Friday, March 14, 2008

Why I Am Not A Theist

An occasional series, with installments whenever I feel like it.

Theism requires the following assumptions:

  • That God exists;
  • That God is benevolent;
  • That God is able to communicate with us in a way we can perceive;
  • That God is willing to do so;
  • That God has done so;
  • That this communication has included God's preferences regarding our behavior;
  • That we have noticed this communication;
  • That we have understood or interpreted it correctly.
If any one of these assumptions falls, maintaining religious belief becomes much more difficult. (Not impossible; a deist, for example, may posit only the first two items and deny everything else. Accepting all but the last one allows the sort of questioning that moves you from one religion to another. Accepting all including the last one is the setup for various religious wars, since if we've understood it correctly, anyone with a different understanding is incorrect--and probably needs to be shown the error of their ways.)

That's an awful lot to swallow on faith. More than any rational being should be willing to accept.

Of course, that's part of the theist/religionist dodge, isn't it? It's all got to be taken on faith and questioning isn't allowed, or is allowed only as long as your answer leads you back to obedience.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Bands Playing Badly

The saga of the Really Terrible Orchestra.... An inspiring story about amateurs. (The word amateur is based on the word "love"... An amateur does something for the love of doing it.)

Go read it, it's worth it.