Thursday, December 18, 2014

Theological Thursday: How to Discuss Religion Like A Grown-Up

This is an extremely well-written and thoughtful piece, by Jack Butler. Very intelligent and insightful. As the author says up front, I think if more Christians (or anyone of any faith) followed this advice when discussing faith and religion, there would be many useful discussions about theology and philosophy, and that would make the world a better place, if only because - as the author wrote - "they'll see you as a different breed" i.e. a reasonable human being and not some kind of fairy-tale lunatic. I love that line - "just don't be stupid" :)

To extend the model, I think the best way to discuss religion with anyone of a different religion (or non-religion) is to shrug and say "It works for me, and I'm happy to share with you why it does," and leave it at that. Find the common ground - treating people with dignity is good, feeding the poor is good, being nice to people is good, don't be a jerk, etc. ("Jerk," like "Stupid," is a condition ubiquitous across the spectrum of humankind, and not limited to religious people.)

Heck, I find different branches of Christianity differ so much that this could be written for Christians talking to other Christians (or Muslims talking to Muslims, or Hindus talking to Hindus, whatever, since the root problem is that People Are Insane).

I mean, hardcore Creationists look like idiots to anyone who knows (and doesn't childishly reject) any science at all (or has even read Genesis 1 and 2, ever), and understands the simple concept that God is smart enough to have spun up an infinite universe 15 billion years ago with the exact plan that human beings would someday be here to fight about what God was thinking (which I think would show a sense of humor on God's part).

Evolution might look random, or it might have been all part of the Master Plan. (Personally, I prefer random, because the micro-management required for it not to be random - while easily within God's scope - means there ain't really any free will at all.)

So, basically it all comes back to "Be Cool, Don't Be a Tool."