Category Archives: 信仰

To Helen: on Faith

何洋:

《自白书》读完了。诸多感慨。先谢谢你和我分享。有这种动力和恒心把一段重要的心路历程写下来,这本身就是件了不起的事。

感慨主要来自两点。一是,这段追寻人生终极问题答案直至陷入痛苦的经历,与我曾经的挣扎何其相似。从某种程度上说,我的挣扎其实尚未结束,只是以更平静一些的方式在进行。当生活中出现的责任与盼望越来越多时,心态就很难不从激烈趋于平衡,有了更多即使不了解答案也可以坚持下去的动力。我也一直都想把这段经历付诸笔端,从大学毕业一年后就开始写,到现在也只是文件夹里的一些只言片语。而你把这些挣扎写下来了,这是件很值得佩服的事。

二是其中对基督教的描述,让我有些感慨。这恐怕是你在给我看《自白书》的时候,就知道我会提及的事吧。我记得之前我们稍微讨论过我为什么是基督徒,但我们究竟说了些什么,我现在也不太记得了。老实说,我在读到M先生那么系统地把“他”对基督教的看法写出来时,有些惊讶,因为这自然也反映出你的想法。M先生认为宗教与哲学最大的区别,或许可以总结为文中这一句话:“宗教使人摈弃思考,而哲学让人思考。”这是我不能苟同的。若是如此,我可能永远也不会成为基督徒。

事实上,我在信基督之前的挣扎,一直是思辨的挣扎,而其最为剧烈的时候,恰恰是在教会大学读大四时,上一门《西方有影响力的基督教思想家》课时产生的。在那以前我也和很多从小受无神论熏陶的中国学生一样,认为宗教是不鼓励人思考的。但那堂课让我认识了新约里的保罗、圣奥古斯丁、阿奎那、帕斯卡、祁克果、C.S. Lewis,甚至启蒙时代的一批对基督教做了大量思考的哲学家如你提到的莱布尼兹等,才让我意识到,信仰基督并不必以不思考为前提,甚至可以是思考的结果。

M先生遇到的那位牧师,不知是不是你在生活中遇到的真实例子,如果是,我并不感到惊讶,因为这样的牧师的确很多。但未免感觉遗憾,因为M先生提出的问题,其实是任何基督教护教士(apologist)可以轻易回答的。我不是说基督教本身是一种纯理性的宗教,它不是的。但基督教在我的认识中,是一种既可以包纳不思考的人,也可以包纳思考的人的宗教。我与M先生对基督教认识的最大不同,可能就在于,他认为要信基督教必须摈弃理性,而我认为,对一些人来说(比如上面提到的那些,以及这个时代的许多基督徒科学家,如比较著名的Francis Colins等),宗教反而是穷尽理性思考之后,在“信心的一跃”之后,达到的终点。

当然,这份自白的重点是再现一种心路历程,不是要专门讨论基督教。尽管M先生对基督教的一些批评,在我看来,批评的不是真正的基督徒信仰的那个基督教,但他不幸地碰上了那样一位牧师,使他对基督教产生了一种符合这种体验和经历的印象。从这点上说,这种结论对他而言的确又是“真实”的。

很感谢你和我分享这份自白书。修改意见说不上。我也只能如你所要求的,谈谈我的一些想法罢了。

祝你和东阳及宝宝都好。

潇潇

[Date: Sun, Nov 24, 2013 at 5:53 PM]

翻译《爱德华兹选集》时的一些讨论

2012年,我为一家出版社翻译了耶鲁大学出版社的《爱德华兹选集》(A Jonathan Edwards Reader)。编校过程中,我与出版社编辑在两段英文上的理解截然相反,为此通了几轮信,切磋出一万来字。最终谁也没说服谁。这本书后来因为种种原因没有出版。现在重读这些通信文字,觉得很有意思。经编辑同意,我把这几封信原样照登,以为存照。

有争议的两段文字,是《杂记》中第350篇和第416篇。原文与两种译文如下:

350. …We hardly can have a conception how it would be, if there never had been any revelation, for we are bred up in the light of revelation from our very infancy. If there was a nation of philosophers, where all were taught philosophy as soon as they came to be capable of understanding anything, and so were bred up in [it], they would admire at the ignorance and the thoughtlessness of a people that did not meddle with it; they would wonder that they could have so little reflection, and that they should be so ignorant of these and those things that were so plain and easy to them. Knowledge is easy to us that understand by revelation; but we don’t know what brutes we should have been, if there never had been any…

我的初译:

我们几乎无法设想,假如世上从未有过启示会是什么样子,因为我们尚在襁褓中时就成长在启示之光里了。假如有一个哲学家王国,其中所有人从有领悟力时起就开始学哲学,并在其中成长,他们就会为不悉哲学之人的无知和没有思想而惊奇;他们会惊讶于这些人的缺乏思考,及在那些对他们来说极明显和简单的各样事上一无所知。知识对我们靠启示获得理解的人来说是易事,但我们不知道假如不曾有过启示,自己会是什么样的野蛮人……

编辑后的文字:

我们几乎无法设想,假如世上从未有过启示将会是什么样子,因为我们尚在襁褓中时就沐浴在启示之光中了。假如有一个哲学家的国度,其中所有人从开始具备领悟力时起就学习哲学,并在其中成长,他们会羡慕那些没有搅入哲学问题之人的一无所知和缺乏思考,他们会惊叹这些人是如何可以在那些他们极少思考、一无所知的事上,处置得如此举重若轻、稀松平常。我们能够轻易地获取知识是因为我们对启示的依赖,与此同时,我们很难想像假如不曾有过启示,自己将活在何等野蛮的光景中…… Continue reading

Richard Dawkins and Alister McGrath Debate

Dawkins: oh, how do you do? Thank you for agreeing to do this.

McGrath: Thank you.

Dawkins: You see, I’m doing my homework. [Chuckle] I have actually read it before, and greatly enjoyed it.

[Crew give the signal to start]

Dawkins: Alister, for an apologist for religion, to be able to say that you once were an atheist gives you certain among of street credit which not everybody can boast. Could you tell me a bit about your journey from that position to where you are now?

McGrath: Well, I think when I was growing up in Northern Ireland, I did feel very strongly that religion was something that caused violence and difficulties, and certainly, I think growing up in Northern Ireland, you can see how easily that would’ve been to be the case. Back in the 1960s, of course, everybody was a Marxist and I fell into that intellectual fashion, and it just seemed entirely reasonable to adopt an atheist approach. And of course at that time, I was studying the natural sciences and wanting to go and study chemistry at Oxford. And again it just seemed to me that the sciences and atheism almost, if you like, rolled into each other in a very intellectually satisfying way. I think when I arrived at Oxford, I began to re-think things, and began to realize that it wasn’t, perhaps, as straightforward as I thought. And certainly it was at that point that I really began to feel that Christianity offered a better way of seeing things and making sense of things than I’d imagined in the past. Continue reading