Why I Can’t Imagine A Christian Skeptic…
Note from George:It seems as though many of my normal blog stops are on a brief summer vacation, well deserved I’m sure, leaving me with not too much inspiration for posts this week. So to pass the time I went to the WordPress home and searched for blog posts on “atheism” and stumbled across this.
I lurked a bit on this blog and must say that although the post in question is more direct and pointed, I envy her use of language even if many of the thoughts are “bad poetry” by a logical standard. She is definitely worth a lurk or two if you find yourself in a fighting mood.
Can I Imagine A Worse Argument? No…. Did I Just Prove Her Point?
In fact, I asked one agnostic friend of mine if there were any fears which might attend his entertainment of just taking a “leap of faith,” and believing a thing without empirical knowledge of that thing. His number one fear was that he would be “giving up his ability to think critically” if he were to make such a leap of faith.
We like to believe that God is an imagined or invented thing. There are plenty of postulated reasons for our having imagined or invented him, therefore he must be imagined or invented!
Where does this come from? Is not every theory, every model, and every practical invention of man rooted first in the imagination—and NOT in reality? Einstein is famous for equating energy with mass, but he is not unknown for his quote, “Imagination is better than knowledge.” Whether god is invented by man we know not; but he is most certainly “imagined” by man. Indeed, man has no other means of approaching such a reality, than through his own imagination.
………….(edited, full comment in original post linked at top)
So, I ask, where is it that we are “giving up our ability to think critically,” when we take that leap of faith? Aren’t we opening ourselves up more than we ever had before, when we do?
I mean, let’s face it, the skeptic has better arguments. However, the skeptic limits reality to that which he can perceive with his current senses.
The theist, on the other hand, has a broader sense of reality, albeit the aspects of reality which lie below the surface of his sense perception, exist primarily in his imagination.
Is imagination limited in the atheist? Really? As a theist, are you not equally closing the door to the suggestion that there is no God? As a Christian (which I believe I am safe to assume the author is based on this), do you not close yourself to the imagining that Krishna, Zeus, Allah, or (insert deity here) is responsible for all you see before you? Am I less imaginative to go one God further than yourself?
I can assure her that I can imagine a world in which God(s) exist. I will tell you that it bears little to no resemblance to the reality in which I reside.
She is correct in stating that there is more to our lives, our history and our existence then what we can grasp with our mortal fingers. Science tells us of forgotten pasts, distant places, the incomprehensible realms of the microscopic and atomic scale. These are places of magic and mystery. They are witnessed by a privileged few, but available to all through the endless toil of these intrepid explorers. Best of all, all this is reality. It happened and is happening, a whole reality beyond the scope of our limited human brains.
Einstein did indeed say that “Imagination is more important than knowledge, for knowledge is limited while imagination embraces the entire world.“; I can assure you that he meant no ill will to reality. The greatest of scientific discoveries started rightly in the realm of imagination, but we must be sure to separate those things that cannot survive the journey from our mind to reality from those that are dreamed to existence.
To claim that I am limited within the realm of reality is fatuous and near-sighted.
The Million Dollar Question: Can We At Once Be A Skeptic And A Theist?
I believe that one could rightly be a deist and a skeptic, with no regard for any religious traditions. I take issue with the claim that you can be a true skeptic and a true christian of any stripe.
There is so much to be skeptical of in the claims of any of our major monotheistic traditions. The schizophrenic nature of Yaweh and Allah, the blatant plagiarism of the holy books, the lack of any empirical evidence of a Savior born during an era of good record keeping. All these facts and countless others must be set aside in a quest to believe the unbelievable.
I too, wanted so hard to believe. There has always been a part of me that can’t get past the discrepancies, can’t honestly bring myself to imagine a God that doesn’t just leave me without evidence but instead gives evidence to the contrary. I have given this much thought, I have explored the realm of faith…and I have always found it lacking.
A true skeptic follows the evidence, no matter how uncomfortable or difficult a path it is. I have trouble imagining a Christian following a truly skeptical path and ending up knocking on Heaven’s door.
But as you said, maybe I just lack imagination…..