Wanting to believe, but unable to believe.

Some random views on religion in early 21st century America:

Bart Ehrman is a former Protestant minister (and present university religion professor) who lost his faith, because it was based on a Bible full of contradictions and a God indifferent to human suffering.  “If God wanted the Bible to be His inerrant word, then why couldn’t He at least have left us one copy of source manuscripts which were internally consistent?” — is one question Ehrman asked.

The late Vincent Bugliosi was the famous Charles Manson prosecutor and fallen away Catholic who couldn’t understand why God is unwilling to do even one little public miracle which could be witnessed and documented in a way to remove all doubt of His existence. He was also troubled by God’s indifference to human suffering.

Gerald Schroeder is a Jewish physicist who’s tried to explain God in physical terms — from the subatomic to the cosmological  — while also considering the wrenching contradiction of a good and omnipotent God being at the controls of a world with so much human suffering.

Bill Maher is a fallen-away, half-Jewish Catholic who hates religion, but can’t stop talking about it.

Ross Douthat is a New York Times columnist (and Catholic convert) who believes that the USA has become a nation of heretics — not atheists or agnostics, but people who have abandoned traditional religion in favor of new big box store religions, boutique religions, or even home made religions.  He doesn’t like the trend.

Some reasonably rigorous medical science suggests that being a spiritual person objectively promotes health and longevity.

So what are the secular humanistic, agnostic, and atheistic among us to do? Consign religion to our mental dustbins, smug in our certitude that religions are just opiates for the superstitious masses? Pretend to believe, when we really don’t?  Be honest with Whomever may be out there, looking into our hearts, and admit that we’d like to believe, but can’t?

Is there anything new under the sun Is there anything which the conscientious agnostic has failed to consider?

In my case, I think — perhaps, yes.  There is something new under the sun to consider about the oldest mystery in the history of human existence.

Or maybe not.  But I would like to talk about it.

For my introduction, click on “The physical executive summary,” on the black bar, just below the sunburst image, above.

(n.b. this image is a slice taken from a photo I myself shot in Iceland, in March, 2008, in the late afternoon, about half way between the Gullfoss waterfall and Reykjavik).

Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach CA

One thought on “Wanting to believe, but unable to believe.

  1. Re Bugliosi’s complaint: I think it wouldn’t work. I can’t imagine any way for God to appear, or any feat God could do, that would convince me he/she is God. Think about Jesus performing his miracles. What if Jesus came back now and tried any of the miracles he performed back in the day. What is the first thing you would do if you witnessed him turning water into wine, or feeding the crowd with one loaf and one fish?

    You would ask him how he did it. If he refused to say, you would think he was a magician. You wouldn’t allow him to leave without explaining how he did it. But apparently no one thought to ask him how he did any of his miracles. They accepted these as proof he was the son of God, but would you accept that today? If some person or disembodied voice claimed to be God, what would you accept as proof? The only thing that would work is what some Christians call “the grace of God,” which just means God just changes your mind to believe he is God. But then you wouldn’t know God changed your mind. Or you would know, and then you still wouldn’t believe. There is no way for God to prove he is God.

Leave a Reply