I’m very conscious of the dangers of settling into a rut and simply spouting boring and predictable arguments that have been made many times before, much better than I can. And as I walk further from the church, it’s all too easy to just carry on looking for reasons why religion sucks. So in a spirit of intellectual integrity, I think it’s only right to spend some time on trying to focus on the positives. Just call me contrary.
What I’m trying to do by playing God’s Advocate isn’t to invent arguments, or to put a case that I don’t really believe. It’s about looking for the good in religion – the good that comes of it, the inspiration it offers, and so on. I might occasionally stretch a point, but I’m fully intending to examine claims and evidence just as rigorously as I ever would. Just making provocative arguments only really works if there’s another actual person to argue against.
In truth, this process is probably more like putting on a different one of Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats, but that doesn’t really work as a religious metaphor.