Saturday, September 20, 2008

Reasonable Atheism (27): An Apt Analogy

Scott Gray left this comment at James' blog:

"sam doesn't want god to be thought of in definable aspects. he wants the nature of god to be kept up in the air by the juggling of several models, or metaphors, at once. while it makes understanding the nature of god interesting, it doesn't help with a definitive understanding. with the non-stop juggling of metaphors and models, there can be no 'articulate, categorical thought.' and sam likes it this way. from a physics perspective, he doesn't want the 'god' wave-function to collapse to anything measurable. he refuses to open shroedinger's box to see anything definitive about 'god.'

this is the difference between theology and critical inquiry. in critical inquiry, we want to know the true nature of things. in theology, we are happy to juggle metaphors forever without any articulate, category-oriented thought."

And I responded


That's exactly right. I've been thinking about writing a post on this theme, and this is such a wonderful analogy. I think something is lost when a determinate understanding is sought - that's what all the language about idolatry is all about, it's really about cultivating intellectual humility, and radically embracing 'I could be wrong'.

Thank you. For once I feel really understood :o)"

In due course I will unpack this.

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