A couple of blog posts ago I spoke about the concerns I have around grounding reason, or rationality or sense. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. The truth is I live each day as if reason was objective, but I still don’t understand how it can be if there isn’t a God.
The very thing I used to work my way out of religious faith is the very thing that needs a God to give it complete or objective reasoning. Anyway, it’s a very interesting thought process, and I am sure I will be going back on forth about it for a long time to come, so don’t go anywhere.
As I have been working my way through this, I’ve come up against the question time and time again:
From the traditions of faith that I have been in, if something isn’t objective (like God would be) then it isn’t fully real or fully meaningful. Why you may ask, my answer would have been: because God is the substrate upon which everything, we experience hinges, He makes each experience real. He also authors meaning, granting it objective meaning as it is captured within His creation. I am sure there are many faith heads reading things who would strongly disagree, but as I mentioned before, these are the traditions of faith that I have been in.
I know I have spoken about morality a bit before, and I am currently convinced that it is subjective, but a subjective experience that most within the world today would agree to and adhere to. This is why morality changes over time as we decide that something is wrong or right, given how we see it today. Take slavery for example.
Anyway, this was a massive hurdle for me, because if morality is subjective, it isn’t ‘real’ in the way I used to believe it to be. I am still working this through, but I also find it fits and makes more sense within how the world would look without a God.
Now we have turned the page in my journey to rationality which I came to when I read Miracles by C. S. Lewis. It’s a huge challenge, as I have tried to explain in various posts over the last few weeks, Mr Lewis believes for us to actually have reason or sense, we need a framework that can only be ‘real’ (in the objective sense) if it is built upon the substrate of God.
I will not argue again here about how I find this so challenging. Rather I just want to point out why I find it so challenging.
Coming from the objective to the subjective, to me, is like the difference between walking on a beach, with the sand between your toes, and the ocean breeze leaving its salt upon your lips. To realise you were only ever imagining the experience, whilst starring at a painting of a beach, in watercolours, on the wall in front of you.
This realisation is a hard realisation. It doesn’t make the past any less ‘real’, but it does change the perspective upon which you reflect on it, and how you look out at today.
What makes something meaningful and real has changed, all I have is my experience and my thoughts. Rationality and morality aren’t what I thought they were, and that is (interestingly) going to take a while to settle within my heart and head.
This will take time because I want to push back against deconstructing based on what I believe, rather than search for what is true beyond my belief. Is there objective morality, and if so, is it based on a God? I think that’s worth some further exploration.
_End of Blog Blurb_
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When Belief Dies #77 – 'Carts, Horses & Certainty' with Roger Bretherton – When Belief Dies
- When Belief Dies #77 – 'Carts, Horses & Certainty' with Roger Bretherton
- The Ehrman Episodes #1 – 'Christ & Christmas' with Bart D. Ehrman
- When Belief Dies #76 – 'Purpose & Pokémon' with Daniel Kelly
- When Belief Dies #75 – 'Handbooks, Atheism and Honesty' with Dr Joshua Bowen
- When Belief Dies #74 – 'A hell of a topic' with Daniel Kelly