Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Here's an interestingly rare take on the atheist-vs-theist debate by a christian: Youtuber "Inward Burn" honestly admits to the fundamentals of his christianity being irrational - credo quia absurdum, fideism at its best. A rare beast in today's world, in which everyone strives to appear rational and logical. There is something quite refreshing to it... and yet, there is also something rather uneasy about it. Let's start from a few comments that, to me, seem to sum the whole idea up:

"I don't base what I believe about Jesus Christ on logic... I don't think I have to base it on logic, but on faith."

Indeed, you don't have to base your opinions on logic. The question is, though, what do you mean when you say you don't have to do that? In an ethical sense, you certainly don't; you can believe whatever you like. But you do pay a price for that freedom. You lose the ability to defend your beliefs.

See, you're right to your opinion is not the whole picture. After all, you choose to go on the internet. You log onto youtube and share your opinions. What are your expectations in doing that? Do you expect your viewers to just listen and be silently swayed?

If that is the case, I'm sorry, you lost me - I choose not to go for that.

But if you're in for actual dialogue, then the next question is this: Do you grant me the same right you reserve for yourself? Let's say that I was a staunch antisemite, a sexist who is convinced that christians are below human and should be beaten and bullied. And the only reason I can give for that is that I have faith in those beliefs, I don't base them on logic, and I don't think I have to.

Would you seriously just accept that, in silence? Would you not try to convince me of being wrong?

I certainly hope that you wouldn't give me that.

It's a tough one, isn't it. I mean, basing it all on faith is good and well... but no man is an island, and some beliefs are just plain stupid. We live in a community, we thrive on social interaction, we depend on it to a degree that is often uncomfortable to think about. I predict that, as long as you're not living inside a very intense and tied-up christian community, you won't be able to avoid discussing your beliefs with atheists. And they will demand equal rights in those conversations.

See, as an atheist and someone who strives to base his beliefs on reason, I will always grant you the right to confront my deepest beliefs with your arguments. I might grumble, and I might be embarrassed, but if I find that you are right, I will eventually come around and accept that I was wrong. I have seen many, many times that this is ultimately better for myself.

And, while you surely have the right to your irrational beliefs, the whole situation changes when you want to interact with me. Because I simply demand that we stand on equal footing. Your beliefs are exactly as sacred as mine - that is, they're not sacred at all. I can attack yours, you can attack mine. Plain and simple.

"I'm not ashamed to say that I believe."

I never quite got that line. Of course you're not - what's the point? After all, you have to take your own decisions, so what is there to be ashamed (or, since we're on it, to be proud) of?

"I'm delusional, and I accept that. I don't believe in logic."

And I don't believe that this is true. Imagine you're at the grocery store. You're buying some apples, a loaf of bread, whatever. Apples cost $2, bread costs $1.50. Sales clerk tells you that's $3.50.

Are you seriously telling me that you don't believe that there is logic to that? Do you assume that the sales clerk had some kind of divine revelation?

Of course you don't. That's because you believe in logic.

It's just that you reserve some special place for things that you exclude from your belief in logic. And the interesting part will become very apparent when you try to answer the following questions: How exactly do you determine to what category one specific assertion, claim, or belief belongs? Where exactly do you draw the line? And is this delineation between what's rational and what's irrational itself rational, or not?

These are tough ones, I know. Take your time. I believe it's time well spent.

1 comment:

  1. Is this really that rare? Isn't this what all christian arguements devolve to? Don't they all end up claiming faith is beyond reason? That faith doesn't have to at least be reasonable (even though god must have created reason, he doesn't have to meet it's criteria). Isn't that how they all end up in an intellectual cop-out? And say things like "you atheists don't have the final word on the rules logic, even though you think you do"? (which translates as "I don't understand the rules of logic, so I'll accuse you of not understanding something I don't understand myself"). Isn't he just making the same "arguement" F. Barron would make?

    He says he believes in the resurrection without proof - he wants to live forever. He devalues his own critical abilities to the point of believing he has none - typical christian abject attitude. Don't even the right wing fundies take PRIDE in their "fuck your logic" attitudes. Aren't they proud of their wilfull ignorance? Don't they see it as an affirmation fo what thye think is important and more valuable than reason?

    Isn't that the joke? That the christians who try to use reason always reort to faith in the end becuase they can never "win" any other way. They always end up telling the atheist they are angry with god, why don't we just"accept" jesus into out lives. Why can't we just admit we are wrong, despite our reason and logic telling us otherwise.

    Somewhere along the line someone told this guy not to think. Unlike F. Barron, he doesn't seemed to have gained any social advantages for his acquisence to authority. Which is why he's got hope. Which is why he's free to doubt to some degree. Or at least sort of admit how ridiculous he's being. F. Barron can't do that and keep his job or perks. Barron makes a point of saying his faith is excluded from reason. He believes in magic. And that is why reason will never work with him, or most christians.

    So, I just don't think this guy is exceptional. He's just powerless, and his confusion therefore shines through. He's not possessed of enough ignorance/arrogance to presume to tell others they need to accept jesus, but only because he doesn't seem to have much "faith" in anything he believes or thinks.

    All in all though, I'd rather be locked in an elevator with this guy over F. Barron anytime. I'd probably have to strangle Barron to put me out of the misery of listening to his pompous ass. This guy could be "saved" from himself, though.