? Has he finally seen the light once again?
Not so fast. It has actually had the opposite effect, and I have this gentleman to thank for enlightening me to the sheer emptiness of his craft.
Example; according to him, God is immaterial, timeless and uncaused. In plain language he posits that the Creator is not made of anything, always existed, and was the cause of his/her/it's own existence.
Now let's acquaint ourselves with some generally accepted facts. At present, physicists freely admit that whilst we can get close to the moment of the big bang, we hit a wall beyond which all our ways of understanding break down. Now to their credit, they simply admit this. They say, as they must, that beyond this point the origins of space-time are unknown. So whilst the professionals hold up their hands the theologian stumbles gamely on, venturing into uncharted territory and having the nerve to venture the kind of claims that would make OJ Simpson blush. And herein is the fundamental flaw in theology. It goes beyond what we know, and without being too blunt starts making stuff up. I'm not impressed. And when all is done and dusted what you are left with is less knowledge than when you started.
Here's all you need to know about theology. It starts from an unproven premise; namely God exists. It then backward engineers all kinds of silliness in order to offer credence to the aforementioned idea. If you dare challenge a theologian about Biblical history, Biblical integrity, or bring up any of it's myriad contradictions you will typically be met with the statement, "Ah yes, but even if the Bible is untrue it doesn't disprove the possibility of God. Only it get's worse, because they then pull the same trick with evolution, or failed prophecy, or some other element.
Confession; I cannot disprove the existence of God. But surely, surely we can draw some inferences from the real world? Evolution is directly at odds with what the Bible says about our origins; whilst the Good Book has also been wrong so many times over. It condones slavery, demands adulterers, homosexuals, and sometimes even children be put to death. In short, it is a second rate collection of absurd and barbaric teachings interspersed with sporadic dosages of wisdom that had already been better stated elsewhere. So what do I think of theology?
I think it is a waste of time. I think it is an empty shell, a whitewashed tomb, and an abuse of minds that could be better applied to resolving some of the real problems facing the world today.