Saturday, 7 April 2012
Forget About Reality, It's Easter!!
I often wonder what is required to cling on to religious belief when all the evidence indicates there’s no truth to it. Perhaps I have a unique perspective on this; I continue to know a lot of Christians and am very aware of how their worldview informs their lives. One of the observations that most troubles me is the active denial of facts, or rather a willingness to ignore them in favour of pre-existing belief. Take, by way of example the uncontroversial historical truth that the Gospels contain a bucket load of additional material not found in the original manuscripts. Famous versus such as “Let he whom is without sin cast the first stone” are recognised to be later additions, yet such wisdom is regularly quoted as though it passed from the lips of Jesus. In fact, I suppose more troubling is how little and how infrequently people of faith are inclined to audit themselves? It seems that when new information, information that challenges faith is presented it has all the stick-ability of water off glass. Surely this amounts to a wilful rejection of facts, in which case this sadly erodes my respect. I mean, what kind of a world do we wish to live in? One where facts matter? Where evidence and reason is esteemed and used as a light to guide the way? Or one where we hang our coats to a set of religious convictions which vary depending on the particular faith tradition you were born into? Would you fly in an aircraft that the pilot claimed to fly by faith? Or by a surgeon claiming to heal you by evoking the name of Jesus? Would you employ a plumber asserting they can fix your boiler using prayer alone? No, of course not; you’d want assurances that those making the claim have something tangible to back it up. Yet we continue to regard faith as something virtuous, as some kind of marker to good standing and moral fibre. Tell me, is it moral to reject a truthful claim because it makes you uneasy, and may require you to think another way, or give up a cherished conviction? Because to me that’s sounds an awful lot like lying to yourself, and if you can lie to yourself what’s to stop you lying to others? For my part, I don’t for a second think that Christian’s are habitual liars, but I do suggest that they have distrust and contempt for truth that should cause us to be wary. Perhaps you think me harsh? I don’t see what’s harsh about wanting to have honest dealings with other people? I don’t see the harshness in bringing self defeating behaviour into the open so people can take a closer look at themselves. Thing is, I am by no means certain that truth is very important to many Christians, which given that they make the outrageous claim that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, is quite something. It cannot be said loud enough or often enough that truth doesn’t care how we feel about it. It is what it is, and thank goodness for it. It’s such a tragedy to see it treated with such shallow disregard.