Friday, April 30, 2010

Why I am an Ag-NOSE-tic

An Interview with the Wheel’s Creator

So, what’s the story behind this weird wheel?

In creating this wheel I’ve played two roles and pitted them against one another. Like C. S. Lewis who, “thought in reverse for months” while writing the Screwtape Letters, I’ve played two roles, neither of which I ultimately believe. First, I play the role of Aromatician putting forth evidence and rationale for belief in the sense of smell. I do this by faith since I am indeed olfactory impaired. Second, I play the role of Ag-NOSE-tic, debunking the arguments for smell. I do this by faith since I do indeed believe that smells exists.
And the point is?

The strained and probably too obscure point of this double charade is to illustrate the futility of a type of Christian apologetics. The Aromatician (True Believer) represents a rationalistic and evidence based Christian apologetic. Regardless of their well crafted “proofs,” the Ag-NOSE-tic remains unconvinced. Furthermore, I hope to illustrate to the Ag-NOSE-tic (real agnostic/atheist) the pointlessness of their refutations. So what if the Ag-NOSE-tics (agnostics/atheists) can debunk rationalistic and evidentiary arguments for the existence of smells (God)? As long as our planet contains odors, Ag-NOSEtic disputations remain folly.

You’re saying Christians shouldn’t offer reasons to believe?

No, I’m saying embracing Christian truth is neither empirical, evidentiary, or rationalistic. Faith is existential. Just as one’s experience of enjoying an aroma is subjective (so I am lead to believe), enjoying the confidence of faith is subjective (which I in fact do enjoy). Jesus himself, in so many words, said evidence isn’t sufficient for faith.

  • Luke 16:31 "He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.' "

  • John 6:36 “You have seen me and still you do not believe.”

  • OT Israel saw miracles in the desert yet longed to go back to Egypt.

Couldn’t this wheel tweak the faith of some Christians?

Yes, there are risks in creating this wheel. The Christian who bases his/her faith on rationalistic arguments (such as Aromaticians make on wheel side one), may be disappointed to see how easy it is for the Ag-NOSE-tic to refute them (on both sides of the wheel). A faith based on rationalistic “sight” rather than existential “faith” could conceivably be thrown into doubts by this wheel. I take that risk in the hope that other’s Christian faith will be strengthened.


By taking an existential leap of faith. Faith isn’t strengthened by getting better arguments, or refuting agnostic/atheistic refutations. Faith is strengthened when it shifts from evidence, rationalism, logic, and reason, to a commitment. I believe that many Christian apologetic arguments for belief are not only ineffective but ill-conceived. One cannot be argued into faith. God isn’t a theorem. Even if He were, how much faith is necessary to embrace 2+2=4? None, “and without faith it is impossible to please God.” Agnostics and atheists refute rationalistic straw men. Warrants for belief require other treatments (other wheels?). So while this wheel is indeed “anti apologetic,” my apologetic intent is to shift the debate away from an unbiblical ground.

Please compare and contrast Aromaticism and Biblical Theism.

One can’t choose to smell if their olfactory senses are impaired, whereas one can choose to believe in God (arguments regarding freewill and sovereignty notwithstanding). The evidence for aromas are convincing to those with a working nose. Warrants for faith are convincing to those with a working faith. How to get a nasally impaired person (such as myself) to experience smells is as mysterious as how to get a faith impaired person (such as an agnostic/atheist) to experience God. Unlike aromas, where there is no psychological bias for or against aromas, Christian theology suggests that there are psychological (spiritual) biases against faith. Attempting to overcome those biases with evidences frames the God question on faith-weakening rationalistic terms. Attempting to rationally convince an olfactory impaired person that smells exists is equally futile.

Don’t you have anything better to do with your time?

No. New priorities at home necessitate limited social life. Yet my inner world expands. All that pent up creativity must leak out somewhere. Why not roll all the things I love—irony, humor, wisdom, philosophy and the fear of the Lord—
into one (to me) highly entertaining volvelle?

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