Newspaper Columnist Takes Down Religious Reader with a Series of Questions

Last month, Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Steven Kalas wrote a piece in which he referred to Republicans pandering to the Religious Right:

Steven Kalas

One of his readers didn’t like that and said as much in an email to him:

… I take exception to your comment about Republicans pandering to “religious right.” I am so tired of this phrase, as it makes us sound crazy for believing in our Christian Bibles and our God. I didn’t vote for anyone or anything that is in any way against my biblical teachings and beliefs, and I know that God will judge those who did and continue to do so…

I’m glad you are grateful to perform your civic duty [to vote]. Just don’t forget that God expects to have an input, too. If you’re an atheist, then I’ve just lost interest in your column.

So Kalas did something that religious people absolutely hate: He took his reader’s beliefs to their logical conclusion.

(Even better: He did it in a style worthy of Pete-Wells-taking-down-Guy-Fieri.)

Let’s say that, up until the Nov. 11 column, you have found my column interesting. What will you do if you should find out now, too late, that I’m an atheist? This would mean that, all this time, you thought an atheist was interesting. You are free to stop reading the column, but you will be unable to deny that you once found an atheist interesting. Will this be a dilemma for you?

And, if it’s true that you are interested only in theistic writers, not to mention that your God will judge anything and anyone who is “in any way against (your) biblical teachings and beliefs,” then why wouldn’t you find out whether I’m an atheist before you even allowed for the possibility of having your interest seduced by a God-denying columnist in a local newspaper? I’m really curious about this. Is it enough for you to give me fair warning? To put me on notice that, should you discover I’m an atheist, then my column will be less one interested reader? Or did it ever cross your mind to ask?

Silly columnist, asking a religious reader to question her own warped thinking…

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Coyotenose

    If he thinks the phrase “Religious Right” makes those it describes sound crazy, that isn’t actually a problem with the phrase. The phrase is not inherently judgmental; rather, the phrase became a description of negative behavior that that political block displayed.  The reader him(?)self knows how crazy they sound and is just demanding that everyone else shut up so that he doesn’t have to think about it.

    • John

       I don’t see the problem with the phrase itself either.  Republicans are objectively right-wing in terms of American politics (and they frequently identify as such), and he freely admitted to basing his politics in his religious views.  Put the two together, and…

      • Greg Gay

         I suspect the trigger word was actually  “pandering”.

        • jdm8

          I think that’s the trigger too. It might well be in the eye of the beholder, but I do see it as pandering on the part of several GOP politicians, especially the likes of Brownback, Perry, Bachmann and Santorum. Some of them believe it, but I think they all know that a significant portion of their base is religious.

        • John

           It says phrase, though.  And based on the quotation mark placement, it really seems that the focus is on “religious right,” so that doesn’t make much sense unless they conveyed their meaning poorly.

      • Antinomian

        “Put the two together, and…”
        It equals three? The integer does work in mysterious ways..

  • ortcutt

    He shouldn’t give this fellow any ideas.  The Religious Right has already withdrawn into its own bubble.  They read their own “historians”, their own “scientists”, their own “journalists”.  They shop at bookstores where you can’t even publish Christian books that include the word “vagina”.   They keep their kids schooled at home so they can maintain that bubble without any intrusions from the outside world.  Then they send those kids to a Christian college like Patrick Henry College, Liberty University, or Regent University, or some local Christian college.   They’ve become as insular as Haredi Jews living in their own bubble in Brooklyn.  (Remember their rally against the Internet, good luck with that)  Then they wonder why they fail to speak to the wider world.

    • ConChr

      I am impressed. Your clearly extensive knowledge of Christianity (you must now all of them) has led you to some logical conclusions.  Clearly, since you are the world’s leading authority on Christians, all Christians fall into this far right category.  It would be absurd to think any differently.  Speaking as student who was public schooled his whole life and is now attending Virginia Tech, I must not be a religious conservative.

      I am a conservative Christian and I find the writings of atheists, deists, monotheists, polytheists, etc. equally interesting. One’s beliefs should not preclude another from listening to your opinion.

      • Question Everything

        Odd, I notice ortcutt talking about the Religious Right specifically, not about Christians in general.  Clearly, they were exaggerating for effect in any case, but you purposefully misreading Religious Right as Christianity is interesting as well.

        I do agree about the rest – I find it fascinating to read from many sources as well.

        • Peekaboo

          What Christian authors have you read recently?

          • pureone

            What are you asking? Authors who write books about anything but christianity/apologetics and happen to be christian? 

            Do you mean something like the pre-nicene new testament? Cannonized new testament? 

            Do you mean like Behe’s “darwin’s black box” or the better Millers “Finding Darwin’s God”?

            Do you mean books that I can tell are nothing but an argument from ignorance/incredulity or start with presupposition? Not even worth the time except to look for logical fallacies.

            • Peekaboo

              I think every book in existence starts with some form of presupposition. So with your sarcastic remark am I to presuppose that you don’t read anything but literally judge each and every book by it’s cover?

              Oh, my original comment was meant for pureone by the way.

              • Pureone

                Hardly sarcastic. You asked what Christian authors someone had read, and I was simply trying to discern the type of writings. 

                I used Behe and Miller to show this point- both are Christians- Behe’s book was an argument from incredulity/ignorance for ID, Millers was a refutation of ID. 

                I read mostly non-fiction, with the exception of anti-science creationist nonsense, apologetics and the bible.

                I can judge what an apologist will probably say by what the said apologist has said before.  Strobel, Comfort, others just re-hash PRATT lists and old arguments.

          • Question Everything

            Why does that matter?  The original post was about the Religious Right, not about Christians.  Unless you want to say that all Christian authors are Religious Right, I don’t see the need to answer that question to confirm my previous post.

      • Patterrssonn

        Interesting that you interpret a ortcutt’s reference to the religious right as applying to all Christians.

      • Matt in Memphis

        I am not impressed with your hair-trigger hypersensitivity and terrible reading comprehension skills. Did you respond to the wrong comment? How can you possibly take ortcutt’s statement about the “religious right” as a statement about “all Christians?”  

      • RobMcCune

        Right, because all statements are categorical, and general trends can be disproven by single counter examples.

      • ortcutt

         Just out of curiousity, how would you describe your religious beliefs?  Age of the Earth, Evolution of Man, Non-Christians going to Heaven, USA is a “Christian Nation”, etc….?  I’m just curious what a self-described “conservative Christian” actually believes.

      • Carmelita Spats

         What do you mean by “conservative Christian”? If you are reading sources that conflict with “conservative Christianity”, you must stop before the Devil tempts your mind. If you are reading heretical words and leading others astray, you must burn the books! Do not be spiritually arrogant and think that you can just  spend the whole year having
        fun at God’s expense, reading heresy, and tiptoe into a Bible believing church on Easter Sunday
        morning thinking that everything is just a-ok with Jesus…You are in
        for a big surprise!  At the very least, the deacons will call the police and have you arrested for
        trespassing and trying to break and enter into God’s Holy House!  Praise
        Jesus!  Your holy book commands the following: “And we pull down reasonings and every high thing that is exalted against
        the knowledge of God, and we take all minds prisoner to the obedience
        of The Messiah.” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Also, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and
        wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with
        darkness?” (2 Corinthians, 6:14). In the end, you must obey, submit and sacrifice…and that means your mind. But what do I know…I’m just an atheist who used to preach this nonsense.

        • Peekaboo

          Nothing in your response refers to Christians reading only Christian books though or refers to burning them right?  A person can obey, submit and sacrifice their mind while reading a non-Chritian author. 

          If our faith and belief is never tested then it’s not worth much.

      • Coyotenose

         Thanks for proving my own point while responding (poorly) to someone else.

      • Count_Von_Krolock

         Context, dear fellow, context.

  • Sven2547

    When the American far-right uses “because God says so” as their primary justification for countless social issues, then YES, I think “religious right” is a good fit.

  • smrnda

    I think this is why conservative Christian media filters exist – unsuspecting Christians might read an op-ed by a guy who isn’t a Christian. It isn’t about protecting them from non-Christian viewpoints so much  but keeping them from realizing that people who aren’t Christians can be sensible, decent people that are worth listening to. You can’t demonize the ‘others’ unless you keep your flock in the dark about what other people are like. 

    • Peekaboo

      Your last sentence can easily be said about “Left-Wing” atheists as well though couldn’t it? I wouldn’t say it, but I know a lot of people unfortunately do. It’s easier to take a wide brush and to paint a broad portrait. The problem with doing this from either side of the “the aisle” is that it’s just not accurate. People are more complicated than that. It’s easier to take that brush and label someone, but in fact we need toothpicks to paint with if we want a more accurate picture of we are as people. Painting with a toothpick is extremely tedious and requires a lot of patient investment. That’s we want the bigger brush. I’m often guilty of this too.

      Several times I’ve referred to books or authors who are thinkers AND Christians. People fired back and said oh that person believes this and try to shape their whole authorship into a single sentence. Considering that author writes an average of about 600 pages per book, I’m assuming they hadn’t read everything, if ANYTHING written by the author. Big brush in hand, “He’s a Christian. He’s an author. He must be a loony!”

      Ah, if we would all slow down and LISTEN to what each other has to say. Take time to understand each other’s hearts. I think a) There would be more compromises b) There would be less venomous attacks from both sides c) A lot more agreeing to disagreeing so we can all move on.

      • Antinomian

        Peekaboo, as long as the religious continue to push the idea of their God
        on everyone else, especially those of us who don’t accept the extrordinary claims made by the religious without any evidence whatsoever, the disagreements will always be heated. To think otherwise would be naive.

        • Peekaboo

          True. I guess I draw the line pretty early on. I would openly discuss what I believe with someone, but would never push. 

          Heck, I don’t even push people to try out for the teams that I coach. I simply identify students who I think would be successful on my team and say I’d love to have them play for me. I make it clear though that I will NOT pressure them into playing. 

          I do know of a lot of pushy Christians though. I know a lot of pushy atheists too. Neither are correct. Just believe and let be people. 

  • Octoberfurst

     I thought he gave a brilliant reply to the wingnut Christian.  And yes, more and more conservative Christians try to live in their own little bubble world. (They don’t want to be contaminated by any ideas that might contradict their narrow worldview.)

  • Atoswald

    “I’m glad you are grateful to perform your civic duty [to vote]. Just don’t forget that God expects to have an input, too.”

    I will never understand why this omnipotent god needs help from his followers. If god wants to cast a vote, or a million votes, or all of the votes in an election, what exactly is stopping him?

  • MyScienceCanBeatUpYourGod

    “I am so tired of this phrase, as it makes us sound crazy for believing in our Christian Bibles and our God”You’ve got it backwards, lady. The words “religious right” aren’t to scary by themselves. You guys believing in Christian Bibles and God are what make the words sound crazy.

    • Willy Occam

       “…it makes us sound crazy for believing in our Christian Bibles and our God.”If the sandal fits….

    • Sharon Hypatiia

      Love your name…

  • ScienceCantExistWithoutGod

    I am always amazed by just how little atheists really know about Christians and/or Christianity.  It is clear that many Atheists view the Republican party as a ” Christian party” lol.  If the Republican party really did ” pander ” to the religious right they never would have put Romney up as a candidate, as Mormons are viewed as ” apostates ” or ” cult ” followers by most Christians.
    The reader that decided to write his response was mistaken in his comment suggesting that God would only judge those that ” write ” or ” do  ” things that are against his biblical teachings or beliefs.  The bible guarantees that everyone will individually face judgement for ” All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God” Romans 3:23   ” For the wages of sin is death” Romans 6:23  
    ” Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it.  Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them.  And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened.  Another book was opened, which is the book of life.  The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.  The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, ___AND EACH PERSON WAS JUDGED ACCORDING TO WHAT HE HAD DONE___.  Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire.  The lake of fire is the second death.  If anyones name was not found in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.  Revelation 20: 11-15
    Kalas’ logic is completely flawed.  In essense he is arguing that if a Christian enjoys anything an Atheist writes then the Christian has sinned and will go to hell.  The bible doesn’t teach that talking with an Atheist gets you a ticket to hell, or even enjoying what an Atheist has to say.  Atheists are created in the image of God just as much as any fundamentalist Christian.  The problem is that we ” All” are full of sin and unable to stand in the Holy presence of God.  ” Our good deeds are as filthy( blood soaked) rags before God.  So the default destination for everyone is Hell.  We choose hell every day thousands of times a day with our selfish, covetous, evil lusts.  We are guaranteed the ” lake of fire” for high treason against an infinite God.  That is unless someone were to pay our penalty for us.  The penalty though is infinity of torment for offending an infinite God.  How can a finite being pay for infinity?  1.  By spending infinity in the ” lake of fire reserved for Satan and his angels”, or 2.  By God himself paying the infinite debt we owe by his own death, i.e.; the death of his son Jesus Christ.
         Good deeds won’t get anyone to heaven, only Jesus Christ.  That is what Christians believe, not the silly strawman that Kalas is presenting to refute the reader who could have worded his response better.

    • Brian Scott

      Ohai, thanks for regaling us with silly ass confused philosophy that we haven’t heard thousands of times before! Amusing you accuse us of not understanding Christianity when you just literally regurgitated everything you could find off CARM.

      • ScienceCantExistWithoutGod

        Brian,
             How is my philosophy confused exactly?  I’m not affiliated with CARM, I just quoted the bible.
        Thank you.

        • Brian Scott

          See the link above. Your philosophy is confused because it does not recognise the difference between the map and the territory. Until it does, it is worse than useless.

    • Brian Scott

      P.S. desert is a map, and your map has blood and shit on it. In other words, you want people who question your belief to be tortured eternally. So please piss off with your sanctimonious crap about “high treason”.

      • ScienceCantExistWithoutGod

        Hello Brian,
            I agree that not every Christian is the same, or at least not everyone calling themselves Christians are the same.  So how does that make my statement about  the strawman fallacy irrelevant?  Please elaborate so I can better understand your point.
             How is my theology warped?  Please explain a little more in depth.

             I agree that some people calling themselves Christians engage in unChristian behavior, and do indulge in hypocritcal sinful behavior, and I also agree that it is very difficult to tell the difference between Christians or any other person of any other belief system these days.  That is a real problem in churches today.  Maybe they really don’t believe in God as much as they say they do, because if they believed God was right there watching do you think they would do these things?
             I  certainly don’t want anyone to be be tortured eternally, and neither does God.  2 Peter 3:9 ” The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.  He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance”.  I don’t mind people questioning what I believe, actually I enjoy it when people challenge what I believe.  I challenge what I believe more than anyone else, because that is the only way to really know what is true.  If you put what you believe to test and bring the most difficult challenges to bear, then you will find out what is true if you are intellectually honest. 
             It his high treason to try to take the place of God isn’t it?  If we deny Gods existence, and view ourselves as God ( humanism, anthropomorphism, Naturalism).  That is exactly what we are doing …replacing worship/ love of God for worship/love of his creation through Psuedo science and paganism.
        Thank you.

        • Brian Scott

          You missed the key part “question your belief”. The sincerity of saying “oh, I don’t want you to be tortured” is the same sincerity as a member of the Mafia saying “I don’t want to break your legs!” So your intellectual dishonesty is already on record.

          And then you go equating “humanism” with viewing humans as gods… that’s not mere disagreement, that is just wilful lying… this is not even giving credence to the idea that “disobedience” (read: not adhering to theology of a certain warmed-over Neoplatonic gnostic jackass of Tarsus) equates to “high treason”. Your accusation of guilt and supposed owed loyalty betray the wretchedness of your morality.

          • ScienceCantExistWithoutGod

            Brian,
             
                You seem pretty angry toward Christianity.  Logically if your Atheistic belief were really true, then you wouldn’t care at all what Christians believe, but since you obviously do care, you demonstrate that you really don’t believe Atheism is true at all.
                 Logically if there is a Divine creator, then this creator has complete authority to ‘ tell us how to live ‘.  The fallacy of your example of  a member of the mafia saying ” I don’t want to break your legs ”  is the fallacy of trying to equate God, and repentant sinners to a mafia organization.  That isn’t even  realisitic.  The better example would be to compare Atheists and Christians as a  large group of lying murderers who are facing execution for crimes they clearly committed.  The Christians are admitting their crimes and begging forgivness, the Atheists are denying they have done anything wrong. 
                Murderers, theives and drug addicts go to prison all the time here on earth.  I would rather they not get to the point of going to prison in the first place, but rather that they not murder, steal or take drugs from the start.  That is not intellectual dishonesty.
                 Humanism is Anthropomorphic, that is ( man centered).  There is no room for God in Humanism.  By kicking God out of his position ( in a persons’ mind) then that person is declaring his/herself to be God.  If you were involved in a court case, and declared you didn’t believe the judge to an authority and acted as though you were the real authority, you can quickly see that this idea is usurping the authority of God.
                 How can my morality be wretched if there is no God?  If Atheism is true, who can say my morality is any worse than any other?  Even if I am willfully lying ( which I am not) who are you to say I am wrong to do that if there is no moral lawgiver to say it is wrong?  What exactly is your basis to claim anyone is wrong to lie?  Without God there is no good or evil.  Good and evil become relative.  When truth becomes relative, there really is no truth, and logically the worldview collapses upon itself. 
            Thank you.

            • Brian Scott

              “You seem pretty angry toward Christianity.  Logically if your Atheistic belief were really true, then you wouldn’t care at all what Christians believe, but since you obviously do care, you demonstrate that you really don’t believe Atheism is true at all.”

              You mangy motherfucker.

              http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=2122
              “Logically, if your belief that the Nazi state has no ultimate legitimate power were really true, you wouldn’t care about Nazis, but since you do care, that means you take the claims of Nazis seriously!”By using that argument, you have given up all privilege of holding any intellectual ground. You are a filthy little muckraker set out to psychologically trap others. Because of this, this is my final response to you.So yes, intellectually dishonest and an apologist for dictatorship policies. If you want to compare the gaffs of the regular populace to murder, then your vile little morality has no place in this world. So yes, the mafia comparison still stands because you have not shown the whole world is full of evil people except in your deluded little mind where a lying is equivalent to genocide. If you are so truly mired in your own debauched religion that you can’t see the absurdity of it, ask yourself why insects don’t go to hell. Hint: the status of the wronged is not the basisFurther hint: morality is an input evaluation based on human motivation. Morality exists not because a god exists, but because we evaluate. And I evaluate you to be a torture apologist, a tyranny apologist and intellectually dishonest. If you don’t think torture or tyranny are immoral then please go away. You’re as welcome here as an apologist for North Korea.

    • amycas

      ” Good deeds won’t get anyone to heaven, only Jesus Christ. ”

      How does one get to heaven, if not by some act on their part? Does Jesus’ supposed sacrifice allow everybody in automatically? If not, how does God choose which people to let in?

      • ScienceCantExistWithoutGod

        Amycas,

             Please refer to my rather long blog to Cat.  I quoted Jesus in John 3:16.  If you look it up in the bible it is a good idea to start with John 3:1 and read through to John 3:21.  Jesus explains it better than I can.
        Thank you

    • http://twitter.com/catdumpling Cat MacKinnon

      “…AND EACH PERSON WAS JUDGED ACCORDING TO WHAT HE HAD DONE…”

      then

      “Good deeds won’t get anyone to heaven…”

      so which is it? does the Bible have a grammatical error, where the phrase “what he had done” really should’ve read “what he believed”? because isn’t the Bible supposed to be the infallible and unerring word of God? or is the statement in the Bible correct (literally and grammatically), and you’re directly contradicting it with your “good deeds won’t get anyone into heaven” bit? i’m also assuming you transcribed it directly as it’s written in the Bible, because, y’know, ALL CAPS and all that.

      either way, i’m pretty sure the church doesn’t approve of either of those sorts of things (theoretically at least. in practice they do seem to be pretty lenient when it comes to manipulating the rules as they see fit.)

      • ScienceCantExistWithoutGod

        Hello Cat,
             Thank you for the great questions and giving me the opportunity to respond.
             Your first question was ” so which is it?” referring to my two statements, the first being a direct quote from the NIV version of the holy bible, and the second being my statement ” Good deeds won’t get anyone to heaven.  Apparently you believe these statements to be contradictory.  Your statement is actually the logical Fallacy of Bifurcation otherwise known as the ” Either/Or” fallacy.  It is stating that there are only 2 possible conclusions, when in reality there may be a 3rd option or more.  In this case it is the question of what the bible means by ” being judged” .  My main point in posting that verse was to show that ” Everyone ” will face judgement, that much is certain.
             The easiest way for me to answer your question is to first answer what in fact does ” get us to heaven”.  This includes any and/or all of us.  John 3:16 would be the one verse that would likely be used to condense the entire bible into one idea of salvation.  Jesus explained  to Nicodemus ( a Pharisee who came to see him by night for fear of the ruling Jewish council).  John 3:16 ” For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.  Jesus didn’t say whosoever does enough good things will have eternal life, nor did he say those who don’t do enough good things will suffer eternal condemnation.  The idea here is Sole Grace’ or Grace alone.  The apostle Paul points this out in Romans also when he reminds us that it was  the fact that Abraham believed  God that  was the basis for God ‘ Accounting righteousness to Abraham ‘ it wasn’t what Abraham did or any good deed.  So it is by the Grace of God ( the opposite of Judgement) that we could at all be able to be allowed in the presence of God.  
             The judgement referred to in Revelation relates primarily to people who stand in front of God with the expectation that the deeds of their entire life is good enough.  Unfortunately God judges by contrasting his own Holiness against whatever standard his created beings decide to be judged by.  There is no possibility other than a perfect life that anyone will gain access to heaven.  Let me repeat that…you have to be absolutely perfect, and without any sin to get into heaven.  Christians will be judged by the life Jesus Christ lived, just by believing in him.  ( Believing is not consciously agreeing that Jesus is real, even Satan believes Jesus is real and is not saved by that).  Belief is agreeing that Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, God in the flesh and making him Lord of your life.  Consider the Thief on the cross, if you are unfamiliar with this story recounted in Luke, the thief that was dying on the cross to Jesus left admitted he was getting what he deserved and asked Jesus to ” remember him” when Jesus entered his kingdom.  Jesus answered by telling him ” Truly, truly I say to you, today you will dine with me in paradise”.  This thief had done nothing but ‘bad’ deeds pretty much all of his life.  His last act was just asking Jesus to remember him, yet he gained access to heaven.  If it is good works that get us to heaven, the thief certainly should not have been able to go, yet he did.
             Nonbelievers will be judged for their deeds as well, since they are also included in the ” All ” that I capitalized.   Some will suffer worse than others, Hitler for example likely will endure a greater punishment in Hell than say..someone who only murdered a few people.  Jesus himself said of Judas Iscariot ( the apostle that betrayed him to the Sanhedrin) that ” it would have been better for him to never have been born “.
               Notice that Revelation also stated that the ” Dead ” were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.  The ” Dead ” refers to people who do not have the saving grace of the only name under heaven.  The ” Dead” are judged by their own works recorded in these ” books “.  Every deed ever done in your entire life is recorded and judged in this ” White throne judgement”.  It isn’t the ” living” that are judged, because judgement has already been passed on Jesus for us.  He withstood the absolute awful judgement of God the Father in the believers place.   
         Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to post actual examples of cases where the bible refers to salvation by grace, and not by works.  One more thing…..EVERY religion in the world teaches salvation by works EXCEPT Christianity, which is why Christianity is not truly a religion at all, but rather a relationship with a person, based on the person of Jesus Christ who the bible teaches is ” Emmanuel ” translated as ” God With Us”.  Jesus offered his own resurrection as proof of his Divinity to the Jewish leaders of his time ( predicted this before his death  and subsequent reserruction which still stands to this day).

        Thank you. 

        • Brian Scott

          Speaking of fallacies:

          “EVERY religion in the world teaches salvation by works EXCEPT Christianity”

          Fallacy 1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C5%8Ddo_Shinsh%C5%AB#Doctrine

          Fallacy 2: Assumption that religion is about soteriology and not about relationships with the divine as well. Go on, ask a pagan why they practice their rituals. Betcha at least a few of them will speak about relationships with the gods.

          • ScienceCantExistWithoutGod

            Brian,

                 The first mistake is to appeal to Wikipedia.org as a trustworthy source of information.  I did go to the link and immediately read this ” which claims humanity’s ability to listen to and practice the Buddha-Dharma (the Buddhist teachings) deteriorates over time and loses effectiveness in bringing individual practitioners closer to Buddhahood. ” Notice it says the word practice the Buddha-Dharma teachings.  Obviously you need to ” practice” these teachings in order to reach ” Nirvana “, or in other words it is a ” works” or ” deeds ” oriented religion.  So much for fallacy 1.
                 fallacy 2.  You still must behave in a certain way i. e. ” rituals ” as you cited in order to obtain what you want.  In Christianity, the behavior is motivated by a response to what God freely offers not the other way around.
            Thank you.

            • Brian Scott

              I.e. “I can’t do my own research so I’ll riff on the one source you give me because it helps my position” Here you go.

              http://www.tbc.on.ca/index.php?/jodo_shinshu_buddhism/detail/category/jodo_shinshu_teachings/

              Money quote: “Both oso and genso are the benefit that are brought about by the working of the Primal Vow. This is the saving work of Other Power, which totally denies self power. It is the great path in which we totally rely on the Vow of Amida Buddha and it enables all sentient beings to attain supreme enlightenment.”

              This is no different than your claim to need to live a perfect life to attain heaven without Christ, otherwise you need the saving power of a redeemer. So yes, fallacy 1 is still in place.

              Fallacy 2 is also still in place because you can’t randomly say one particular behaviour (“trust” or whatever) is arbitrarily “not works” while others are. Again, ask your local pagans. The theory of the mechanisms behind the rituals will vary, but you will get those who will equally respond that such behaviour is rooted in the love of the gods, especially if you talk with pagans more influenced by  Greco-Roman theology.

              • ScienceCantExistWithoutGod

                Brian,
                     Thank you for providing a better resource than Wikipedia.
                     I want to point out that Amida Buddha is dead.  I read that in the link you gave me.  Mohammed is also dead.  In fact every founder of every religion is dead and gone, with one exception…Jesus Christ.  The eyewitnessess that were closest to him, as well as the apostle Paul who was radically trying to kill Christians, all testified to the point of unpleasant death that this is true.   Since Jesus is still alive ( and Ascended), and he predicted this would happen then he has proven he is divine, and his words are true.  But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.  Acts 2:24.    In his word, he has told us that all men are like ” sheep” and have gone astray, in other words it is impossible to ” live the perfect life”.  We can’t do it no matter how hard we try.  God allows us to try, but no matter how hard we try we will certainly fail to be perfect and please God.  If you could point to someone who has attained this “Buddha ” perfection and is living a perfect life free of any possibility of death I am ” all ears “.  The bible tells us ” The wages of sin is death ” Romans 6:23.  Amida “Buddha has no authority to speak on divine topics, because he has died just as all have died in the past, and like you and I will die in the future.  Only one has escaped that penalty, and has any authority to describe what is true and what isn’t.  Anything which disagrees with something proven to be true, must logically be false.  The bible informs us that Satan is a lion ” roaring about” seeking whom he might destroy.
                     Fallacy 1. is no fallacy, because the perfect life is not possible with sinful humans…it DOESN’T EXIST.  That is like saying Santa Claus will get you to heaven.  If you can demonstrate one human being that still exists that is perfect ( other than Jesus Christ) I will agree with you that I am logically in error.
                     Fallacy 2.  Receiving the gift of Jeuss Christ is passive, just like receiving any gift.  There is no work involved to receive a free gift, you either accept or reject.  Put it in a context we can all relate to.  A person can boast how hard they ” worked ” to earn money to pay for good works such as feeding the poor, or helping widows.  A person cannot boast about how they worked to receive a gift of 1 million dollars, especially as in the case of salvation an unearned and undeserved gift.  It’s a gift. There is a very big difference between what you are describing ( works to get us closer to God/ or the Gods) and what I am describing ( receiving a free unearned and undeserved gift).  There is no fallacy on my part here.
                Thank you

        • http://twitter.com/catdumpling Cat MacKinnon

          i am well aware that there are rarely only two options to choose in a given situation. however, those were the only two options you gave, and i still think it’s a valid question because i was basing it on the context in which they were presented. in other words, i chose those two statements simply because those were the two that you made.

          of course i could’ve brought up any number of other “options” that various denominations follow or believe, but that could’ve quickly gotten out of hand based on subtle nuances alone. my choice of “choices” was mostly for the sake of brevity.

    • Coyotenose

       The Republicans put up Romney because he was the only one with a serious shot at winning. Then they tried to downplay the Mormon-Every Other Christian relationship to reduce the cognitive dissonance. This was made clear in every right-wing statement by Romney or any other major figure on the subject.

      This has been known like all year. The Religious Right’s control of the Republican party has been well-documented for about THIRTY-THREE YEARS. They don’t even try to deny it. Why are you so bad at this?

      Oh, I’m sorry, I know why. Scroll up to Ortcutt’s original post. It’s because your insular religious culture makes you ignorant denialists.

    • RobertoTheChi

      Uhhhh…thanks for that explanation. Makes perfect sense. *facepalm*

      • ScienceCantExistWithoutGod

        Roberto,

             Please explain what you have difficulty with in my explanation.  If you point out any Logical Fallacies on my part I would very much appreciate it.
        Thank you.

    • RowanVT

      I am terribly amused by the fact that you don’t seem to realise that a large percentage, maybe even the majority, of atheists were once christians. I was once christian. I believed, and prayed fervently every night. But no one answered. Not even with a simple feeling that I was actually talking to anyone but myself.

      • Willy Occam

        The Ex-Christian’s Five Stages of Prayer:
        1) Guilt that you can’t feel God’s presence or hear him respond to your prayers.
        2) Relief that it’s not your fault for “doing it wrong.”
        3) Anger that your parents and clergy made you believe in this nonsense.
        4) Disbelief that others still buy into this crap.
        5) Fear that the voices they hear in their heads are the result of psychosis.

        • ScienceCantExistWithoutGod

          Lol Good one Willy.

          1)    No reason to feel guilt for not feeling God’s presence, and God doesn’t respond in a loud voice for us.  No reason for faith if God did that all the time.  Then nobody could choose not to believe, they would grudgingly have to believe.

          2)     If you read what the apostles were like or most of the old testament saints, you quickly realize that none of them were even close to ” doing it right”.  It is what God does, and not what you do.  He chose to die for us even while we were still enemies of God.

          3)     Nonsense is Non-sense or lack of reason and logic.  Reason cannot exist without God, nor can Logic.  Atheists have no basis to provide for how reason or logic can even exist.  If everything came from nothing, or everything came from an infinitely compressed nugget that suddenly exploded then how did reason and logic come about?  I realize that Atheists use reason to argue against Christianity, but they have to borrow specifically from Christianity to even make an argument.  It is kinda like arguing that air doesn’t exist, but every time you take a breath you prove it’s existence.  For that matter Atheists can’t explain Morality, Reliability of the senses, Dignity ( human value) or Uniformity of the universe either.

          4)     I find I have the same disbelief of Atheists.  In fact I don’t believe there are such things as intellectually honest Atheists.  It’s a spiritual problem.

          5)     lol, it could very well be psychosis, but in that case the logic would be easily proven to be false, I encourage you to do just that.  The voices could also be fallen angels ( demonic activity) that the bible says occurs and has occurred.  How would we disprove that one?

          • Brian Scott

            3 =  you’re confusing yourself again. Syntax errors.

            Hint: methodologies are not concrete objects. And their validity is borne out by their predictive utility, not by a special mystic property. Same with morality.

            Please do keep in mind when you talk about “borrowing” from Christianity that a) Christianity did not even invent logic/reason. They just use it with their own presuppositions/axioms to convince themselves on the validity of concepts without predictive power and b) it’s not even the only thing atheists use. See: http://lesswrong.com/lw/i3/making_beliefs_pay_rent_in_anticipated_experiences/

      • ScienceCantExistWithoutGod

        Rowan,
             I do realize that a large portion of Atheists are people who vacated churches, that has been documented in the book ‘ Already Gone’, and I was one of those Atheists.  Maybe God has given you an answer, but you didn’t really listen.  I can personally attest that God does make himself known.  I don’t know your personal situation, but I do know for a fact that God is quite real.  I know this from so many different angles that there is no room for any doubt.
        Thank you.

    • Kaydenpat

       Kalas is an atheist.  He doesn’t believe in any of the things you wrote.  And are you assuming that all Christians believe in an eternal hell?

  • Bdole

    Here’s another question for the reader: How long ago did your god ordain you the sole arbiter of his will?

    “…against my biblical teachings and beliefs, and I know that God will judge those who did and continue to do so…”

    Yeeeah. THAT doesn’t sound crazy at all.

  • NotTHATguest

    “Just don’t forget that God expects to have an input, too”
    He does? Then he better get his ass registered to vote.

    • se habla espol

      Can’t do it.  The Religious Right  has seen to it that any voter registration (at least in my state) must demonstrate proof of residence, a birth certificate, and photo id.  The photo id must be presented to vote, also.  This is to prevent “voter fraud,” they say.
      I guess it’s OK:  the RR census insists shows no more than three persons in the god class. That makes gods a minority, and therefore likely to vote for democrats, which just can’t be allowed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rocky-Morrison/100001552602936 Rocky Morrison

    Columnists are just propagandists, whether left, right, or center.

  • Kaydenpat

    “I didn’t vote for anyone or anything that is in any way against my
    biblical teachings and beliefs, and I know that God will judge those who
    did and continue to do so…”

    She believes that her God will judge others who vote against her religious beliefs?  Interesting that she thinks non-believers would care about voting in accordance with her biblical interpretations.  

    Wonder if she responded to Kalas.
     


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