Saturday, 29 January 2011

Bridging gaps

This blog is meant to reflect on how the world might move towards peace. However, a certain understanding needs to be reached to bridge the gap between followers of different faiths.

The classical, divinely inspired monotheistic faiths converge at source in that they emanate from one transcendental  Creator who reaches out to individuals, cultures and institutions at various times in human history and guides us forward spiritually and practically and confers meaning on our existence. This view, I maintain,  resides deep within the soul of the most holy, non-worldly people in all religions, the truly devout inner sanctum. My own faith in Christ as the source of  agape love and eternal life is strengthened by this recognition of God's omnipotence and omnipresence.

But there is one faith which does not converge at source with the others, because it has no divine wellspring: atheism. Here is a quote from River out of Eden by Richard Dawkins (1995), p.133

The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if, at bottom, there is no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference ...DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music. [My italics.]

If what he says is true, no creature would be created able to form concepts of evil, goodness or pity. Maybe Dr D’s views have evolved in the intervening period. In his defence I can’t really believe that he would continue to have such a self contradictory model of reality. I know my own views have changed (hopefully for the better) over the decades and not all atheists subscribe to the above.

In the interests of progress towards mutual understanding – a necessary precondition for peace in the material world - could one of my atheist or humanist brothers enlighten me, as a Christian, on the current world view of the atheist/humanist belief system, or at least of their own particular denomination within it? 

There is no denying the conflict which exists between followers of different religions, even if one leaves atheism out of it. It is hardly surprising since churches, mosques and temples are filled with human beings of varying degrees of spiritual enlightenment. However, I would argue that the religions all spring from a reality which cannot be ignored without dire consequences for us all, that human beings are intrinsically spiritual.  If we try to delete religion from the human experience we cut ourselves off from the elevating truths of a greater reality and drift into the clutches of whatever demagogue (Hitler, Stalin and Mao Tse Tung in modern times, collectively responsible for some 100 million deaths) tries to fill the spiritual vacuum, particularly in times of crisis.

However, God is merciful and, I believe, wants us to do the best we can with the world he has given us and recognises that many have become blinded to God's existence by excessive reductionism,  pride in human progress and judgement from within  man-made moral matrices.

Atheists believe there is no Creator; but they do, like the believer, want to rid the world of war. I am hoping this blog will be one focal point by which these two broad camps can understand and respect each other, and so work together to make war and violent conflict no more than a bad memory.

Comments on past posts have come from friends and contacts directly by email and I welcome these; but would prefer them to use the ‘comments’ facility below. However you choose to respond your feedback is the main driver of this blog.

Author, 2077 AD