May 13, 2018


God Is No Thing: The case for faith, by the religion editor of The Times Literary Supplement. : a review of God is No Thing: Coherent Christianity | By Rupert Shortt (Francis Phillips, Jul 18 2016, MercatorNet)

To write a slim, serious book that provides thought-provoking reasons for believing in God is a difficult task today. Many books are written from a Christian perspective and some notorious ones ridicule religious belief. Shortt, journalist, biographer and religious editor of the Times Literary Supplement, brings thoughtfulness and intellectual rigour to his defence of the opening statement: "Christianity - at its centre, the story of love's mending of wounded hearts - forms a potent resource for making sense of our existence."

He makes it clear that atheism and agnosticism are "reasonable" worldviews which Christians must respect, yet he also argues that the Christian faith is dismissed too quickly in the West (but not, he notes, in almost all other countries.) By using the word "reasonable" Shortt indicates that debate over God's existence can and should be debated by reasonable people on both sides; religious fundamentalism on the one hand and the routine abuse and contempt for faith common to (Western) internet users on the other, do a disservice to the perennial question at the heart of human existence: who are we? Are we merely the product of random evolutionary development - or do human beings have a divine destiny?

Shortt concedes that although the numbers of people "who come to faith as a result of intellectual exchanges alone" is small, an intellectually robust case for Christianity can be made. For those who think that all statements must be "provable in a test tube", he offers the reasonable rebuttal that it means rejecting "ethics, aesthetics and much culture, as well as spirituality." And to those who think that civilised, enlightened behaviour can be upheld without benefit of religious belief (the position of intellectual elites in the UK) he adds a warning that is obvious to those who regard human nature as deeply flawed: "Principles such as human rights and human dignity may not automatically survive, once commitment to the infinite value of every life has faded away." Some would say we have already entered this dangerous territory.

The Anglosphere has avoided the trap of Reason by recognizing that it is not rational.

Posted by at May 13, 2018 8:25 AM