With the recent death of his only aunt, my four year old grandson is starting to ask questions like “why do people go to church?” My daughter and son-in-law, both devout agnostics, are preparing themselves to deal with the god question that is surely soon to follow.
We raised both our kids without any belief in god or any religious affliations. We did, however, impart a belief system, through what we said and what we did, that resulted in their both offspring living lives that many so called Christians would be wise to emulate. They are guided by a sense of social justice and personal morality that is based on the Golden Rule. Very much in the spirit of “Jesus.”
Tonight’s PBS program with Bill Moyers on Faith and Reason featured Catholic novelist Mary Gordon and atheist philosopher Colin McGinn. I found the perspectives of both of great value to one of the big questions of our times:
Mary Gordon is a believer. AND (NOT But) she is deeply thankful to the skeptics and non-believers who ushered in the Age of Enlightenment. As far as I’m concerned, the best statement she made in the program was:
One of the questions Moyers asked McGinn was how come the Jesus stories and the religions that grew from them still flourish after 2000 years but the old Roman and Greek gods and associated religions did not last. The biggest reason, McGinn (so brilliantly) answered, is that Christianity was institutionalized, and there is an ongoing system that supports the continuation of those faiths. He also made the point that what religion you are taught is dependent on what country you were born in and what religion your parents are. McGinn also questioned whether “the longing for god” is innate or culturally stimulated.
McGinn described his experience of leaving his religious upbringing behind. There is a longing, he said, that many people feel to be connected to something greater than themselves. That longing supports their belief in god. That belief fills some void in them He said that, when he abandoned religion, he expected to feel that void, that longing for something that is missing. But he never did.
He also said some important things about “Reason,” which is not only based in science. He described Reason as the faculty by which we acquire knowledge, search for truth, deduce, experiment, observe, and then reach a consensus based on evidence. Reason, he explained, is a rational belief system based on intelligent arguments. And you do the right thing — not because somebody up there is watching you and will punish you if you don’t but — because it’s the right thing to do.
My final thought after hearing Godon and McGinn, is that
You can read the transcript of Moyer’s interviews with Mary Gordon and Colin McGinn here.
And speaking of unChristian Christians, Jim Culleny spotlights our very own “Lucifer in a suit.” Jim also posts about yet another such, saying: “If he’s what Christianity’s all about, I’ll take paganism.” Watch that “faith-based liar” through a link from Jim’s post.
Need more convincing that scheming devils are at the helm of this country? Take a look at this. And this. Both via [son]b!X.