In some ways, this is a post for my father. He has been through religious challenges and changes that I can only know by rumour and guess. But all the more now I trust his guidance, even if his own footsteps have been so unsure and his vision through faith so obscured.
Below is a talk from Dan Dennett. It takes about 15 minutes of introductions and social niceties until the video gets to his real talk which is on atheists in the pulpit. But in a surprising twist (for me at least) he provides for me a justification on why I spent four years of my life getting a philosophy degree. So I thank him.
He is trying to see how we can reverse-engineer religion. Yes! Religion – we can rebuild it! I like his approach. There are some interesting comparisons, such as to the problems homosexuals have faced in coming out, the psychological spins of good intentions and common errors that can happen in our thinking about things. When we are not careful about our thinking then all sorts of dangerous things can be taken as profound.
The only criticism I have is that he seems aware of just how touchy the subject is, and yet is kind of glib with his remarks.
But then again, I believe education is not nearly as painful to people’s egos as it should be. My greatest lessons have been learned while in a state of acceptance of how sinfully ignorant I was being.
Here are some comments that he collected from clergy that stuck out for me.
God is literally what we would call a metaphor.
God is the process of creativity within evolution and human history that makes for greater humanization.
No one gets through seminary believing in God.
[note -- it is lengthy and it is high-minded, so you may want to be sure you have time and a willingness to concentrate.]