Friday, July 15, 2011

The Battle is Over -- Shutting it Down

My friend Thom Stark suggested to me yesterday that many atheists are still trapped by religion and I agreed with him.

For the most part, this blog has been a project of me seeking to escape my religious bonds. I've, more than often, however, knotted the ties by which religion held me down, through a rage-filled response to a narrow theological tradition.

My response was necessary to clear my mind of group-agreement and move towards a new world-view that does not seek safety within institutional authority.

The time to maintain that position however, seems to be over so, I'm closing down this blog in the hope to start fresh in examining belief from a more charitable view.

I've grown tired of the New Atheist cliche where rancor towards the religious is born out of a presupposed caricature towards religious belief and, would rather understand the religious mind, rather than seek easy (and fallacious) methods of debunking it.

This desire is born from my appreciation of empirical realities and material truth.

I've discovered that the limited strategy of mockery towards the religious to be a false premise that does not reflect the realities in which the religious move.

My wife is a devout Christian and she isn't a stupid and superstitious person who simply believes because she is told to believe. Two of my best friends, Steve and Jen Bishop are devout Christians, Steve also holds an MDiv in Theology from Trinity Seminary, and they are two of the most thoughtful people I know. They wrestle with moral questions from a place of honesty and never accept blind belief as an answer.

If I am going to understand what is real inside of belief than I need to expand my way of knowing what those beliefs are. The best way I can think of this is to begin the practice of Philosophical Charity where I interpret, a speaker's statements to be rational and, in the case of any argument, consider its best, strongest possible interpretation.

This will be a fun challenge and I think will yield knowledge.

That said, I don't think a blog committed to "battling" is appropriate to the project and therefore will be shutting this down.

This choice also affords me the opportunity to move to WordPress software and begin anew.

The URL for my next blog is http://charitableatheism.wordpress.com/ and the first project I will attempt there will be an audit of Ed Feser's book on Thomistic Theology entitled "Aquinas". Ed is a Roman Catholic and scholar of Thomistic-Aristotelian ethics. The former institution is something I distrust and the latter school is something I am ignorant of.

My goals with the blog will be spelled out on the opening page but, generally speaking will be to pursue what I consider the true New Atheist goal - a public space where reason rules. This goal has been misunderstood by me in the past to mean, where science rules and, that misunderstanding, has led to polemic rather than insight. I'm sick of polemic. I'm tired of being angry. I want to be wise.

I also want to leave a legacy for my son where he can choose disbelief as a world-view rich in wonder and peace and mystery.

For those who have read this blog and commented, thanks. This has been cool. I don't think I attracted many readers but, I think I became a better writer for working on this.

Peace,

Chuck

7 comments:

Vinny said...

It sounds like you are moving in a healthy direction. Good luck.

Like a Child said...

Leaving fundamentalism is much like grieving a loved one, and anger is just part of the process, I think. I didn't go through much anger myself, but sometmes I think it would have been healthier if I did...perhaps speeding up the whole grieving process for me, which still drags on, along with indecision. I look forward to following your new venture.

LadyAtheist said...

Deconversion is a gradual process with a lot of stages.

There isn't any one way to be an atheist. The "New Atheists" aren't leaders or spokespeople - they are just expressing their own opinions.

I was a lot more angry when Dubya was the president because of hte way he made a point of putting religious fundamentalists into high government positions and into the military. I don't particularly care about people's personal beliefs until they impinge on others'.

Chuck said...

Lady A,

You are a better person than I was. I chose to be polemical in my debates seeking "knock-down" arguments against someone's belief, assuming that they only held to fideism. I kind of showed my ignorance in doing so.

LadyAtheist said...

I've taken a few people to task but not in anger. The closest I came to getting angry was a friend who never put her children in seat belts because god would take care of them. I pointed out that god gave the seat belts, but I also hammered the point that the laws of physics don't care who god likes. All kids who get killed in auto accidents are supposed to be watched by god so he's not very reliable apparently. She finally started buckling up her kids but the line that got to her was when i told her she'd be setting five places for dinner every night for the next whatever years instead of six if one of her kids flew out the windshield. It takes what it takes!

Andrew T said...

Good luck on your new quest Chuck, I hope it is illuminating

Finding Glory said...

Hi Chuck,
I always enjoyed reading your blog, and your writing is very good. I'm looking forward to reading how your journey progresses in the new blog. Believe-it-or-not, I think I've had some similar questions of the methods of our former 'home church', even though I don't like that distinction. Anyway, hope you're well brother and that life keeps getting more interesting.

Larry S.