Thursday, August 13, 2009

This Post Needs a Title

I caught this online yesterday while at work and e-mailed it to myself to avoid forgetting or losing it.

It's a long article that covers a lot of ground. I'm glad the writer got paid for ruminating publicly about so many of the issues that we, who grew up in religious households, grapple with here and elsewhere. For the first half of the article, I found myself nodding:

In other words, maybe it wasn't prayer that made my dad better -- maybe it was all that chemo. Or the scope with tiny scissors that removed nine moldy tumors from his bladder without his even having to check in to the OR. Or the meticulous doctor who managed his case with such vigilance.

I guess that "maybe" should have tipped me off, because when she gets within 4 or 5 paragraphs of the end, she drops the ball, and it rolls rapidly downhill from there:

Regardless of where I am on the spectrum from atheism to theism, I'd rather my girls be grounded in something, even something that seems too good or crazy to be true.

It seems to me that she's allowing her fear of losing her parents (and perhaps their love) to push her toward a more theistic view. Quite bluntly, she's willing to offer her children's intellectual integrity as some propitiating sacrifice to God -- "just in case he's really there..."

A classic case of what Sam Harris illustrates on page 39 in The End of Faith:

Clearly, the fact of death is intolerable to us, and faith is little more than the shadow cast by our hope for a better life beyond the grave.

1 comment:

Unrepentant said...

A friend of mind who used to be quite secular had kids and all of a sudden started going to church.

When I asked her why she said, "Because I want them to believe that there is something more."

I stopped asking. I should have asked why. Personally, I believe that being part of the human race offers plenty of reasons to be in awe and to feel responsibility.

I suppose the journalist you quote wants to delude her children into believing that grandpa is going to heaven. Frankly, I don't know how helpful that is.

But maybe she is still not ready to admit to herself that she doesn't believe. I would've written what she wrote about two years before I finally left the church.