Sunday, April 25, 2010

Working the Gelatin Smithy

Theo Hobson seems committed to arranging a nonsense-free form of Christianity:

[T]he counter-rationality of faith corresponds to the absoluteness of its idealism. Faith rejects reasonability in the sense of sober realism, the common-sense view. Faith is an attitude of unwarranted affirmation; it holds that all things are possible. Ultimately it means trust that the kingdom of God is coming, that the world will be transformed into some scarcely imaginable state of perfection. It is not a rationally defensible position to hold that all will somehow be well thanks to some sort of divine victory over evil and death. Christianity commits us to this embarrassing mythological language. In practical terms Christians do not have to reject science, but they have to speak in a way that starkly breaks the rules of reasonable discourse. Let's admit it.
Fine. It is freely admitted.

But what Hobson offers with one hand he removes with the other: Christianity is counter to rationality, violative of the rules of reasonable discourse, freighted with embarrassing mythology; at the same time, it promises a perfected end state of the world coinciding with a "kingdom of God" complete with a victory over evil and death.

The latter are definite attributes attached to what the former declares to be a vacuous discourse. It will be a "kingdom of God," not a republic of equals, a blissfully harmonious anarchy, or an enchanted reign of philosopher-kings; it will end evil and death (whatever that would mean), not bring more plentiful food, more beautiful scenery in all locations, a general increase in artistic tastes, athletic ability, or mathematical acumen.

Let's admit it: what is formless, soft, and vague should not be confused with that which is rigid, firm, and clear. If Christianity can't live within the bounds of reasonable discourse, then it should only appear there long enough to be dismissed.

(via Normblog)

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