Friday, February 17, 2012

Jesus, Republicans, and the Bible

The full episode of The Point is here. It's pretty interesting, but note that it's 41 minutes long.

The perspective is from liberal believers (not all are Christian; one of the panelists is a lesbian Rabbi), and you probably know how I feel about that. I'm quite happy to work with anyone on the issues, but I still think that faith-based thinking is invalid and that it actually enables the crazies.

After all, how can you criticize someone else for what they believe by faith when you think that faith is valid? Faith means that you can believe anything you want to believe (typically, whatever you were raised to believe). And it's only evidence-based thinkers who can really expect to come to a consensus.

One of the panelists actually says, "To connect to that spiritual world, you cannot enter it through the intellectual plane. You almost have to turn off your intellect to experience the spiritual plane."

Heh, heh. Now, if that doesn't raise alarms with you, I think you've already "turned off" your intellect!

Well, when it comes to Republicans, I think their biggest problem is just that, that they've "turned off" their intellect. They've become entirely faith-based, which means that it doesn't matter how crazy something is, they can still believe it.

My fundamental problem with liberal believers is not really what they believe, but how they believe. But so what? They have the right to believe whatever they wish, and I'll gladly work with them on issues where we agree. Heck, I'll gladly work with conservative believers, wherever we can find common ground.

But it won't keep me from advocating evidence-based thinking. Liberal believers are a lot easier to get along with than their conservative counterparts, but they've still got the wrong mechanism for determining the truth. When you're faith-based, there's just no way to separate the truth from wishful-thinking.


Anonymous said...

Your definition of faith is one, and it is useful to support your argument. I prefer C.S. Lewis' from "mere Christianity."

"I am not asking anyone to accept Christianity if his best reasoning tells him that the weight of the evidence is against it. That is not the point at which Faith comes in. Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods."

I would say that many evangelical christians are actually no longer Christian in their faith, they are caught up in emotion and excitement rather than faith. If they were faithful they would be more concerned with feeding and caring for the poor and creating peace in the world. They have lost their reason and are filled with greed and anger.

WCG said...

Well, Anonymous, C.S. Lewis was a great Christian apologist, but his definition of faith doesn't seem to be all that different from my own: belief without good evidence or despite the evidence.

When he says "holding on to things your reason has once accepted," he just means believing what you were taught as a child, doesn't he? But why would that be a good thing, when you've come to a better understanding of the world?

"Changing moods"? Is that how he'd describe giving up Santa Claus when you come to understand he doesn't actually exist?

Finally, "the weight of the evidence" is a much easier standard of proof than demonstrating the reality of your claims. Would he say the same thing about Islam, I wonder? Or Wicca? Still, if Christians actually have evidence, where is it?

After all, I'm just saying that it's a good thing to have evidence backing up your beliefs. Otherwise, it's far too easy to fool yourself, especially in those areas where you really, really want to be fooled.

Re. your last paragraph, whether someone is actually Christian or not, I generally take them at their word. They're Christian if they claim to be. There's certainly enough contradictions in the Bible to cover a wide variety of different beliefs.

Of course, right-wing evangelicals don't think that liberal Christians are really Christian, either. Well, I don't have a dog in that hunt, so I just accept whatever a person wants to label himself.

Thanks for the comment.