Thursday, May 5, 2022

Intermezzo: Fast forward to 2022

Faith, Doubt and Anti-Metanoia series, a brief intermission. This post parallels the passage of time between when I wrote most of the material in Parts I-VI (2015-16) and when I wrote Parts VII-X (2021-22). Here's a link to the series introduction.

“Wanderer above the Sea of Fog” by Caspar David Friedrich. (This image is in the public domain.)

In Part I, I told the story of my Christian faith-to-no-Christian faith journey. Part II is my argument against absolute Biblical authority. Part III presents summaries of four books and one essay that fed into my thinking during my period of doubt and seeking. In Part IV, I outline some early Christian writing by summarizing Bart Ehrman’s book “Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament.” Then I explored the question of which books actually did end up being the Bible, in Part V, by summarizing three scholarly books on the subject. Part V finds that the support for the Biblical canon is less than absolutely solid; that is one way to see that the Eternalist system of Evangelical Christianity is build on a foundation of unjustified dogma, rather than reason.

After too much material on the Bible, Part VI presents a summary of, moving on to the post-Christian part of my journey. Certainly, removing Christianity left a void in my life. But the question of “what to replace Christianity with?” turned out to be badly formed. I think of as a catalyst for my realizing that Christianity needs no direct replacement in my life. It’s not that I had the wrong system, it’s that no system could ever be the perfect one or even the right one. 

The first six posts in this series were drafted in previous years, much of it during a transitional period. Now, in 2021-2022, I have a modicum of hindsight and the benefit of having worked through some of the associated emotional problems. The upcoming posts are my thinking on these questions: 

  • After leaving Christianity, where did I land? In my story of Part I, I briefly mentioned the counselor who was excited for me because I would get a new identity. This is addressed in Part VII “My new identity.”
  • How could I have made my journey out of Christianity easier? In particular, I’m interested in how I could have avoided the problems caused by passing through nihilism. I discuss more in Part VIII “Dodging nihilism better.”
  • What new problems of meaning do I now face and how do I address them? This is the topic of Part IX “Answering Eternalist objections to the Complete Stance.”
  • What do I see as the next steps for meaning in my life and in the world? Addressed in Part X “Next steps in meaning-space.”

But before you read the next posts in this series, I recommend that you read these pages by David Chapman: 

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