Good stuff from the Archbishop of Canterbury

July 11, 2011

Why isn't this man smiling?

Mostly this interview with Rowan Williams from The Guardian is about internal British stuff about which I know almost nothing—mine is a deeply uninformed Anglophilia. (I’m sure it’s easier that way!) But here are a couple of nice bits that I do understand:

Oh, look, argument has the role of damage limitation. The number of people who acquire faith by argument is actually rather small. But if people are saying stupid things about the Christian faith, then it helps just to say, ‘Come on, that won’t work.’ There is a miasma of assumptions: first, that you can’t have a scientific worldview and a religious faith; second, that there is an insoluble problem about God and suffering in the world; and third, that all Christians are neurotic about sex. But the arguments have been recycled and refought more times than we’ve had hot dinners, and I do groan in spirit when I pick up another book about why you shouldn’t believe in God. Oh dear! Bertrand Russell in 1923! And while I think it’s necessary to go on rather wearily putting down markers saying, ‘No, that’s not what Christian theology says’ and, ‘No, that argument doesn’t make sense’, that’s the background noise. What changes people is the extraordinary sense that things come together. Is it Eliot or Yeats who talks about a poem coming together with an audible click? You think, yes, the world makes sense looked at like that…

God’s act in creating the world is gratuitous, so everything comes to me as a gift. God simply wills that there shall be joy for something other than himself. That is the lifeblood of what I believe.

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