From The New York Times
The Case for ‘Soft Atheism’
It is possible to reject all religious doctrines as false without dismissing religion itself.
It’s the 24th of May Weekend even though it is only May 18th. In Ontario it is the weekend Cottage Owners of Toronto head North to central Ontario to open up for the summer. The traffic is awful, even as the pickpocket vendors of Muskoka begin their annual four month fleecing of the gullible, of whom I am one, albeit under protest. But then again, I come up here all year round, so I usually use this time of year to pick up some winter bargains. Yesterday I had my eye on a 44 inch snow blower attachment for my little tractor. You may be surprised to learn that I love mowing snow, but I really do. Hidden deep in my soul lies a heavy equipment tractor operator just itching to come out. Alas, I have to confine myself to the ’dinky toy’ variety of machines, not wanting to ripple the pond by showing up with a good John Deere front end loader. I did however recently treat myself to a new Ford 150 XLT Pickup, ostensible a business vehicle for the Polish “do it all man” who works with us, but, well, if you believe that, let me sell you a bridge………. The internal contradictions are surely indicative of a severe mental disorder, for one the one hand you have a pretentious egg head slowly [because I forget much of what I used to know] meandering his way through the legend that is Eusebius’ HistoriaEcclesia in Greek, while at the same time bouncing around the back roads of Muskoka in his black pickup with the fancy wheels. I absolutely love it in this part of Ontario, it is the closet I can come to feeling like I am home; alas, the lakes are not the ocean. They really have no moods at all, even though the locals pretend they do. However the woods are magnificent this time of year. For a few brief weeks they are carpeted with the provincial flower of Ontario, the trillium., ground cover with a lovely white flower. My cave here does not face the lake, it faces the woods. Up here the back of the house is the front of the house, the front always being lake fronting. Right outside my window, and moving ever so slowly and with that peculiar gate, is a large Tom Turkey. There seem to be more of them than usual this year, and even more deer. But then again that could because the sentimentalists here have spent a fortune on deer food. Finally, and by the by, if ever you find yourself in this part of the world, consider you have an open invitation to visit our patch and catch a water view of where and how Goldie Kurt live, Lindros, Martin Short, Ted Rogers and a host of other of the notorious.
I have enclosed today’s’ opinionator from “The Stone” for anyone who is intrigued by Dawkins and the late Chris Hitchens. For myself I am still momentarily caught up in the first three hundred years CE, or like we used to say AD. What we have now always wasn’t, and what we thought was there from the beginning was a later development. Yes, we could have been more Jewish than we are today, we could have been more gnostic, and yes we could have quite a different understanding of who JC really was. What some called ‘heresy’ was once orthodoxy; and most interestingly, some heresy came before orthodoxy. [cf. Walter Bauer, Orthodoxy and Heresy] I have already recommended John Cornwell, “The Dark Box”, and now I recommend another by Bart Ehrman, “How Jesus Became God”, Had enough of me and all of this? Probably yes!