Comparing Christianity to Atheism and Skepticism
No Christian believes you don’t have the right to believe what you want to.
What exactly is the scientific grounding for such a right?
What is the empirical data for such a right?
I say that mostly in jest…..As I think these questions are much more important:
Where do those rights come from?
What is the basis of those rights?
More specifically, what is the ethical and historical basis of those rights?
The rights come from God and the Christian tradition. Even skeptic philosopher Habermas concludes:
“Universalistic egalitarianism, from which sprang the ideals of freedom and a collective life in solidarity, the autonomous conduct of life and emancipation, the individual morality of conscience, human rights and democracy, is the direct legacy of the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love. This legacy, substantially unchanged, has been the object of continual critical appropriation and reinterpretation. To this day, there is no alternative to it. And in light of the current challenges of a postnational constellation, we continue to draw on the substance of this heritage. Everything else is just idle postmodern talk.” (Jürgen Habermas – “Time of Transitions”, Polity Press, 2006, pp. 150-151, translation of an interview from 1999).
So the only reason you have that “right” in the first place is because God made you and God imprinted you with the imago die (the image of God) and it is on that basis that we get the value of human dignity and rights. [For instance, in Thomas Jefferson’s words “We hold these truths to be self-evidence that all [men and women] are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights. And among these rights are the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
So yes….you have the “right” to not be in touch with spiritual truths about the universe, but there are consequences for this type of thinking. By putting pride and ego before truth, enlightenment, and the possibility or relationship.
I think as with all rights……those rights come with reciprocal responsibilities. Not legal responsibilities but morel ones. So there is an ethical difference between a person that gives to the poor and shows love…..and one that acts like Justin Beiber or Charlie Sheen.
But what is it that made the historical rise of Christianity different? Well, it was that Christianity sees the world embed with purpose and meaning. Those like Hawkin, et al….see the world as cold, chaotic, and random. They don’t see purpose. In their world humans that study flies are the same as the flies themselves–because we’re all just atoms at the end of the day. However, this dubious and reductionist trick…..is just that…..if you look away from the purpose…..you’re never gonna find it. But this is simply not true….this reductionism misses the BIGGER PICTURE of reality and the DEEPER picture of reality and a MORE NUANCED picture of reality…..which pays attention to meaning and purpose.
Skepticism evacuates the world of:
• progress and innovation
Its fundamentally a ideological worldview of staying put…..because life is always going to entail risk (we almost never make key life decisions based on perfect knowledge and/or data). Moreover….there is always another question that can be created which keeps us in a perfectionist loop…..rather than moving forward in a pragmatic and progressive direction.
This is at the heart of the problem with atheism and skepticism….only by facing those issues head on…..and realizing what is at stake can you have a deeper and more meaningful understanding of your choice and of reality.
I invite you to investigate these philosophical and spiritual issues more deeply.