The Reason For God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism – A critique (Chapter Fourteen: The Dance of God and Epilogue) Final PostPosted: November 18, 2013
Chapter Fourteen: The Dance of God and Epilogue
Pastor Keller, believing he has convinced the reader of his position, spends the last chapter reiterating and poeticizing the gospel through the idea of “dances”. He follows this with the “Epilogue”, a section intended to show the reader how to become a Christian. These chapters are largely reiterating the previous chapters, speaking in mystical terms or simply recruiting the reader in prayer and faith. Keller feels he has made his argument clear by now so I must follow suit.
This is my summary case for skepticism and reason.
The burden of proof is on the believer. You cannot ask to have a negative proven. It is like asking why don’t you believe you can fly or to assert there are pixies on the surface of Mars. No one questions why we don’t believe in things which there is no evidence. Belief in god, even according to Tim Keller, requires faith and by definition that belief does not rely on material evidence or logical proof.
Secondly those who choose to believe in a god do it arbitrarily, usually contingent on parent’s belief or geography. Since the Sumerians started writing history down six thousand years ago humans have cataloged about thirty-six hundred gods/super-beings. Why choose Jesus over Zeus, Allah, or Ganesh? The answer again is faith. It does not make sense nor serve you well to arbitrarily assign a super-being characteristics you must live your life.
Why do skeptics care if others believe?
Religion by its very nature is divisive. We see evidence through the annals of history. It causes strife and division from the family to the global level. Humanity’s growth and self awareness is held back by pointless and unanswerable arguments of “who is the true god”. Since there can be no empirical evidence one way or the other at this point, we are forever trapped in this argument. Skeptics, unencumbered by this debate, see more important and answerable issues fall to the wayside.
Secondly, religion muddies the moral and scientific waters. Sensible, good, and intelligent people are often lead to assert moral claims society intuitively knows is wrong. Religion has negatively effected female and minority roles, and the balance of power in society. It holds education in our schools back. It catches us up in debates which belong in philosophy and metaphysics but somehow find their way to our governments and social sphere.
What is the skeptic’s moral compass?
We all understand murder, theft, rape, and the like are wrong. There is no need for a god to know these truths. To be a good person is a struggle for the believer and skeptic alike, however the reasons are much clearer to the skeptic. It is not about the next life or pleasing a deity, but rather good and proper use of the gift of life and to serve their fellow humans. It could be summed up as: Serve and love each other. If you are not able to serve and love, at the very least, do no harm. While there are nuances to this ideal, it will serve any and all quite well in everyday life.
Secondly, there is nothing keeping the skeptic to see the moral value of wise teachers who came before them. Unlike a believer there is nothing to keep the skeptic from finding value in the teachings of Gandhi, Jesus, or Confucius. The believer must regard the teachings of other doctrines warily inspite of the truth wrapped within. The skeptic is not mired in these irrational misgivings and celebrate all self-evident truths.
To my fellow skeptics:
I want to instill this truth in all of you: No one learns from someone they hate. While your passions may run deep, I encourage you to listen before speaking, ask before telling, and discuss rather than debate. Leave the harmless alone: Do not take faith from children. You wouldn’t tell a six year old there is no Santa, in same way leave Jesus/Allah/Astrology alone. If a young adult asks about these issues, guide, don’t force. Leave the elderly to their beliefs unless they engage the discussion. Live your life beyond the reproach of believers as to undo the myth we cannot be moral and faithless. Admit logic/science currently has limits and you are never finished learning. Make your voice heard through voting, public service, and personal example. If we are as confident of our position as we claim, let our speech and demeanor reflect it. Let us exemplify the logic and sensibility we so often evoke. Finally, realize the service and love of your contemporaries far outweighs the importance of undoing faith.
Drive fast. Take Chances. Thanks for reading.