Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Let's be reasonable

The Catholic blogsphere is alight with the announcement of Leah  Libresco taking her first public steps toward becoming Catholic.  She was often hailed by Catholic commentators as a "reasonable, friendly, intellectually honest" atheist.  Someone who was open to examining her own views as well as arguing when she found the other side lacking.

I know this only from second hand sources, as honestly I did not follow her blog all that often.  But Mark Shea loves her, and he isn't the only one. I wish her the best, and will add her to the personal prayer roll.

Some of the atheist* reactions are all too typical.  "Abandonment of reason, going insane, etc." are the usual adjectives being thrown around (typically on sites that do not actually read her blog).  The only disappointing part of it is the predictability.

The attitude displayed is understandable however.  To those who are committed to never opening the intellectual door of considering religion, the idea of someone converting from atheism to a religion...any not just an unreasonable act.  It is an act of betrayal against modern progress.

On the religious side of the question, we can find this attitude among some Evangelicals and Fundamentalists.  I remember quite vividly the condemnation of those who did not believe as "resisting the call."  Those who do not convert are actively suppressing the call of God.  And those who convert away "really weren't Christians."  Sound familiar?

All of this shows the mind as a closed thing to other opinions.  When your weapons are ridicule and venom, you must abandon reason in order to deploy them.  Resorting to such weapons becomes a substitute for actual thought.

In my own experience I found most atheists to be unwilling to examine their own assumptions.  In one form I participated in it became clear that the assumption that all things must be able to be proven scientifically was "off the table" for discussion and analysis.  The reasons for this became childish and the anger of calling such into question was readily obvious.

At the risk of contradicting myself I couldn't help but feel there is real fear in that when one's opinion is derived "solely" from one's own reasoning to question basic assumptions.  I suspect it is because to admit to being wrong about something fundamental calls into question the ability to reason properly.  Which isn't true, but having to admit when one is wrong about something fundamental becomes a dreadfully difficult thing to do.

At the end of the I think there is a real fear among the atheists that they may find themselves going down the path of Ms. Libresco if they do so.  And so they must maintain a constant vigilance against fundamental questions.  Otherwise, the whole philosophy may come crashing down.

*As a disclaimer, I should note that by "atheist" I refer to the certain stripe of the Richard Dawkins variety and the lackeys that follow him.  There are atheists who are quite reasonable, even if their conclusions are wrong.  :-)

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