Saturday, September 13, 2014

What Alternative Do “Apostates” Have After Leaving Christianity?

Over on Triablogue, Steve Hays posted a blog entry reacting to statements made by Christian apologist Mike Licona (remember – he’s the guy who blurted out “I want it to be true” in a podcast featuring a discussion between himself, Gary Habermas and Robert Price - see here for details).

In his blog entry, Hays' remarks are instructive in that they expose how a mind marinated in religious doublethink tries to gerrymander a selected handful of data sets in favor of a confessional investment. In his blog entry, Hays quotes from and reacts to a post by Christian apologist Mike Licona.

Hays quotes Licona, who writes:
I’ve doubted the truth of my Christian faith many times; sometimes to the point of almost walking away from it.
Reacting to this, Hays writes:
Professing Christians who feel this way need to stop and ask themselves, where would they be going? Walk away…for what?
In addition to asking why they feel this way, I think this is a fair question for believers to contemplate since departing from one worldview naturally leaves a void which would need to be filled by something else. And indeed, it’s quite likely that most people who depart from Christianity have no reliable set of principles which can guide them to a proper, fully integrated and non-contradictory worldview that should fill that void. After all, Christianity does not provide a thinker with such reliable principles. So leaving Christianity, can at first, seem like entering into utter darkness. What’s ironic is that this darkness was there all along, and Christianity was simply trying to divert the believer’s attention to contentless trivialities that have no importance to human life in the first place. So it is true that leaving Christianity is a good start, but it’s not an end in itself. Making the decision to stop believing in religious nonsense is wonderful, but this choice in and of itself does not determine what should replace it. At least one could say Christianity is an attempt – albeit one steeped in mystical primitivism – to address questions which a worldview worthy of a thinking human being should address. So if one leaves Christianity, where should he go?

Generally, there are two ways to address the question of what a former believer might (or should) accept as a worldview in place of Christianity. The first way is to use reason as his guide. The other way is to abandon reason and exchange one form of irrationality for another. Of course, if Christianity is one’s starting point, he has already abandoned reason and thus needs to rediscover it, just as the West did during the Renaissance. But given these two alternatives, which one does Hays recommend? Let’s examine his reaction to the problem.