I refer to Ian McDonald's piece "I try my best to believe" (SN Dec 20, 2009), and would appreciate the opportunity to rebut.
Without realizing it, Ian McDonald himself becomes the "rationalist" (albeit whimsically, perhaps self-pityingly ... and certainly fatalistically so ... ) in this astonishing piece of self-indulgent agonizing.
This is a 'nothing' piece, one that did not have to be written! Was this done simply to show us that he was "well read"? Is this Ecclesiastes 1:16 working itself out?
The last time we saw such a gross attempt to feed self-indulgence to the masses (you will know the pieces by their inevitably anti-Christian, grandly defeatist, or subtly racist undertones) was when BC Pires tried to denigrate CARICOM's idea of the "Ideal Caribbean Person" ( http://rogerwilli.blogspot.com/2009/07/response-to-bc-pires-on-ideal-caribbean.html ; and the rebuttal to Stabroek News at http://rogerwilli.blogspot.com/2009/07/response-to-stabroek-news-on-ideal.html ).
Whether or not it was intended, McDonald now writes a treatment in hopelessness and despair that surely must now baffle his fellow churchmen.
Now the first reason we have to disagree with his fatalism is the fact that NOWHERE in his treatment does he refer to the logic and comfort of the Bible, or of the finished work of Jesus!. Is this Ecclesiastes 1:16 again working itself out?
He speaks instead of "the truths of poetry", and "stories told on his mother's knee". The compass is clearly skewed, and rather than tasting Dawkins' mess to see if it is real (he says "...I suffer when I read their books ..."), Ian in his distress will do well to return to the unambiguity of the Bible, say, in Proverbs 2:1-15:
Pro 2:1 My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;
Pro 2:2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;
Pro 2:3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;
Pro 2:4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
Pro 2:5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.
Pro 2:6 For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
Pro 2:7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.
Pro 2:8 He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.
Pro 2:9 Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.
Pro 2:10 When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;
Pro 2:11 Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:
Pro 2:12 To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things;
Pro 2:13 Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;
Pro 2:14 Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked;
Pro 2:15 Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths:
We will find that Proverbs 1:20-33 also has an answer for McDonald's belief in "the truths of poetry", his apparent high "regard" for Dawkins, and his so subsequent agony and despair ... as the "poetic" lines below testify:
Pro 1:20 Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets:
Pro 1:21 She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying,
Pro 1:22 How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?
Pro 1:23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.
Pro 1:24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;
Pro 1:25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:
Pro 1:26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;
Pro 1:27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.
Pro 1:28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:
Pro 1:29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:
Pro 1:30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.
Pro 1:31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.
Pro 1:32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.
Pro 1:33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.
Proverbs 1:26 (read 1:24-31) above is instructive to Ian's torment, as is Ecclesiastes 1:16-18 (verse 16 will compete to be Ian's loudest claim to fame, and perhaps explains his claim of a (sic) " ... growing tide of God-denial which is emptying churches and trying mightily to suck dry the wells of belief ..."):
Ecc 1:16 I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.
Perhaps he speaks for himself, for the Catholic Church, or for the Church of England, because the attendance at all evangelical locations throughout England and Guyana on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2009 will be truly spectacular!
And if all else fails, Ian is welcome to try to "rationalize" or "poeticize" Psalm 14:1 ... the first part.
Because others like Dawkins have tried to deny the existence of God before ... and ultimately failed. We did not need "A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism" ( http://www.discovery.org/articleFiles/PDFs/100ScientistsAd.pdf ) or Jonathan Wells' "Survival of the Fakest" ( http://www.discovery.org/articleFiles/PDFs/survivalOfTheFakest.pdf ) to prove that they have descended to the depths of academic depravity and skulduggery to so do!
Why must we ask Ian to read Jonathan Wells above, in particular? Because at page 8 of 8 we find this astonishing remarks about Richard Dawkins, the object of Ian's fascination:
“… Oxford Darwinist Richard Dawkins, though not writing in a textbook, puts it even more bluntly: “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” …
“… These are obviously philosophical rather than scientific views. Futuyma, Gould, and Dawkins have a right to their philosophy. But they do not have the right to teach it as though it were science. In science, all theories – including Darwinian evolution – must be tested against the evidence…”
Perhaps the next item on McDonald's reading list should be Lee Strobel's "The Case For Christ"!
Ian will find that the wisdom of this world ... Dawkins' world of "rationalism" ... turns out to be foolishness with God. His real wisdom ... and comfort ... will begin with the fear of God, not in the rationalizing of God's existence, or reading Dawkins' works to that end ... when he has the Bible to search out instead!
December 26, 2009