Over the last few months, I have become fascinated by Christian mega-church pastor Rob Bell. I recently reviewed his latest book and interviewed him about the book. Yesterday, I stumbled upon an interesting debate Rob Bell had with fellow Christian Andrew Wilson. I love me some Christian vs. Christian debates.
The thing about internal religious debates is that there is no objective method for settling them. If two religious believers disagree, there is an impasse. Bell points this out in the debate at the 16 minute mark:
What Bell doesn’t mention is that when you have two people with diametrically opposed deep faith-based convictions and a need to “share” those convictions with others, that impasse can become a real problem. They can’t appeal to reason and they both have different “revelations” about what God wants. As Captain Picard put it, “That’s the real problem believing in deities; you never really know what they want.”
So Bell and Wilson have different views on a handful of subjects most notably, on gay marriage, now what? How can they deal with their impasse? Right now, all they can really do is tell others how un-Christian the other is until one of them is forced out of influence. It is the modern equivalent of war! In the past, war was forming armies and killing your enemies. Today, war is forming armies and forcing the other out of influence.
To put this in a different context, let’s suppose that there is some scientific theory that atheist are divided on and have reached the impasse. How do we deal with it? We appeal to reason and the latest scientific evidence. The scientific method helps us navigate through the impasse without needing to go to war with each other.
- Review: ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About God’ by Rob Bell (examiner.com)
- When Facts Attack! (skepticink.com)
- When Religious Believers Get Hateful (skepticink.com)