religion was not supposed to provide explanations that lay within the competence of reason but to help us live creatively with realities for which there are no easy solutions and find an interior haven of peace; today, however, many have opted for unsustainable certainty instead. but can we respond religiously to evolutionary theory? can we use it to recover a more authentic notion of god?
darwin made it clear once again that—as maimonides, avicenna, aquinas and eckhart had already pointed out—we cannot regard god simply as a divine personality, who single-handedly created the world. this could direct our attention away from the idols of certainty and back to the "god beyond god." the best theology is a spiritual exercise, akin to poetry. religion is not an exact science but a kind of art form that, like music or painting, introduces us to a mode of knowledge that is different from the purely rational and which cannot easily be put into words. at its best, it holds us in an attitude of wonder, which is, perhaps, not unlike the awe that mr. dawkins experiences—and has helped me to appreciate —when he contemplates the marvels of natural selection.
and richard dawkins on the other...
now, there is a certain class of sophisticated modern theologian who will say something like this: "good heavens, of course we are not so naive or simplistic as to care whether god exists. existence is such a 19th-century preoccupation! it doesn't matter whether god exists in a scientific sense. what matters is whether he exists for you or for me. if god is real for you, who cares whether science has made him redundant? such arrogance! such elitism."
well, if that's what floats your canoe, you'll be paddling it up a very lonely creek. the mainstream belief of the world's peoples is very clear. they believe in god, and that means they believe he exists in objective reality, just as surely as the rock of gibraltar exists. if sophisticated theologians or postmodern relativists think they are rescuing god from the redundancy scrap-heap by downplaying the importance of existence, they should think again. tell the congregation of a church or mosque that existence is too vulgar an attribute to fasten onto their god, and they will brand you an atheist. they'll be right.
armstrong's muddled thinking is what pz myers aptly described as the bankruptcy of spiritual thought in saving gods by making them even emptier of meaning. another great read on the feature is dawkins 17, armstrong 0, by jerry a. coyne.
... and this video from february, featuring matt dillahunty, describes the silliness of 'sophisticated theology':
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