Saturday, August 11, 2007

Sufferin Delusions

The trouble with picking up a book like The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins is that I now feel compelled, obligated somehow to him, to answer his general assertion that those who believe in God suffer, more importantly, cause others to suffer, under a harmful delusion.
I am not overly interested in science. I am fascinated by nature, but in much the same way that I love music. I don't necessarily wish to know how it works, I just enjoy the end result.
Having the question put to me, however, a few retorts leap to my mind; Antonin Scalia's biting sarcasm in describing the cunning deceit the disciples of Christ employed in order to have themselves crucified upside down, boiled in oil, or exiled to Patmos (talk about selfish motivation); the simplistic yet persistent question of the origin of that first indefatigable molecule ( I have heard artful and exceeding scientific attempts to explain away the origin of species, but only disinterested conjecture on the origin of life); or my own conversion experience, which Dawkins lists as the least convincing proof offered by theists.
This, by the way, could fill a whole book by itself, probably not written by Dawkins.
If he insists that I be a skeptic such as he is, believing only what I can personally experience, in regarding my supernatural experience versus his entirely physically explainable life, then, having been overwhelmed with my "own reality" wouldn't it be irresponsible to accept his in lieu of mine?
Anyway, I find myself doubting whether he has considered the implications or full consequence of his conclusions.
For example, despite the accolades of courage with which atheists and evolutionists glad-hand each-other, (they don't need no crutches, an irony in itself, after painting such a pitiful picture of delusional Christians suffering under the crushing burden of God, it hardly then becomes courageous or altruistic to deny God, in fact, it's only the selfish thing to do) I am wondering whether Dawkins is honest enough to admit that his life has as much meaning or future as a pile of dung.
And now I am sounding like the cool rationalistic Dawkins who alternately refers to God as sex-obsessed, misogynistic and sadistic, harsh words indeed for someone whose only misdeed has been not to exist. I do understand that his epithets are directed more at me, as one who has created God, than at God Himself. Still, his vitriol retains a curious forcefulness, and at best seems several notches below level-headed.
I digress, however. Indeed, I excel at digressing.
The original course I set out on is that if Dawkins is as intellectually honest as he says he is, he will find absolutely no meaning in life, for it was never anticipated, produces no results, and has no end other than procreation, which [PG-13 warning] derives its only pleasure from its result; offspring.
It's either a mind-numbing chicken-egg conundrum or way over my head.
In other words, he will be the most shiftless, positively uninspired atheistic apologist on the face of this pointless, coincidental earth. He will, as a natural result, have no use, in fact, no tolerance for music, art, poetry or beauty of any kind, and if he does, he will be at a dissatisfying loss to explain why.
Furthermore, he will cease to be, will have never become, the God-debunking zealot that he is.
We would only know his opinions on the matter if we were able to observe his thoughts, as he never would have had the motivation, the eagerness, or the God-given hatred of God to write down his thoughts. Or, had he, simply as a means of monetary pursuit, if we are to find his crusader's motives suspect, this again would end in confusion, since the pursuit of wealth is only an offshoot of the pursuit of happiness, which is unavoidably an offshoot of the pursuit of meaning.

Maybe more later.

Monday, August 06, 2007


The sun sinks low, and here I go
Wrestling with questions that refuse an answer. . . .
Just as I satisfy my quest to justify God and His ways and drift off to sleep with a smile on my face whispering, "Transcendence, higher ways. . .", another fork appears in the road ahead and I sit bolt upright with a worried look.
Transcendence is the catch-all only if you continually keep your eyes upon the transcendent One.
But as you gaze steadfastly upon Him, something will inevitably begin to nag at you, and the feeling creeps over you that comes upon you when you are driving and become transfixed by some distant curiosity, or a bit of scenery, a map.
Lost in the distance, something begins to nag at you,
the road, the road
And your head jerks back around, catching an imaginary obstacle in the corner of your traitorous eye, swerve, and hit the ditch, only to get out, and find there was nothing in the road after all.
I realize keeping your eyes on the road while driving is the responsible thing to do.
But spiritual responsibility has a way of becoming a spiritual liability.
In other words, probably you shouldn't be the one driving.
Your imagination tends to run away with you.
This path of faith can be a place
So barren of what I understand
Someone once had the unmitigated gall to ask Daniel Boone if he'd ever gotten lost.
"No." he replied, with an addendum, "I got confused once for about two weeks, but I never have been lost."
Is that an equivocation, bravado or a lie?
Or, the truth.
Seeing as how he was still around for someone to ask him if he'd ever been lost, it appears we have to take him at his word when he said he hadn't.
Many's a time I've been making my way out of the brush, fighting through to a clearing ahead, and savagely kicking the same boulder I've already passed three times.
Two or three years ago, (you see how these crisis have a way of escaping us, hanging from a cliff, praying Oh God help me, seeing a disembodied hand reach down and pull us back over the edge, Never mind, God, this disembodied hand just helped me.) I was headed to work on a Saturday. To further set the scenario, I think we can assume we were hard up for money, or I can guarantee I would've been at home in bed. Anyway, the truck dies.
I'm not a mechanic. Having said that, let me elaborate. I hate working on cars, and much the hatred is multiplied when I'm working on a car that died on my way to work on a Saturday to earn some already needed money.
As I blundered around town asking questions, I kept fighting the rising doubt, the endless parade of open-ended decimal points and dollar signs
To counter this, I clutched a rosary and feverishly muttered a Hail Mary.
That is to say, I may as well have been.
I repeatedly assured myself, all in the name of faith, that the dead truck was going to undergo some sort of miraculous resurrection, something on the order of Lazarus, or a reversal of the fig tree.
Essentially, I was quoting a mantra, vain repetition, I think it's called, and invoking a heady line of positive thinking.
The trouble with positive thinking is that one single question mark negates all the positive and puts you back at square one.
I believe the truck will be fixed so I won't have to spend a lot of money on it.
The truck is going to cost a lot of money to fix so I must be going to get a check in the mail.
If you're God and you are allowing your pupil to undergo a trust exam and he's speeding around town, frantically repeating "God will take care of this, He will take care of this." do you graduate your pupil?
You're not and I'm not. God, on the other hand, is, and He prompts "Yes, I will take care of this and you, more specifically, if this culminates in your truck being hauled off to the junk yard."

More later

Saturday, August 04, 2007


So how is calling the Bush's war on terror "phony" any different than John Edwards deriding the war on terror as "a bumper sticker war"?
Newt Gingrich is shrewd.
He is fiscally brilliant, and he articulates his policies well.
He is also politically sharp.
His recent comments regarding his fellow Republicans and Bush in particular are nothing if not sly.
His "trained seals" barb pointed at the Republican presidential candidates was a marvel of efficiency in the way of non-binding ridicule.
He counted on his remarks being taken somewhat out of context, and was able to calmly point out that he was not, in fact, technically referring to the candidates as trained seals, but was rather offering a commentary on the political process. Left explicitly unspoken but impressed upon the minds of his listeners is his contempt for candidates who would allow themselves to be treated like trained seals.
He has been ratcheting up the rhetoric on the war on terror, on Alberto Gonzales, on the political impotency of the Republican controlled White House, House, and Senate of 2001-2006, (neglecting to comment on his capitulation to Clinton in the budget battle showdown of the Clinton) in a largely successful, I think, attempt to jazz up his image in the mind of potential voters, should he "have to run."
I have never seen a man running harder for president who is not running for president.
And that is another part of his strategy.
Timing is everything.
While the conventional wisdom is jump in early and ride out the storm, he is, somewhat like the other non-candidate, Fred Thompson, busy creating an image of himself and a perception of the other candidates, poor, well-meaning saps, and just biding his time.
He is watching the atmospheric conditions brew and waiting for the perfect storm.
His early-on interview with James Dobson in which he knew the blunt Dobson would confront him with his extra-marital affair was another master preemptive strike.
He was able to come off as contrite, fully aware of the pain he'd caused and even courageous for baring his soul to evangelicals.
A lesson learned, and we are expected to forget that he carried on an affair with a young intern while his wife was in the hospital for cancer treatment.
God will most certainly forgive, but, personally, I would like to see a little more shame-facedness from the man, whom I view as nothing but a political hack; a very smart political hack, somewhere in the moral vicinity as Dick Morris.