Isn’t it miraculous how we religious types can believe in something that runs counter to everything that makes sense in our experience of life? Isn’t faith amazing? Sometimes religious people will marvel aloud at how amazing it is that they can believe in super-ghosts, and it’s usually phrased something like that. Of course, the atheo-skeptic finds that less beautiful than horrifying, seeing the close kinship between religious persuasion and medical woo, con artistry, and trumpism.
(Sometimes the “miracle of faith” is termed more like “the mystery of faith,” to give it the air of an intellectual enterprise, but also one that defies answer, thus shutting down earnest inquiry. It’s slightly more humble in its way, even if it’s cheap.)
To which progressive theists would have a reasonable counter argument, lovingly provided by our atheist “thought leaders” and their slide into fascism. Does atheism really afford any protection at all from faulty reason? If so, should we fear or revile religious thought? Aside from the fact that argument just doesn’t feel right to me, I can’t say I’m ready to shoot it down.
The conclusion this dialogue is leading me toward is one of total disillusionment with the powers of the human mind. Just assume everyone, including yourself, is broke as hell in the headpiece, and the best you can hope to do is paw in the dark for a less-than-harmful consensus with your peers. This, unfortunately, weakens one’s power of persuasion, as people respond more emotionally to bold and reductive statements than positions couched in caveats, asides, and uncertainty.
I don’t love that. I’d love to spout Universal Truths like a demagogue and rally the warriors to the cause of righteousness. Shit just tends to be more complicated than that.