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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Our diversity

Well, in our banner we say that we welcome anybody who is fed off by Ray's crap. In my case, at least, the problem is his obvious dishonesty and how he plays the fundies strong beliefs and sells them recycled lies. It disconcerts me that he also gives them away for free, so I cannot easily conclude that Ray is just dishonest. Maybe he is more complicated than that. I do not know.

In any event, I am not one of the hard-core atheists who jumps against anybody who has the slightest belief in God. I have found that believing in God has been helpful for some people around me. Simple people who might not be able to handle their everyday lives and problems without it. (Quite condescending, eh?) I do not know if I am altruistic, or idealist, or whatever, but really, I did not care about the fundies belief in God, just about making them see that ray was abusing them. Then I learn that they abuse their children's psychology quite strongly, shit! Then they prejudice so easily on so many things that should not bother them whatsoever (like homosexualism), and so on. So, i started fighting them on everything!

Why am I writing this? Well, I was over there at Stephen Law's blog. Anyway, Andrew Louis and me ended up talking there about our motivations, and Andrew reminded me that he is a theist, and I knew already, and I asked Andy if there was a way of helping these fundies out of their prejudices at the least. His answer is obvious, but I had to read it so I could remember: attack their fundamentalism not their belief in God. Maybe it should be attack their prejudice not their belief in God. But we all get it, right?

So, I want the idealist outcome: Peace. I want the fundies to stop prejudicing, to stop thinking atheists or people of other religios are out there ready to do evil of the worst kind, to stop thinking that gay marriage will undermine their marriages, to stop pretending to mess science with creacionism (and understand why this is necessary), and so on.

Of course, I note that this post coincides with Dale being horribly upset and attacking Rob. By the way Dale, my sympathy for the loss of your friend. I just want to add that to me, is it of uttmost importance to be able to accept that we are different and still be happy and understanding despite our differences. Do you think we can attain that goal? Once I told Ray that if he wants to accuse me of having blind faith, this would be it: A faith that we can learn to live together without those strong prejudices. I have a good set of those prejudices myself. I am concious of them, and I work on them. This is what I think we can learn to do. What do you think Dale? What do you think guys?

You do not have to agree with me. As I said, I appreciate our diversity, and I have learned a lot from you guys.

By the way, did you read what Kippastrophe wrote at ray's in response to keith the ex-atheist (who is, after all, the same despite I showed him the lies of AiG). That is another christian I can truly respect.

G.E.

28 comments:

  1. Moderate Christians are not our enemies. Our enemies are the fanatics.

    It was the moderate Christian biologist Kenneth Miller that destroyed the fundamentalists at the Kitzmiller trial, not PZ Myers.

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  2. The sad thing is some atheists who constantly deal with fundies start to think most Christians share fundy values.

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  3. Yep, I like the clarity of Ken Miller, and of other christians who actually help the cause of keeping science and religion separated.

    This easily debunks the idea of many fundamentalists that evolution is a conspiracy invented by atheists to advance atheism. All it takes is to show them Ken Miller. If all scientists and all of those who understand evolution were atheists, then we would have little hope to prove our point that evolution is not an atheist conspiracy.

    Fundies will be trying, for as long as there is fundamentalism, to take away evolution from schools. This means taking serious science out of schools in exchange for religious dogmas. That means renouncing rational, critical thinking altogether. We do not want that, do we?

    G.E.

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  4. That's a really good, and I think important post, g_e. I agree with everything you say there. We can have a civilized argument in a friendly athmosphere with the majority of Christians. The majority isn't so large in the US as elsewhere, but that is beside the point. Most atheists would say that moderate Christians are still deluded to a degree, and that their worldview isn't fully compatible with a naturalistic view of the universe. This discussion is a few centuries old, and many wise and intelligent people started it off even before monotheism developed. We can't reasonably expect to finish it in our lifetime. From my point of view, religion slows down what I regard as 'proper' advancement of humanity, but most religions and their adherents aren't an insurmountable wall. Parts of the wall have and will tumble over in the wrong direction and hit someone. But taking a completely adversarial stance just causes the most unpleasant people to make the wall higher instead of discarding troublesome bricks. Extremists try to make the wall as high as possible in order to push it over on us, and they hijack the moderate believers and try to cut them off on the other side.

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  5. Moderate Christianity in my opinion is worse than Fundamentalist Christianity. With the fundies, you can guarantee that they will stick to their beliefs nomatter what evidence you throw at them. They are much easier to debunk.

    The real problem is when the so-called "Christians" start changing everything about their beliefs just so they fit with the evidence. Whilst this seems rational at first, what they are essentially doing is going against all church teachings and yet still proclaiming that they follow the church / religion. They are arrogant and if they actually had any sense they would reject their entire faith the moment it got disproved.

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  6. Just a note for clarification. For instance, that guy in fox tv describes himself as a moderate christian, yet he is fundamentalist to the core (remember how he just makes assertions and still thinks he presented solid evidence, remember how he "argued" with richard dawkins?).

    So, there are so-called moderate christians who are not such thing, and truly moderate ones, meaning christians who can think and still believe, whichever their reason.

    So, since "moderate christian" is taken by a very conservative and fundamentalist kind of people, maybe we should call Ken Miller and the like something else. Like Non-problematic Christian?

    G.E.

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  7. "So, since "moderate christian" is taken by a very conservative and fundamentalist kind of people, maybe we should call Ken Miller and the like something else. Like Non-problematic Christian?"

    Maybe we should call Ken Miller and the like "true Christians" and really piss off the fundamentalists.

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  8. Maybe we can call Fred Phelps a true Christian. See how many people get pissed off. Oh!

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  9. Fred really does take the cake. He's too lazy to even convert people, he just had sex until he made enough kids to start a church.

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  10. g_e,
    You mean O'Reilly, holiest-of-all Catholics? Whose book was in property of the Unitarian church killer?
    I don't think we should let people like him hijack the term 'moderate'. I'm not a philosopher, so I don't know if there are terms that better describe the concept. Mundane spiritualists perhaps. 'Non-problematic' is definitely off the mark. Problem to who? When? Never or probably sometimes, to someone? I think that would be a bit too condescending to encourage discussions, while not really meaning anything.
    It's a broad grey area, because they're not a uniform group. Non-literalists might be somewhat accurate.

    adrian,
    the degree of problematicy (?) isn't measured in how easily someone's argument can be refuted, it's about how we can deal with them in practice. I agree that it's very annoying when people use terms like 'spiritual knowledge' or 'revealed truth' in a discussion. When that can't be resolved, the discussion can't continue. You are correct that there is much arrogance in such statements, specifically the certainty with which reliance on evidence is dismissed. Unfortunately, humanity hasn't matured to realize that a priori assumptions about extra- or supra-natural causality have no explanatory value and inevitably lead to unfounded circularity. We try to convince people one by one that knowledge isn't what they think it is.

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  11. yeah okay felix those may be loaded sentences but what are your views on abortion?

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  12. I agree with Sam Harris. The so-called "moderates" are enablers of the extremists. They give their crazy brethern legitimacy and chill real criticism of religion.

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  13. ranting,
    the Theory of Evolution teaches that aborted blastocysts are reborn as soulless atheists. We should force every woman to be constantly pregnant and have abortions. Only when a critical number of reborn blastocysts walk the earth can we crown Richard Dawkins as our god-king. Really ranting, get your atheology straight. If you disagree with Dawkins, you'll be judged and punished to be who you are.

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  14. Shit. I guess I'm not a good person...

    How can I be SAVED!?

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  15. The first thing you can do is write 'stupid stuff is stupid' a dozen times on Ray's butt. Then maybe you'll be off the hook. Spending a weekend with Terry and the veraclones would be next on the list if #1 doesn't do it.

    Terry and the Veraclones...
    I need a band.

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  16. LMAO

    Terry Burton! OH NO!

    What type of music will it be? Thrash?

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  17. So, where's the line between "selling out your beliefs" and "Being Rational?"

    I agree that people who sell out their beliefs to hang on to something are pretty annoying. They're the ones that go to biker rallies and take off their patches long enough to get drunk. They make us angry.

    I think there's a difference between rationally ignoring tradition and selling out. I'm shooting for neither. I'm looking for the truth, and rationally ignoring tradition when it seems necessary.


    BTW, Dale and I are friends. Any one who reads through our comments in that particular thread will see that Dale and I have talked stuff out and we are quite cool now. ^_^

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  18. That Kippastrophe guy seems pretty sharp. He seems a bit more left than me, but I didn't see anything heretical as I skimmed and glanced through his stuff.

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  19. rob,
    heretical has no meaning here. ;)

    ranting,
    I wish it could be Death, but the name would have the crowd throwing full beer bottles at my head before the first sound.
    HBKS makes a really good growl-hiss though.

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  20. @ Felix:

    heretical has no meaning here. ;)

    Sure it does. Heretical = a good idea taken one step too far.

    Evolution is true, therefore Humans are worthless might be considered a Heresy of Naturalism. ^_^

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  21. Here's something interesting that occured to me last night as I was thinking about Sye's supposed arguement. If you think about it, it's really the same argument that Ray has.

    Ray would say that REALITY itself is proof of a creator. He'll give an example of a banana, or a pop can; and this is conclusive proof.

    Sye is really doing the same thing, except rather then using "THINGS", he's using "WHAT WE SAY ABOUT THINGS" as proof of god. He'd like us to think that, what we say about things is absolute, logic, science whathaveyou, (God is absolute) and therefore we know some of Gods nature.

    Ray, again,
    would like us to think that, a banana is created, (God is the creator) thus God created everything.

    So Sye is pulling from the Christian idea that:
    1.) God is ABSOLUTE
    And Ray is pulling from the Christian idea that:
    1.) God is CREATOR

    So by that I could simply pull from the Christian idea that God is LOVE, and argue that because we have love we know some of Gods nature (realize how idolotrous this is). I could further more say to the atheist, "how do you account for love outside the Christian world view?" without God, there is no love. Further, God accounts for love due to the impossability of the contrary.....

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  22. Of course one can argue against all three of these as follows.
    1.) Is what we say absolute, or sytemic
    2.) Are things created, or do they "become", evolve, so on.
    3.) Is the nature of things love - then we have the problem of the existence of evil.

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  23. Charles said...
    "I agree with Sam Harris. The so-called "moderates" are enablers of the extremists. They give their crazy brethern legitimacy and chill real criticism of religion."

    Thanks. Well said. And that is exactly why I contrived The Hissy Fit I threw in my recent Post.

    I must have played it up a bit too well because most everybody took it a bit more seriously than I had planned. But that's OK.

    And...I'm sorry it had to be Rob Penn that took took the brunt of it all. He was the only target available.

    The word I have used much in the past to describe ~~ moderate christians is "Practical Christians." The problem "they" may have with that is that it would basically mean that they are not "christians" at all.

    I went for twenty years trying not to annoy moderate christians, but when they sided with the fundies (moral Majority in the 80's- Values Voters in the 90 and on)to get Bush elected twice I had enough of it.

    I have moderate christian friends who are constantly reading stuff put out by the fundies, like the Left Behind Series by Lahaye. Many of those people don't seem to understand they are reading FICTION.

    nuff fer now.

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  24. Hey Rob,

    Evolution is true, therefore Humans are worthless might be considered a Heresy of Naturalism. ^_^

    Beau-ti-ful!

    Guys,

    I agree that boundaries between one "kinda" christian and another might be blur. I agree that "non-problematic" does not work (did you see my interrogation mark?). So, maybe we cannot define them that well, but, oh well, we worry about it if we need to.

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  25. @andrew louis--

    Here's something interesting that occured to me last night as I was thinking about Sye's supposed arguement. If you think about it, it's really the same argument that Ray has.



    Really, to me, Sye's argument can best be distilled down to: Why is there something instead of nothing? The thing in this case being absolute knowledge.


    The problem with his reasoning is that it assumes what it attempts to prove.

    His argument really is more framing than anything else; a debating trick. Make your opponent account for everything he believes, thus putting him on the defensive, while at the same time declaring your beliefs off limits as "revealed truth."

    I won't dance to his tune. There are rules of logic and evidence that all sides tacitly agree to when they agree to discuss such things--circular arguments are invalid, for example. If you demand to know why circular arguments are invalid, go take a logic course and then we'll discuss your religion.

    Really, a neat debating counter-move to Sye's line would be to simply tell him: OK, Sye, I'll be happy to discuss why I have confidence in my reasoning. But first, we're going to discuss yours. You say truth has been revealed to you? Prove it. Once you do that, then we'll discuss why I believe circular arguments are wrong.

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  26. @ dale:

    The word I have used much in the past to describe ~~ moderate christians is "Practical Christians." The problem "they" may have with that is that it would basically mean that they are not "christians" at all.

    I don't see that.

    I mean, as long as there's no assumption that "He's giving ground for practicality," I have no problem with being called practical.


    I have moderate christian friends who are constantly reading stuff put out by the fundies, like the Left Behind Series by Lahaye. Many of those people don't seem to understand they are reading FICTION.

    I never read them. I saw the movies, though, and thought that they were about the same quality as "Bullet Proof Monk."

    I read some things put out by fundies. I mean, I read Ray's blog a lot. I read some stuff put out by the more liberal people, too. I went to a lecture on my campus called "Biblical Literacy; the Heresy of our Generation."

    The thing is, I don't agree with a person just because I'm reading their stuff. It's a critical read. I decide whether or not I agree with them afterward.

    Why is it bad for moderate Christians to agree with fundies on some points?

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