All Gods Have Been Taken Seriously

One objection to the cliche' that atheists believe in just one fewer God than religious believers do, was expressed recently over at Christian Cadre:

Third, there aren't really thousands of other gods that are taken seriously, and anyone who sees religions as the same except that they have "different gods" has a very childish grasp religious belief. Sure, a thousand and more years ago some people believed in Ishtar and Odin and Zeus, but only a handful of people (if any) really give those types of religions credence today because, unlike Christianity, they don't ring true.

The truth is that every God that people have believed in, both in the present and in the past, was taken very seriously by those very people. Just because we no longer take most of them seriously doesn't mean we could ever have convinced them otherwise via an argument, or with counter-evidence. Christians simply take their God seriously, and that's what all other people have done too.

There is only one God that is deserving of the name, and that is the philosopher's God. That is the God established by reasonable arguments, if such a thing can be done. The other Gods are human religions based upon the doctrines of a superstitious "faith," that legitimize and grant power to those who propogate them, which are spread by the sword, but not containing much by way of convincing evidence, in my opinion.


Anonymous said...

Agree, I shudder every time I hear Islam is a religion of peace. said...

Hello Mr. John Loftus

Sir: I am currently reading your book , and I have a question regarding the hermeneutical method. What is it, and why do modern Christians have to believe in the hermeneutical method in order to believe Jesus rose from the dead? The reference is to page 39 of "Why I Rejected Christianity".

I'm sorry if this question is too silly. Google returned this url
The pertinent part is that
First researchers tried to play the part of the original author and simulate his context, history and manner of thinking. The researcher's own values and experiences were to be eliminated, "wiped out". Today we feel instead that such targets are impossible to reach; on the contrary it is better that the researcher consciously recognizes his preferences and also the tradition of earlier research and those interpretations that have been made from the same text. The task of research is thus to translate the text into the language of our contemporary culture.

The goal in hermeneutics is the same as in any humanistic study: to get deeper understanding of the object. The principal method is to inspect the object from alternating perspectives. It can be done even when the origin and context of the text is not known.

At the beginning of your study, you already have some preliminary ideas about your object. These notions have perhaps earlier been gathered in studies made by you or by others, or at least they are conjectures or guesses made by you. Whatever they are, this "first grasp" becomes the starting point in your inspection.
During the process, you then alternate the perspective, or examine the object from various angles. Each new examination improves your understanding of the object. Likewise, when you return to an angle that you have already used, you will often be able to find new insights, because in the meantime, the other views have improved your sensitivity in finding new aspects to the already previously well known facts and interpretations.

Alternation of the viewing points is called the hermeneutic circle (or the hermeneutic spiral, if you wish to imply that you are not repeating your footsteps but getting somewhere, i.e. deeper, with the method). You continue with it until shifting to a new angle no longer produces any interesting findings.

John W. Loftus said...

Stay tuned Kbrown, I'll answer you here soon enough. said...

Hola John:

Kbrown45 is still here. I'm hoping you'll take time out of the slavery issue rebuttals to think about the hermeneutical method. I think this could have potential to be developed into a devastating argument against the Christian Faith. Christians are not allowed to employ any but approved foundational assumptions to interpret OT passages to lend support for NT concepts. But the NT authors, editors, redactors, interpolators, and glossing scribes did use a wide range of assumptive worldview components to be able to view the OT passages from differing angles during successive considerations within their employment of the hermeneutical method. This seems to me to be an example of a broad based world view contradiction. I'm likely way wrong or special in the olympic sense on this, but thats why I'm bouncing it off of you.