Monday, May 05, 2003

Talking about God--whatever that means, and only if, you know, you kinda feel like it:
As I've written at length (including in my bio and essays on atheism) I strenuously affirm the doctrine of a Creator and Christ as redeemer. So imagine my surprise to do a Lexis search of my last name and find this item (archive's not working, but it's up at my file site.

Howard Bierma, of Thousand Oaks, says he uses the word ["God"] sometimes, maybe after someone sneezes or when he has banged a finger, but not to express his spirituality. He is an atheist and humanist who has been a member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Conejo Valley for about five years and defines religion as interaction among people aimed at improving humanity. He answers the question of the day this way: "Creation is all random, so I wouldn't define God."

His minister, the article goes on to note, fudges all statements of belief and invocation of religious terms with "whatever that means to you." I question the substance of this wishy-washy, whimsical assembly-required belief system in my letter to an athiest, but for now let me beat my anti-relativist drum once more: if everything is relative, then what is meaningful? What is true, and of what consequence is it true? What is the purpose of belief other than useless diversion? And isn't stating that salvation is "whatever it means to you" actually an absolute, ontological statement, or is it honestly just an opinion? I've also said before that I have little stomach for religious zealots who browbeat others with their certainty. But this other extreme, this do-it-yourself flimsy faith, doesn't impress me either.

I'm no relation, that I know of, to Howard, by the way. I'd love to meet him though and buy him a beer. We'd have a blast.

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