When I look at what someone says, whether it is for or against a religious stance in regard to God, do I address it as I would hope someone would address what I say?
I seem to have a few ‘favourites’ in the anti-Christian world. Authors, YouTubers, podcasters, bloggers etc. Is it because I am trying to re-enforce what I believe, or because I need to be reminded about what I believe and why I believe it?
It might sound like a strange question, but I don’t think I honestly reflect and work through what theists present in their arguments. I think I put up facades and enjoy knocking them down. I never learnt logic as a subject. I think it’s something we are seriously missing within our society here in the west. We don’t want people who can think coherently. We want people who are excellent within rhetoric and we are thus swayed and follow.
I can’t help but feel that we would be able to have much more honest, real and intelligent conversations if we learnt the skill of logic and applied it to our exploration in areas like religion or morality. It’s something I see used much more frequently in philosophy, for example, and it has a great effect there.
Logic allows one to work things through from a framework. Using a syllogism or formula to address a stance, and seeing which proposition or section falls down as it is investigated (if indeed any do). I can’t help but think that if I had learnt logic to a meaningful level, I would be in a much better place to explore much more of what I went through and am going through today during deconstruction. It’s an area I need to focus on.
I noticed recently that I seem to believe that all books hold truth. I might not have thought this literally before, but how I respond when I read something sways me so much that it’s as if my mind has been set up to believe a book (say the Bible) as truth, and when I go on to read something else, I take the weight of a book’s possible truth very seriously.
This might sound crazy but looking at the variety of books I have read; Harris > Lennox > Dawkins > Lewis > Harari > Wright, these books sway me, and it’s only when I have read them, put them down, that I allow my own mind to re-orient itself back to where I am right now. Position ‘Agnostic Atheist’… maybe
I desire to consume arguments, books, podcasts, videos, thoughts and reasons – why?
Surely, it’s far more important to learn how to use logic to process what I am consuming, which means consuming at a much slower rate? Surely, I need to be real with what I am working through, and not just devour for the sake of feeling full for a while, all the time moving back to my position of doubt, because it’s comfortable and takes the pressure from me to prove anything.
The host of the ‘Pints with Jack‘ podcast, a show I used to listen to, laid out a very helpful framework for accessing evidence. If I am honest, I really don’t ever do anything near this amount of due diligence when I work something through.
Here is what he says:
‘When it comes to assessing evidence, I’d say that the best thing we can do is:
(a) do our best to be open to new information
(b) think about what information might change your mind (so that we’re forced to be honest)
(c) find the best argumentation against our position (rather than more-easily refuted arguments from someone down at the pub)
(d) endeavour to really understand the argument (to prevent laziness and refutation of a strawman)
(e) make our assessment for the time being (and be open to having this assessment updated)’
There is an adjustment here. A requirement for honest reflection on how evidence is assessed and how dishonest I could have been in my assessment of things in the past, due to my limited knowledge of logic and its use.
I don’t think logic is the only way to address things, please be clear about that. I raise it in this post as it is something I haven’t got right, and something I need to begin to explore far more.
I am also concerned about my desire to consume things that reinforce my position. Though I think we all do this to a certain level. I need to focus on that which does not support my stance. I need to apply something like the above to the arguments brought in favour of the view opposing mine, and I need to sit with what I find.
As you might see, I don’t have any answers – rather I have these revelations from time to time. Maybe it’s the start of something, maybe it’s just an honest reflection.
I want to make sure I don’t shy away from my failures and my findings. I want this blog to track a journey as honestly as it can. Even though when reading it back now and then breaks my heart, to see where I have been in the past and to be so unsure about the future.
_End of Blog Blurb_
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. It has taken me a few years to get to a place where I am able to share my loss of faith and to start writing about the journey that I am still on for you all. I hope you find it useful.
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Grammar, spelling, capitalisation and punctuation: I am massively dyslexic. It has taken me years to get to the level I am currently at with writing and I have done this mainly through reading. I want to be better and ask you, reader, to please forgive any errors in my writing. I hope you notice improvement upon improvement over the coming years.
Time Frame: This blog is roughly twelve to twenty-four months behind where I currently am in my journey out of religion. It’s important to remember that when reading and commenting.
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I’ll see you back here at the same time next week 🙂
When Belief Dies #84 – 'Paddling Pools & Oceans' with Roger Bretherton – When Belief Dies
- When Belief Dies #84 – 'Paddling Pools & Oceans' with Roger Bretherton
- When Belief Dies #83 – 'Pottery Shards and Lemsip' with Daniel Kelly
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- When Belief Dies #81 – 'Faith, Religion & Stoicism' with William B Irvine
- When Belief Dies #80 – 'The Ehrman Challenge' with Roger Bretherton