Tag Archive | Explanation

Preparing to come out

It all started with the best of intentions.

First, there were a lot of issues that were flying around my head. My previous beliefs were becoming ever less secure, but I’d been through this before. Most people find their beliefs wax and wane, so this wasn’t anything I was going to bring up out of nowhere to people who I wouldn’t normally be discussing my theological positions with. It was just business as usual.

Coming OutThen I started to drift away, losing my fear of unbelief and increasingly exploring those areas and imagining a life without religion. It was different, but possibly no more than increased empathy and openness to different arguments. I stayed put in the church, and nothing really changed. Still nothing that was worth specifically mentioning to anyone. Read More…

Religion is no excuse for bigotry

Bible“I’m really sorry, I don’t hate you and I’m not a bigot, but I can’t deny what the Bible says.”

If you haven’t heard this sort of apology much in the past, get used to it now, because you’re going to hear it a lot in the next few years. With same-sex marriage on the final stretch towards full legal approval in the UK, there are plenty of people who will be making excuses for their refusal to accept this fact, and particularly their contortions to avoid using the word “marriage” to describe any relationship they don’t approve of.

I’ve been in a similar position myself, and tried to apologise for my views while continuing to promote them and marginalise people as a result. I understand the explanation, and it’s superficially appealing, but it doesn’t really stand up. Read More…

10 things Doctor Who taught me about religion

Doctor Who is a simply wonderful series. Much like religion, I grew up with it and now have an ongoing love/hate relationship with it, but it remains one of the best things on television. Even better, I recently realised just how much it had taught me about religious claims and ideas, at least after a fashion. I trust all the parallels are self-explanatory.

1. One person, many faces
Despite apparently being the same person, the Doctor can have entirely different appearances, approaches and even characters at different times – Marcionites take note. He can even occasionally meet himself, despite the apparent logical and chronological problems, in as many as five persons at once. Read More…

God of the Gaps, the ultimate argument from ignorance

Big BangA recent discussion reminded me of how often I hear arguments for God’s existence that stem from a lack of any explanation for our existence. I can see the appeal of such a position, and it used to be just about the only thing I could cling to when religion made no sense. The universe must have come from somewhere, therefore God.

In more sophisticated forms, or possibly in the hands of skilful bluffers, this argument would also incorporate claims that there is no experimental or observational evidence for abiogenesis, for example, or some similar position. Fundamentally, though, the argument remains the same and has the same flaws. Read More…

Ten Hundred Word Theology

xkcd386You may know about the Up-Goer Five. It’s a computer thing that makes you explain hard ideas using only the ten hundred most used words. It’s surprising how hard it is, as this man found. This gave me an idea.

I’m writing this now using Up-Goer Five, to say that I will soon be writing things where I try to explain ideas about God (or ‘theology’) using only these words. One of the words in the last bit wasn’t allowed, but it was fine with little talking marks around it. That’s nice, but it might be a bad thing to use them too much. Read More…

Daddy, why aren’t you coming?

It’s a few months now since I walked away from the church, and it’s generally been quite an easy time. I’ve found that I’m more relaxed at weekends, because I’m not dreading Sunday mornings, and we’ve settled into a routine that works pretty well. But my boys aren’t prepared to make it all that easy.

Initially, they didn’t seem to be bothered that I was staying at home when they went to church, and for quite a while, they were surprisingly unquestioning of it. That suited me, as I wasn’t really sure how I wanted to explain it to them. That changed recently. First it was “Daddy, are you coming to church this week?” Then it was “You never come with us any more!” Finally, it was “Please come with us, please!” I couldn’t put it off any longer. Read More…

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