Originally Posted by dieter
Today I constantly have to explain their own religion to them, even to those who go to church every Sunday......That is comforting on the one hand yet somehow unnerving on the other......I highly recommend the following speech by Daniel Dennett, in which he explains how theologians and priests learn to do double speak and double think. The seminaries are basically a rite of passage. Many actually lose their faith, but continue on. (Dennett bases his analysis in part on qualitative interviews with atheist or quasi atheist priests). It is also a critique of Robert Wright's "The Evolution of God". Dennet explains that Wrights theology like all theology is based on use-mention errors
. The title of the book should have been "The Evolution of the concept of God" for example. This is the technique they employ, to convey one thing to the herd, while convincing themselves that they are not lying of misrepresenting anything.
This is exactly my experience. When someone today calls themselves a Christian, it is nearly impossible to know what that means about what they believe. I talk to everyone about religion, and it is the rare person who gives serious thought to what their belief system entails. Most carry on in blissful ignorance of the meaning of what they espouse because they prefer comfort over truth. The problem is not limited to catholics. I have had talks with several well-educated protestant ministers about how they spend every day feeding their congregations what they know is pablum because, in the words of Jack Nicholson, "they can't handle the truth". Many of the "sophisticated Christians" who post on bhtv disparage the "common Christian" as a rube who has no idea what Christianity is about. Yet few "sophisticated Christians" will say this to face of the "common Christian" or work toward a more sophisticated level of understanding for all. They prefer to pity or sneer at the ignorance of the masses while continuing to cultivate and perpetuate that ignorance. And it works in the reverse, too. Many of the "common Christians" hold the leaders of their organized religion in contempt, particularly when they disagree with them over matters of scriptural interpretation. It is hard to regard such behavior and such people and the institutions they proclaim with anything even close admiration. Bafflement is the term that comes more readily to mind. I watch the internal schisms among the anglicans and the baptists and the presbyterians over minor liturgical matters and wonder when the schism will arise over the real issue: the lack of coherence of belief among those who profess to be Christians.