The scrapblog of a theological noncognitivist.
Think for a minute of a marble table in front of you. Do you think that, given a trillion years or infinite time, this table could suddenly or gradually become conscious, aware of its surroundings, aware of its identity the way you are? It is simply inconceivable that this would or could happen. And the same goes for any kind of matter. Once you understand the nature of matter, of mass-energy, you realize that, by its very nature, it could never become 'aware', never 'think', never say 'I'. But the atheist position is that, at some point in the history of the universe, the impossible and the inconceivable took place.Page 163, 'There Is A God - How the World's most notorious atheist changed his mind' by Anthony Flew, formerly professor of philosophy at the University of Keele.Posted by J Haggerty
Life as we know it is the result of several billion years of evolution in one infinitesimal corner of a vast Universe. It didn't suddenly 'become aware'. Postulating that an undefined, undefinable agent had some input into this process adds no useful information.
Who is the judge of what is 'useful', quedula?The mystery of consciousness is not going to go away.We do not 'postulate' a god, we look to those men and women, including poets, who write of their experience of the divine.Even if they are mistaken these artists and thinkers are an integral part of Western consciousness.Yes, I read the books by neurobiologists, but I am a man of Western Civilization.This entitles me to go to the writings of Augustine, Aquinus, Thomas a Kempis, Teresa of Avila, Calvin, Kierkegaard, John and Charles Wesley, Dostoevsky, Emily Dickinson, Unamuno, Jung, Simone Weil, Martin Buber, Katherine Raine, Karl Barth, C.S Lewis, Rene Girard, George Steiner, Stanley Hauerwas.I will not stand under the new tyranny of 'scientism' any more than I stood under the tyranny of Marxism because scientists are insufficiently learned in the moral complexity of our species.There are philosophic and theological issues one will not find in reading Darwin, Schrodinger, Jim Watson, Francis Crick or Dawkins.A Russian writer who spent years in the Gulag Archipelago said he noticed that people who had religious belief survived more than those who were without such belief.Real experience like this does add usefully to our knowledge of the species.There is also the mystery of evil, what the Bible calls 'the mystery of iniquity'.J Haggerty
"Who is the judge of what is 'useful'?" I think we all know what 'useful' means. Perhaps you can say how imagining the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, atemporal 'something' is of any practical benefit to the human race?
You can have a loving relationship with Him. You can be a child of God instead of a child of wrath. You can, like the Apostle Paul, say that even the good things of this world are counted as so much rubbish compared with knowing Christ.You can know that whatever this world throws at you, His mercy and His forgiveness and His friendship are assured.You can be with people who are on drugs or who have tried to commit suicide, people who are depressed or frightened or broken by the world.You can tell them that the Son of God promised, 'I will in no wise turn away anyone who comes to me.'You can have the peace of God that passes all understanding.You can have fellowship with Christians in your town or city.You can attend a Christmas service and know why you are happy - singing 'Joy to the world, the Lord has come'.You can face the king of terrors and not be afraid.John Wesley was at the deathbed of all classes of men and women.'Our people die well,' he said.J Haggerty
I was looking for some degree of rational debate. Not preaching.
You asked if Christianity has been of any benefit to the human race. I tried to suggest that it changes human lives. The social services in Britain know how much the churches contribute to the welfare of millions of people. Look at the charity founded by Steve Chalke as just one example.As for rationality, I would be unable to write these words unless my reason permitted me to do so. I can rationally approach the great and complex musical works of J.S. Bach, but I do not leave reason behind when I find myself moved by his profound Christian faithIt is the same when I visit Gloucester Cathedral or one of the little wool churches in the Cotswolds. What price can one put on such joy? Atheists have every right to enjoy sacred music and sacred places, and they do so in large numbers.Blaise Pascal said the heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing. He was a scientist by trade.Sorry about the preaching. I shall not trouble you again. God may have other plans. J Haggerty
Answering a different question is the logical fallacy known as a "straw man argument".