"Slarrow" refers to the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" from Hamlet's soliloquy. Here are the chronicles of such darts and whatever attempt there may be to take arms against such a sea of troubles.

Location: Ozarks, United States

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Whoa...almost missed February post

I'd made it a goal in my intermittent posting schedule to post at least once per month, but I almost missed February! Sigh. It would be better to blog more, I think; the thoughts have been swirling once again, demanding an outlet, and reviving Slarrow is becoming more appealing to me again.

First, an addition to the blogroll: Our White Noise, a new blog started by a very old, very dear friend of mine. Her latest is a love letter--of sorts--to New York City.

As for me, I got another piece printed in my local paper's editorial page in response to some backhanded swipes at religious people. It requires context to make sense of the whole debate, but I won't provide the links; right now a Google search of my blog identity and my real name generates no real matches, and I'm happy to keep it that way. Suffice it to say that a religious studies professor published a serious piece postulating that the Christian God, as social phenomenon, was vulnerable to obsolescence in the same manner of a Zeus or Apollo. That piece generated some responses, which in turn generated a particular screed by another local commentator about how idiocy, religious inclination, and youth all seemed somehow to intersect. I wrote this as a reply.

Deal With God As Objective Reality

[The recent] screed [by another local writer] confused me. I was unsure whether he thought dumb people were drawn to religious belief or that religion deserved better thinkers or that religious belief itself is ridiculous. I'd like to engage his argument, but after carving out all the insults and sneering, I can't find it.

Still, the principle of charity demands I presume the best possible case for [this person]. He begins with kind words about [the professor's] recent piece on the mortality of the idea of God and a broadside against the student who replied to it. Since he found the earlier piece "lacking in coherent thought," perhaps he will accept this critique.

[The professor's] piece was not original in either its premise or its key error. Friedrich Nietzsche said over a century ago that God was dead. But he, like [the professor], was talking about a God-of-the-mind, a construct with a certain social efficacy on the wane. The error of both was the refusal to deal with God as an objective reality. A real God with inherent characteristics does not "live" or "die" according to the mental states of human beings, just as I exist with particular attributes whether Hedrick ever has a mental conception of [me].

In avoiding the question of the objective existence of God, [the professor] ignores his status as an active player in history and would presumably reduce evidence of such action to either human or natural agency (unsurprising for a professor of the humanities.) Certain anti-intelligent design people do the same, insisting that rational people can discover facts about a rational universe while cutting a rational designer out of the picture.

But God does exist as himself, regardless of the relative popularity of a defective mental concept of his deity. From reading [a particular religious leader] in these pages before, I'm confident he asserts this also; God's existence is not dependent on our belief. The reverse is the case.

God moves in our lives and offers deep drinks of powerful, refreshing water. It is perplexing why so many people dash the cup away to drink from clammy canteens filled with stale liquids. Drop the accusations of "dumb" and drink from the source instead.

Back to slarrow again. I may say more about this piece in the future, but let me remark that one of the aspects involved here is the necessity to recognize that modern arguments are largely about conflicting worldviews. In order to really answer certain positions, it is necessary to delve into fundamental questions of objective reality. Since those are hard and perhaps unknowable, we often ignore them and try to deal with the surface issues. But the metaphysical assumptions are there nonetheless, like icebergs, and we absolutely ignore them at our peril. Reality matters, no matter how addicted we are to manipulations of perception.