Monday, October 09, 2006

Steve: I can only think of one word to describe my reaction to your recent posts: disappointed.

I've repeatedly stated that I'm not hostile to religion. I've tried to explain my personal beliefs in a way that you would understand. I hoped that you would have the courtesy to address me directly; instead you prefer to treat with your secular bugaboos, such as this "Left" that "whines about President Bush leading the country toward a theocracy and considers Christians in mocking tones as knuckle-dragging, intolerant, anti-intellectual, toothless boobs."

In lieu of discussion, you have only insults: "atheofascists," "Atheism is at least as old as other forms of prostitution." "Atheism is a power religion that must be evangelized by brainwashing and force." "...A response matching the depth of thought would be something like, 'D'uh', or 'Nanny-nanny boo-boo', or 'Pfffffttt'."

And victimology: "...has resulted in the favored status of the minority atheist religious faith over that of the majority." "Due to the separation of church and state, Christians will not be allowed to vote. Since their voting selections would be instructed by their faith, this must be prohibited."

And, finally, straw men: "Rational philosophers know that proving a negative such as 'there is no God' is impossible. The basis for atheism, therefore, starts with an act of blind faith," "...we have proven that there is no God, that humans are descendents of and closely related to Treponema pallidum, and that the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights actually does say 'separation of church and state'."

I'll address that last one: 'separation of church and state'. I defy you to produce one person who makes such an assertion, anyone with half a brain could learn the truth of it in about five seconds. Is this, then, merely a dodge to avoid discussing what the 1st Amendment actually does say? "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." To me this means "go ahead and worship however you want, just don't expect the government to help you do it." How hard is that?

I can't keep doing this. I have to conclude that you're unable to have a serious discussion about religion with someone like me. It has nothing to do with intelligence or education; you're just not able to conceive of any other viewpoint than your own, even hypothetically. I'd love to be proven wrong, but that's the only way I can see it.

5 comments:

Lance Burri said...

Most of that is generally known as "humor," Todd. We've used it here before.

I was actually working on a post about atheism myself. Curious to know your definition of "straw man." Why is the first of those two statements you mention a "straw man?"

Steve said...

Todd,

Whoa, dude! You missed it very badly:

-These PARODIES ("I find it necessary to exercise some knuckle-dragging, intolerant boobery.") excluded you in two places. 1) "I don't want to give the impression that all atheists fall into the atheofascist sect. In fact, there are hundreds of atheists who would be content to live, work, and play alongside others who live and talk their faith outside of Sunday morning." That means folks like you, Dr. Keith Burgess-Jackson (the Anal Philosopher), and Dr. John Ray (Dissecting Leftism, Greenie Watch, A Western Heart, etc, etc.) 2) The re-posting of your June, 2004 post that I do, indeed, consider a profound insight, and takes you far off of the roles of the militant atheists.

-These parodies are intended to tweak Grandpa John as promised during our conversations at Jerry's & Cheryl's while celebrating his 60th (heh) birthday.

-These parodies are intended to mimic the style of Jesusisjustalrightwithme and others of his ilk. He enjoys using statements that liken the Bible to a 'shitty' book and calls Jesus an asshole, etc.

Re: "...'separation of church and state'. I defy you to produce one person who makes such an assertion." Will this answer your defy-nition? "The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach." Justice Hugo Black, writing the U. S. Supreme Court majority decision in Everson v. Board of Education, February 10, 1947. Dodge? Ford, maybe, but never a Dodge.

""Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." To me this means "go ahead and worship however you want, just don't expect the government to help you do it." How hard is that?" How hard is it to find out the discussions that went on during the formation of The Bill of Rights? It is not difficult to find out the actions of the Legislature and Executive branches after their own Bill of Rights was enacted that belie the understanding of Justice Black as to what they had intended? Or did they enact it, then turn right around and nullify it by their subsequent actions (even someone like Jefferson, whose religion is quite debatable)?

Of course, all this is exacerbated by the growth of the federal government, now having its tentacles reaching into areas unimagined by the Founders. I would imagine that I could parody that with similar impudence and find agreement with you in much of it.

Warning! I have more parodies in the works.

Todd said...

All right, as long as I've got the rant off my chest I can lighten up a little. But just a little. Steve, if you want to keep propping up these stereotypes just so you can knock them down again, well, you should do what you like. Just please bear in mind, when you do that, you're not only talking about random strangers or amorphous out-groups. You're talking about me too. I am not an anti-Christian bigot, and I resent the implication.

Now I need to make a couple admissions. This bit: I'll address that last one: 'separation of church and state'. I defy you to produce one person who makes such an assertion... The 'assertion' intended was that this phrase actually appears in the Constitution, as you implied in your post. I was unclear. Of course it isn't in there, but the concept is, and the fact that government-run schools aren't allowed to promote religion does not in any way interfere with the ability of individual religionists (I just made that word up, I'm so proud) to observe their beliefs. As you also implied. [Idiot junior-high VPs notwithstanding.]
Second, quoting my two-year-old post isn't the same as discussing it or even considering it. The admission? I didn't understand the Calvin reference. [Isn't he the 'dangling over the pit by a spider web' guy? What the hell are you talking about?]

One more, for now, and to answer Lance's question. "Rational philosophers know that proving a negative such as 'there is no God' is impossible. The basis for atheism, therefore, starts with an act of blind faith," I have repeatedly stated that atheists don't need to make such a statement. We don't need any statement at all. It's the religious believers who make the assertion: 'God exists and has the following characteristics...' My response to this assertion is, and has always been, 'gee, how do you know that?'

It's late. More later. Maybe.

Steve said...

Todd,

Re: The analogy with John Calvin-

Todd:"One does not choose beliefs. One comes to them... So where do these things come from? I cited ‘experience and reflection,’ but that’s not completely satisfactory either. What experiences can I credit with having formed my religious/political views?"

Calvin: "For this reason, it is said that believers, in embracing Christ, are 'born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.'(John 1:13); in other words, that the flesh has no capacity for such sublime wisdom as to apprehend God, and the things of God, unless illumined by his Spirit."

The analogy? One does not choose one's beliefs, one comes to them. (Or they come to one)

As I said... insightful.

"You're talking about me too. I am not an anti-Christian bigot, and I resent the implication."

If a clear explanation of the text, taken from the text, doesn't refute an imagined 'implication', there's not much else I can do.

samuel said...

Preach on brother