Sunday, December 11, 2011

BIG Questions? Really?

Brandon G Withrow, Christian theologist, Assistant Professor of History of Christianity at Winebrenner Theological Seminary and Huffington Post blogger, claims to think that big questions are good. I've got a few for him, we'll see whether he has any answers which inspire more than eyeroll or an irritated sigh. I'll be very surprised if he does, but we'll see:

I have a few questions: do you ever seriously consider that there may be no God, and that religion may be an outmoded system of problem-solving, long since overtaken by things like science, and philosophy which is no longer combined with nor allied with theology? (Please don't avoid answering that question by simply turning the tables and asking whether I, as an atheist, ever seriously wonder whether there might be a God. That would be disappointing and par for the theological course, and by the way, yes, I do.) Do you ever wonder whether religion (/spirituality, po-TAY-to/po-TAH-to) hinders people more than helping them?

Whether there is a God or not: do you ever wonder whether Jesus might never have existed?

Whether Jesus existed or not: do you wonder whether the teachings ascribed to Him might be completely unrealistic? For example, Jesus is said to have said: when someone strikes you, turn the other cheek. Is this good advice? We don't tend to think that it's wrong or sinful for someone to react to being physically assaulted by calling the police and having the assaulter prosecuted, do we? And if they don't do that, or fight back, shouldn't they at least cover up, protect themselves, or run away? Hopefully these questions suggest many other equally pertinent ones regarding the lessons of Jesus which supposedly are followed by billions, but of course rarely if ever actually followed by anyone, and that's a very good thing, I say.

To sum up, do you ever really question the essence of your profession, and whether it makes any sense to do what you do?

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