Thursday, July 18, 2013
A friend, X, asked me a question which deserves a response.
X writes: "If 'God' is truly doing the leading, and it is his genius that is informing every movement, then why do you study theology so intensely? Would you not be able to just be a voice that God uses even without any formal training?"
I did not say that God's genius was "informing every movement." That would be a theological determinism, which is easy to reject. Within the Christian theistic worldview there is the idea that God is guiding us, but not meticulously so. That's the neo-Calvinist idea called "the doctrine of meticulous providence."
X: "I suppose that my parents unwittingly brought me up with some Calvinist concepts. Perhaps that's part of the issue that I have with certain theologies."
Me: 'That may be true. I'm not and never have been a Calvinist. One more thing: "theology" is reasoning within the worldview of Christian theism. Everyone has a worldview. A worldview can be defined as a set of beliefs through which one views the world and experience. A "belief" is a statement; i.e., a sentence which is either true or false. "Atheism" is also a worldview, a set of beliefs about reality. Even if I were not a Christian I could never, philosophically, be an atheist because of intractable problems within that worldview. In my philosophy of religion classes at MCCC I teach the worldviews of theism and of atheism. Philosophical atheists themselves explain the logic of their worldview, which includes: no morality, metaphysical materialism(aka philosophical naturalism), which logically entails no "mind" (since matter is all there is) and no "free will" (which, on philosophical naturalism is and has to be an illusion - see Daniel Dennett, Joel Marks, et. al.). I have always found that to be intellectually unacceptable."
I'll add this: Within every worldview one runs up against intractable questions. Such is the case with the worldviews of theism and atheism. One intra-worldview issue is: are certain worldview-beliefs logically incompatible? There's no logical incompatibility, within the worldvew I hold true, between: a) God is my guiding shepherd; and b) doing the intra-theistic-worldview reasoning of theology. But a case can be made for the logical incompatibility of: a) All that exists is matter and its various collocations (from atheist Bertrand Russell); and b) I choose to convince you that (a) is true.
(Note: See, e.g., atheist philosopher John Gray's intra-worldview reasoning in his new book The Silence of Animals: On Progress and Other Myths).