Reminder: Submit your entries for the 119th Skeptics’ Circle as per this entry here, ahead of Thursday September 10th. There’s plenty of time yet to get skeptically scribbling and have your post featured.
Now, on with the regular blog.
The discussions over at Fallen and Flawed continue to be entertaining. I’m planning to write up a more thorough response to a couple of things that have come up in the comments there, but tonight I’m tired and lazy. (I want to at least make reference to the Nazi analogies coming from the anti-religious side, though. That just doesn’t seem to be helping.)
One thing that seems to be a recurring theme is the idea of the “hardened heart” of the non-believer, and the way we resist knowledge of Jesus by our sinful ways. I’ve seen this argued a lot. It’s not just that we’re sinful for not believing; we’re so corrupt that we choose to actively resist an understanding of the truth.
Not all religious people take this approach. But for some, apparently this is how they have to see us. Never mind whether someone comes from a different cultural background, has adopted entirely different values during their own unique upbringing, has studied all the evidence presented to them and found nothing conclusive, has been indoctrinated with a different set of ideas entirely, or maybe has just never even heard of Jesus. He’s there in their hearts, if only they’d let him in.
And I suppose I can see why it’s necessary to believe this about us heathens. Because someone like Demian and I aren’t actually that different. He doesn’t have any vital insight into new information that’s being kept from me. He hasn’t formulated and tested a hypothesis which has shown to be scientifically rigorous. He doesn’t have any more reason to believe in his god than I do. We’re both coming from essentially the same place. So he has to justify somehow the fact that he does believe despite the lack of any good reason to do so.
So it’s just my hardened heart that’s stopping me from seeing the light. Nothing to do with being unpersuaded by the complete lack of evidence. I mean, if that was going to stop you believing, then he’d have to be some sort of loon to buy into it himself. No, his heart is “turned from sin”. His mind is “converted from carnal to spiritual”. And many other flowery phrases, which try to justify clinging to a completely irrational idea by saying that Jesus is magic.