Baggini on selective mystery

Just in case Julian Baggini fails to promote his latest Heathen’s Progress article, here’s the link: ‘You just don’t understand my religion’ is not good enough. And here is the best part:

Too often I find that faith is mysterious only selectively. Believers constantly attribute all sorts of qualities to their gods and have a list of doctrines as long as your arm. It is only when the questions get tough that, suddenly, their God disappears in a puff of mystery. Ineffability becomes a kind of invisibility cloak, only worn when there is a need to get out of a bit of philosophical bother.

A fine description of an all-too-common experience. I detect a hint of Schopenhauer, and undertones of oak.

About Bradley Bowen
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17668854596329493360 ZAROVE

    Actually this is invalid. I know its suppose to support Atheism by showing how Theological concepts are nonsensical, but saying “I don’t know, it’s a mystery” is also considered one reason why Atheists are superior to Theists, because they see willing to admit when thy don’t know something.

    By the Logic employed above, if you are asked a string of questions about the Universe, and how it formed without a god and why it’s a purely Physical ( for want of a better term) structure with no Divine aspect at all, then the moment you run into a question you can’t answer you have proven how stupid it is to be an atheist.

    I’ve actually seen this happen, not only with Big Bang ( I cringe since the Big bang is used by both the Theist and Atheist as if it somehow is an alternative to god even though it as created by a Christian and doesn’t disprove God at all and Evolution.

    You can find numerous creationists who will tell you that because the Evolutionist cannot explain how something occurred, such as the exact way life emerged, then Evolution is really just a falsehood.

    I see no real merit in such objections, but see no merit in the same objection thrown at Theology. If a Theologian answers several questions then says “I don’t know about that one”, is it really evidence that Theology is a house of Cards? That its all shadow and no substance? Or does it simply mean the Theologians knowledge of God is limited and he doesn’t understand everything?

    What’s the real difference? Other than a presumed bias in favour of the Atheistic claims, that is. Why should Atheists be allowed to not know, and this even be seen as a virtue in that they admit it, but it is a strong vice for a Theist?


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