Sunday, April 29, 2012

Faith and fear

Some days a guy's got to wonder why academics invest time analyzing the obvious --- like the minor University of British Columbia study reported upon Friday in the journal Science that concluded analytic thinking, as opposed to intuitive thinking, can promote disbelief. Well, duh ...

I mean Baptists, and nearly all other religious types, have always known that. Take a look at the somewhat combative church sign posted above.

The difficulty comes, for the religious at least, when threatened by reason we set out to prove reasonably the unreasonable. Take the resurrection, for example, which operates outside reason.

Or, as new-earth creationists are prone to do, pseudo science that endeavors to establish that God finished creating the earth 5,234 years, five hours and 27 minutes ago, with fossils thrown in as a sort of decorative frieze.

The more sensible approach is to accept the idea that faith attempts to explain why stuff happens while reason attempts to explain how things happen --- and that the two are not mutually exclusive; one can, if the users are willing to relax a little, inform the other.

But I've actually I've been thinking more about fear-based faith --- and culture --- after Bible study last week: A small group that gets together Tuesday mornings and includes either an Episcopal priest or a Lutheran pastor --- often both. Faith and fear, like intuition and reason, are linked.

Since it is the Easter season --- until Pentecost --- we got to talking about how the hopeful intent of Christian faith --- and the culture that for better or worse is somewhat informed by it --- seems to get bogged down in fears that only seem rational to some because they are based on faith-based premises.

There's every indication that redemption rather than condemnation, actual and/or virtual,  is the centerpiece of Easter. Look at John 3:17, for example, "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."

That seems to be a call for redemptive work motivated by hope in a redeemable world. Heaven, after all, can take care of itself. But many Christians seem to have gone out of the redemption business and shifted their focus to fear.

In fact, when redemption is considered, some of the most hopeful people I know are atheists.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Salvation is free Frank,go for it,
You Betcha.