The Christian Faith Makes a Person Stupid (Part of a Series)

While I try to be respectful and polite with believers who disagree with me, there are just some things I do not tolerate at all: stupid attempts to justify Biblical ethics. I may make this part of an ongoing series titled: "Fundamentalists Say the Stupidest Things" [FSST]. But Alan is at it again...

Although I already trashed him in a previous post he seems undeterred. He cannot even fathom what God could've said differently about rapists, even to the point of thinking that his "Put up or shut up" demand is a debate stopper when asking me to suggest something else. Is that not utterly ignorant?

You can read what he wrote for yourselves in context, but in light of a different post I wrote about the Ten Commandments my answer to him is this:
"Thou shalt not treat women as inferior persons, nor shall you rape them or force them to marry a man they do not want to marry."
There, that was easy. Given that your God is barbaric I am better than God, and you can quote me on that!

Sheesh. Faith seems to go hand in hand with not being able to think. If this is the ignorant kind of reasoning that makes believers then there is no way in hell they can have any assurance they are right. Alan doesn't even know that he's ignorant!

57 comments:

Bluemongoose said...

I could flip that around and say atheism makes people stupid. And I could give you examples: Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Castro, Chavez, Guevara.

John W. Loftus said...

Yes, sometimes. Atheists do not have a corner on rationality, but faith blinds many more people in my opinion.

On Hitler See these two posts, and be sure to check out these links.

Chuck O'Connor said...

And Bluemongoose you would be proving your stupidity by citing those people. Stalin was raised Catholic, Hitler too (he even claimed Christ as his savior in his speeches in the 20's and emblazoned "God With Us" on the SS uniforms), Mao embraced the state religion of communism as did Castro, Chavez and Che. Now, please prove that every atheist is in turn automatically in agreement with the presuppositional beliefs of Stalinism, Nazism, Maoism and Communism and I will concede your point.

Until then you just prove your own inability to think objectively and project your slavish devotion to a pre-suppositional world-view on all shools of thought.

Atheism is NOT a world view.

Christianity is.

Atheism does not demand pre-suppositional belief in anything.

Christianity does.

So does Stalinism, Nazism, Maoism, and Communism.

Your faith makes you exceedingly stupid. And arrogant too.

I've been reading your blather and it makes me more convinced that Christian Faith is really just a symptom of self-centered fear combined with a desire for power.

Grow up and learn history and the rudiments of ideological discourse.

goprairie said...

In that adherance to Christianity, any form of it, requires one to constantly make excuses for why things do not make sense, it creates a mind that tolerates illogic and contradiction. Such constant self-apologetics requires one to accept illogic. Since I never believed very strongly, and I found myself doing that excuse making for the bible, I wonder how much energy it must take the brain of a more fundamentalist Christian to do that. For example, we teach little Christian kids the Adam and Eve story and the Noah story. Then we 'unteach' it by telling them they are just stories meant to show us that god made everything and that he once destroyed . . . oh i can't even REMEMBER what we told the kids about noah to justify it . . . other than it was not LITERALLY true . . . but don't clouds of those stories linger in our heads? can you really totally 'unteach' that part about god punishing all women for eve's giving the apple to adam? Every time I heard or read a Bible passage that seemed . . . well, odd . . . and asked about it, there was a 'well, it doesn't mean what it SOUNDS like it means' apology and then a 'here's what god was really telling us there' interpretation. except, who's to say that interpretation is right? but are christians encouraged to question the interpretations and ask where they came from and why and why there are so many different interpretations and why god does not speak more . . . directly?
it just seems to me like all that leads to sloppy thinking skills, expecially the ultimate in sloppy thinking called 'faith', and that just can't be good for society, can it?

Bluemongoose said...

Again, John, we come back around to blind faith in atheism can have the same effect and the issue with you declaring yourself a moral standard by saying, "in my opinion". By the way, what of this paraphrase, atheism had done more damage in the the 20th century than all prior 19 centuries combined (nod to the Hitler and Stalin genocides, etc.).

Bluemongoose said...

Howdy, Chuck!

Geeze, I thought you atheists were somehow released from those pressuring shackles when you emancipated yourself from religion. You seem very bitter. Perhaps you're not paying your therapist enough.

What does Stalin and Hitler's religious backgrounds have to do with this subject? When they committed their atrocities, they were doing them in the name of atheism. Recall the succor for suckers mantra. Hitler brutally persecuted and killed Christians as well as Jews. Methinks you may have some wires crossed.

You called communism a religion. Are you inferring it is akin to, oh, I don't know, Christianity?

I love your statement that begins, "Now, please prove that.." Why? Because you are offended that someone would use specific followers of atheism as a way to denounce the dogma itself. The problem here is that atheists frequently use things like the Crusades or witch hunts, etc. as a way to discredit Christianity. Hmm...could there be a double standard at work here?

Slavish devotion? Why, I am appalled, Chuck. I expected so much more from you! Don't you want to be a shining example of atheism? Certainly you wouldn't want to be considered to be one of those zealots who give atheism a bad name. After all, I thought atheists were more in control of themselves than that...

Atheims is not a worldview. Why, because you say so? Tsk, tsk, Chuck. I thought you could do better than that.

"Atheism does not demand a pre-suppositional belief in anything." Really? I thought that would have been apparent in the name you have so quickly toe tagged to yourself. "A" on the front of a word means without, and "theism" means belief in a god/God. It's inherent in the very title. You must definitively believe there is no god/God to wear the moniker. Otherwise, you are an agnostic.

Arrogant? Resorting to name calling again? Goodness, you give a lot of credit to the whole, "angry atheist" slogan.

Bluemongoose said...

Goprairie:

I would love to help you unravel some of those mysteries. However, you've mentioned a lot of them. Let's take them one at a time because after all, how do you eat an elephant...

Pick the one most pressing for you, and we'll dissect it. This, of course, is all conditional upon if you have the time and if you actually want answers instead of just a soap box.

Phil said...

Bluemongoose - That is the most ridiculous comment that I have heard for some time.

None of the "atheists" that you have mentioned actually did anything in the name of atheism. Just because they happened to be atheists does not make it their primary motivation. It's specious reasoning in it's purest form.

The Nazi genocides were, in fact, motivated by religion. Hitler was a devout Lutheran. I suggest you read up on Martin Luther's views on the Jews. Might be good for you to have a reasonable basis for your claims for once.

And what of your attack on Chavez? Seems like somebody has ought into the American Government's propaganda surrounding his "dictatorship".

Oh and when you paraphrase someone, it usually better serves your purpose if you mention who said it, even if the statement is woefully inaccruate.

Bluemongoose said...

Hello there, Phil!

So how do you know that none of the atheists I mentioned actually did anything in the name of atheism? Certainly Czeslaw Milosz would disagree w/you. Perhaps, "when you [reference something], it better serves your purpose if you mention who said it, even if the statement is woefully inaccurate". So I guess I should never hear you use the Crusades, witch hunts, abortion clinic bombings or honor killings against any religion, right? After all, I too could just throw out the general statement that none of the aforementioned atrocities were really religiously motivated. Hey, it worked for France during the 2005 Muslim riots, right?

So Hitler was a Lutheran, huh? Boy, you atheists better get your stories straight. Why, just today on this very blog another atheist tried to tell me he was Catholic. Go hunt it down!

Chuck O'Connor said...

Blue,

Cute Ann Coulter impersonation but unfortunate for you, I consider her as much of an idiot as you.

Case in point, Hitler's atheism. Here is a quote from Mein Kempf (you do know Adolf authored this work and it is widely agreed it contains the foundation for his final solution), " "... I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews. I am doing the Lord's work."

To answer your question, yes I compare the -isms that limit individual liberty with Christianity. We can discuss that further.

Atheism is not a world-view. Your argument proves it. Atheists comprised both fascsist and communist movements. Fascism and Communism are ideologically opposed. If you pulled your nose out of the bible (or your husband's ass) and learned a little about the world you might know that. Atheism simply says there is no theistic god. Not much of a world-view. If your hypothesis were true then one would demand a man like Sagan would need to be a mass murderer.

Your pejorative swipes at my character by defining me as an angry atheist is not insulting to me. It's accurate. I'm angry that superstitious people like you feel justified in their superstitions and get a free pass on having their moral foundations questioned.

You are an idiot.

Lastly, I don't need to summon the crusades or witch burnings as evidence of hateful implications born from pre-suppositional righteousness, I need only summon Fred Phelps and Scott Roeder.

Now, keep believing that you are a good person. You obediently kneel to God. Chinese obediently knelt to Mao. Seems the same to me.

Phil said...

True, I can't be 100% certain that none of those "atheists" acted in the name of atheism but I sure as hell haven't seen any evidence to say that they did. In fact, in Hitler's specific case, I have seen a wealth of evidence to the contrary. My friend Chuck has already covered that to my satisfaction.

Also, I don't believe that I ever mentioned the crusades or any of the other things that you mentioned but even if I did, I fail to see how that supports your argument. It could never be argued that the crusades were anything but religious cleansing. Please refrain from putting words in my mouth and then arguing against them, though.

As for your final comment; "So Hitler was a Lutheran, huh? Boy, you atheists better get your stories straight. Why, just today on this very blog another atheist tried to tell me he was Catholic."
; again I am confused. What does a comment that I have never read, made by some random person I have never met have to do with my comment. We atheists aren't the Borg you know and it doesn't make my comment any less accurate.

FYI - Hitler was born into a Catholic family but was heavily influenced by Martin Luther. I was born into an Anglican family but I am now an atheist. In Mein Kampf Hitler clearly states his admiration for Martin Luther and considers him to be one of the church's greatest reformers (I guess you can consider that a declaration of his Lutheran beliefs). His hatred of the Jews clearly echoes Luther's own statements. For example:

"Therefore be on your guard against the Jews, knowing that wherever they have their synagogues, nothing is found but a den of devils in which sheer self glory, conceit, lies, blasphemy, and defaming of God and men are practiced most maliciously and veheming his eyes on them."

Enjoy!

Allie said...

As a researcher of history, I would advise against taking everything Hitler said for granted. There's quite a difference between Hitler trying to gain church support and Hitler actually being religious.

goprairie said...

bluemonkook - i am not here to seek answers from you. no doubt you can talk in senseless circles about your make-believe worlds which only proves the point.
are you a christian? then you might be a living proof of the title of this post.
atheists have seen through a whole system of myths and lies and faced the fact that there is not a god on which to base any of these religions. ateists are smart that way.
christianity may not MAKE people stupid, tho i assert the sloppy thinking required to sustain it DOES make people stupid. it may just be that stupid people ahdere to christianity.
and atheism may not make people smarter, tho i asset it does, because once freed of the sloppy thinking and blind obedience required of christianity, one is free to question and search and wonder and fully learn science and one is freeer to demand that things are consistent and logical. atheism may not make people smarter, it may be that smarter people are freer to ask the questions that lead to atheism.

Chuck O'Connor said...

Allie,

Wow, you Christians sure run with an interesting set. Blue is the press-secretary for god and you claim to know Hitler's hidden meaning behind his religious claims.

Anyway, thanks for letting us know that when religious people, like Hitler, make public religious pronouncements what they are really seeking to do is to align themselves with cultural superstition for the sake of undue power.

I kind of already concluded that but your example of Hitler and his Christianity throws illustrative light on the subject.

And since you are a 22 year old researcher of history I can trust you right?

Scott said...

Bluemongoose,

The fact that someone might not believe in a theistic God doesn't necessarily mean they want to see theisim discontinued.

For example, there are a some atheists who think religions such as Christianity should be tolerated for utilitarian reasons, despite thinking that it is patently false. In some cases, this is based on a fear that, should theists realize there is no eternal hell to restrain them, they might plunge the rest of the world into moral chaos. As such, they think it's best to leave them to with their current delusion.

While I do not subscribe to this view, it exists none the less. Of course, I'm guessing you'd strongly reject such a view as well, but for different reasons.

In addition, non-theistic Buddhists who believe in reincarnation are atheists, along with people who thought the sun and the moon had supernatural powers.

Again, I'd guess that, dispute your shared believe in supernatural realms, you reject their views as well.

Personally, I happen to have positive beliefs that are based around a philosophical form of Buddhism, which excludes the metaphysical aspects that appear to be remnants of Hinduism, such as reincarnation, etc.

For example, Karma doesn't need to be interpreted in the context of reincarnation or judgement by some transcendent intelligent being. A growing number of Buddhists do not believe in reincarnation. As such, Karma simply means cause and effect.

For example, one of my favorite quotes, which is thought to be said by the Buddha, "You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger." A more modern day version is, "You sleep in the bed you make." Suffering is often caused by our own internal reactions to and interpretations of external events.

Therefore, I find it hard to believe a perfectly sufficient, all knowing God would take offense to an individual who, based on what would be intentionally withheld information on his part, did not think he existed, since this offense would be the source of his own suffering and the suffering of others.

In other words, it seems that you expect far to little from your God, as he appears to know less that human beings who lived thousands of years ago.

In another thread, you wrote: What if I said that because God is such a loving God and He didn't want us to drive ourselves crazy with the whole frustrating karma school of thought, that He gave us a way to have our slates wiped clean?

We don't have invent some way to "wipe the slate clean" when we realize the slate simply doesn't exist except in our heads. Instead, we have actions which have consequences which we experience and interpret in specific ways.

Eric said...

Posts like this markedly lower the overall quality of this site. Could you even imagine anything approaching this being posted on, say, undeniably high quality theistic sites like Prosblogion, Dangerous Idea or Maverick Philosopher?

Chuck O'Connor said...

Eric,

If posts like these lower the quality of the site then why don't you take your passive-aggressive, morally superior tone to those sites. Oh yeah, your another self-centered Christian whose idea of honest discourse is defined by trying to shame those who make him feel uncomfortable.

Eric said...

"Oh yeah, your another self-centered Christian whose idea of honest discourse is defined by trying to shame those who make him feel uncomfortable."

Chuck, let me get this straight: you endorse a post titled, 'The Christian Faith Makes a Person Stupid' and *I'm* the one with a skewed conception of honest discourse who attempts to shame those who make him feel uncomfortable?

Are you *sure* you've thought that through?

That aside, I assure you that you do not make me feel 'uncomfortable.' As a student of philosophy at a secular university, I'm sorta in the wrong field, and at the wrong place, if my aim is to feel 'comfortable.' That aside, even if confronting well thought out arguments that oppose my philosophic views did make me uncomfortable, your posts certainly wouldn't do the job. How could they, when you write uninformed, ill-conceived drivel like the following:

"Hitler too (he even claimed Christ as his savior in his speeches in the 20's and emblazoned "God With Us" on the SS uniforms)"

Um, German soldiers wore the 'God is with us' belt buckle in WW1; it was part of the traditional uniform, and all Hitler did was add a swastika to it.

"Mao embraced the state religion of communism"

Right, the 'but-communism-was-a-religion' move. Anyone who thinks communism was a religion doesn't know the meaning of the terms 'communism' and 'religion,' and most certainly knows nothing about the intellectual history of communism.

The Marxism that underlay communism was considered to be thoroughgoingly *scientific* in its day, not religious. It was primarily Popper's attack on the verification principle, and his establishment of the falsification criterion, that once and for all buried the notion that Marxism (and Freudianism, etc.) could be considered scientific.

"Now, please prove that every atheist is in turn automatically in agreement with the presuppositional beliefs of Stalinism, Nazism, Maoism and Communism and I will concede your point."

First, try to distinguish necessary conditions from sufficient conditions in the future. But more importantly, you're making BlueMongoose's point: Does every Christian, by virtue of being a Christian, necessarily agree with Alan? (See what I did there? That question has the same form as questions such as, 'Does every atheist, buy virtue of being an atheist, necessarily agree with Stalin, Mao, etc.?)

sconnor said...

bluemongoose,

Consider the following and take care to understand it fully:

"The problem with fascism and communism, however, is not that they are too critical of religion; the problem is that they are too much like religions. Such regimes are dogmatic to the core and generally give rise to personality cults that are indistinguishable from cults of religious hero worship. Auschwitz, the gulag and the killing fields were not examples of what happens when human beings reject religious dogma; they are examples of political, racial and nationalistic dogma run amok. There is no society in human history that ever suffered because its people became too reasonable." --Sam Harris

Bottom line -- it is ignorance and the abandonment of reason that lets these atrocities flourish, which is the exact non-thinking that dominates christianity.

--S.

John W. Loftus said...

Eric, I'm trying to do something here that other sites aren't. I'm trying to reach people--to communicate with them--sometimes one person at a time. This time it was Alan. How can I get to him, I ask myself? By shocking him. He needs shocked in order to see what he's arguing for. Notice he didn't respond.

Chuck O'Connor said...

Eric,

You argued for the murder of Dr. Tiller on the grounds he was a mass murderer without a working understanding of the science or law that constituted his practice.

Your conclusion was based on your Christian faith.

If stupid is a synonym for ignorance your confidence (due to your belief system) in naming Dr. Tiller a mass murderer without a working knowledge of his practice or the law makes you ignorant. Therefore your belief makes you stupid.

My point to you was that if you find this thread worthless you betray that perception by commenting on it. You instead expose your arrogance in looking to shame those you disagree with.

Please argue how pre-suppositional belief in a god that demands blood sacrifice for himself so I can be forgiven for a sin I did not commit leads to intelligence.

Please argue how bible worship as an inerrent text enlightened by the Holy Spirit leads to intelligence.

Your presuppositions lead to ignorance because they place more value on feeling based superstition then on observable evidence.

And the SS troops wore belt buckles that read "Gott Mitt Us".

Lastly, please prove how atheism drives the presuppositional beliefs of the disparate world-views I mentioned.

I can see how your Christian faith enabled the acts of Scott Roeder in murdering an innocent man because you believe medical ethics need be defined by the Christian concept of soul. It allowed you to obfuscate and ignore the relevant arguments for your dishonest portrayal of Tiller's practice, and you felt justified in doing so based on your self-righteous superstition.

I'd suggest if you don't like being called stupid then convince someone like me how your belief system leads to an intelligent philosophy. Because all I see with you is a defensive young man looking to validate his faith with rhetoric.

Russ said...

Eric,
One sense of the word 'stupid' is

marked by or resulting from unreasoned thinking or acting

In this sense of the word, a great many of the tens of thousands of Christianities do, in fact, make people stupid. Many are glad to do so and many believe that their intergenerational perpetuation of ignorance is part of doing god's work, or at least the work of their version of a Christian god.

"Makes" is an important word in the title of this post because it rightfully suggests causality, as in, "The Christian Faith Causes People to be Stupid." How can I justifiably say this? Because comparing what Christianities teach with what are humankind's best understandings of the world, I can see that the Christianities frequently teach their followers, especially their impressionable children, things that are directly contradictory to our best understanding of the world. The age of the earth, evolution, radioisotopic dating, and cosmology are known and best understood through science, but many Christianities directly contradict the science. This is making people stupid. Causing stupid.

Another sense of "stupid" is

given to unintelligent decisions or acts : acting in an unintelligent or careless manner

Some Christianities reject the efficacy of medical science and go so far as to withhold medical care from their sick or even dying children. Those people, those adults, have been caused to be stupid, Christian stupid, the most socially acceptable form of stupid. If "acting in an unintelligent or careless manner" is stupid, and intentionally withholding proven life-saving therapy from your child is "acting in an unintelligent or careless manner," then both are stupid. If the "intentionally withholding proven life-saving therapy from your child" is known to be caused by Christianity then Christianity makes people stupid.

Realize that Christianity here has caused the stupid. The Christianity has not merely created optimal conditions for growing or culturing the stupid. No, the Christianity has caused the stupid.

In many ways Christianities leave their children unequipped to deal with the real circumstances they will undoubtedly face as they mature. For instance, it is a fact that the highest abortion and teen pregnancy rates among US Christianities are found in the Roman Catholic Christianities and the Fundamentalist Christianities, the sects that rail most ardently against the one thing that might avoid them, contraception.

Clearly, their fiery rhetoric concerning sexual abstinence does not work, but those Christians refuse to prepare those most deeply affected, the teens themselves, for the reality of their own maturing bodies and the accompanying sexual cravings. That is stupid. That is stupid caused by Christianity.

The stupid in this case is even more profound and reprehensible, when we realize that the parents and clergy preaching their abstinence-only and anti-contraception sermons know that pre-marital sex and contraception are the norm - most people in the developed world have sex before they are married and most use contraception.

Today, among the numerous Christianities, the stupid partially manifests itself in the following forms:

the Roman Catholic church telling AIDS ravaged Africans that condoms cause AIDS(as they put it, "AIDS is bad, but condoms are worse"); demons; exorcisms which often maim, blind, disfigure, cripple or kill; witches and witchcraft; killing people, adults and children alike for being witches or for being demon possessed; and, "prosperity gospels" seducing millions of dollars out of the poor.


Letting their own needlessly die, corrupting the moral sensitivity to those dying of AIDS, not being truthful with their own teens about sex and contraception, and poisoning the well of the precious scientific understanding needed to cope with the real pressing problems facing the world, all underscore how the Christianities intentionally make people stupid, while they love, admire, and venerate themselves for doing so.

Bluemongoose said...

Good day to you, Chuck!

Ann Coulter, huh? Notice how I have refrained from playground-style name calling. but if you feel that's the best you can do, absent making an intellectual presentation for yoru side of the debate, then by all means, continue in your mud slinging. You only end up giving me more credibility.

Worldviews. So wait a minute. In one breath you say communism is like christianit, in the next you state atheists comprise fascist and communist movements. So if you then conclude fascism and communism are directly in opposition, then you are in essence stating that atheism has no idea in which direction it's going. So you de facto say atheism is technically agnosticism.

The location of my nose. Tsk, tsk, Chuck. Is that all you can muster? I thought you atheists purported exceptional tolerance and understanding. Hoewever, you're coming off very bigotted. *Gasp!*

Hypotheses. Except atheists tend to let that one statement about the existence of God dictate the rest of their lives. Why? If atheists purport there is not god, then where do they get their moral stnadards from? Only one other place is possible: man. And the only regulatory factor in that scenario is relativism for morality.

Superstitious. Again, evidence you don't do much studying in this area. Your statement here is just your interpretation, if I may use your beloved relativism for a reference point.

Idiot. Again, you've demoted yourself, through no help on my part, down to playground bully. You know what they say, "Give a man enough rope..."

Why do you believe I think I'm a good person?

"Seems the same to me." But in a relativistic society, why should your opinion/interpretation mean anything at all to anybody else? Who are you to impose yourself as some sort of moral compass, in which others are to model their own morality after?

Bluemongoose said...

How are you doing today, Phil?

So, if I am to understand you correctly, Phil, what you're saying is this: atheism cannot be judged harshly b/c a few of its followers committed atrocities while practicing the atheistic faith. However, you do not afford that same lenience to, oh, say, Christianity.

So your flimsy defense of atheism, the mere act of stating 'atrocities committed by atheists does not reflect badly on atheism in general' is enough to pardon the dogma. Yet, in your next breath you say Martin Luther's antisemetic statements are all that is required to label Christianity bunkum. Gotta love those double standards.

Enjoy!

Phil said...

Blue - Where are you getting this from? I have just read over my previous comments and it seems that you are, rather conveniently, putting words in my mouth once again.

Firstly, I never pardoned any of the atrocities committed by those individuals. I merely stated that they were not committed in the name of atheism. You brought up the crusades, which is an entirely different scenario anyway given that they were actually committed in the name of Christianity. Still with me?

Secondly, my use of Martin Luther quotes were not used to label Christianity as bunkum. If you read my comments again it should be fairly clear that they were merely used to support my objection to your statement that Hitler was an atheist.

In light of all of this, I'm starting to think that the title of this article is right on the money in some cases. Previously I had not considered Christianity to be a sign of stupidity as much as one of delusion.

I'm sure you're probably going to read this comment and twist my words once again. I wait with baited breath.

Bluemongoose said...

P.S. to Chuck.

I can't believe I forgot the best part of my last reply! So here it is, albeit out of order.

We also know that Hitler was a big fan of Nietzsche, recall the superman theory. And we all know Nietzsche was an atheist. So are you inferring Mr. H had dual citizenship in both arenas (that he was both atheist and theist?

Chuck O'Connor said...

Ahhh Blue,

The true blue victim stance. I should expect as much. The primary psychological drive of all true believers, self-pitying victimhood.

How about you state what you believe instead of building strawman that can't be argued against atheism.

You brought up contradictory world-views and somehow then made the leap that their coincidental atheism somehow was cause for the worldviews.

Atheism is not a worldview.

And how am I bigot when I say you are a servant of your husband and therefore will dutifully follow the lead of his behind. Your devotion to biblical gender roles proves that.

Prove that atheism was the cause of all the worldviews you cite. That was your assertion.

Prove that a Christian life is the most moral.

That was your assertion.

Prove that morality comes from god.

That was your assertion.

Or continue to play games of rhetoric and prove to all on this board you have no ideas.

And yes, once again, you are an idiot. That is not playground bullying. I tend to name things based on what the evidence reveals. Your arguments brand you idiotic and therefore you are an idiot.

Give us some positive assertions what you believe and try to prove us wrong based on your principles. Building strawmen in defense of your superstitions will convince no one of anything.

Now, if your next post is simply another cut and paste job of what I posted and a haughty defense of your side using sarcasm and rhetoric then all I can conclude is that you don't trust the ideas by which you stand.

Once again, until you prove otherwise, you are an idiot.

Eric said...

"You argued for the murder of Dr. Tiller on the grounds he was a mass murderer without a working understanding of the science or law that constituted his practice."

Chuck, you're either a buffoon or a lying sack of shit. I *never* 'argued for the murder of Dr. Tiller,' and only a moron or a liar would say so. As I said -- repeatedly -- all I was doing was defending Professor Feser from the charge that *he* supported, condoned, etc. the murder of Tiller.

"My point to you was that if you find this thread worthless you betray that perception by commenting on it."

You specialize in non sequiturs. I could consistently judge the website to be quite good and a particular post quite bad, and comment on the rather low quality thread out of a concern for the overall quality of the site.

"Please argue how...leads to intelligence."

Here's the move you're making:

'If you want to claim that P doesn't make a person stupid, then defend how P makes a person intelligent.'

I hope that even you can see the glaringly obvious problem with that implication.

"And the SS troops wore belt buckles that read "Gott Mitt Us"."

I never said that they didn't (as any competent reader can see). I objected to your patently false claim that the belt buckle could be traced to Hitler and used as evidence of his religiosity; as I said, the belt buckles worn by German soldiers in WW1 had the same phrase on them. You mistook part of the traditional German military uniform for some expression of religious belief on Hitler's part.

"I'd suggest if you don't like being called stupid then convince someone like me how your belief system leads to an intelligent philosophy. Because all I see with you is a defensive young man looking to validate his faith with rhetoric."

Chuck, it's patently obvious that your conception of 'intelligent philosophy' doesn't include what most of us would suppose it does -- e.g. plausible premises and assumptions, logical consistency, conformity with one's internal and external experiences, consistency with modern science, etc. -- but instead concerns 'that which explicitly denies theism in all forms.' Get back to me after you've studied enough logic and philosophy to speak sensibly about what constitutes an 'intelligent philosophy.'

"The age of the earth, evolution, radioisotopic dating, and cosmology are known and best understood through science, but many Christianities directly contradict the science. This is making people stupid. Causing stupid...Some Christianities reject the efficacy of medical science and go so far as to withhold medical care from their sick or even dying children. Those people, those adults, have been caused to be stupid, Christian stupid, the most socially acceptable form of stupid."

Russ, let me grant all you've said arguendo, but let's think a bit more deeply about this. Many brilliant scientists claim that their Christian faith motivates them to attempt to understand the world. They view the scientific enterprise as a form of worship, and regularly say that their science is informed by their faith in a god who created a rationally comprehensible universe. Now, in this case, by parity of reasoning, the Christian faith makes people brilliant. Now, if our reasoning concludes with an X that leads to A at one end of a continuum, and also to B at the other, what are we to conclude about the nature of X? Well, it seems to me that X has a multitude of potentialities, and is thus variegated and complex. Hence, if you want to say, 'Christianity makes people stupid -- and brilliant, loving, hateful, boring, altruistic, fascinating, happy, obstinate, humble, selfish, fastidious, perverted, confident, progressive, miserable self-righteous, introspective, reactionary, creative, guilty passionate, carefree, and so on, effectively running the gamut of human potentialities -- *then I agree entirely*. I would also say that we should expect nothing less of a view of the world rich enough to encompass it. In short, what you said is true, but trivially so when all the data is considered.

tigers1984 said...

Eric,

You called Tiller a mass murderer and his murder a consequence of his practice.

Any person who ignores legal and medical realities and justifies murder for the sake of their superstitions is not intelligent.

Again, please help me out here and assert what you believe as truth and not make a methodological argument.

If you believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins and I am doomed because I am born due to the bad practices of Adam then, I do not trust your ability to reason.

You can imitate William Lane Craig all you want but if you operate from the above superstition as fact then I do not see you having an "Intelligent Philosophy" no matter how many methodological tricks you pull out of a text book.

Make an assertion and back it up.

Otherwise I will continue to define you as what you are. A believer in iron age myth.

Thanks.

tigers1984 said...

Eric,

Is man guilty at birth and if so, why?

What is your view of the ethical quality of those who don't share your belief that Jesus of Nazareth is the savior of mankind, reconciling humanity to god through his propitiate death?

Lastly does god's righteousness increase or decrease a person's value?

Thanks. I look forward to your answers.

Eric said...

"You called Tiller a mass murderer and his murder a consequence of his practice."

Tiger, either support that with a specific quote *in context* or admit that you haven't the slightest clue what you're talking about.

As for the other questions, I'd first say that you haven't earned my answers, and won't do so until you demonstrate that you're both honest enough and intelligent enough to take part in this discussion. Second, they're entirely irrelevant *as you've asked them*: your questions presuppose that there are both specific beliefs and specific problems, yet you've not worked out either the beliefs as you understand them or the problems as you see them.

Until I have reason to believe that you're both honest enough and intelligent enough to discuss the issues, I won't bother to respond to your posts.

Chuck O'Connor said...

Eric,

I stand corrected. You did not argue for the murder of Dr. Tiller. You argued that natural law supports the notion that an abortion doctor has arguably forfeited his right to life. Or, as you said, "Now, given an NL framework, one who takes the life another human being without adequate justification forfeits his own right to life. It is certainly not unreasonable to claim that late-term abortions involve taking the life of another human being, and it is not unreasonable to suppose that this killing is in some cases unjustified."

Can I then presume that your analysis of NL leads to a conclusion that late term abortionists have forfeited their right to life?

And, I am also tigers1984. For some reason my handle, not my name popped up. Sorry about that.

The questions I ask still stand.

Thanks.

Chuck O'Connor said...

Eric,

May I ask one other thing how do you know that I've, " . . .not worked out either the beliefs as (I) understand them or the problems as (I) see them."

I am asking your perspective on the basic teachings I heard week after week in main-stream Christian churches and which I have finally come to reject as absurd.

You are a defender of the faith correct?

All I ask you to do is defend the rhetoric that is shared in countless church services and small group bible studies throughout this country.

Thanks.

Eric said...

"Can I then presume that your analysis of NL leads to a conclusion that late term abortionists have forfeited their right to life?"

No, just that, as I said, the conclusion is not unreasonable given the premises an NL theorist is working with (and, of course, that the NL premises are not themselves unreqasonable). For example, I think that atheism is not an unreasonable position, but you cannot make the move from this premise to the conclusion that I am an atheist. Similarly, you cannot make the move from my claim that given NL premises, the conclusion that a late term abortionist has forfeited his right to life (which doesn't mean that *anyone* has the right to take it, or that the state *has* to take it) is not unreasonable, to the conclusion that I believe that a late term abortionist has forfeited his right to life. There's a bit of nuance there, but it's not at all trivial. As I said previously, my own position on abortion (which I sketched in a previous post) is as confused as the complexity of the issue would lead one to expect.

"how do you know that I've, " . . .not worked out either the beliefs as (I) understand them or the problems as (I) see them."

I was referring to your formualtion of the questions. You must work out in some detail just what your understanding of a particular term or Christian belief is (since they tend to vary both inter-demoninationally and intra-denominationally), and you must work out in some detail just what the problem with that term or belief is. Until you've done that, your questions are far too vague to make anything of, since I'm unsure of both what it is you understand a particular term to mean, and what you understand the problem to be.

Please, if you do attempt to clarify a question, try to make sure it's relevant to the topic of this thread, i.e. how Christian belief makes someone stupid (and please read my response to Russ so we don't go over the same ground again).

"I am asking your perspective on the basic teachings I heard week after week in main-stream Christian churches and which I have finally come to reject as absurd."

As I said, these teachings vary, so you must be precise. Also, after you clarify a question, you can't simply present it and assume that the absurdity you claim is there is self evident: you have to clarify precisely where the absurdity lies (and, I hope, avoid fallacious arguments from personal incredulity). Also, any apparent absurdity must support the claim of this thread, viz. that Christianity makes people stupid.

"You are a defender of the faith correct?"

No, I'm just trying to get at the truth. I was an ardent atheist for a number of years, but gradually came to believe that the theistic worldview and the arguments for it are more consistent with my experience of the world and my philosophic intuitions (which we all rely upon when thinking these things through). I've changed my mind in the past, and I'm certainly open to doing it again in the future. I don't think that my position is rationally coercive, but I do think that it's rational, just as I would say (and I presume John would agree) that the arguments for atheism aren't rationally coercive, but atheism is rational.

sconnor said...

eric,

I don't think that my position is rationally coercive, but I do think that it's rational...

Rational?

What's rational about believing in a magical god/man (the schizophrenic embodiment of god -- both god and the son at the same time), born of a virgin (foretold by an angel) who can walk on water, get the party going buy multiplying bread and wine and was raised from the dead (alive and well, good as new), which somehow magically altered sin so that if you use the magic of telepathy you can let Jesus know that you believe in him and you will be spared the torturous existence in the flames of hell for an eternity?

That's rational?

--S.

Chuck O'Connor said...

Eric,

Let's say we are square and start from scratch next time. Apologies again for misrepresenting your POV and thanks for informing me of yours. I obviously don't see how you can be such a student of logic and also embrace Christianity but I hope to find that out as we dialogue here. Be well.

Bluemongoose said...

Hiya, Gopraire.

Senseless circles? Or you've just never heard my arguments before? I thought you atheists were open-minded.

Proving the point. But in an atheistic society that supports relativism, why should your opinion/interpretation matter to anyone but you? Unless you like making one-ended stick arguments in which the only thing not subjected to relativism is atheist viewpoints.

Answers. Ah, so it's a soapbox you desire. Why get answers about something you don't understand when you can mudsling? Sounds very typical.

Are you an atheist? You might be living proof of this title: "The Atheist Faith Makes a Person Stupid."

Myths & lies. If we use your standard of relativism, then I am free to say, "that's just your interpretation." How can you, a human with finite knowledge say for sure there is not infinite God? Are we to assume you believe yourself to be infinitely knowledgable?

I can assert atheism is sloppy thinking. If all we are left with is relativism, how do we know which fallible human is correct if we are both equal? I could also say stupid people adhere to atheism, it requires blind obedience; and atheist believers are shackled to their dogma.

So this all begs the question, which is better: relativism where there are many interpretations, nobody knows where to draw lines and who is right & wrong; or (option 2) scribed doctrine w/absolutes?

Are you freer w/atheism or does it make you shackled to the idea that there is nothing solid?

Bluemongoose said...

Hi there, Scott!

Your entire post brings to light the problem w/relativim: if all we have to rely on for our moral foundations is humans, who do we believe -- if they are all equal?

Wouldn't this be a great place to put in a plug for scribed doctrine and absolutes, a moral standard not based on something as fickle as humans?

Bluemongoose said...

Sconner, I come to the same conclusion about atheism. Ultimately, who is right? What tips the scales? If reason comes from humans -- and they can't decide on pizza toppings -- who's to say what the right answer is?

Bluemongoose said...

Phil:

Putting words in your mouth, or you just don't like what I've said. After all, how dare I suggest that atheists could be zealots, intollerant and bigotted after they have worked so hard to free themselves from the bonds of absolutes.

Martin Luther. Sure, sure. The thought of connecting those kinds of dots never crossed your mind. You're jut upset b/c I saw your move ahead of time and put you into check.

Twisting words. Again, atheist-speak for when your slight of hand move has been flushed out before you had the chance to use it.

Bluemongoose said...

Chuck:

You say, victimhood; I say, someone finally put a mirror up to you and showed you what kind of person you are.

Strawman, huh? If what I post can't be used against atheism, then where's your counter argument? Merely implying that what I posted was wrong doesn't do anything. I can say gravity doesn't exist all I want, but does it make it true?

Atheism is not a worldview. So you say, but you still don't back it up w/anything. Remember merely stating something doesn't make it so.

Bigots. Do you even know what a bigot means? Why do you assume I'm a woman? How does my "devotion to biblical gener roles" prove anything? Another statement you don't back up. I hope you're not in college. Your professors would not be happy w/your lack of follow-up.

Proof. Chuck, continue to dialogue w/me, and you will have all the proof you need. These things take time; and as we dissect each issue individually, you will get exactly what you have asked for -- unless you'd like to use the old impatient excuse: "If I can't have it now, then I don't want to play anymore!" In which case I would say, "I hope some day you graduate to solid foods."

Name calling. More statements that you don't back up. Haughty? Or you just don't like what I've said?

Scott said...

Blue,

It seems your continued objection to excluding atheism as a world view is based what you conciser an unfair claim that Christianity was somehow responsible for a wide variety of atrocities, such as The Crusades, etc.

Perhaps your thoughts are, "If they can redefine Christianity, then I can redefine Atheism", as if part of some exercise that will eventually show us the error in our ways?

If you merely affirmed the existence of a non-materilal, infinitely powerful and knowledgeable being, and left it at that, then it might be a valid comparison. However, this is clearly not the position of Christianity. As such you are comparing apples to oranges, and your objection fails.

Christianity doesn't merely say that God exists - it says that God is the very source of morality. Christianity tells it's followers they should be "fishers of Men." It says that God created the universe using his omnipotent will and omniscient knowledge. But in attempting to answer a wide range of questions by inserting an intelligent agent into the hierarchy of creation, you open up an whole can of worms regarding what this agent likes and dislikes, his intentions and his rules, etc.

If God is non-material and does not respond in any reasonable way questions about his nature, this leaves a gaping void in which a wide range of non-falsificable claims can be made.

Furthermore, the Bible depicts God demanding and assisting in acts of tribal genocide and portrays his enjoyment over dashing children rocks and the smell of burnt offerings. These are just a few barbaric examples. Christians do not view these depictions as later actions taken by fanatical followers, but part BIblical canon.

You may object and claim that God created a new convent when he sent Jesus to die for our sins. But, should this have actually occurred, what would this say about God's nature?

God used to think genocide was OK, but now things it's wrong? God used to enjoy dashing children upon rocks, but has since reformed? Or perhaps Jesus is really the kinder and gentler side of the Trinity and God hasn't really changed at all?

When one objectively compares this to the idea of an unchanging, perfect being, one can't help but see what appears to be nonsense, or at best case, the result of conflicting ideas from different sources.

Despite your claim to the contrary, when someone thinks the Christian God does not exist, there is no further "canonical" atheist prescription that must follow. It's a negative. Instead, this appears to be another attempt to spread misconceptions about atheism - just as many theists seem to think acknowledging evolution implies support of eugenics, or every other social policy which happen to go against your religious beliefs.

Clearly, we can both think that eugenics is wrong, but for completely different reasons.

Should someone note how the Bible conflicts with discoveries about the universe around us, Christians often reply that the Bible wasn't meant to be a book of science. But when we also note that the Bible conflicts with what we currently see a basic human rights, then one must question what *is* the Bible supposed to represent and how should it be interpreted?

Chuck O'Connor said...

Blue,

Here is an objective definition of "world-view" - A comprehensive world view (or worldview) is a term calqued from the German word Weltanschauung ( [ˈvɛlt.ʔanˌʃaʊ.ʊŋ] (help·info)) Welt is the German word for "world", and Anschauung is the German word for "view" or "outlook." It is a concept fundamental to German philosophy and epistemology and refers to a wide world perception. Additionally, it refers to the framework of ideas and beliefs through which an individual interprets the world and interacts with it. The German word is also in wide use in English, as well as the translated form world outlook or world view.

An atheist operates from a negative - no god and therefore does not have a workable framework from which to interpret or interact with the world simply from this negation. There must be a system of thought they develop in harmony with their atheism that then constitutes their worldview.

Christianity on the other hand IS a worldview that presupposes supernatural assertions as fact so that morality can be defined in line with these presuppositions.

Comparing Christianity and atheism as world-views indicates you do not know what a world view is.

Now if you want to compare Christianity to atheistic communism or atheistic naturalism then we can have a discussion but to conclude that atheism is in itself an integrated system of intepreting reality is really just a sad example of your ignorance.

I know you are a woman because you once had your profile public but when the heat came down on you, it was switched to private.

Now, fill us in on what you believe.

Or will you still defensively back-peddle and prove you are an idiot.

Scott said...

Bluemongoose wrote: Wouldn't this be a great place to put in a plug for scribed doctrine and absolutes, a moral standard not based on something as fickle as humans?

Blue,

This sounds great on paper, but if God doesn't exist, then all we have are deluded fickle human beings who *think* they have a direct line to God, telling us what they think God would want if he did exist.

When one objectively looks at Christianity, we see what appears to be just that.

To make matters worse, If they believe God is the source of morality, then ultimately something either pleases God or it offends him. Period. They need no concrete reasons to back up their claims because it supposedly comes from a "transcendent" source. The Bible doesn't say that Homosexuality is an abomination because the Israelites population had dropped to under 10,000 people and God wanted to ensure their survival as a race. It merely said that it was wrong because God said so. This is how you treat two year olds, not grown human beings, which would obviously have the capacity to understand reasonable explanations.

So, to answer your question, I'd rather have a bunch of people who at least are aware and mindful of their tendency to be fickle, then a bunch of delusional people who refuse to give up the illusion that their fickle views come from a transcendent, omniscient being.

sconnor said...

bluemongoose,

Sconner, I come to the same conclusion about atheism. Ultimately, who is right? What tips the scales? If reason comes from humans -- and they can't decide on pizza toppings -- who's to say what the right answer is?

Odd argument.

1. Curious? -- why do you not believe in allah and the qur'an -- god's final revelation of divine guidance and direction for mankind?

2.I would have to venture, the reasons you do not believe in the qur'an and do not believe in the allah-character out of the qur'an are the same reasons I reject the bible and your bible-god.

3. How come you believe an angel spoke to Mary foretelling the coming of the christ but you do not believe an angel revealed the qur'an to Mohammad? What exactly is your reasoning?

4. Please explain your unbelief in allah and the qur'an? What exactly is your reasoning?

Presumably you do not believe in elves. Many Icelanders believe in these magical entities. http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2009/03/icelanders-and-their-culturally.html

5. What is the reasoning you use to discount the existence of elves?

6. Considering your non-belief in elves, allah and the qur'an -- is this the same scrutiny, logic and skepticism you use in determining your christian belief is true?

I await your excuses and diverging...................

Bluemongoose said...

Scott:

Why do you assume I have an objection to excluding atheism as a worldview? Originally, I merely asked why Chuck thought the way he did regarding atheism as a worldview. You'll notice throughout my posts that I never said specifically, "atheism is a worldview" Apparently Chuck had heard that somewhere else before and incorporated it into our conversations. Again, I merely asked why he felt that way.

But allow me to throw you a curveball here -- and this goes for all you spectators silently watching my debates -- just b/c I ask a question doesn't mean I subscribe to its implications.

Redefining atheism. Umm, Scott, atheists redefine atheism all the time. That's kind of the whole point w/the relativistic way of thinking. Each individual has his/her own interpretation of what atheism is. These are the shackles the follower must bear. Nothing is consistent, therefore, atheism has no solid boundaries. Nobody within that framework can give you a firm definition of what constitutes an atheist. After all, everyone's opinions are equal...

My objection fails. Unless it's subjective, then you cannot say it's wrong b/c nothing is wrong -- or right in that context.

God's parameters. Why do you believe Yahweh doesn't have a personality? Why do you believe He is non-material? Why do you believe the Bible depicts God as a despot? What if I suggested to you the picture of a loving, long-suffering dad who loves His kids? Want proof? Or were you just asking rhetorical questions?

Objectively comparing. Notice how you used the phrase, "what appears to be", indicating you're not sure. Would you like to be sure?

Prescriptions. You are proving my earlier point about atheists being shackled to inconsistency.

Science. What if science and the Bible could co-exist; but, rather, it was scientism and the Bible that could not?

Basic human rights. Why do you believe your statement here is true? Give me a specific example, and we'll break it down.

You question regarding biblical interpretation. That was a very good question. Come with me down the rabbit hole, Alice. I have much to show you...

Russ said...

Eric,
You said,

let me grant all you've said arguendo, but let's think a bit more deeply about this.

Those areas I pointed to where Christianity causes stupidity were not arguendo, they were but a few of the places where the Christianities purposely inculcate stupidity in their followers. What I stated was not some hypothetical premises, it was observed facts. Christianities cause stupidity.

Many brilliant scientists claim that their Christian faith motivates them to attempt to understand the world.

I'm sure if we tease out the semantics of "many," "brillant," "scientists," get the actual numbers of these "many brilliant scientists" and analyze what their true motivations are, we will find that in reality very few working scientists, especially the "brilliant scientists" are motivated by Christian faith. I can say this for having worked with several Nobel Laureates; listened to and read a great many keynote addesses, conference papers, Nobel acceptance speeches; worked with members of the Royal Society and the National Academy of Sciences, and finding that while they state many varied reasons for pursuing their work, religious faith, specifically the Christian faith, is not among their stated motivations.

What's more, Eric, is that I have known many "brilliant scientists" who happened to be part of some Christianity, but in listening to them talk of their work and their lives, you would be given no clues whatsoever that they had any religious affiliation. Whether in public addresses, writings about their work or private conversations, they do not claim that some Christianity moves them, motivates them, or inspires them.

Now, in this case, by parity of reasoning, the Christian faith makes people brilliant.

There is no parity of reasoning here, Eric. Parity might exist if it were observable that Christianities teach their followers material that would lead to brilliancy of mind, but they do not. Christianities corrupt the content of minds, thus corrupting moral thinking, corrupting attitudes toward science and encouraging personal decision-making based on emotion, follow-the-leader and follow-the-herd. Not a recipe for personal success, much less brilliance.

Furthermore, inspiration itself does not lead to brilliance. In the absence of concrete, relevant information, no amount of inspiration will lead to success. The world over we see that given the proper information to work with, brilliancy can come from people harboring many bizarre thoughts and claiming any number of curious inspirations. We do not see a higher rate of brilliancy among those of religious faith and inspiration, including the Christianities.

Realize, Eric, that in your listing of human potentialities, you pointed directly to the fact that these are not potentialities that are Christian-caused, these are instead "human potentialities," observed in humans the world over, with or without, the influence of some Christianity.

My contention is not that Christianity is the only thing that causes stupidity, but observably Christianities work hard to perpetuate stupidity, and to increase the number of people afflicted with it, while they do little to combat it.

I would also say that we should expect nothing less of a view of the world rich enough to encompass it.

Sadly, Eric, you fancy yourself a philosopher, yet you fail to look past your religious proclivities to the world's human population which is at first human, not Christian, with human traits common to all of them. The Christianities, and Christians like you, always seem to want to claim all of humanity as its own, when that is clearly not the case.

In short, what you said is true, but trivially so when all the data is considered.

What I said is indeed true, and when the data is considered accurately, we see that your excursion into Christian Apologetics World, was yet another Christian misrepresentation of the world and humanity, another factual nurturing of the Christian stupid.

Scott said...

Bluemongoose wrote: But allow me to throw you a curveball here -- and this goes for all you spectators silently watching my debates -- just b/c I ask a question doesn't mean I subscribe to its implications.

Yes, Blue. Anyone can repeatedly question someone about their position without actually presenting a positive opposite claim.

However, I don't see you as the agnostic type, so I'm guessing you actually do have a position on the subject. Care to share it with us?

Redefining atheism. Umm, Scott, atheists redefine atheism all the time. That's kind of the whole point w/the relativistic way of thinking.

If we are going to communicate about something, we need to agree on the definition of terms. Yes, you and I will never share the exact same definition of anything, including Atheism, because we cannot read each other's minds, but it seems that we human beings can least get close enough to build cars, cities and even send men to the moon. Or perhaps cars function differently for some people but not others?

My objection fails. Unless it's subjective, then you cannot say it's wrong b/c nothing is wrong -- or right in that context.

While I think it's been presented several times already, Atheism, in the very least as presented here in this thread, is defined as the lack of belief in the God of theism, which is a negative. We can use logic, such as the law of non-contraction, to decide if Christianity is comparable using a wide range of factors.

However, should you be referring to an ought, instead of an is, then I fail to see how you're in any better position that I am.

God's parameters. Why do you believe Yahweh doesn't have a personality? Why do you believe He is non-material? Why do you believe the Bible depicts God as a despot? What if I suggested to you the picture of a loving, long-suffering dad who loves His kids? Want proof? Or were you just asking rhetorical questions?

More "if"s. What if I suggested that Yahweh is like the Disney character Pluto? Does Pluto have a personality? Sure he does. But only because that's how his creator envisioned him and how Disney animators have depicted him throughout the years. But does this mean that Pluto actually exists as an independent entity? No, it doesn't.

Objectively comparing. Notice how you used the phrase, "what appears to be", indicating you're not sure. Would you like to be sure?

Perhaps you're the one asking rhetorical question this time? It's unclear what what I "like" has to do with what is actually true.

Prescriptions. You are proving my earlier point about atheists being shackled to inconsistency.

So, just so I'm clear, Atheism is "restrained" by being defined as a negative? Really? Are you restrained by your lack of belief in Poseidon? Does the lack of a canonical prescribed course of action by your lack of belief in the tooth fairy somehow shackle you to inconsistency? No, your lack of belief in the tooth fairy is a negative belief, while your belief in the Christian God is a positive belief and defines your canonical prescribed course of action.

Science. What if science and the Bible could co-exist; but, rather, it was scientism and the Bible that could not?

More "if"s! What if Jesus was 100% finite and 100% infinite? Should one think Christianity need not abide by the law of non-contridiction, then I suppose one could think the Bible and science could co-exist.

Give me a specific example, and we'll break it down.

Blue, Let me ask you a question in return. Would God have been any less perfect or be at a loss should he have decided not have created human beings?

Eric said...

"Those areas I pointed to where Christianity causes stupidity were not arguendo, they were but a few of the places where the Christianities purposely inculcate stupidity in their followers."

I said that *I* was granting it arguendo, not simpliciter. Why? First, because of the way I went about refuting your claim. But second, I granted it with qualification for the same reasons I'd only grant arguendo a similarly woolly claim such as, 'capitalism makes people greedy.'

"we will find that in reality very few working scientists, especially the "brilliant scientists" are motivated by Christian faith."

This is irrelevant, given that all I need is two (given that I used the plural) to justify my claim. Since you're granting 'very few' above, and since that's more than two, my claim stands.

"There is no parity of reasoning here, Eric. Parity might exist if it were observable that Christianities teach their followers material that would lead to brilliancy of mind, but they do not."

Let's look at the form of your reasoning and then flesh it out to clarify what you're missing here. You're saying, 'some forms of C advocate A, and some people who believe C act in accordance with A, and, in some cases, acting in accord with A leads to actions that can only be described as stupid.' Here's a substitution instance: 'Some Christianities advocate young earth creationism (YEC), some of the people who practice these forms of Christianity accept YEC and accordingly repudiate evolution, and, in some cases, repudiating evolution is stupid.' (I think the 'in some cases' qualification stands with respect to evolution because, while I advocate evolution wholeheartedly, I don't think it's the case that all opposition to evolution is necessarily stupid. And this, of course, follows from one of the fundamental precepts of modern science, viz. all properly scientific theories are falsifiable, from which it follows that all properly scientific theories are provisional, and can thus, in principle, be repudiated rationally.)

Now let's look at my claim to see if the reasoning is analogous: Some forms of Christianity advocate the notion that the universe (a) is ordered and (b) is rationally comprehensible, and some of the people who practice these forms of Christianity accept (a) and (b) and approach apparently discrete scientific data accordingly, and, in some cases, approaching the data in this way leads to brilliant science.'

Note, it will not do to object that we don't need Christianity to accept (a) and (b). To make this claim is to confuse sufficiency and necessity, and all I need is sufficiency. Also, it will not do to claim that assuming (a) and (b) always leads to scientific brilliance or you'll again confuse sufficiency with necessity, only this time the other way around (insofar as (a) and (b) are arguably necessary for scientific brilliance, but not sufficient).

"Christianities corrupt the content of minds, thus corrupting moral thinking, corrupting attitudes toward science and encouraging personal decision-making based on emotion, follow-the-leader and follow-the-herd. Not a recipe for personal success, much less brilliance."

Hmm, this is only (and rather obviously) contradicted by the entire history of Western science. But hey, don't let that stop you from asserting it; as they say, why let something as mundane as the facts get in the way of such a great theory?

"Furthermore, inspiration itself does not lead to brilliance."

I never said it did. Remember, in my initial response I said motivates *and* informs (the latter demonstrated by (a) and (b) above, which, incidentally, I included in my initial post).

(continued)

Eric said...

(continued)

"We do not see a higher rate of brilliancy among those of religious faith and inspiration, including the Christianities."

Irrelevant. As I said above, two examples will suffice.

"these are instead "human potentialities," observed in humans the world over, with or without, the influence of some Christianity."

Again, completely irrelevant. All we need to know is if Christianity does actualize these potentialities, and you already agree that it actualizes one of them. To deny the rest will require some superhuman special pleading.

Indeed, if we accept your point here it will defeat your initial claim, if we work out its logic. People don't need Christianity to be stupid, they do a fine job without it. So, if we can't say that Christianity is responsible for actualizing the sundry potentialities I referred to *because* these potentialities are actualized without it, then it follows that we can't say that Christianity is responsible for actualizing the potentiality of stupidity, since stupidity is actualized without it. You've refuted yourself here.

"Sadly, Eric, you fancy yourself a philosopher"

No, I fancy myself a student of philosophy. I have a lot to learn, but I do know enough to spot poor reasoning in many cases.

"yet you fail to look past your religious proclivities to the world's human population which is at first human, not Christian, with human traits common to all of them."

And? Is this related to the obvious irrelevancies I adverted to above? If so, it's been addressed and put to bed.

"The Christianities, and Christians like you, always seem to want to claim all of humanity as its own, when that is clearly not the case."

I have no idea what you mean here. I certainly don't claim that everyone is a Christian. Perhaps you mean that I apply my worldview to 'all of humanity.' Well, er, yeah. I see that you, as a materialist, claim that your philosophy applies to all of humanity. That's kinda how a weltanschauung works. Now, I would submit that materialism is as obviously stupid as it gets, and that it can lead to some breathtaking stupidity (e.g. eliminativism), but that's another topic for another thread.

Eric said...

Chuck, I'm fine with starting from square one. I too apologize for some of the nastier things I said.

Chuck O'Connor said...

Eric,

I applied your suggestion of sticking to the topic of a post when posting a response to good effect. Thanks. It does work. Choosing an argumentative route (which I unfortunately default to too often) leads to jumbled thinking. So, even though I still am confused by your faith I can benefit from your methodology. Praise Zeus (just kidding). Peace.

Alan said...

Loftus Loses Job as "Rape Czar"
John, I challenged you to articulate a law system (this is the 3rd time) that would be superior to Judeo law for serving rape victims and rapists. Your evasion of the matter was fully expected. Trying to argue that society has "evolved" to a morally-superior state despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary puts you in an untenable position.
Looking back, I admit my folly of trying to rationalize the benefits of a woman marrying her rapist as stipulated in Deut. 22, because I remembered that the law was NEVER intended to bring people to perfection, but to make them aware of sin.

Rom 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.

John, don't you see how completely inadequate and ill-equipped you are in empathizing with a woman who is raped? The act of being “fucked” against her will is the same action that you embellish upon to adorn your wanton vocabulary:

John Loftus wrote:
God created a whole bunch of people who are just forever fucked

Yup a fucking cosmic lottery

If you don't have the right number, well that is just too fucking bad

Because sinning is just so fucking great right?

Now what kind of fucked up logic is that?

Okay so God did not fuck us over, but adam did.

So send adam to hell you fucking idiot!

They are already fucked or "blessed

I was simply already fucked from the start.


John, aren't you a lowly “shock jock” exhibitionist that enjoys seeing women gasp when you wield your literary “tool”? How could such a person maintain a happy marriage with an inner character that is destructive to a woman’s being? Don’t words emanate from the heart? Your best bet would be to find a mentor who is the opposite of “John Loftus”.

Russ said...

Eric,

[Personal aside: are you at Harvard Divinity? One of my younger brothers - atheist with PhD in Philosophy of Religion, now at Brown - studied there decades back and applied there for a faculty position a few years ago.]

Your analysis of my comment saddens me, Eric. Apparently, when faced with clear factual information about the world, your philosophy does nothing more for you than permit you to obscure and confuse. It appears to me that you see philosophy not as a tool for reaching a better understanding of the world, but simply as a weapon for wiping the field of anyone not inclined to rephrase all of human experience in the language of formal logic or analytical philosophy. You have a new toy and you insist that all those wanting to play must play by your rules. Know what? Even if you are studying philosophy, even if during this short fragment of your life you are completely immersed in philosophical formalism, you do not live in a world of formal logic and analytical philosophy.

No doubt, Eric, if one were to employ you to compose a formal philosophical defense of atheism, you would choose data which you would then call facts, convert those to premises, and, then, using the same arsenal of philosophy with which you defend the Christianities - many of which you must entirely reject if you adhere to a particular brand - you would formally defend atheism.

In a previous comment, Eric, you conceded the point of John's post, "The Christian Faith Makes a Person Stupid" when, in reference to my comment which demonstrated how the Christianities cause stupidity, you said, "In short, what you said is true, but trivially so when all the data is considered." Frankly, I fail to find triviality in Christian Scientists allowing their children to die or African Pentecostals maiming or killing their own children, but it is you, Eric, who defend these Christianities, not me. The content of the minds of these Christian Scientists and Pentecostals which permits and promotes these decidedly stupid acts, is what it is precisely due to Christian teachings.

You respond with the completely irrelevant and completely unjustifiable reciting of universal human characteristics which you then plant a Christian flag in, as if to take ownership. You stake a claim to Western science for Christianity(notably you do not specify which one - the Pope's Christianity, Jerry Falwell's Christianity, Mormon Christianity, Christian Science's Christianity) when in reality, Western science arose, in much the same way as the plague, merely in the presence of Christianity. You want to claim that science was caused by Christianity. It wasn't. That science arose in Christian dominated countries where not professing to be Christian was equivalent to signing one's own death warrant, is not equivalent to Christianity causing science.

The Christianities did not cause science in the same way that they did not cause winemaking, shipbuilding, fishing, archery, the Black Death(no Christianity caused it per se, but forced congregation certainly hastened its spread and added lots of extra millions to its death toll), mathematics or quantum mechanics.

I'm sure you'll be off like a philosophical pin-ball banging and bouncing from flipper to flipper. Formal cause. Bing! Material cause. Bang! Efficient cause. Boing! Final cause. Ding! Ding! Ding! I know how Christianity caused quantum mechanics! Isaac Newton - curiously, one of those Christians who lived in fear of being executed by other Christians for his unorthodox religious thoughts - exhaled a Christianity-infused carbon dioxide molecule that remained aloft in the atmosphere for a couple hundred years, then became part of a tomato which was eaten by Neils Bohr. Thus, Christianity caused quantum mechanics. QED.

Philosophy enslaved to the bidding of a pedantic sophist becomes charlatanism, another of the highly effective, and thus revered, weapons for perpetuating Christianity-induced stupidity.

John W. Loftus said...

Russ, you're good. Thanks for hanging around here.

Eric said...

Russ, I'm not at HDS. As I said, I'm studying philosophy, and HDS doesn't have a philosophy program.

Now, you basically said two things in your post: first, that I'm obfuscating the issues; and second, that I'm just playing with some fun toys.

Let me ask you a few questions. Is it obfuscating an issue to point out irrelevancies, or is it clarifying the issue? Is it obfuscating the issue to point out confusions concerning necessary and sufficient conditions, or is it clarifying the issue? Is it obfuscating the issue to clarify the logical form of the reasoning we're using, or is it clarifying the issue? To me, the answers to these questions are manifest. And, given that if we look at my response to you we'll see that it comprises brushing away irrelevancies, elucidating problems with sufficiency and necessity, and clarifying the form of reasoning, it seems to me to be the case that I was engaged in precisely the opposite of obfuscation.

Now for your second claim. Let's suppose that I am just playing with some logical toys; would this in any sense render my arguments invalid? Obviously, it would not. As John frequently says, you can point to this or that personal or biographical detail, *but that doesn't obviate your duty, if you wish to engage with me on these issues, to deal with my arguments*. Indeed, given this latter point, I find it hard to understand John's praise for your response.

"Frankly, I fail to find triviality in Christian Scientists allowing their children to die or African Pentecostals maiming or killing their own children, but it is you, Eric, who defend these Christianities, not me."

Now you know very well that that's not what I meant when I said it's trivial. I meant that if X can lead to A, but it also can lead to Z and to everything in between, then the fact that it leads to A, taken in isolation, is true, but trivially true. This is especially true when the specific examples of A you advert to are the exceptions, not the rule.

Also, I decidedly do not defend these forms of Christianity. See my post on the thread concerning whether atheism is rationally coercive.

Russ said...

Eric,
You tell me that you are not obfuscating, but are instead clarifying. I urge you to shine your clarifying light of philosophy on your own religious thinking and see what you come up with.

I think if you are honest you will find at least a couple of curious facts. One is that there is no monolithic entity going by the name of Christianity. There are thousands, many of which you clearly do not want to be associated with, and many others which you quite likely would not recognize as a Christianity but for their having the name. The second curious fact is that the notion of a Christian deity is a similar fistful of smoke: vague, amorphous, and ungraspable.

While you may have personally hybridized your very own species of Christianity to play with, your species is yours, and the species trotted about by others is theirs. Your desire to disassociate yourself from those other less domesticated Christianities - you said, "Also, I decidedly do not defend these forms of Christianity" - tells me you recognize and acknowledge the gross incompatibilities.

Yet, in a most unphilosophical way you want to defend all things calling themselves "Christian." Essentially, you spend great effort coming to the aid of a very poorly defined thing, much of which you reject yourself. I find that quite curious.

I'm certain that if I asked you to define that Christianity thing you seek to protect, you could per philosophical prescription lay down premises and assumptions specific to your version of Christianity, arguendo, in exactly the same way as those theologians rushing to the aid of those Christianities you reject. What have you and your theological colleagues done? You've concocted distinct Christianities.

Adorn your phraseology with all the philosophy-speak you like, but what you're doing is reasoning about a Christianity you made up. You made it up. Your follow-on reasoning can be as meticulous, as precise as you like, but even perfect argumentation cannot create reality from your arbitrary - you could have chosen completely different starting points - intellectual fabrication.

The same holds true for your god thing.

Mull this over and envision what was happening when the Torah, the Old Testament, and New Testament were written. Think about later on when people were deciding on the Biblical canon, or the Codex Sinaiticus(1600 year old version of Bible, available online at http://www.codexsinaiticus.org/en/), or the Complutensian Polyglot.

Realize this: seminaries, schools of divinity, and philosophy departments are idea mills, particularly well-suited to stamp out new religions and gods, precisely because no standards exist to constrain them. New Christianities and associated deities just pour out of these places. Many are brainstormed to life in pubs and taverns and are lost when the napkins go out with the peanut shells and cigarette butts. Some find greater longevity as an essay, term paper or a thesis, but eventually most disappear never having reached the pool of potential converts. Still, a good number take root as entirely new Christianities. Today, a thousand new Christianities pop up each year, all rooted in their own premises and assumptions.

Eric, if anything characterizes the Christianities, it's variability. Some are atheist. Some reject miracles including virgin births and resurrections. Some reject hell. Some throw out all of the Old Testament. Others throw out everything in the Old Testament, except for original sin. Some claim to be Biblical literalists. Some view the Bible as nice metaphor and allegory. Some throw out the Bible altogether. Some of the theistic Christianities have a god that sends people to hell; others have a god that doesn't. They are all making it up. They're not the same. They're not logically compatible. There is no standard. There exist no constraints. Still, most claim to be the bearers of "THE TRUTH."

So, Eric, when you switch on your philosophy light, do you only see the Christianity you've made up?