An Instructive Exchange?
This morning, while making what has become my daily trip to Rhology’s blog, I discovered a most interesting post. It seems a friend of Rhology’s wrote him recently requesting prayer, because he feared that, due to his possibly blaspheming against the Spirit, the creator of the universe might be upset with him. Even before reading Rhology’s response, I was struck by two things: First, I felt considerable sadness that Christianity has the power to rouse such fear in people who, in all other facets of their lives, do not permit their minds to be addled by nonsense. Second, I observed the intense solipsism that is deeply ingrained in Christian thought (such as it is). How else could one describe the absurd egoism of such concerns except as solipsistic? I replied in the comment box, briefly giving my thoughts, which led Rhology and me to a rather interesting back-and-forth exchange, to which I shall momentarily come.
Before that, though, I wish to delve a bit deeper into Christian thought in general. The overwhelming majority of my writings have to do with Christianity’s truth or, more precisely, its untruth, as revealed by our best available evidence. I do not seek to make a moral case against Christianity because, at present, we have no good evidence that moral facts (that is, facts about what is moral or immoral) exist; in any case, Christianity having what I perceive to be negative consequences has no bearing whatsoever on its truth value. Nevertheless, because this relates directly to the exchange below, I shall reference two moral concerns I have about the Christian faith: First is the aforereferenced egocentric solipsism lying at its heart and with which it infects its adherents. Second is the odious, noxious nature of some of its theological tenets, for example damnation in hell, which I recently deconstructed here. In the main, Christians attempt to paint their religion in the colors of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. If, however, one is unwilling to submit to their preachments, they often let the simmering threat system upon which Christianity is predicated boil to the surface.
As you read the following exchange, do consider these points: In his certitude and in the place he carves for himself in the cosmos, which one betrays greater arrogance? Which one is more likely to presume to know far more than he actually can? Which one is more apt to stand in judgment against the other?
Nihilist: I have nothing much to say here except to observe that fearing the creator of the universe is upset with you is equally solipsistic—indeed, betrays equal arrogance—as enjoying peace from the belief that the creator of the universe is pleased with you; the insincere raiment of meekness and humility with which Christian thought cloaks itself is a poor substitute for being genuinely humbled by the insignificance of not just each of us but, indeed, of our entire race.
Rhology: I'm not sure you really understand biblical theology and thought, then. There's nothing insincere about how I esteem myself - I *am* a worm, disgusting in my sin and loathsome in my kicking against the redemption and purification that Jesus has provided for me.
God is not pleased with me in myself. He is pleased with me b/c "it pleased God to crush (Jesus)" on my behalf. I don't expect you to accept that for yourself, but it's not very decent nor humble of you to act like you can read my mind and thus prove me a liar.
Nihilist: My comment was not particularly about you, nor was it an attempt to prove you a liar or accuse you, specifically, of insincerity. What is insincere is the pretended meekness and humility of Christian thought itself. You might say and, indeed, believe that god is not pleased with you in yourself. Nevertheless, though, at the heart of Christian thought is the fantastic leap of solipsism that the creator the universe is personally aware of the individual, concerned for the individual, interested in the individual and in possession of love for the individual. The knitter of the fabric of space-time...he who confected Alpha Centauri...he who twiddles the knobs on the physical constants... is concerned with YOU (as the individual). Again, in whatever fashion Christian theology might force you to declare yourself a disgusting sinner who is shameful before god’s eyes, this remains a staggeringly arrogant stance to take, in my view.
Rhology: Why is it a fantastic leap, given Christian presuppositions?
What's so hard to see about a God Who is all-powerful and omniscient and Who concerns Himself with little things AND big things? After all, "big" to an infinite God means the expenditure of simply a larger numerator over an infinite denominator. It's nothing.
What we have here is just further expression of your stubborn unbelief. Fine. But it's nothing more.
What's far more arrogant is for you, mere man, to call evil what God has called good.
Nihilist: Any moral opinions I articulate, including those in which I deem something (the actions of your god not excepted) evil, are mere expressions of my deepest nature. I am constituted as I am, and I can neither help nor change what might fundamentally strike me as grave evil.
Rhology: The man-centered pride of your statement is striking. One day, your knee will bow. You who have explicitly chosen to put your blind faith in "evidence" and its power to tell you the truth, ignoring the many problems with your view and the many factors that your worldview doesn't account for, would call the teaching of Jesus "evil"...you're in for a very unpleasant end. May the Lord have mercy on you and not give you the judgment you so richly deserve.
To close, then, I humbly present the answer I would give to any god who, judging me after my death, would confront me for disbelieving in him. In this case, I must steal from Bertrand Russell: “Not enough evidence, god! Not enough evidence!”