“There’s still a mystery about faith,” he went on. “It’s not enough just to recognize the natural impulses behind it. You can’t live as if God exists when you secretly believe he doesn’t. You still have to decide, somehow, whether your desire, the projected image, does or doesn’t stand for something outside your head. And once you make the decision that it does, the decision leads to it own peculiar kind of certainty.”
So speaks our faithful protagonist, in Martin Gardner’s “The Flight of Peter Fromm”. The book was our latest reading for the Nonbelieving Literati and it was a tortuous read for this atheist. Not that it was badly written. Far from it. Unfortunately it was not ultimately simply unsatisfying. It was disheartening.
Here is an incredibly bright young man, who studies the philosophies of virtually every major theologian of the past two thousand years and keeps finding their apologetics as coming up short. Yet he still can’t make the final leap out. Instead, it is his mentor, Homer, who seems to represent the final place where Gardner himself landed.
Is there no hope of reason being the ultimate safe harbor for intelligent freethinkers if they, themselves, don’t make a conscious choice to go there? And, in fact, is it completely impossible for some people to do so? This might be