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Fantastical Beliefs in a Post-Christian Age

Fantastical Beliefs in a Post-Christian Age

G.K. Chesterton is purported to have said that “When a man stops believing in God he doesn’t then believe in nothing, he believes anything.” And although there is no record that he actually said it, the truth of the aphorism is becoming ever clearer in this post-Christian age in the West.

A version of the same idea was offered by Catholic French philosopher Chantal Delsol in an essay entitled The End of Christianity. She argued that when people stop believing in Christianity, they do not turn to atheism or nihilism. The religious impulse in humanity is too strong, too deep, for that. They find other beliefs and spiritualities.

Looking at the Western world today, it seems that the religious impulse for those who do not accept established religious doctrines, and even for some who do identify, at least culturally, as Christians, is increasingly being channelled into the embrace of what I call “fantastical beliefs.”

What are fantastical beliefs?

These are beliefs that, while not metaphysical, are irrational. That is, they are beliefs that not only cannot be justified by evidence but which also, in many cases, seem contradicted by all available evidence. Typically, they are deeply held. However, they are not based on a religious faith and cannot therefore be defended, as the New Testament…

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