Friday, February 19, 2010

Faith, hope and doubt

One late, late night shift, I was having a conversation about Christianity and its claims of 'no other way than Jesus'. I find it easy to talk about the existence of God, but the argument of an exclusiveness of Christianity is flawed. It is a loosing battle.
The issues is one of history, archeology and culture. All three reveal religions that are much older than Christianity, with just as much validity in the eyes of the secular.
Christianity also relies on history, archeology and culture, but its main foundation is the 'Bible'. The Bible has an amazing story, of how it came to be collated and surprisingly its final composition is relatively recent. 

It is interesting the Wikipedia's definition of fundamentalism::

Fundamentalism refers to a belief in a strict adherence to a set of basic principles (often religious in nature), sometimes as a reaction to perceived doctrinal compromises with modern social and political life.

Richard Dawkins from the same article goes on to include::
...clinging to a stubborn, entrenched position that defies reasoned argument or contradictory evidence.

One argument which I see as disturbing is the correlation between violence and fundamentalism. Supermarket Monkey quotes a 'Dr Becks'

If statistics are to be believed, a great deal of the violence in the world is due to ideology. True believers are dangerous. Doubters, by contrast, tend to be pretty peaceable. Their self-suspicions tend to throw cold water on the violent impulses inherent in ideology and belief. Doubters will have softer more empathic hearts because the answers they seek are not yet within their possession. The answers are still "out there" to some extent. Thus, the doubter leans into the world with a hopeful expectation.

For me doubt comes easily. But then again so does hope. It is hope the engine room for my faith. It is hope which drives my belief of the narrative of the Christian story. It is hope which pushes aside the hard questions of belief and the ugly side of doctrine. Yet tempered with doubt....