Do You See The World As A Gift?

Terry Eagleton wrote an amazing book, Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate by Terry Eagleton. I didn’t even know who he was before I stumbled on that book. It was by far the best book I’ve read thus far that speaks to the debate on God with New Atheists and the like.

The difference between science and theology, as I understand it, is one over whether you see the world as a gift or not; and you cannot resolve this just by inspecting the thing, any more than you can deduce from examining a porcelain vase that it is a wedding present. The difference between Ditchkins and radicals like myself also hinges on whether it is true that the ultimate signifier of the human condition is the tortured and murdered body of a political criminal, and what the implications of this are for living.

Faith, Ditchkins seems not to register, is not primarily a belief that something or someone exists, but a commitment and allegiance-faith in something which might make a difference to the frightful situation you find yourself in, as is the case, say, with faith in feminism or anticolonialism. It is not in the first place a question of signing up to a description of reality, though it certainly involves that as well. Christian faith, as I understand it, is not primarily a matter of signing on for the proposition that there exists a Supreme Being, but the kind of commitment made manifest by a human being at the end of his tether, foundering in darkness, pain, and bewilderment, who nevertheless remains faithful to the promise of a transformative love. The trouble with the Dawkinses of this world, however, is that they do not find themselves in a frightful situation at all (unless, like myself, one counts Oxford High Table in that category), beyond the fact that there are a lot of semideranged people called believers around the place.

– Terry Eagleton

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