Thursday, April 21, 2011

i don't beliiieeeeeve it!

There was an interesting article in the New Statesman this week, which basically asked the question of various prominent people who profess a belief in God: for fuck's sake, why? The answers are simultaneously interesting and disappointing. A few common patterns emerge, as they always do:
  • There's a few variations on the "I choose to believe because it's too scary not to" theme, notably Peter Hitchens and Stephen Clark.
  • Paul Davies doesn't really seem to believe in anything.
  • There are a few others who seem to believe only in the most basic "first cause" sort of a god, i.e. a sort of vague Deism - but then, through some magical sleight of hand, transform it into the very specific God of the Bible. Praise Jesus!
  • Then there's Stephen Green of Christian Voice - who apparently "came to faith in God through seeing the ducks on a pond in People's Park, Grimsby". What I thought he was going to say was: "I came to faith in God through beating the crap out of my ex-wife". My mistake.
  • Peter Bussey offers a particularly absurd argument involving St. Paul's Cathedral and Christopher Wren, to try and deflect the perfectly good infinite regress arguments against God as first cause of anything. The trouble is, it is perfectly legitimate to ask "how did St. Paul's Cathedral come to be?" and then go on to ask "how did Christopher Wren come to be?", and an answer is available, involving Mr. and Mrs. Wren loving each other very much, and Mr. Wren putting his winky in Mrs. Wren's foo-foo, and, well, you get the idea, no supernatural stuff required. Shoehorning "design" into the question is just begging the question, and is intellectually dishonest, assuming one cares about such things.
In the end you are left with the feeling: is this really the best you guys have got? Because this is fucking pitiful. Not quite as pitiful as this article, though, wherein the New Statesman commission a thoughtful article on faith (and lack thereof) from none other than intellectual heavyweight, erm, Russell Brand.

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