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Meaningless Noise

During my recent series of debates with fundamentalist Christians I was sent various information which claimed to support the Christian belief system. Much of this consisted of alleged facts which showed the accuracy of the Bible. Of course they weren’t facts at all as was easy to demonstrate to those who sent them. But other messages consisted of more theological material and that was more difficult to dismiss.

I wondered why that was the case. Why are religious claims so much more difficult to refute? Then it came to me, while listening to a podcast by a cultural anthropologist actually. He claimed that most theological discussion is meaningless. Its devoid of any real information and is really no more useful than just random noise.

This makes sense of course. Its hard to argue against something which has no meaning. So I emailed the person back and asked them to explain what the material meant by putting it into their own words. I wasn’t surprised when I got no reply. Sure its possible that the person was just too busy (although he replied about other topics) or didn’t respond for some other reason, but I think it was because he also realised the original material was pure nonsense.

Here’s an example of what I mean: “The truth of Christianity has significance quantumly beyond the car engine analogy, however. Christian philosopher Peter Kreeft affirms, “the point of Christianity is the living Christ. He is not an ancient ideal but a real person here and now, ready to barge in and transform our lives… The love of God is the answers not only to (1) the quest for the supreme value… and to (2) the quest for the supreme reality… but it is also the answer to the third quest, the quest for life’s deepest meaning and purpose.”

What does “quantumly beyond” mean? A quantum is the smallest possible unit so does that mean its the smallest amount beyond the analogy? I don’t think that’s quite what they had in mind! And what exactly is this “living Christ”? We have an upper case “C” there so I guess we are talking about the most well-known Christ, Jesus, but what do they mean by “living”? I thought the whole point was that he wasn’t with us right now. And the “love of God” is [sic] the answers to the quest for supreme value and supreme reality”. What does that mean? What is supreme reality? is that some sort of religious reality (which, in fact, isn’t real at all?) No wonder the person I questioned on this didn’t bother answering. He’s probably trying to figure it out too!

A common excuse for this sort of dilemma is that theological discussions are in a “higher realm” than the more mundane matters most of us deal with but I disagree. It seems to me that is just an excuse for the lack of real content in this type of religious discussion. People give up trying to find a meaning and blame themselves for not being capable of finding it but its not their fault at all because there’s just no real meaning there to start with.

So from now on when I am presented with this sort of gobbledegook I’m just going to demand that the person presenting it simplifies it and puts it in their own words. If they can do it that’s fine, maybe I will discover some hidden meaning, but I suspect that, like what happened this time, I’ll continue to be disappointed!

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