by Carl R. Trueman at FirstThings.com
Last week over at salon.com, Jeffrey Tayler wrote another of those predictable polemics against religion. All the usual clichés were present, from the idea that religion motivates weirdness and evil to the strange inability to present the Christian faith in terms which any thoughtful believer (or informed atheist, for that matter) might recognize.
One paragraph in particular stood out:
Why childish? A majority of adults in one of the most developed countries on Earth believe, in all seriousness, that an invisible, inaudible, undetectable “father” exercises parental supervision over them, protecting them from evil (except when he doesn’t), and, for the mere price of surrendering their faculty of reason and behaving in ways spelled out in various magic books, will ensure their postmortem survival. Wishful thinking characterizes childhood, yes, but, where the religious are concerned, not only. That is childish.
Now, he may well be correct. But what is described here has little to do with the historic faith of the Christian Church. It is not the God of the Book of Job or the Gospel of John. Nor is it the Christianity of the Catholic Creeds or the Protestant confessions. It is not the faith of Augustine in his Confessions, or Aquinas in his Summa, or Calvin in his Institutes, or Bunyan in The Pilgrim’s Progress, or Pascal in his Pensées.
Yet it was not Tayler’s impressive confidence in his ignorance of Christian theology that fascinated me. It was his contrast of religion as childishness with secular liberalism as adult. Such is not original to him, of course, but Tayler justifies his own version of this traditional thesis by arguing that childishness has at its core wishful thinking. This, he claims, is a central part of religion.
Finish reading the original article here