Keith Boyea's Blog

Notes & Commentary on National Security, Current Affairs and Bourbon

Belief: It’s Simply a Choice

Last night, in reaction to the Vice Presidential candidate’s discussion of their religions, I tweeted out that I hoped that I’d live long enough to hear a candidate say that he or she has no religion.  I got some push back on that from an old friend on twitter that brought to mind something I learned in grad school about Kierkegaard.  (At least I think it was Kierkegaard, my apologies if I’m misremembering.)

Before I do that though, I want to expand on the thought behind the original tweet. It is almost an incantation for candidates to proclaim their faith in God. It’s more than that though, as candidates have to express their belief that God specially blessed the United States.  It is almost a religious test–a serious candidate has to express a certain type of belief to be considered for high office.

But that really isn’t the point that came into question.  My old friend was pushing back against the idea that there could be morality without a “transcendent anchor.” I disagree, obviously, but that’s what got me thinking about Kierkegaard.

The argument goes like this (again, apologies if I dick it up): Both sides of the debate, theists and atheists, offer up evidence in support of their position.  Neither side has evidence that proves the point beyond certainty–in fact, the issue in question, for a multitude of reasons, is beyond certainty.  Since there can’t be 100% certainty in answering the question, the answer to the question is a choice.  Simply a choice.

In my opinion, the evidence in favor of athiesm is overwhelming, but 99.9% isn’t 100%.  Theists see the issue exactly opposite. To theists, that last 0.1% is “faith,” to me it is “mystery.”  I’m comfortable filling in that space with “I don’t know.”

Anyhow, thinking of things in this manner makes it a lot easier for me to get along with my theist friends (especially those of the evangelical variety).  They’ve made a different choice than I have.  So what? Some people prefer Jack Daniels, I prefer bourbon of course, but it’s their choice.

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Written by keithboyea

October 12, 2012 at 9:29 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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