Monday, March 21, 2016

Doubts and Competing Interests

I am at something of a crossroads. I've spent most of my life arguing against Christianity online and off and wanting to write engaging books and articles sharing my counterapologetical efforts with the world. I used to think I could or, at least, might be able to do this by simply collecting all my best arguments and then presenting them as systematically and clearly as I could while finding some way to do it with a novel enough combination of comprehensiveness, clarity, eloquence, and idiosyncratic intimacy and charm that some nebulous albeit sizable segment of the public would go for it.

I say "nebulous" because I can't imagine that most fervent Christians would want to read anything I've written that argues against their beliefs, and I'm not sure that enough non-believers aren't already so saturated with counterapologetical arguments from existing sources or are interested enough in the subject to pursue it that there would be an appreciable market for my efforts no matter how good they might be.

But then there's also the question of how good my efforts could ever be for any audience. I am the veritable personification of the maxim that the more one learns, the more he realizes how ignorant he is. For not only have my fairly recent encounters with erudite and brilliant counterapologists such as William Lane Craig, J.P Moreland, and Peter Kreeft convinced me that I have so much more to learn and understand on a deeper level about Christian theology and apologetics than I've learned or understood so far or probably have enough time left in my life to learn and deeply understand, but I admit that I don't think I'm smart enough to learn it no matter how much time I might have left and no matter how hard I might try.

And then there's the even bigger and seemingly more insurmountable challenge of mastering counterarguments sufficiently powerful to rebut the most sophisticated apologetics. And let's face it. I don't want to bother arguing against the lowest common denominator of Christian beliefs and defenses of those beliefs, such as the biblical literalism of Noah's Ark or Jonah and the Whale. I want to be able to offer powerful arguments against the best apologetics of the leading figures I've already mentioned and more, and their apologetics go way beyond defending Noah's Ark. And these are just the evangelical theologians and apologists. What about the more liberal ones? How could I ever come to grips with and refute their apologetics? And really, when I come right down to it, why would I want to? If I think it's all nonsense to begin with, why spend time and energy trying like mad to refute it?

Not only this, but I'm interested in so many other things. I'm fascinated with the free will vs determinism issue. I'm increasingly interested in political philosophy and in developing a coherent view of the ideal society and type of government. I continue to be interested in spirituality, especially as viewed by Ken Wilber's integral model. I have an abiding fascination with the intersection of modernized stoicism and psychotherapy. I'm experiencing a revival of my interest in psychology and a growing one in neuroscience and cognitive science. I still want to learn more about the physical sciences, especially physics and cosmology. The list of my interests are proliferating like the weeds in my front and back lawns. And I feel myself pulled toward all of them, while, at the same time, I feel crushingly inadequate to even remotely satisfy any of them.

Part of me wants to drop counterapologetics and move on to my other interests which, despite the challenges they too pose, might be more accessible and fulfilling to me than further pursuit of evangelical Christian counterapologetics could ever be. Yet, I've acquired, at no small expense, so many books and other materials on Christianity, apologetics, and counterapologetics over the years, and have spent so much time and effort thinking about this stuff and discussing it that I feel like I can't just throw it all away.

I don't know what to do. But I need to figure something out. And, more importantly, I need to follow through with whatever decision I make, which is hard to do when you feel convinced that you can't succeed no matter what you decide.


Chris said...

Hi Steve,

I just discovered your blog and read through several posts- your writings are especially interesting to me. I was "evangelized" by Ken Wilber some years ago from atheo-materialism, and after a very long intellectual/spiritual migration ended up in the orbit of Catholic Christianity. So, you could say that your pov represents something of a "frenemy".

Kind Regards

Steve said...

Welcome aboard the blog. I plan to post more frequently to it, and I hope you'll stick around.

How did you end up "migrating" from Wilberian Integral to Catholic Christianity, not that they're necessarily mutually exclusive.