Sunday, April 5, 2009

Converted again

Almost twenty years ago, with great anticipation, I ordered A.N. Wilson's then new biography of C.S. Lewis. It proved to be a disappointment. At least part of the reason, perhaps, was that while writing the book, Wilson had become disillusioned with Christianity. He had experienced a conversion:
By nature a doubting Thomas, I should have distrusted the symptoms when I underwent a “conversion experience” 20 years ago. Something was happening which was out of character – the inner glow of complete certainty, the heady sense of being at one with the great tide of fellow non-believers. For my conversion experience was to atheism. ....
Wilson has recently returned to Christianity, and his account, "Why I believe again," has just appeared in the New Statesman [subscription only, I haven't read it. Update: it is now online]. He also gave an an interview to the magazine, from which comes this:
What's the worst thing about being faithless?

The worst thing about being faithless? When I thought I was an atheist I would listen to the music of Bach and realize that his perception of life was deeper, wiser, more rounded than my own. Ditto when I read the lives of great men and women who were religious.

Reading Northrop Frye and Blake made me realize that their world-view (above all their ability to see the world in mythological terms) is so much more INTERESTING than some of the alternative ways of looking at life.

Of the things that drove you atheism, what have you still to resolve?

Childish playground things - religious people aren't cool, religious people have spots, wear specs, all those feelings; embarrassment at being in the same gang as people whose views sound, and perhaps are, absurd; or worse than absurd. The disconcerting sense that certain psychological types (often v unappealing) seem to be drawn to religion. I very much dislike the intolerance and moralism of many Christians, and feel more sympathy with Honest Doubters than with them.
Thanks to Tom Gilson and the Agent Intellect blog for the reference.

New Statesman - Why I believe again, New Statesman - Can you love god and agree with Darwin?

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