Thursday, March 07, 2013

The Greatest Intellectual Dishonesty Of Religious Believers

I was just watching a documentary about Catholic history, and I was thinking about how so much of early Catholic belief was pulled from someone's ass. Indeed, after Augustine, and even a bit before him, difficulties in reaching conclusions from scripture alone resulted in the generally-accepted practice of determining doctrine from the works of interpreters. As such, we are in our current bizarre situation, where the vast majority of Christian dogma cannot be found in any gospels or scrolls.

For my part, the point of greatest WTF, and indeed the point of greatest intellectual dishonesty, lies with the learned members of the church who rabidly research church history, and thus admit the truth of the history, yet seem to ignore the inconsistency inherent to this. To wit, if one accepts the history of the church, they must accept that beliefs and behaviors have changed and evolved, existed before the church, and will likely exist after the church has faded. Indeed, they must accept that the church will likely fade.

How can one's beliefs be timeless and be true, if they were different in the past? To me, it is impossible. If an eternal truth is one way today, then it must have been the same in the past, and will be the same in the future. Admitting the evolution of the truth negates its status as true, at least as regards this situation.

For the average church-goer, my criticism doesn't much apply. Many of them are unaware of the history of their own church, and are even less aware of obscure theological conflicts like the "mystery" of the Trinity. Since their beliefs are nebulous and undefined, there is no conflict, and thus no intellectual shenanigans. But the hypocritical dishonesty necessary to accept the evolution of one's own dogma while still asserting the truth of that dogma is almost beyond my ability to understand.

3 comments: said...

" beyond my ability to understand"

As George Michael famously stated: you gotta have faith.

Aaron Martin-Colby said...

That's just it, even with faith, it doesn't make sense.

To have faith means to have faith in something. But if that something is self-contradictory, then the statement "I have faith that X is true" cannot be completed.

The more educated believers learn about their own religion, the more contradictory it becomes, and thus all the more impossible to complete the statement.

Meredith said...

Good blog! And no, you don't gotta have faith, unless you think intellectual dishonesty is a good thing for some reason.