Thursday, December 11, 2008

Reasons A Reverend Resists Church Attendance

"One reason I don't [go to church] is very often when I go I am bored out of my wits. They're not telling me anything I haven't heard before. They are not moving my heart. Plus it gives birth in me to the worst of me. I keep thinking how much better I could do it. And what a terrible thing to go to church and come away thinking, "God, I wish I had gotten up there. I could have really told it the way it is." Rev. Frederick Buechner

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Can Atheists Worship God?

Ursula Goodenough, who closes this volume [The Faith of Scientists], speaks of the "sacred depths of nature." Goodenough's worldview is shaped by the values of the scientific community. Yet she very much enjoys worship and even sings in a church choir. She is inspired by cathedrals. But she cannot believe in the supernatural: "Such faith is simply not available to me."

I wonder what God thinks of Ursula Goodenough. Can God be worshiped by those who celebrate the Creation without acknowledging the Creator? In conversation, someone once praised one of my books but could not remember the author's name. The praise was strangely more genuine for its inarticulate anonymity. I suspect, as C.S. Lewis once speculated, that God may have more connection with honest atheists than many think. [Karl Giberson in Christianity Today, 12-08, 62]

Who is Dr. Goodenough? She is a professor of biology at Washington University in St. Louis, and the author of the bestseller, The Sacred Depths of Nature. She does not believe in God, calls herself a religious naturalist, and wants believers and unbelievers work together to save the earth.