Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"Faith-based" discussion

I read another article this morning on the relative merits of societies predicated on religious belief and those which are secular. (It was in the CHE; you can find it at aldaily.com.) It was learned and dispassionate and even handed. It entirely missed the point. Such articles almost always do, because their unstated premise seems to be that whether we believe or not depends on what we would find most useful. Left undiscussed is truth. If there are no intellectually respectable arguments for the existence of God--and there aren't--what difference does it make whether we'd be better off in an Age of Faith? As Bishop Butler said, "Things and actions are what they are, and the consequences of them will be what they will be: why then should we desire to be deceived?" Our preferences don't really figure into the matter.

Perhaps we should end with another famous believer. Johnson said, "the mind can only repose on the stability of truth." Of course Johnson seems to have spent much of his life muttering to himself, "I do believe. I do believe. I do, I do, I do."

4 comments:

Agnes said...

I couldn't find the article, Richard, unless it was the one they wanted me to pay to read. Like that's gonna happen. Ha.

People believe what they want to believe. Some of 'em call what they believe truth. Just like some people call the stuff they write poetry. Can you believe that? Thank goodness nothing matters. The world's insane. Sometimes it's fun just to sit and watch folks spin.

What was it that Jack whatshisface's character said in that movie that I can't remember the name of? "Truth? You can't handle the truth!" Elusive little dickens.

If there's a god, he's probably laughing his ass off. (And don't any of you gender-neutral PC maggots who might be reading this complain about my use of "he" or I'll sic a chicken on ya.)

My word verification is mistic. Heh.

RHE said...

"A Few Good Men."

You can find the article at

http://chronicle.com/free/v55/i39/39wolinsecularage.htm

Agnes said...

Thanks, Richard. Philosophers have too much time on their hands. Obama needs to put 'em to work diggin' ditches in Pakistan or somethin'. Hmmm. Maybe he'll get to it after he finishes ruining healthcare.

My ego is an individualist. The rest of me is amused.

My word verification is tersuble.

Heh. I love those things.

RHE said...

From another article in the CHE, this one on the nature of intelligence:

Too many people have chosen to believe in what they wish to be true rather than in what is true. (http://chronicle.com/free/v55/i39/39ferguson.htm)

Always nice to hear someone actually say that.