Author: Will Wilkinson

Vice President for Research at the Niskanen Center

4 thoughts

  1. “Believe” is a word that means you accept the word of someone. You believe the doctor, the bank, the teacher, the police and sometimes even the government. These people have a lot of influence on the outcome of our health or future so we take faith in them seriously.
    When we believe God about our future it doesn’t have to be a magical experience, but it should be real. Do you believe that by dying on the cross, Jesus made a payment for the penalty of sins? Does that make you a believer?

  2. You’re misunderstanding a pretty basic thought, which sort of debunks your entire statement here. I’m not talking deep theology, I’m taking basic cause/effect.
    The mourning a believer does for a loved one who dies isn’t because of a lack of belief that they’re “in a better place.” It is because we are separated from them and will miss them between now and heaven/the new earth.
    It isn’t because we don’t believe they’re with God, or doubt that their pain is resolved. It is that we miss them. We’re sad they’re not with us. That a relationship has been (temporarily) lost.
    Death is not a natural state. God didn’t intend for us to die. So it is a wierd, uncomfortable, painful thing to go through. The comfort is in the belief that we’ll live again in the ideal state, with Him, in the new earth.
    I’m happy you’ve put a lot of thought into this, but your argument that we’re sad because we “don’t really believe our beliefs” starts from a false premise.

  3. Will,
    You have unwittingly stumbled upon something that many Christians do not like to admit: that we do exactly what we don’t want to do. We do what we hate doing. This is something that we recognize in ourselves, that no matter how long we are here in this life, we still do evil, no matter how much we wish not to.
    This is what we call “simul iustus et peccator”: simultaneously a sinner and saint. Two forces working in one man simultaneously. Saint Paul described the phenomenon: “The good that I wish to do, I do not do. The evil I wish not to do, that I do.”
    There IS a resolution to this tension. I do not wish to lapse into theology here, but suffice it to say, your understanding of the matter is very shallow at best. You may as well be describing what it is like to be black when you are white, or a women, when you are a man. You THINK you know, but you really cannot know, because you are not one.

  4. Is it just me, or does “meta-atheism” not actually mean anything?
    It sounds more like atheism as defined by meta-beliefs.
    In any case, the prefix “meta” should probably not be used with words that it isn’t typically used with, unless there’s some major unpacking that follows.

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