2009/05/28

God Talk, Part 2 - Stanley Fish Blog - NYTimes.com

This makes a lot of sense to me. I don't use a god myself and don't feel that I need one, but if you do, and if it helps you in some way to get through the dark nights, I'm not going to tell you it doesn't exist. And even if I did, you wouldn't believe me. God Talk, Part 2 - Stanley Fish Blog - NYTimes.com

1 comment:

Dirk said...

I’ve been slow to respond to this because I’ve been hoping to gather the energy and time to methodically analyze Fish's epistemology. I haven’t. I’ll just say I don’t buy it.
I do want to comment on his paragraph that beings, “What I say, and I say it to all…” First when he cites texts from “all the religions I know” he cites only Christian sources, or, in one case, a source adopted by Christians from Judaism. About a third of humans are Christian. That is hardly representative.
But the heart of my problem with Fish’s position is in this sentence:
…the religious life is depicted as one of aspiration within the conviction of frailty. The heart of that life, as Eagleton reminds us, is not a set of propositions about the world (although there is some of that), but an orientation toward perfection by a being that is radically imperfect.
I’m with Geoff in sympathizing with people whom “…it [religion] helps you in some way to get through the dark nights, I'm not going to tell you it doesn't exist.” I’m sure there are such people and I sympathize with their need.
But it seems to me that religions, as described by Fish above, are more likely to bring on hard nights that relieve them. Comparing yourself to some conception of perfection is imposing up your self a Sysiphisian task; believing that the universe has a moral dimension is condemning your self to being a struggling actor in a morality play.
The signs put recently on London buses by Richard Dawkins et al. read: “There’s probably no god, now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”
“If your morals make you dreary, depend on it they are wrong.” -Robert Louis Stevenson