I stopped by the Patheos web site to see how some of my former FtB co-bloggers were doing (they seem to be doing well, I’m pleased to say), and I spotted this post, under the heading, “Answer This, Atheists!” The blogger’s name is Marc, his blog is called “Bad Catholic” (great name), and the full title of his actual post is “An Attempt to Explain Christianity to Atheists In a Manner That Might Not Freak Them Out” (not so great name). He introduces his subject with the following preface.
Between being told that Christianity is a system of oppression, a complex way to justify burning with hatred over the existence of gay people, and a general failure of the human intellect, I begin to suspect that few people know why Christians exist at all. This is my attempt to explain why I am a Christian.
Any philosophy that claims that there exists nothing supernatural cannot grant purpose to suffering.
Right from the start, I see reasons to be skeptical. Who is he really trying to reach here? According to the title, he’s trying to reach atheists, and yet before he even gets to the end of the title, he’s implying that atheistic objections are not legitimate criticisms, but are merely instances of “freaking out.” That’s hardly a promising note to start out on, if your goal is really to try and address the actual concerns atheists have. On the other hand, if your real goal is to reassure Christians that their faith is reasonable, then framing atheistic criticisms as irrational freakouts is at least understandable.
I have similar doubts about the real topic here. He says he’s trying to explain why he’s a Christian, and from the very next sentence it’s clear that he’s going to focus on suffering as a reason for his belief in God. But that’s not likely to be the real reason why he believes there is a God, is it? You don’t really think he flipped on his TV one day, and saw that a tsunami had killed hundreds of thousands of people and caused untold devastation and suffering, and said to himself, “If there were no God, there would be no suffering, but such great suffering must mean there is an equally great God,” do you?
I suspect what we may be seeing here is an attempt to avoid “freaking out” over the blatant inconsistencies that exist between the nature and character of God as depicted in his religion, versus the manifest absence of divine and omnipotent benevolence in the world we see around us. He ostensibly addresses his arguments to atheists in order to project his own doubts onto a safer subject, but what we’re really dealing with here is not “What evidence suggests the existence of a real God?” so much as it is likely to be “Why do I keep on believing in God despite the evidence?”
That’s an interesting question, and I expect I may have to spend more time looking at this post over the next few days. After all, it is being advertised under the heading of “Answer this, atheists!”