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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Struggling With Faith on the First Sunday of Lent

I don't know if it's the first Sunday in Lent or what, but Andrew Sullivan has some interesting thoughts on Fundamentalism, biblical scholarship and the loss of faith in his blog today. Scroll about half way down, past his post on "Demogogic Democrats" - obviously I'm not going to agree with that - and something else about dogs, to "When Faith Evaborates."

He links to an article in The WashingtonPost about former Evangelical theologian Bart Ehrman whose biblical scholarship took him from fundamentalism to agnoticism. I plan to get Ehrman's new book, "Misquoting Jesus - The Story of Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why."

Sullivan, in his blog, wrestles with the accumulating facts, discrepancies, and contradictions in the Gospels and how to be a believing Christian in the 21st Century in light of what we know today. It's a brave struggle. Like Ehrman, I pretty much lost my faith - if not in a deity, at least, in the God of the Bible, both Old and New Testament. Or to be theologically correct, in the deity of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures.

And yet, and yet, atheism leaves too many logical holes to be convincing too. The very same skepticisim that leads me to a critical questioning of the assertions of scripture, leads me to question equally critically the claims of the materialist reductionists.

How do they know that there wasn't some hand in the creation? How did the Big Bang get us from a soup of inorganic material to life? Spontaneous generation as scientific theory has pretty much been dismissed. Life doesn't normally spring from inorganic matter, so how did we get from a bunch of inorganic chemicals to living, breathing humans? To any organic matter? There's a gap there that's not explainable by materialist theory. And there are other gaps in pure materialism. Things that the heart knows, that are intuitive wisdom and that materialism alone just can't account for.

Yet, that doesn't make the Judeo-Christian view of deity particularly satisfying either. Perhaps it requires not an "either-or", but a "both-and solution."

Anyway, for the first Sunday of Lent, and all the Sundays of Lent, remember that the seventh day, besides being the Sabbath, is also the day to fast from fasting. So, have that Chocolate Mousse pie and raise a glass of wine for me.

And if you're ever in the mid-Atlantic area, or anywhere where you can get to hear Celtic music, go see Iona, a wonderful band that I heard tonight at the Old Brogue in Great Falls, Virginia.

1 comment:

Pradeep Navaratnam said...

As someone who maintains a blog that focuses on bipartisanship and moderation in politics, I agree that moderates are allowing the extremists to take over. But I feel that the moderates are not being blind. They feel over-powered and powerless in the face of the extremists' onslaught.

The only way moderates can take control of the social agenda is if voters care. But unfortunately - and the scariest thing is - voters are themselves becoming solid rightwingers. They may not be extremists, but they are very hardline rightwingers. This trend began with Bush's election in 2000 and instensified after 9/11.

Thus the moderates in our legislatures are shut out. We can't blame them entirely but moderates and indepedents need to unite and present a common, formidable front. he problem is the right is united, the left is clueless and the center is fragmented. The centre needs to re-energize itself and fight hard.