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September 21, 2007

Comments

chris

Thanks for expressing exactly how I've been feeling lately (except for the goats). I just don't care anymore, and I feel guilty for not feeling guilty about that, I think.

Phil

There's probably a lot more depth to your reasoning than I'll give credit for with this comment.

However, what might a change of scenery do for your "energy?" Perhaps the milieu of Southern Christian (Oklahoman?) America has weighed down on your psyche much more than you realize.

Just a broad, generalized perspective on my part. Like I said, after reading your posts, its probably way more nuanced that (lot of reflection, conclusions drawn, etc.).

I guess I always took from your line of thinking that being a Christian wasn't about assenting to pie-in-the-sky theological platitudes. Is it the practice of Christianity in its hands-and-feet ways that is tiring you? Or do you not see that as a purely Christian practice, anymore?

anyway...Rambling. but, I'm not discouraged by your decision. You're way too thoughtful for me to dismiss.

goz

In answer to your topic question: I don't know Greg.

That's some of the reason I come here.

Leighton

I wouldn't call Dawkins a fundamentalist; just more optimistic than I am about the rationality of humankind. In an individual person, there's a big difference between intolerance of beliefs coupled with a laissez faire attitude toward people's individual lives on the one hand, and on the other the will to domination inherent in actual fundamentalism. "Evangelical," though, might be a good analogy--the notion that adjusting worldviews and philosophical frameworks could have such a widespread positive effect on society. Individually, that can help people a lot, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't help very much collectively, in groups larger than intimate communities.

Faith was an addiction that was turning me into a narcissist before I kicked the habit, so I'm not sure what the lay of the land is in the quieter withdrawals. I do remember that the hardest thing was adjusting my expectations of what is possible for us to do, collectively; widening the balance beam between truth and hope into a sidewalk for our great-great-grandchildren isn't as fulfilling or inspiring as uniting the two sides, but it's still a worthy cause, even though it isn't coherent in the middle of the night.

Dallas Tim

Greg,

So what are your thoughts on God? Do you feel there is one? If so, can you talk to Him? What does HE expect of you?

You obviously know how I would likely answer those questions, but what about you? Do you feel that belief in God (even if you can't describe what God is confidently) should prompt you to do anything specific?

goz

Leighton, I think you're being far too generous towards Dawkins. 'Fundmantalist' seems wholly appropriate given the tone of his frequent UK TV output.

I wouldn't describe the content therein as displaying a 'laissez faire attitude toward's people's indidivual lives'. It's looks a lot closer to a 'will to domination' from where I'm standing

Leighton

A lot of people find his tone objectionable, but I have yet to see anything that I would put on the same level as stuff that regularly comes out of, say, SBC press releases. I think the salient difference is that Dawkins, for the time being, is speaking on behalf of people and organizations that by and large do not have nearly the kind of social and political clout as the groups they're denouncing. There's certainly the same kind of histrionics about being persecuted and the like that you see in Xn fundamentalist language, but given that we live in a country where even in the bluest states you can't be elected to public office higher than the level of city council if you're an "out" atheist, it seems like he has a stronger case on that front than people who have a permanent hold on 27% of the vote. Not sure what the stats are in the UK.

I think the heart of his publicized messages--that taken as a whole, institutionalized religions are doing more harm than good--is at least worth considering, but (a) there are bigger battles to fight, and (b) all the education/enlightenment in the world won't keep people from making bad decisions for selfish reasons.

As with any group, more than likely I'll oppose the Dawkins crowd if it ever gets any kind of serious social power. I don't see that happening in the near future, though; even if it turns out history will be on their side, the backlash will keep them under for at least another ten or fifteen years.

Trav the Okie Vegan

Greg,

I've been righ where you are now since I dropped out of a Ph.D. program in religious studies. You lose your faith, and yet you have all this education and have dedicated your life to seeking the "truth" that you thought was to be found in Christianity, and your like, "Now what?"

For me, it hasn't been a big existential crisis at all. I just look for meaning and peace and joy in my relationships with my frineds, in art, in music, in literature, and in cinema. It's really not that bad, though it is rather a different path from the dream of being a great theologian.

Peace.

Kristen

I love your use of "malaise" here, and can't ever read it without being thankful that Walker Percy wrote "The Movie-Goer".

And, of course, yes about the goats.

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