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Come Reason's Apologetics Notes blog will highlight various news stories or current events and seek to explore them from a thoughtful Christian perspective. Less formal and shorter than the Web site articles, we hope to give readers points to reflect on concerning topics of the day.

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Sunday, August 21, 2005

Letting Go of God While Holding on to Biases

An interesting article appeared recently in the San Francisco Chronicle's online site There, reporter David Ian Miller interviewed Saturday Night Live comedienne Julia Sweeney (of the "It's Pat" sketch fame) on her recent autobiographical play, "Letting Go of God". The next step for Sweeney will be to release a book on the same topic, entitled "My Beautiful Loss of Faith Story".

The interview is telling. When asked how she responds to people with a strong belief in God, she replies "If somebody has credible evidence that there is a supernatural power that knows what I think and cares about me and offers me a life after death, I would look at that evidence with an open mind. On the other hand, I can't imagine there would be that evidence." She also states, "I'm adding up the evidence on either side, and I'm seeing the evidence of there not being a God is overwhelming compared to the evidence for there being a God."

Now, all this sounds as if Sweeney is trying to be fair, until you see some specific examples of just how far she has actually dug for this evidence. Here is one:

"To me, the Iliad offers more insight into human character and lessons than the Bible. You know, like Jesus was angry a lot. When he turned all those people into pigs and made them run off a mountain, it was so hateful, not just to people but to pigs. I felt upset for the pigs!"
Sweeney is trying to object to the story in Mark 5:2-13. However, her woeful misunderstanding shows that she hasn't even done a thoughtful reading of the text.

Sweeney's blog gives us a bit more honest reason for her objection to the Bible. In her June 5, 2005 post she answers the Christians who've offered interpretations of various biblical passages and says

"Yes, I know that the passages I site have all kinds of theories and complicated layers of meaning. I know the theories. I know the ways that people explain those passages. I looked into it. But now, it doesn't really matter because when I, after a long learning curve, really understood how the Bible was put together, which stories were kept and which weren't, what political situations were in place and what was useful to emphasise and so forth, then the Bible became a really interesting historical religious document to me -- inspiring but not sacred. Very much the work of ancient man and not the inspired word of God. So, you see, telling me all about the meanings behind those stories is sort of beside the point at this point."
For anyone who has been following our articles, you can see where that argument falls apart.

I hope that Sweeney will continue to try and approach the subject of God with an open mind. Like many atheists, though, what she thinks is a non-biased look at the evidence may in fact turn out to be one-sided from the very start. Let her react to the Kalam cosmological argument or to some of the best Christian thinkers out there. Only then can she say with confidence that she is earnestly seeking to find the truth.
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