Monday, April 13, 2009

Read This

While catching up on my blogging (I've been in Louisville for the holiday weekend), I came across this little gem from James McGrath:

The unexamined faith is not worth having. Religion has had many critics from without, and still does. But one characteristic feature of the Biblical tradition is that it is full of critics from within, those who examine their own tradition and challenge themselves first, and then their contemporaries, to rethink it and to live it differently.

There are those who would like to avoid such critical introspection and self-examination, perhaps at all costs. "Leave us alone", they might say, "we're happy as we are." But just as one might believe oneself happy living in ignorance of one's wife's affair, for example, it can also be argued that the "happiness" in such cases is illusory. One's alleged happiness is maintained at the cost of a failing marriage and a decaying relationship infested with deceit. And presumably, were the wife happy and the relationship healthy, the affair would not be occuring. And so in such cases one is in fact valuing one's own deluded happiness over the happiness and well-being of others.

Be that as it may, if someone else wishes to live in uncritical self-deception (or at least the risk thereof) they are free to do so. I'd prefer to have a healthy marriage, an honest faith, and a critical approach to life. And so, if you'd prefer not to be aware of potential difficulties with Biblical inerrancy, amd historical uncertainties about the stories contained therein, and other things that often get noticed when one examines the Bible critically, then this blog is not for you. You are under no obligation to ask the questions I am asking about my faith, any more than you are obliged to accept my answers. But don't begrudge those of us who do ask them, or who answer them differently than you might.

Well said.

1 comment:

Simon Holloway said...

Very nicely said, indeed! If I may play devil's advocate: just as a man may not wish to question his wife's fidelity because, knowing her to be unfaithful, he will be forced to divorce her on account of this fact, are you prepared to question your faith if you happen to know that it won't stand up to questioning? In other words, would you have the integrity to divorce yourself from Christianity if you are honestly incapable of reconciling it with the other data at your disposal? Where, indeed, does the integrity lie? With the one who 'questions' his faith, but structures his questions in such a fashion that he can maintain it? Or with the one who does not question his faith because he knows that he will lose it if he does?