Saturday, April 11, 2015

Why We Believe

My actress yesterday told me of a friend of hers.  The friend is a minister / elder in a Methodist church.  She frequently preaches.  However, she is not a believer.  She has no faith.  Only those who know her well know that she's an unbeliever.

When you ask her, "Why do you work as a minister and preach to others when you yourself have no faith?" she answers, "People need to believe.  It helps them.  By preaching, I'm helping them."

My response to my actress:

To hell with that.  Are we such ignoble creatures that we need the comfort of a lie, of a handy fiction to make us feel good?  We believe because it is true; we believe because God is truth.  If it turns out (as I was convinced when I was an atheist) that God is a lie and that this whole thing is an elaborate illusion, propped up by well meaning hypocrites for the benefit of cowards, then let's get pick axes and kerosene and smash up and burn to the ground every god-forsaken church in the world.  To hell with all religion if it's simply a lie that we like.  I am for truth, as any man with any dignity would be.

Give me believers with courage.  Give me atheists with courage.  Then we'll live again.


marchmain said...

My definition of "lifestyle Christianity" is faith that serves the actual (never admitted) purpose of preserving a particular cozy, comforting way of life (usually consumerist & suburbanized). Theology, scripture, truth, tradition, etc, are utmost when they condemn other people but magically become 2ndary or academic concerns when they condemn my way of living & feeling. I don't care if my faith would commend me to repent for or ease off on my particular worldly attachments. I'm gonna make my faith either ignore my disordered attachments or relegate them to some spiritualized or sentimentalized sphere (like Purgatory or the Stuart Smalley ethic). Sacraments function to validate my lifestyle and to make me feel ok about myself. Communion boils down to a sense or feeling of community (warm fuzzies = holy spirit) with like-minded people I already like and want to be liked by.

This is Churchianity and it's for pussies. It is not the Catholic faith. Love your perspectives. Rare find in this sea of unreality aka the modern Church.

tioedong said...

ah, but what do you define as "believe"? In Protestant churches like the Methodist church or many of the Pentecostal type churches springing up all over, often it means an emotional high; so no emotions, no faith, because God is not real, just a psychological construct that every person can make up as they go along.

and the next step: No emotion for "faith" means you are a non believer.

I myself prefer the idea that faith is a commitment of the will. It was once said of Tolkien that he did not see Catholicism as a faith to be chosen but as a reality that was conformed to.

Reality exists whether or not you believe in it. But then I am a scientist (physician) and modern relativism hasn't (yet) destroyed scientific belief in reality.

James L. said...

I agree that the deception of the "Methodist preacher" is truly ignoble. She's the benevolent drug dealer providing the masses with their opiate, so that they can survive the day to day struggle.

Pure speculation: I wonder if she lies (consciously or unconsciously) to herself about her own self-importance in order to give herself purpose. "They need ME to preach otherwise they will fall apart."

On the other hand, I'm not quite sure "atheists with courage" is a better alternative. Atheists with courage may end up looking like Bill Maher. I'm not quite sure the world is a better place because he's more "honest" (a euphemism for mean and boorish) than the "Methodist preacher."