Thursday, February 14, 2008

Security Blanket Religion

Do people want a religion that is true or do they just want a religion that comforts them and helps them live life?

I believe it is more of the latter.

I recently read on Barack Obama's web site, regarding faith (BTW, the faith section of his web site is very anorexic) that he believes that faith has been wrongly used to divide people when it should unite people (a paraphrase gleaned from his "Audacity of Hope" book).

But truth, divides. It divides people into "right" and "wrong", black and white. Now unlike most people who would agree with me, let me go out of my way to say that I don't LIKE this but it is undeniable. Yes, it would be nice if we could all be right in the end but such is not reality.

If I look both ways before crossing and see a bus coming, its either me OR the bus, not both. I can't ignore it and proceed crossing the street knowing we'll both get to our destinations in the end.

But I see a different standard set for matters of faith. It seems that people don't expect faith to follow the same rules of the world that we live for. Faith has become unhinged from reality. And no wonder, reality can be cruel!

Believe me, I don't want a cruel faith, but I want a true faith over a comforting delusion. After all, the questions that faith asks are the most important questions one can ask in life.

Is there a God?
If so, who is this God?
What does it mean to live in a world where there is a God?
How shall I live as a result?
What is my life's purpose?
Does life even have a purpose?
If there isn't a God, then what?
Why can't I make up my own purpose?

I think that the reason people have unhinged faith from reality is people don't really believe in faith. Deep down inside, people see it as a delusion that helps us get through the cruel parts of life (suffering and death). People see it as a belief that helps stabilize the mind in the midst of a storm, but does nothing to stabilize the ship itself.

I would have fallen into this trap, had not Christianity presented me historical claims. Bill Maher most recently attributed the claims of Christianity to UFO citings. He obviously knows very little about Christianity. Christianity could have been dismissed by the Romans very easily. All they had to do was to produce the body of Christ. They could have taken it out of the tomb had it been there. But it wasn't. And to think that this little band of disciples could have stolen the body while it was heavily guarded by the Romans is just as crazy, especially when you realize that those same disciples died for the faith that they wouldn't really have believed in.

How could someone like Maher miss such glaring questions? Maybe he doesn't WANT to believe. Maybe his lack of faith is also a security blanket.

Any faith that has no unattractive attributes should be held in suspicion, for life itself has beauty and warts....


A.J. Stich said...

Hey Greg,

I was reading your comment about important question, "Isn't saying there's no absolute truth making an absolute truth claim?"

Well, I want to let you know that after a night of hard drinking, I came up with an answer, THE TRUE answer. Actually, I'm totally kidding. But I have been thinking about your question as I've wondered it for a long time myself and I can only give you my 24 year old un-theologically sequestered thoughts on the topic.

Firstly, I believe it to be a paradox claim as opposed to a contradiction. I take the claim, "God is a causeless effect" in the same way, it's simply a paradox. It's a total contradiction to say there is a cause without an effect; likewise, it's seemingly a contradiction to say there's no absolute truth because, as has been pointed out, that is a truth statement.

I don't these paradoxical claims are contradictory but rather they allow logic and philosophical thinking to be a reflection of the metaphysical as opposed to definitive of the metaphysical.

On the other hand, I totally sympathize with your question. Ayn Rand, in her book Atlas Shrugged, makes a very strong case against this type of anti-logical reflective nature of words. She says if we're using logical words to refute the validity of logical words, that is an utter obscenity. It just doesn't make sense.

Maybe not or maybe so, it's something worth thinking about. Maybe?

Greg Jones said...

A.J. I always love your thoughtfulness.

But I'm not sure you're using the word "paradox" correctly when you say attempt to address the contradiction.

A Paradox is
" a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true "

The claim that God is a causeless effect, is false. He is a causeless cause.

You may ask, "Well what caused him"?, but I would counter, "Why does anything HAVE to cause Him?" The only answer you and I can really come up with is because everything we have ever experienced in this closed system of a universe that we live in seems to have a cause.

But this does not mean that EVERYTHING has a cause.

But I take it with your comments that you are more willing to accept statements that might be illogical or contradictory.

Respectfully, PLEASE don't become a scientist! You'll never discover anything with that mentality.

If you haven't already done so, I encourage you to read about the discovery of the Neutrino written on my blog, The Pendulum Effect (at, that drives my point home.

It is only through the resolution of contradiction, that we discover truth.

Truth is absolute and unchanging. Just because we might not know much of it, doesn't change that fact.

And I believe you REALLY believe this deep down inside, otherwise you'd have no motivation for persuading anyone otherwise, since we would ALL be right! :-)

Greg Jones said...

Here's an interesting quote that I should have appended to my original post:

“If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.” – John 7:17

The implication is that truth comes through our choice or our heart's condition.

In other words, we only see when our heart is rightly pointed towards God.

We often get this turned around....