Metacrock's Liberal Atonement Theory

Over at Metacrock's Blog Joe takes evangelical atonement theories to task and then offers his own, called Participatory Atonement. According to him "Christ died in Solidarity with victims." I both "love" and "hate" liberal theologies. I love them because they argue with me against evangelical Christianity. I hate them because they are used to maintain a faith that doesn't make a difference and cannot be rationally defended as being specifically Christian. Here's my response to his atonement theory....

Your answer is cherry-picking and choosing from the Bible, it doesn't sufficiently answer the question why Jesus suffered, nor does it answer the problem of evil, nor does it answer the problems of the incarnation and the trinity.

The best way for God to show his solidarity with victims is to do for them what he commands YOU to do, and that is to help them out of their misery rather than to suffer with them. If I chose to go to jail with you in order to participate in your sufferings, for instance, then how does that help you? It might make you feel better about your sufferings, but it should instead make you question my sanity. Can you actually imagine my helping any victims in tangible ways by suffering with them, especially if, like God, I had the power to allieviate their suffering and didn't?

If like Process Theologians your God doesn't have that kind of power, then neither does he have the power to help victims by suffering with them. Why should victims care for God if all he can do is to suffer with them? He's impotent. Besides, he got us into this mess in the first place by selfishly creating us for his own pleasure with our evil tendencies. What good does it show you that God loves you if he cannot do anything for you except to suffer with you? Big deal, I would say. Do something about our suffering and then I'll be impressed, and then I'll care, and then I'll think God knows what he's doing.

It's obvious to me Joe, that you're working from within a given Christian tradition that if you weren't already inside of it, you wouldn't come to accept it in the first place. This is so obvious to me. You initially became a Christian because you thought otherwise of the atonement, but with further study you rejected that initial evangelical atonement view, for good reasons. But rather than rejecting your faith, you try desperately to hang on to it by replacing it with something you never would've accepted in the first place.

34 comments:

Ryan Green said...

Really nice blog you have here! I was just skimming the atheist blogroll and found this one. I also of course wanted to shamelessly plug my own blog.

http://crazychristianblog.blogspot.com/

- Ryan Green

goprairie said...

you see this all the time, people clinging to strange 'reasons' like this that they would never let YOU get away with if the tables were turned. What ARE the motivations? why do intelligent people cling to illogical and irrational religions when they possess the ability to see it clearly if they were willing? What is it that is so attractive to these religions? fear of death? promise of eternal life? comraderie of other beleivers? tradition? need to continue to be 'right'? what is it?

zilch said...

goprairie asks:

What is it that is so attractive to these religions? fear of death? promise of eternal life? comraderie of other beleivers? tradition? need to continue to be 'right'?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.

goprairie said...

well, how about a little more details and examples and how did people 'get over' those things? as a person who just never beleived, which causes 'them' to look at me with such pity, i do not understand the attraction and the unwillingness to give it up when it is seemingly been proven over and over and over to be nonsense. seriously, I am curious. i have taken stands on things and been convinced to change my mind by logic and rational discussion and physical proof, yet this 'thing' seems to defy all that.

zilch said...

goprairie- I'm the wrong person to ask, because I've never believed either. But I suspect all of your guesses are part of the reason people are attracted to religion. That, and the fact that it has worked for millenia to build societies, so people see its utility, even if it's not true.

goprairie said...

what would a perfect god do? save us from our mistakes? let us suffer by letting us make mistakes? there is no perfect answer because the nature of natural life is full of contradictions and competing needs and desires. religion and ideas about god are full of contradiction because people invented religion and god. god is an imperfect manifestation of the contradictory nature of human needs and human desires. god: created by us in our image. some still cling desparately to that creation - a creation by people to help people understand things we had no answers for yet,- and some have been able to give up that invention for the more recent one: science.

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

Depending on one's level of indoctrination, turning away from the religious mythos can be likened to espousing the initial concept of a spherical Earth. Every scrap of "evidence" available to humans at the time said the Earth was most decidedly flat, yet a new version of reality is introduced which claims otherwise.

There was never any true evidence of a flat Earth, but the anecdotal evidence was clear: The Earth is flat.

It's worse, though, for aside from being branded a heretic, describing the Earth as a sphere brought no other real punishment - certainly nothing as severe as disavowing Christianity.

Condemning oneself to an eternity in Hell is hardly a trivial undertaking...

For myself, I was raised in a Christian home, and as such was a staunch promoter of all things Christian up until High School, after which I had various encounters with the real world, including alcohol, marijuana, and sex.

Lucky for me, I am a genius, and I was able to quickly determine that what I had been taught was a lie. Even when closed, my mind was unimpaired. I decided that I would refuse to believe in anything half-heartedly - which is precisely what "faith" is, no matter how well sugar-coated:

No evidence, no adherent.

I recognized that what I had been taught was in practice no different that what any other child in any child-indoctrination scheme anywhere on the planet had been taught: Our way is true, all other ways are false. Our way will find reward, all other ways will find only punishment.

I saw that had I been raised in any of these plethora of alternative indoctrination schemes, I'd have been exactly as convinced of my dogma's righteousness, and the deserved damnation of all others'.

Such nonsense does not deserve my support, nor that of any other.

I was able to ignore a potential fate in Hell because I recognized that the odds of my indoctrination being correct were not good enough to place a bet of any kind, much less one consisting of my immortal soul.

Since then I have come to realize that no evidence could possibly convince me to unabashedly "worship" anything. I can reasonably conceive of a technology so advanced that it would seem magical, and I recognize that no matter how much "evidence" such a mystical being could contrive, I could imagine a yet-more-powerful being.

There are still today times when I wonder whether a religion can be correct (and if I've really relegated myself to an eternity in Hell), but I fend off such thoughts by reminding myself that if God is that much of an asshole, then I'd rather burn.

--
Stan

goprairie said...

I like your attitude. you remind me of an officemate i had once named stan. you aren't a smurf fan are you?

J.L. Hinman said...

John I will have to answer your article in a more complete way on the blog in a couple of days.

Just a couple of comments. I find it highly dishonest to use liberal theology do argue against fundies then act like it can't mean anything because only fundie theology is really Christian. this is nothing more than trying to have your cake aand eat it too.

It is also beneath your intelligence to speak of textual criticism and theology proper as "Cherry picking" did you not learn anything at Trinity? why does all of people knowledge go out of their heads when they become atheist?

J.L. Hinman said...

goprairie said...

you see this all the time, people clinging to strange 'reasons' like this that they would never let YOU get away with if the tables were turned. What ARE the motivations? why do intelligent people cling to illogical and irrational religions when they possess the ability to see it clearly if they were willing? What is it that is so attractive to these religions? fear of death? promise of eternal life? comraderie of other beleivers? tradition? need to continue to be 'right'? what is it?


Its' really stupid to say things like this. what do you think you are proving? you really you are saying something when you prattle on about your groundless assumptions? all you have told me is "I am bigot and I don't know anything about the 2000 year old tradition that forms the basis of western thought."

It's really simple, really really simple. intelligent people defend it because it's smart to1 Its' intelligent! you don't see that because you are not well educated. get it? you are not.

J.L. Hinman said...

really guys. you can't get it if you don't read and you don't have the background in history of ideas to understand the major thinkers of the West. Of course you say it's sutpid and can't be proven and all this because you don't know anything. you haven't read the major thinkers, you don't read theology, and you know about it is this dumb country Hick thing. did you know that Howard C. Estep is not really a major bible scholar? the professors at Perkins wouldn't cross the street to piss on him.

If you really knew anything about theology you woudn't drone on about how dumb it is and how easy it is to beat up and stuff, you would know better, yea you would.

no way you can Tillich was dumb. no way you can Bultmann was dumb. you don't know anything about them, do you? no you know you don't.

Kierkegaard, Descartes. Newton Lock Hegel Kant. all Christians! yea, they were. isn't tit a puzzle how that stupid ass religion is just full smart people? only one answer; cause it's not stupid. you just don't know enough about it. yea.

Richard M said...

goprarie -
Well, I suspect this will get lost in the fury that I imagine will erupt over Hinmans rant, but I will toss in my 2 cents on your question.

The reason intelligent people beleive it is that, despite appearances to the contrary, religion is not, and never really was, about propositional truth about the world. Yes, it does make a large number of metaphysical and historical claims. But I think we have to look at the *meaning* of those claims. Why those claims, and not others? If we are inventing religion we could invent anything we like. Why this?

All I propose here is that it isnt random. It answers to human emotional needs and that is a powerful, powerful motivation. Our needs to feel secure, to feel special, to feel cared for, all drive religious belief.

Note that the emotional reasons for belief are an entirely separate question from the truth or falsity of the beliefs themselves. But constructing an intellectually coherent belief system is not as hard as it sounds. Think of someone like WIlliam Lane Craig. Obviously hes a very, very intelligent man. Very educated. Her could, Im sure, run rings around me in debate. And what he says is not incoherent gibberish -- he doesnt say "Green ideas sleep furiously". Nor is it patently illogical; he also doesnt say "day is night." So any naturalistic understanding of religion must, in my view, explain not only how intelligent people can believe it but how they can construct arguments using logic about it. Shouldnt it just be impossible?

No, it isnt. The logic can be made to fit. One of the things that becomes clear when you look at the philosophy of science, especially from the latter half of the 20th century, is that theory-construction has a lot more lattitude in it that we might otherwise suppose. Theres a old hangover from the logical positivists that theories can be rationally built only one way -- i.e., that evidence and evidence alone determines what theory is correct.

But the Christian looks all around him and sees "evidence" of Gods creation. He sees naturalism struggling to explain abiogenesis. Well, doesnt the God hypothesis explain it? Yes, in a manner of speaking, it does. The question is rather, how well does it explain it.

He sees nonbelievers argue against him, and his theory predicts just that -- because of human pride.

So, people who believe are responding to universal human emotional needs. What remains to be answered, in my view, is why some, and not others, find ways to make their inherited beliefs "fit" with the world, while others reject them entirely.

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

Richard M: What remains to be answered, in my view, is why some, and not others, find ways to make their inherited beliefs "fit" with the world, while others reject them entirely.

I would add that equally fascinating is the decision-making process which seems to arbitrarily (or environmentally - nature vs. nurture, as it were) select one particular religion over any other.

The fact that Big-R Religion exists is surely attributable to human emotional needs, especially to the uneducated and ignorant (as with primitive peoples). This makes sense. But why do we have many thousands of different religions? Why do "intelligent" people select any one over any other?

As an example of the nonsense, take the Jehovah's Witnesses. The standard JW dogma insists that various Biblical scriptures have been misinterpreted, incorrectly translated, etc., and that the JW founders were enlightened in 1881 with the actual truth(s).

Nevermind the fact that the original documents have not been available since c. 500 CE, at the latest.

Yet, somehow JWs are able to so delude themselves as to believe that although parts of the Bible were incorrect as accepted, their version of events is accurate, and all of the errors have been addressed and corrected.

I digress.

Certainly, it is interesting to wonder why people - intelligent or not - choose to embrace or to forsake religion, but I maintain that it is more fascinating to ponder why they pick [insert chosen religion here]. The mutually exclusive nature of most religions seems to stack the odds of a correct selection pretty heavily against, and it is one's eternal soul that is at stake, so what makes one religion stand out against the rest? Are there not other religions with similarly storied backgrounds, and with equally rich history?

Ahhhh... Not so much - aside from the Big Three, most alternative religions were stifled by the same three, and we have little record, and what remains is tainted with a deep-rooted social stigma because of the success of the three.

Once again - if you're going to pick religion in general, I can appreciate the motives, but I cannot comprehend the ranking process which singles out any one in particular.

--
Stan

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

J.L. Hinman: Kierkegaard, Descartes. Newton Lock Hegel Kant. all Christians! yea, they were. isn't tit a puzzle how that stupid ass religion is just full smart people? only one answer; cause it's not stupid. you just don't know enough about it. yea.

I have tried to read this guy's posts, decipher them, translate them into English, and then re-read them, but I'm having considerable difficulty...

At any rate, what I could glean seems to be a suggestion that, and forgive me for paraphrasing, virtually every major advance in philosophy, science, etc. came from a professing Christian.

I will admit that there is truth to this, but it is a flimsy truth - the dominance of Christianity (in various guiles) ensured that any successful "thinker" would have to be a professing Christian, else be branded a heretic (read: many were anyway - Copernicus, Galileo, et al).

It is no secret that Christianity holds no monopoly on the ability to churn out great minds (indeed, I propose the opposite...), and the fact that the vast majority of the currently notable names profess to have been Christians holds no weight - it is the result of the dictatorial nature of Catholicism (and, later, Protestantism), and the paranoid supression of opposing viewpoints.

Do you deny that the ancient Greek philosophers of old were pagans, heathens, and agnostics? Do you not recognize that the intentional destruction of opposing viewpoints by your religion's predecessors is responsible for the lack of records on the mulititude of philosophers of ages past?

Well, then consider yourself so informed.

Anyway, your "argument" was incoherent at best, and it doesn't truly warrant an answer, but I have seen this particular argument (that is, the claim that Christianity is to be thanked for producing Newton, et al) all too often, and since I have started contributing to these blogs rather than merely reading them, I thought I'd put that to rest...

To GoPrairie: Sorry, Stan is a pseudonym, which would actually be Satan if it weren't for the a-hole... It's the Son of Man in me.

--
Stan

zilch said...

jl says:

Kierkegaard, Descartes. Newton Lock Hegel Kant. all Christians! yea, they were. isn't tit a puzzle how that stupid ass religion is just full smart people? only one answer; cause it's not stupid.

Religion isn't stupid, but it happens to be wrong. And smart people can certainly believe wrong things. I somehow doubt you would defend alchemy on the grounds that Newton, a smart person, believed in it.

And I must also wonder how many of the great Christian thinkers of the past, especially the scientists, would have still been Christians had they, say, been brought up in Muslim, Buddhist, or atheist societies. It's not like they were given much of a choice, growing up in cultures that were nearly 100% Christian.

Nowadays, at least in the West, it's possible to go window-shopping for the worldview you like best, if you can think beyond what your parents taught you. But for most of our history, and even today in many cultures, there's no choice: you "choose" the religion you end up with by geographical accident.

This was one of the reasons I never believed: it seemed obvious that not all religions could be true, and the particular religion that people came to believe was almost entirely based on where they grew up. Of course, this doesn't prove that one religion isn't the right one, but it demonstrates that culture can readily make one believe stuff that isn't true.

zilch said...

Oops- posts crossing in cyberspace: Stan said pretty much what I did.

goprairie said...

"And I must also wonder how many of the great Christian thinkers of the past, especially the scientists, would have still been Christians had they, say, been brought up in Muslim, Buddhist, or atheist societies."
And I must wonder how many of the 'great Christian thinkers of the past' would have been Christians if the had access to the full realm of science we have today.

As for 'Metacrock' who also goes by j.l.hinman, I find it rare that truly intelligent people have to resort to insult and accusation in their arguments, and I would ONCE AGAIN encourage him to stick to debate points and cut with the 'you aren't well enough educated' or 'you aren't intelligent enough to get it'. And if you really think your opponant is so stupid, a short succinct answer might be better than a long rambling one. The ability to summarize is one mark of intelligent writing.

John W. Loftus said...

As for 'Metacrock' who also goes by j.l.hinman, I find it rare that truly intelligent people have to resort to insult and accusation in their arguments, and I would ONCE AGAIN encourage him to stick to debate points and cut with the 'you aren't well enough educated' or 'you aren't intelligent enough to get it'.

Ditto. I'm tiring of his method of argumentation quickly. It's like he think anyone who understands these issues would agree with him, and that IS stupid!

goprairie said...

So attempting to get back to the point, which I beleive has something to do with why people cling to religion:

richard m says: "It answers to human emotional needs and that is a powerful, powerful motivation. Our needs to feel secure, to feel special, to feel cared for, all drive religious belief."

Yeah, but I get all that from my friends and family and from the things I have accomplished personally and with others and from my volunteer work and my various jobs and from raising children. Why would I need a fictitious God that also shames me with a label of 'sinner' from the getgo and threatens me with eternal damnation if I do not comply and claims to answer prayer but never really does?
Another reason some of those friends have put forth in actual verbal conversations of late is seeing God in the beauty of nature. Yet, I am just as awed when I see beautiful nature and ponder the geological time it took for it to evolve and the many processes and steps it took for it to get to that point and I find the details of how a bee and a flower fit each other to make far more sense in terms of co-evolution than of someone intentionally designing it that way.
My life is pretty wonderful in the total absense of religion, and I DO find it counter-logical and so I continue to ask: What is the attraction? Why is it so hard to give it up for what I see as smarter explanations for everything it seeks to explain and for better sources of fulfillment of all the needs it seeks to fulfil?

J.L. Hinman said...

J.L. Hinman: Kierkegaard, Descartes. Newton Lock Hegel Kant. all Christians! yea, they were. isn't tit a puzzle how that stupid ass religion is just full smart people? only one answer; cause it's not stupid. you just don't know enough about it. yea.

I have tried to read this guy's posts, decipher them, translate them into English, and then re-read them, but I'm having considerable difficulty...

translation: IF I can't understand something I get angry and try to hit it. If anyone goes to school and learns things I don't know about then I get really angry and try to hurt them because I'm special.

At any rate, what I could glean seems to be a suggestion that, and forgive me for paraphrasing, virtually every major advance in philosophy, science, etc. came from a professing Christian.


most of them, certainly not from atheists. atheists have been represented in the world of thought about as they are in the general public. 2%.

I will admit that there is truth to this, but it is a flimsy truth - the dominance of Christianity (in various guiles) ensured that any successful "thinker" would have to be a professing Christian, else be branded a heretic (read: many were anyway - Copernicus, Galileo, et al).

total bull shit. figures like Descartres used to taken for granted as anti-religious philosophes, in the 60s a lot of new research proved that he was a totally sincere and devout Christian. The same is true of Locke, Berkeley, Gassendi, Newton, Boyle, Libnitez, Pascal, and many others.

It is no secret that Christianity holds no monopoly on the ability to churn out great minds (indeed, I propose the opposite...),

but you can't back it up with the facts. you have to deny the Christianity of most thinkers in order to pull that off.



and the fact that the vast majority of the currently notable names profess to have been Christians holds no weight - it is the result of the dictatorial nature of Catholicism (and, later, Protestantism), and the paranoid supression of opposing viewpoints.


Nope! that is considered a by gone view in history of ideas. the new generation of historians of ideas and science know that the major thinkers who created modern science were sincere Christians. No one takes seriously the "they were forced to say it" view. that is a hold over form the enlightenment which was propaganda. The enlightenment was political motivation against the catholic church. It was politics. and that carried over into other areas for many years. but part of the post modern view is to get over all that.

Modern historians do not think this way. Go get Marguerite Jacob's book The Newtonians and you will see her say this. She's a lesbian and an atheist and she will say "without the religious thinkers spreading Newton's view he would have been forgotten and overlooked for at least fifty years longer than he was."


Do you deny that the ancient Greek philosophers of old were pagans, heathens, and agnostics?

that is not a counter argument. I never said Christians were the only thinkers. I never said they were the only influence. But Christians caused the Greeks to survive. If the church had not made Aristotle a previent saint and used his philosophy to understand the Trinity he would have been forgotten. why do you think they tried to preserve Greek Ms in monestaries?


Do you not recognize that the intentional destruction of opposing viewpoints by your religion's predecessors is responsible for the lack of records on the multitude of philosophers of ages past?

that is totally irrelevant. that's just Bull shit guilt by associaotion. I have my little all purpose talisman that can always defeat Christianity because they did something bad once. But that doesn't all Christians are like that it doesn't mean any issue is automatically resolved in favor of atheism because a few Christians did something bad once. same logic as if I said all atheists are guilty of ;Stalin's crimes. Stalin killed people so atheists are mass murderers.

we are not talking about the over place in history, we are talking about the contribution of Christianity to the world of thought, and for that matter we are supposed to be talking about exegetical methods. absolutely nothing to do with the crusades or any other bs you imagine Christianity did.


Well, then consider yourself so informed.

consider yourself illogical and fallacious

Anyway, your "argument" was incoherent at best,

you can't understand it. it's way over your head. you would have to go to seminary for three years to appreciate it.

and it doesn't truly warrant an answer,


so why did you give one?

just like a message board. this place is no different than the secualr web. just a place to vent your hatred adn piss non everyone who disagrees with you because you didn't go to gradute school.

it's not my fault you didn't got to graduate school.

goprairie said...

j.l.hinman, aka metacrock, no one was venting anger or pissing until you got here. we were having an interesting and informative discussion, exercising respect and calm and asking each other questions.

J.L. Hinman said...

As for 'Metacrock' who also goes by j.l.hinman, I find it rare that truly intelligent people have to resort to insult and accusation in their arguments, and I would ONCE AGAIN encourage him to stick to debate points and cut with the 'you aren't well enough educated' or 'you aren't intelligent enough to get it'.


that's just game playing. because look what you are doing? I went to a major school where they make experts, a school which is world famous, with major scholars in the field and studies there three years and spent thousands of dollars and got an advanced degree. When I try to dispense the knoweldge I leanred people who can't undestand it say things like "you are just cherry picking" "that's all this fancy leanring an goo goo greek razamataze aounts to just cherry picking. You don't need no degree you dont' need to Greek leanring, just know there's no god, bible is stupid, and I'm brillienat because I'm not a christians. O I'm so glad I'm so much better those pathetic little christians, aren't they stupid."

you are not applying knowledge you know to use. You are spouting bromides and standardized slogans from people who do not have the understanding you have.


Ditto. I'm tiring of his method of argumentation quickly. It's like he think anyone who understands these issues would agree with him, and that IS stupid!


what I can't get is why on earth you would think that short handed dismissels should be taken as serious arugments? I whtoe this whole piece and you just all try to dismiss it in one or two little easy meaningless phrases like "cherry picking" without any analaysis, no look at other verses, no look at other views. no quotes, no docs no other views. Just one or two little short hands, and then you say "it's like anyone who doesn't understand him is stupi.d"

No it's like people just dogmatically dismiss brilliant traditions that are 2000 years old with little one liners instead doing the complex analysis they need to do are behaving stupidly. I am not saying anyone is stupid, they could probably do if they tried to learn something. It's a lot easier to just dismiss out of hand isn't it?


you hvae not come anywhere near giving it the actual analysis it deserves. you are just swatting it down without thinking on the prmeise that "well there can't be anything intelligent about Christianity so it must be stupid. so any attept to defend it is just "cherry pick'n" uncle Jed.

weee dogies Uncle Jed. Let's have granny whip us up a mess hog jowls.then do some cherry pick'n.

John W. Loftus said...

Joe said...it's not my fault you didn't got to graduate school.

I did, and I still don't see any good reasons to affirm what you do.

Please tone down the rhetoric if you want to post comments here...last warning.

J.L. Hinman said...

that's another thing to, I presented some evidence of modern theolgoians who teach this view and also ancient one's then John says "Metacrock's liberal atonement view."

this is trick that atheists always do. If anything is different from the standard fundie bs that they love to attack, then its' jut the creation of some crack pot like me instead of a 2000 year old tradition. always trying to tear out the intellectual tradition fo the church and throw it away before anyone sees it or knows it's there.

John W. Loftus said...

Joe, have you yet read Hector Avalos' book, The End of Biblical Studies. Avalos is Harvard trained and claims that Biblical studies are irrelevant to today's world. He has a whole chapter (6) dealing with the different theologies that come from the Biblical text, and argues that biblical theology "often is selective and arbitrary in judging what counts as 'central' or 'significant' features of biblical thought; and violates many of its own stated goals and assumptions." (p. 249)

So before you go around saying that I cannot back up the comment I made about you cherry-picking from the Bible, you'd better read what I have read. I can easily demonstrate that you do in fact cherry-pick from the Bible. Just because others, following Harris, use that phrase, doesn't mean I cannot back it up. I can. You do exactly what I say you do. Get off your high horse.

zilch said...

hmmm... more to be pitied than censured, I think...

John W. Loftus said...

Joe, and while you're reading Avalos' book, have you also read several of these books? What best explains why there are so many sincerely held disagreements between Christians who study the Bible? My explanation is that history is a poor medium for God to communicate anything of value. [Note the lack of one on the atonement!]

I also find it strange that you even use the Bible at all, given your dialectical theology. Existentially, you could just as well choose the Koran, or merely go to hear God's voice in a Russian flute concerto, as Barth said.

So I see no good reason why you would even be arguing over the propositional content to your mystical revelation either.

I'm not dismissing your views. I just don't think you can argue for them. And I'm beginning to think it's fruitless to argue with you. I've got another agenda on my plate...evangelical theology. That you don't understand or agree with. I've been where you are (as a liberal) and like Robert M. Price, Hector Avalos, Bart Ehrman, William Dever, Michael Shermer, and others, I could not maintain what you seek to maintain any better than evangelical verisons of the faith.

Get my book. It does not just argue against evangelical versions of christianity.

Brother Crow said...

I wish I had made this comment earlier...a friend bails you out of jail, a great friend ends up in jail with you and says "dude, that was fun!"

Brother Crow said...

And one more thing...Joe Hinman, I am calling BS on you! You make this statement: "the new generation of historians of ideas and science know that the major thinkers who created modern science were sincere Christians. No one takes seriously the "they were forced to say it" view. that is a hold over form the enlightenment which was propaganda." And I say BS. You are carrying and selling a METACROCK (good name). Back up your claim, because your claims are not being made in reputable graduate programs, think tanks, and other institutions of legitimate learning. You just don't like what is being said, and you are calling on the name of the "new" - who are probably stuck in your tradition and are revisionist. Just back it up. Have the same courage as John Loftus and cite your "new" boys in the hood. You can't because they are not there...you are a coward, just yelling to scare people.

akakiwibear said...

This thread seems to have gone away from the original post, as is the way of such discussions. So let me address myself to you JWL and your post. I will not respond point by point as I suspect Joe will do so on his blog. Rather I will look at the post in context.

I found it a most illuminating post, it shone a clear light on the basis of your atheism and showed it to be very brittle.

Liberal theists clearly present a problem to you, you object to what you see as moving the target. If you fully embraced atheism you would be just as comfortable crossing swords with liberals as with fundies.

It seems as if your atheism is centred on a rejection of much of fundamentalist evangelical Christianity, a rejection shared by liberal theists. But whereas liberal theists like Joe have moved on and sought the truth you seem to have remained trapped in or by Christian fundamentalism.

You seem put out at Joe’s ability to grow intellectually and spiritually with his liberal theology – a dynamic evolving theology - while your atheism appears dead, trapped in a theology long discredited.

Your blog is targeted at the fundies, but you readily draw all Christians into your criticisms of the fundies. You seem to want to demolish all of theism but your intellect reminds you that you are thinking only fundamentalist Christianity. When challenged on your blog to expand your criticism to include liberals you seem to retreat behind the ”fundies only” label.

Your invitation to debate around your book is likewise a hedged bet with strangely limited scope. You seem unwilling to really engage with theism on a broader scale.

I can’t recall who said something like “It is hard to remove from the mind with logic that which logic did not put there”. But it carries a strong element of truth. Did you really convert to atheism based on logic or were there strong emotive factors. Certainly you debate on this blog suggests that there are ideas you cling to in the face of logic, suggesting they were not put there by logic alone.

We both know there is no proof absolute in the a/theist debate, to step either side “can’t know”, to take a position is an act of faith. Many atheists argue that they cannot convert to theism without ‘huge proof’ that God exists – they refer of course to Carl Sagan’s Dragon. Did you have huge and incontrovertible proof when you chose to stop believing God existed?

Reading your posting – and forgive me if I am being too personal – I see your atheism as secured to a foundation of shaky anti-fundamentalist arguments.

In this post you quickly fall back on the old chestnuts of “it doesn't sufficiently answer the question why Jesus suffered, nor does it answer the problem of evil, nor does it answer the problems of the incarnation and the trinity” . Well of course not, Joe’s post did not address all these topics, it was not intended to, but he certainly presented a view as to why Jesus suffered.

What really interests me is the pillars to which you look for support. All of the arguments/problems you raise have been well dealt with by many authors and if you are objective you would at least acknowledge that they are at best not really convincing I don't expect you to extend that to 'and at worst intellectually flawed'.

Your post's refuting of Joe’s interesting proposition is based almost entirely on the unrelated Argument of Evil and its extensions – as an argument it struggles to stand. But in resorting to it again (and out of context) are you perhaps hinting at the source of the emotive component of your conversion to atheism?

Joe’s theism appears to have grown with Joe, can the same be said for your atheism? Can it even survive in the face of liberal theology?

John W. Loftus said...

akakiwibear, if you travel over to Joe's blog you'll see how frustrated he is over people who are taking pot shots at him who should probably instead seek to learn from him. You are doing the same thing to me, but let me respond reasonably.

Ak: Liberal theists clearly present a problem to you, you object to what you see as moving the target.

No. No. No. My focus is on fundamentalism because the majority of Christians believe the "literal" passages in the Bible, and because they have a zeal for pressing their views upon me through economic and political power. Liberals are not that much of a threat. I can agree with them on many issues, so why bother with them?

My goal is to dislodge the evamgelical Christian off of center. That's the hard part. That's the challenging part. I like a big challenge. Once they are knocked off center they will be less cocksure and less of a threat to my personal liberties.

Ak: When challenged on your blog to expand your criticism to include liberals you seem to retreat behind the ”fundies only” label.

I can argue against liberal theological views! I was once a liberal Christian on my way to atheism. Is that too hard for people to understand? And I was the one who posted this taking Joe on in the first place, remember?

Cheers.

J.L. Hinman said...

my answer to loftus

http://metacrock.blogspot.com/

J.L. Hinman said...

And I say BS. You are carrying and selling a METACROCK (good name). Back up your claim, because your claims are not being made in reputable graduate programs, think tanks, and other institutions of legitimate learning. You just don't like what is being said, and you are calling on the name of the "new" - who are probably stuck in your tradition and are revisionist. Just back it up.


you clearly are an igorant and know nothing about the field.If you did you wuld know that Westfall and Jacob are among the biggest names in 18th century history of science. you don't know anything. you are not histoiran. you dont' know shit about history. you are not an academic.


John, remember we talked about this in private email. I told you the cadre guys were saying you didn't to to Trintiy and you didn't study with Craig. I told them in no uncertian terms taht we will not treat you that way. I can see forom the things you say and they way you say them that you clearly have been a graduate student and I have no reason to dobut that you did study with Craig. So I expet yout to treat me at lest as good as I treat you. I stuck up for you and siad " no wont question his education that's not fair."

I expect yout o say that to your guys. I know you aren't the boxx over there exactly, but you are amember and you could persuade them to shut up.

that is basically argument ad hom because it's not about issues about personalties.

to the little ignorant one who doesn't know anything about modern history of ideas, look for the books:

Margaret Jacob The Newtonians, and Numbers and Law, God and Nature. They will talk about the changes that have gone on starting in the 4os with Butterfield and Burtt and Wiley. Robert Westfall and Margaret Jacob are two of the major ones int he field today. The Numbers and Law Book will talk about the changes.

this is called "dcoumentation."

John W. Loftus said...

Joe, people will treat you the way you treat them. If you want a civil dialogue then be civil yourself. As it stands I don't think I'll carry on much of a dialogue with you. It doesn't seem worth my time, but we'll see.