There’s a little bit of a storm in the Old Dart over the British Humanist Association advertising campaign that has a fleet of London buses carrying the slogan “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” See BBC news story here. This has sparked off a blog war (based on responses such as here and here) to which I am loathe to contribute energy, but because I have been asked to comment, here I go.
The reason, I suppose, I lack energy for the debate is because it is predicated on the false dichotomy between faith and reason. Both sides of the debate, having driven each other to the stockades, are to blame.
One side emphatically concludes that the integrity of logic and rational process excludes claims based on faith (although the bus campaign tempers the emphasis of this assertion with the word “probably”). To them the idea of God has to be proved scientifically to be viable.
On the other side, many defenders of the faith play into the hands of their opponents by responding emotionally, defensively, and from a limited and little supported assertion that faith eclipses reason – a puzzling stance that is unsupported by the weight of Christian scholarship and tradition.
I hold the position that faith is eminently reasonable, and this is perfectly consistent with that part of the Christian spectrum that has nurtured and formed my thinking and being over the years. For those whose faith is informed by reason, there is some common ground for dialogue with those whose reason leads them to an anti-faith stance. To borrow from a recent image, this common ground forms the “no-man’s land” which invites a Christmas truce to be declared so both sides can come out of their trenches and meet each other beyond the labels with which a polarised warfare approach has a vested interest.
It is in the spirit of informed and respectful dialogue that those called to always be “prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you…” (1 Peter 3:16) can contribute to a worthwhile discussion.
So, while I have little energy for an epithet hurling debate, I have plenty for a good well-rounded, respectful – maybe even a spirited – discussion!