"What embitters the world is not excess of criticism, but an absence of self-criticism." - G.K. Chesterton

Sunday, June 01, 2008

A slightly different voice

A while back on my own blog I reviewed 'In God We Doubt: Confessions of a Failed Atheist' by BBC broadcaster and journalist John Humphreys.

Humphreys is essential someone who wants to believe in God, but finds himself unable to do so.

He's recently been interviewed by BBC radio's religious affairs programme 'All Things Considered' on the subject of his search for faith and the interview (30mins) is available on the Internet for the next week.

All Things Considered

Those of you with slightly more time on your hands might also be interested in the series of radio shows that preceded the book:

Humphreys in search of God.

(Transcripts of his interviews with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Professor Tariq Ramadan and Britain's Chief Rabbi are available on the site as well).



Blogger revvvvvvvd said...

Sometimes I feel like the anti-Humphreys: Someone who wants to give up belief in God, but cannot. Maybe this is a case of the grass being greener on the other side, but I've always felt atheism to be an easier option. No having to deal with the problem of evil, no having to reconcile science with faith, no attempting to figure out the will of God (part and parcel of a divine command theory of ethics). But when I feel like giving it all up, I never can.

4:36 PM

Blogger Matt M said...

I think that the universe is so annoyingly complicated and mysterious that *any* position becomes problematic if you think about it too much.

Some sort of deism would probably be the best bet - No pesky "what does God want?" issues coupled with the ability to use "God did it" to answer any really tricky questions. :-)

6:20 AM

Blogger Matt M said...

I'm interested to know what the religious people here thought of Jenkins' performance - Did you think he gave a robust defence of his belief? Or did you find him ineffectual?

My impression was that he really wanted to say something along the lines of "It's not for us to question, simply to accept" but just couldn't bring himself to.

6:52 AM

Blogger The Tin Drummer said...

Hey Matt, Alex & everyone else,

I've been reading, as usual, but not felt able to comment for months and months until now. You're all getting too bright for me.

I wanted to pick up on Revxd's comment:

Someone who wants to give up belief in God, but cannot. Maybe this is a case of the grass being greener on the other side, but I've always felt atheism to be an easier option

I agree entirely. Given that what I see appears explicable, chaotic and brutal, it seems entirely reasonable that there is no God: yet I refuse to surrender to this worldview. Because I hope there is more: my studies of the problem of evil and so on ten years ago and more led me nowhere and I was still left with this thing I define as hope, this sense that there must be more to the universe than chance. Because it seems to mean so much, because of poetry.

**** me I sound like a right prat. But it's true.

Also I often ask myself which do I fear more: annihilation, or judgement? Day by day my view changes. Often I think a thorough examination of my life after my death would be more frightening than a simple fade into total non existence. This is where it surprises me when atheists claim that people believe because they need a crutch (being a-theists, what would they know about it anyway); I would much rather the belief, or the feeling, got lost altogether and left me alone to do what I want and to judge myself and to be my own assessor.

But it won't.

Theists are often asked why we need someone watching us: but the prevalence of CCTV in this wretched country of ours shows it's an instinct we haven't let go.
The answer is, not to prevent sin/crime, but to enable its detection.

Yet I don't really want my sin to be detected, and I don't want to have to explain it. I loathe and detest confession, so I haven't been for years. I cannot bear the thought of exposing myself (hoho) to anyone like that. To be honest, really honest, about my motivations and actions...

And people tell me that this is what is so easy about theism! Maybe it is. I don't find it so. My favourite confessional is the pint glass.

I know that in a sense this comment is content-free; that it contains little of logical import: but life, as it is lived, and as it is sensed, in an animal that is essentially illogical and -frankly- weird, is not always easily reduced to a set of axioms. At least mine isn't: I am full of contradictions and incoherences and yet I am real (I think).

I am not making an argument here, just a point.

I kind of agree with Matt also in that I think the whole damn thing is so complicated that it just ties me in knots whichever way I look at it.

Keep up the good work, guys, the blogosphere needs you and the world *really* needs you.

2:47 PM

Blogger Alex said...

Matt & Co. Sorry I've been too busy to comment. Life stuff on this end is leaving me little room for extracurricular thinking. Hopefully I can tame things down soon.

9:04 AM


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