This is not a post about my sudden conversion to atheism. If you read my last post, you may remember that I spoke about the intelligibility of the universe in its explicit and implicit order as part of my reason for belief. In my about section, I write how my atheist girlfriend would ask me questions, and how this blog is my attempt to answer some of those questions. In another post, I mentioned that sometimes I feel like I’m writing Leah Libresco’s Unequally Yoked in reverse. This is one of those posts.
Since I believe that “all truth is God’s truth,” sometimes when I read or learn something new, previously held notions of belief have to be reevaluated. Maybe one of these days I’ll end up an atheist. I don’t find this likely. I’m just saying in the whole process of seeking after what is true, you are sometimes led to unexpected places. Lately what I’ve been reading has me grappling with my existing confession. I would maintain it is entirely intelligible, that it makes sense and describes the operation of the world without obvious flaw. But that doesn’t mean I know it’s without a doubt true. This is agnostic theism, after all. I believe it is true as a theoretical physicist might believe a certain proposed multiverse model of reality is true. I have perceived certain natural phenomena, and this system makes it all intelligible – so the fact that it works give me reason to believe it is true.
On the other hand, the mere working of something is not sufficient reason to believe it is true. The evolution of scientific thought, wherein what once we saw as working and true is refuted or transformed by new evidence, should be evidence enough of that. The evolution of theology, wherein the discoveries of the natural world and also the revelation of the divine leads to redefining our preconceived notions, is supplemental evidence in the case against pragmatism. (Imagine a few Jewish fishermen who believed certain things about their relationship to God and God’s relationship to all the peoples of the Earth and of a political messiah…didn’t they have to reevaluate things with the revelation of Christ? “Oh, we are the chosen people, but God’s salvation is for all people, and there isn’t only the high priest one day a year in the Holy of Holies, but right here right now I’m walking around with God incarnate who is named Jesus and is from Nazareth?” Remember this whenever someone suggests new information or challenging evidence doesn’t spark change in “religion.”)
If you’ve been following this blog in the remotest sense, we’ve always worked toward what I believe, namely a Lutheran confession of Catholic Christianity (as opposed to a Roman/Latin confession of Catholic Christianity or a Byzantine confession of same). Sometimes this meant working away from other notions, such as materialism or moral relativism. What if we didn’t work toward what I believe? What if I started from belief and worked elsewhere? This is what I aim to do with this post. I want to work away from Lutheranism toward atheism as a cogent position. Let’s go on a ride!