For the past … I dunno … dozen-plus years, I have been what polite people would call a “lapsed Catholic”. I say this even though I met the Catholic Church at a time of spiritual shipwreck / accedie – what some call the “noonday demon” -- and that the Church gave me a vision of humans in community with the Divine that I never found, either as a fundamentalist, or as a non-fundamentalist but still conservative-evangelical, Christian. It may be that the Catholic Church saved my life. To this day, the issues I have are not only or even primarily with the Catholic Church – I mean, who among us with a non-flat-line EEG does not have issues with the Church? – but primarily with that Church’s God. (Or as I usually express it these days, “Gawd”.) But that latter is another rant for another time
On Christmas Day of 2017, Peter Wehner, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, published an op-ed in the New York Times in which he argued on the basis of Jesus’ teaching that, while faith and doubt are complementary, faith is nevertheless superior to doubt as a guide to life, thought, and morality. As a corollary, Wehner argues that faith is consequently also superior to both doubt and reason for such purposes. For the purposes of this reply, I will assume that Wehner intends for his argument to apply to both comparisons synonymously: faith vs. doubt, faith vs. reason. This equivalence is justified by Wehner’s own argument. The problem with Wehner’s argument is that it undermines itself if we attempt to apply it in contexts other than the purely individual and idios
Today's "Skeptic's Collection" column is rendered all too relevant by recent tragic events at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, TX.
Over the last several years, I have gradually developed what some religious folk might well consider a bad personal tradition -- though I think it is a very good one! -- of occasionally dropping a turd in the ideological punch bowl of monotheistic, especially Christian, belief, not by denying any orthodox Christian teachings, but on the contrary, by thinking through those teachings’ logical implications more consistently than most Christians are willing to do. So, e.g., the Jesus of the Incarnation is fully God, not only because He loves to play with little kids, but also because on occasion he loves, or at least is willing, to slaughter