Okay, I am trying to take a step back and think about a response to Richard Dawkins latest tweet about how Down's Syndrome fetuses should be aborted for morality's sake. This is a situation where I need to just breathe deeply and process. So I thought I'd just comment quickly about something which doesn't make me want to scream and pull out all my hair.
Here's something calming for your palate. Robert P. George over at First Things has weighed in, sort of, about Christian singer Victoria Beeching. She came out a lesbian last week and endorsed same-sex marriage. She's apparently trying to change Christian views of these things from the inside out -- I suppose if her music is good enough she might have some traction there.
Haha! Yeah, as if that's going to happen.
Anyway, George relates her sexual predilections (ugh!) to the different Platonic atheisms, somehow.
I must confess to not having heard of Victoria Beeching before she made news by publicizing her sexual predilections. But the theology by which she proposes to justify her behavior and demand the approbation of her fellow Christians turns out to be far from new. Plato described and condemned it in his great final work, known to us as “The Laws.” There (at II: 885b4-9) he identifies three forms of “atheism” . . . (or what we might today call “godlessness” or perhaps “secularism”).I'm not quite sure how this paragraph works, honestly. Anyway, he jumps into three forms of atheists which Plato -- whose hero Socrates got accused of atheism -- outlined. Plato was not friend of atheists, by the way.
The first form is the mere denial of the existence of gods and George recognizes this as the prevalent form of atheism today. I would rephrase this as a mere lack of belief in any gods, but this seems fairly acceptable to me.
The second form is the acceptance of god(s) which play no discernable role in our universe and do not concern themselves with us. George calls this deism which seems reasonable enough to me. Perhaps neo-platonic ideas like the nous or monad would also fall into this category. This would be the fancy pants philosophers' god.
The third form is the soft and fuzzy caring God that I think many non-crazy-fundamentalist Christians may subscribe to. Apparently, according to Plato and Robert George I guess, this is a form of "atheism" deserving of air-quotes. Yeah, that makes no sense to me either.
The third form of “atheism” accepts that there is a God and that God is concerned with human beings. But this “God” is soft-spirited and easily placated or appeased. He makes no stringent moral demands of human beings. He wants us to like ourselves and like him. So it’s fine with him if we do pretty much as we please, whatever we please. He is an “I’m O.K., you’re O.K.” divinity—the perfect deity for an Age of Feeling.Bzzzzzzzz... sorry, that's not atheism.
It's fascinating to see Christians who believe homosexuality is a mere sexual predilection and who apparently cannot accept the idea of gay Christians. Somehow people like Victoria Beeching worship the wrong god or are in fact "atheists."
Well, George doesn't see atheisms #1 and #2 along with Dawkins as a threat to Christianity. It's really just a God who will accept gay people for who they are and not be a complete monster. Yes, that's the real challenge to Christianity!
Many believers, however, are being led, as Victoria Beeching has been led, into Plato’s third form of atheism—belief in an imaginary God made in the image and likeness of man, as man is conceived in the pseudo-religion of expressive individualism and me-generation liberalism. It is a most convenient “God” who is always willing to say, “do whatever you feel like doing, darling; I love you just the way you are.”You mean a God that behaves like a loving 'Father' who accepts their children for who they were created as? You know, like all parents of gay children should behave.
Anyway, that's not atheism it's still theism and many would still call it Christianity. Deal with it, because the times are changing, okay?