30 Years On, I think that “Postliberal” sums it up best
Suggesting that this is so is my favorite way to shock the moral sensibilities of the no-god bunch.It's very entertaining to watch one try to wrap his head around the idea.
I must be acclimated to the culture of this world a little much.I'm not quite sure I can lay my finger on the sacrifice that atheists make, nor the altar they are made at.On the other hand, I can see large segments of secular society treating certain things like sacraments. (Among the sacraments noted by some people are abortion, "fair" tax structures, approval of homosexual behavior, etc.)
That's roughly my meaning, karrde. I was thinking of both that sort of thing and the more general ideas underlying them.Plus the usual array of personal false gods of status, education, money, thinking oneself brave or modern or better than other folks...
We might be operating from different shades of meaning for the word "atheist", also.I class many people as secular who I would not class as atheist, though an argument could be made that they are atheistic in intent.
The author of the science-history lectures I've been listening to keeps citing a disagreement over whether God creates and controls the natural world in every moment, or whether He is a great watchmaker who set the natural laws in motion at the beginning and then withdrew. He sees a distinction that evades me between believing that God runs things and believing that natural laws run things all by themselves. Where did this idea come from that it makes more sense to say that gravity causes itself than to say that God makes it? Either way, aren't we just saying that an order exists, and we can't account for it ultimately? We can only discern it, describe it, and sometimes predict its results. I just don't get the argument over whether evolution brought about human beings "accidentally" or not, just because the whole process makes sense as a mere description of natural forces and probability. As if we understood probability very well, and anyway why should probability follow laws that make sense? "Random" and "meaningless" aren't the same thing at all, as any nightmare can tell you.Worshipping the wonder of the universe strikes me as a religious attitude. It's just missing the idea that God has demands to make on our behavior. I suppose a more naturalistic way to put it is that God knows what behavior is consistent with our continued existence as souls. When He says "don't sin," it's a bit like someone telling us "don't walk over that cliff."
"...whether God creates and controls the natural world in every moment, or whether He is a great watchmaker who set the natural laws in motion at the beginning and then withdrew." I have heard that stark dichotomy as well. Are those really our only two choices?
God created time, and that act is necessarily outside of time. Our distinction between start and finish or between creation and sustaining isn't all that crisp in the big scheme of things.
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