Readers of this blog know that I used to identify as a Christian but that was before I engaged atheist arguments or understood how science worked.
My last two years have led me to see that my religious assertions were not real because they relied too much on emotional pleading rather than testable data.
I've come to see that the religion I once asserted could offer emotional uplift but that phenomenon was more in line with aesthetics.
It might have an ontological interest (the branch of metaphysics that deals with the nature of being) but had no physical reality and therefore the moral conclusions that it claimed were mercurial and self-focused.
It stopped working when I found myself in dialogue with people using their religion like a ventriloquist's dummy to assert whatever emotional bias they might prefer. This sometimes could be wonderful like my friends who spend their time serving the poor or it could be awful when powerful and privileged people argued for things like "Biblical Capitalism" or how Jesus would support George Bush and his pro-war stance.
My doubts with my cultural religion have led me to doubt all religious assertions because I've not seen how any supernatural claims operate as real.
They aren't any more real than one's preference for the uplift found in an artistic genre or culinary category.
I am okay with that if folks want to share their experience with their imagined worlds but no longer find experimental supernaturalism as anything more than an act of imagination and therefore it is dangerous because it is a disconnection from reality.
It can't help us understand what it means to be a living human being in a physical world that demands we cooperate and make choices to sustain life because it defers to a realm that is subjective in its foundation rooted in qualities that can't be observed in an independent frame outside of the person asserting the necessary qualities.
An open question that I'd love to get a response -- why is there an insistence (like Ecklund's) to demand empiricists concern themselves with supernatural assertions?
When one has moved passed a faith-based way of knowing for the more testable world of empiricism (evidence) is it fair to dismiss faith's validity? Why? Why not?
What benefit does religious faith (defined here as a belief that invisible/non-material forces affect reality) have for someone who understands and is curious about how observable phenomenon affect reality?