Sunday, April 16, 2006

Deconstructing Faith

Tomorrow's Easter.

I'm Christian. I don't, however, profess to know all the answers. For example, I cannot believe that playing D&D is tantamount to Satan worship. Like Holly Q, I don't believe that Christianity should discriminate against homosexuality.

Does this make me a bad Christian?

I've had a long argument with Dawn over the nature of morals. I told here a while ago that I do not believe that all morals are subjective. I hold to that. There is the objective existence as we commonly understand it i.e the way a chair exists. There is also objectivity in the sense that a common view defines reality. Diamonds, for example, are valueable simply because everyone agrees that they are. Does that make their value false? Maybe, but it's still objectively obtainable.

Morals are real. God is real, even if God isn't three pounds of flax.

My greatest problem with my own faith has always been the state of knowledge. I do not know, for example, how men can claim to know God's divine will. If God is truly infinite, how can man understand God's will through our puny senses? The Bible? That is guidance, not a road map. The Bible does not tell a young french student whether to take care of his mother through World War II or to sign on to fight Nazis.

Who are we to know with absolute certainty what God wills?

Yet, in my uncertain state, I still have to make moral decisions - the first of which is whether I believe in God. The fact that I have to make a decision and the fact that I never know exactly what consequences my decision will have fills me with dread and anxiety.

The reverse, however, must be true. If I choose, it is ultimately my choice. If I choose to persecute homosexuals, D&D players, Muslims and the such, it will be my choice, not God's will. If I choose send the National Guard to Iraq, the fact that New Orleans didn't get the National Guard's help is not God's will, but mine alone.

My faith is not run on certainty, but best guesses. I feel an obligation to seek out the best thing to do in a situation. It does not mean I know it is the best thing, merely my best guess. It means I am never certain if what I am doing is God's will. All I can do is pray about it, believe in it, and do the best I can.

People have asked me why, despite all the shit Christians have put me through, why I still remain Christian. This is my answer.

"I don't have the right to punish God for Man's sins."

13 comments:

Zachary Drake said...

Thanks for the link to my blog. I'm off to play Jesus in a skit at my Unitarian Universalist church.

alchemist said...

Yes, mostly true. I must point out that God too might have to grit his divine and metaphorical teeth and say, "I have no right to punish Anthony for certain free-willed decisions I have allowed him to make, such as sending the National Guard to Iraq and leaving the iniquitous of New Orleans to fend for themselves. But I can let him punish himself for it, if he wants. That's probably worse than Hell."

Anthony said...

zdrake,

Break a leg, and remember...

"Always look on the bright side of life..."

alchemist,

Yeap. Life would be a lot simpler if smitings still occured.

-ben said...

Happy Easter, Anthony!

dawndie said...

Hey Anthony,

I use to say I am an atheist but as someone pointed out to me, I'm more agnostic because of my apathy.

I think you got me wrong - I was not exactly arguing about morals being subjective, the truth is, I don't know anymore and it's not like I ever knew in the first place- I feel that it is a lose-lose situation whichever side I take, so there. I just follow my heart.

I just started to WOW - does that mean I'm going to hell, then?

Dawn

Anthony said...

-ben

Happy Easter.

Dawn

Welcome to the human condition. We don't know. We never know. We can only believe.

alchemist said...

dawn, you're not going to hell; wow is insufficient cause. anthony thinks he should be agnostic about such things, but that's cos he lacks faith in the obvious. haha...

alchemist said...

to clarify, anthony presumably believes that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen; but being a lawyer, he finds that somewhat disconcerting. he then spouts stuff about the human condition, which is generally true but not specifically true. his conclusion is that we can never know. haha, that's irrelevant. think about it...

Anthony said...

alchemist,

I think the lack of knowledge is very relevant to the question of faith. Empricism, at its heart, is still a belief that the duplicatable is truth.

It may be truth, but not necessarily in the way we understand it.

Anthony said...

Incidentally, Dawn,

I think you've met alchemist before. I'm sure your husband has met him before. The truth is scattered all over his website.

Here's a hint. I was formerly of the Order of the Wyvern too. One may argue I never left.

Robin said...

Well said, definitely the middle path is more precious and logical.

Blind faith, unchallenged logic hover over reasonable thinking and profound thoughts.

Thanks for sharing.

dawndie said...

Anthony- I always love a bit of mystery. Of course I know who alchemist is. We've met once (albeit briefly), at a very important event.

Alchemist - I think the werewolf part was quite a give-away. ;)

Anthony said...

Samurai_cat:

What werewolf part?!