Tuesday, July 6, 2010

You Know I'm Right

In the not too distant past, I was a pretty fervent evangelical Christian. Even though my knuckles have softened from not knocking on my neighbors’ doors to share the good news, in my heart, I’m still playing the same game.

That’s why I write these essays, I think. That’s why—in part—it amuses me so intensely when anonymous comment trolls accuse me of being ‘just as fundamentalist as a religious fundamentalist’. It amuses me because in a way they are right; but not for the reason they think they are.

The trolls are right because I am a constant advocate for my beliefs, and I do want to convert people over to my way of thinking. Scientific skepticism, secular humanism, civil libertarianism, Epicureanism, and traditional welfare state liberalism is the way to go. I believe this, and I think I’ve got pretty compelling reasons for doing so. These beliefs are not dogmas handed down to me from some unquestioned authority; they’re positions I’ve come to over time through rigorous consideration, and they’re subject to change. What do these trolls—ironically, they’re typically Christian fundamentalists and tea party republicans themselves—win by claiming that I myself am practicing the same kind of blind faith and ‘convert or kill’ ethos that they are? When they tell me that my worldview is ‘just another religion’ in the hopes of discrediting me, what are they saying about their own religion?

I realize that what they’re trying to do is to make every worldview relative in order to preserve their own. If no worldview is demonstrably better (or truer) than another, then whatever religion they’re secretly trying to protect has no challenger. If they can sidestep the ‘why’ questions, they can gleefully jump into their intentionally obfuscatory dust clouds, and get lost in the big bouncy fun tent of their preferred theology.

But that is where we diverge. My worldview is based on the why questions. I love to look for answers to the why questions. It's humbling to know that I'll never be able to answer all of those questions. It is also an inherent function of my worldview to change my mind when presented with better information. That's why I believe the worldview I am advocating is superior to its competition.

So, maybe I’m not knocking on front doors anymore, but I’m still bringing the good news. Have you seen my Jesus?


Willie Y said...

Spencer, you keep on preaching the word.

Steppenwolf said...

Don't you want to go to Disneyland Spencer?

Steppenwolf said...

With a paradigm based on faith you can believe anything. Whereas with paradigm based on logic you are restricted by evidence - facts. However the pious can't distinguish between these outlooks and believe atheism is a question of faith - or lack of it. I had a friend tell me God planted the fossils of dinosaurs in order to test our faith!

Willie Y said...

Spencer keep preaching the word.

Spencer Troxell said...

Thanks, Willie.

Steppenwolf: I think Bill Hicks had a routine making fun of people like your friend.

And no, Disneyland's not for me. All of those cartoon characters with gigantic heads are too freaky.

Lodo Grdzak said...

Good one Spence.

And thanks for the b-day wishes re: Spiffy!

Spencer Troxell said...

Who doesn't like Spiffy?

Willie Y said...

Spencer check this site out.