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Thursday, 26 January 2012

Science and Religion. Pity the Poor Theologians.

Just came across this paragraph in "Science and Religion. A Very Short Introduction" by Thomas Dixon.
Pity the poor theologians! They are faced with a seemingly impossible dilemma when it comes to making sense of divine actions in the world. If they affirm that God does act through miraculous interventions in nature, then they must explain why God acts on these occasions but not on numerous others; why miracles are so poorly attested; and how they are supposed to be compatible with our scientific understanding of the universe. On the other hand, if they deny that God acts through special miraculous interventions, then they are left with a faith which seems to be little more than Deism - the belief that God created the universe but is no longer active within it. If God is real, should we not expect to be able to discern at least some special divine acts? The theologian seems to have chosen between a capricious, wonder-working, tinkering God and an absent, uninterested, undetectable one. Neither sounds like a suitable object for love and worship.

Dixon, Thomas; Science and Religion. A Very Short Introduction, IBSN 978-0-19-929551-7.
Well, quite!

So, theists, which is it? Is your god a wonder-working, capricious, tinkering god, or an absent, uninterested and undetectable one?

Or, which makes far more sense, and removes any need for inventive mental contortions and logical absurdities, is it just a non-existent one?

(Incidentally, if you wish to buy this book from Amazon and do so through this blog site, any commission I get will go to Oxfam to help ameliorate some of the appalling conditions in which people live and die in this world, with or without its interventionist/non-interventionist/absent gods)


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4 comments:

  1. It never ceases to amuse me that fundamentalist antitheists are almost always the most bigoted and closed minded of all religious fundamentalists.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ...What I see here is in no way bigotry; I see an argument legitimately followed to its logical conclusion. She is simply pointing out that in general, the religious no longer have a leg to stand on. Don't lash out because you have been beaten. If "God" didn't want us to be capable of solving problems with our brains, he really should have adjusted the blueprints to make us as intelligent as a sloth, or a kangaroo, or a theist. <<< There is some bigotry for you, I surely didn't want to disappoint.

      Delete
    2. It's probably obvious to normal people why you chose insults and ad hominem abuse rather than attempting a logical refutation of the quote.

      Does that tactic normally win you many converts?

      Delete
  2. Yes it's obvious to most of us why the first comment is devoid of substance, merit or relevance. If only it were apparent to the author.

    ReplyDelete

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