Dawkins wrote in The God Delusionthat all experiences of “Faith” are delusions, that there is no god out there “talking” to you. He wrote that anyone with an ounce of intelligence recognizes that there is no “man behind the curtain,” and that the stories in the Bible, for example, should have been given up when we gave up on our belief in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. It all seems very logical. But something is missing here.
Conversely, I love that, for the fundamental or conservative Christian, the answer to every problem faced by us is to “give it up to Jesus.” Lost your job? Give it up to Jesus! Stuck in a rotten marriage? Give it up to Jesus! Need a new car? Give it up to Jesus! It’s a powerful message, especially if you’re a teenager or a drug addict looking to leave that lifestyle. But, for all of us in between, there still seems to be something missing.
In Bad Faith, Part 5: What’s Missing?
Ironically, one of the mistakes that I made as a young Christian adult was to close off my emotions and try to be more logical because my faith told me that one can’t trust emotions. Yeah, that approach didn’t work so well for Mr. Spoke, I don’t know why I thought it’d turn out any better for moi. I tried to be logical and I wasn’t any fun to live with. Just ask my ex-wife. Now, I know that Dawkins isn’t advocating a logic-only/emotionless lifestyle, but there’s a kind of delusion to entertain the idea that human beings are going to be “logical” and “scientific” when it comes to the bigger issues in life or even in ones day to day existence. I think the fictional character, Geordi, in ST: TNG, said it best when he said that we humans go with our “gut” so much because we almost never have enough data to make the decisions that we need to make.
While it’s probably a bad sign when one is taking life-advice from fictional characters, It’s worse to pursue a lifestyle that forces one to have a binary either/or approach where one restricts oneself to either logic or emotionalism. I have to say that I’ve been turned off by the hubris I’ve seen in some skeptics when they act as if they do have all of the answers. Granted this malady is certainly not limited to skeptics, but anyone who confesses to have a scientific approach to living must begin by acknowledging that what one “knows” is a very small fragment of what can be known. Thus one should have a humble appreciation and sympathy for those who have chosen to “know” our existence using a different set of assumptions.
I find it interesting that the Christian begins with an assumption about the meaning behind existence and then interprets everything accordingly, while the skeptic begins with an assumption about the method of understanding existence and then fills in the gaps from there. I feel like the Christian has to be willing, on some level, to question the system when the evidence proves contrary and the Skeptic has to refrain from assuming that they have all of the relevant data. We all have to begin by understanding that we do not have the complete picture and that we may never have the complete picture. And so, there has to be room for differing views.