Monday, October 11, 2010

Why the New Atheists don’t go far enough

PeterRollins.net » Blog Archive » Why the New Atheists don’t go far enough

This talk, this guy, is brilliant. I so rarely encounter something I really have to listen closely to and think about. If you care at all about what it means to believe, this is worth a listen.

8 comments:

Doug Hagler said...

The most interesting talk I've listened to in a while. It is both higher up and deeper in than any of the new atheists tend to go with regard to faith and what it actually means. (Hint: not blind faith)

I also appreciate that fundamentalism is psychotic faith. That makes sense to me, and in the talk, he makes a strong case for a literalist with regard to scripture being similar to a psychotic with regard to social cues.

Aric Clark said...

I definitely enjoyed the talk, and agree it was thought provoking. Maybe we should see if he'll contribute to the new TFF?

Aric Clark said...

I did wonder though if his evaluation that the "neurotic" response was the least unhealthy has something to do with him being in that corner and his audience as well. There is something unhealthy about being unable to see things plainly for what they are rather than constantly be analyzing for the deeper meaning, the metaphorical depth. Neuroses in real life can be quite damaging, though perhaps less glamorous than psychoses.

Doug Hagler said...

@ Aric: Definitely worth a shot, but probably put him on the list of people we'll contact when we have accumulated some 'cred.

@ Aric: The difference I'd posit, from my limited experience (given that he didn't expand on the neurotic comment much) is that naurosis is primarily damaging to the neurotic person, whereas psychosis can be more damaging to the people around the psychotic. So maybe he meant that if you are going to have mentally-ill faith, neurotic is the best choice. Similarly, I'd rather have a neurotic neighbor than a psychotic one.

Given that, neurosis is definitely damaging to one's life, no question. I think the ideal is still mentally-healthy faith.

Aric Clark said...

Yeah, I thought about that point - that neurotics hurt primarily themselves, vs. psychotics hurting others - after I posted. It is true.

Another thought that occurs to me though is that Jesus is more Psychotic than Neurotic as I read him in the gospel. He takes people to task harshly for saying one thing and meaning another - and he acts "literally" on things that make him crazy by other people's standards. He ACTUALLY forgives his enemies. He ACTUALLY substitutes his own pain and suffering for others. I tend toward a reading of things like the Sermon on the Mount which assumes little or no gap between the explicit and the implicit meaning of the words.

Doug Hagler said...

Part of why I think the talk is so interesting - we're actually discussing how Jesus responds to implicit religious language somewhat psychopathically.

He is selectively psychopathic, however, because at other times, he explicitly violates religious language, and he seems to do this as part of deeply responding to the needs of those around him. I'd say maybe closer to psychopathic than to neurotic (I'd say Paul would be the neurotic one), but not really close to psychopathic either.

Paul, on the other hand, I think falls more in the neurotic category, and that would make sense, since so often Paul gets preference over Jesus where theology is concerned, for us Reformed Protestants at least.

Aric Clark said...

Paul is definitely Neurotic. He's got his thorn, and you know we have to be in Christ so through Christ we can be of Christ by the power of Christ. By which he means - don't be a dick.

Doug Hagler said...

One neurotic gay guy right there. Wish there was PFLAG back then.