Sunday, March 8, 2009

Mere Wonder

Responding to the same "Theism Defended" piece that I considered yesterday, Novalis at Ars Psychiatrica offers a brief and very good encapsulation of agnosticism:

[T]he quandary is not belief in God in the abstract, but rather the extreme multiplicity of religious conceptions across geography and history; absent the accidents of disposition and upbringing, there is no compelling justification for specifying God beyond the ultimately absent and inscrutable place-holder of value. That is, we cannot justifiably specify God in sufficient detail for belief in "Him" to make specific moral or metaphysical differences in our lives. We are left with mere wonder.
To which The Retriever (blog) replies with "nuh-uh!" in the comments:
I don't, however, share your problem with the multiplicity of religious conceptions. It's just as a woman in our church described the Trinity as like a person who is parent, sibling, spouse or some other role, one person with many manifestations.
This objection, which is common enough, fails to appreciate the sheer magnitude of the "manifestations" it proposes to harmonize. What are the underlying common elements of Zeus, Odin, assorted Aztec deities, the Jesus of Luke, the God of Genesis, and the Allah whose will was dutifully transcribed by Mohammed?

Tallying these deities and the countless others, and adding in the corresponding mythological back-stories, adds up to little that can be made into a useable shape for the everyday lives of human beings. This does indeed leave us with mere wonder on the question of god(s).

There are better questions to ask -- better because they can be answered without self-deception or other delusion, and better because the answers determine whether human beings will thrive or will not.


Kraxpelax said...

Perhaps you would appreciate my wallpaper art on Ping Desktop / Laptop Wallpapers:
Heavily Babe oriented, I guess it's mostly for men.
Gender neutral, and certainly no less important to me is my poetry on Single Swingle:
Miscellaneous personal reflecions on Window Mirror: Peter Ingestad, Sweden

Dale said...

Well, Kraxpelax. I am not made of stone, but I note the appalling absence of a Neko Case themed background image in your collection.