Another Sane Atheist

tries to warn the atheist subculture that they act like Napoleon Dynamite with a mean streak.  He is, naturally, rebuffed in his comboxes by the Cult of Dawkins and the sort of people who are convinced they are the apex predators of our time while they struggle to get dates.

  • Steve

    Peter Kreeft noted that in order to be an atheist, you have to believe that 98% of all human beings how have ever lived were completely wrong about the most important thing in their lives – and that you, by comparison, are part of the 2% with the clarity to see through the fog.

    Humility, while not impossible, would be an immense challenge to maintain.

    I’d add that he does do that obnoxious thing with the word atheist, which is to describe it as a “lack of belief in God”. The New Atheist movement knows that any statement of positive belief requires actual evidence, so they cannot use the classical definition of “atheist” (which is a positive belief that there is no God). But the word “agnostic” just doesn’t have the same vigor and coolness. So they simply change the word atheist to mean agnostic. And when you point out this fact, they mock you for not understanding the word “atheist”.

    • Kyle

      It seems to me like everyone is lost in the ‘fog’ together. So when
      someone thinks they see they path, they are obligated to point it out
      and explain what they see. Before we had convincing evidence, what
      fraction of people believed the earth was flat, or that the sun orbited
      the earth? I would guess it was likely in that 98%-100% range.
      Nonetheless we now know those views are false. The point being that what
      people believe has no bearing on reality.

      I would also encourage
      you to look up the definition of atheist in several different sources. I
      think you will see that ‘athesit’ is actually defined as someone who does
      not believe in any deities. It hardly seems obnoxious to use the label
      in it’s true sense. Proving a negative claim is very nearly impossible
      to do.

      • Pofarmer

        We need to also keep in mind, that for an awful lot of it’s history, the Church had the power of life and death over adherents and non adherents alike. Having the wrong opinion could get you killed. Printing the bible got not only the printer killed, but the guy who financed it. That’s strong incentive not to buck the establishment, whether you believe them or not. We’ve gone from the God who came down and spoke with Moses, and Elijah, and Adam, etal, to the God who must have created the conditions to set the world in motion. So, there have been some gains.

        • Procopius

          “Printing the bible got not only the printer killed, but the guy who financed it.”

          Citation please

          • Pofarmer
            • Procopius

              First, the link you cite does not substantiate your claim that the Church had a sub decreta injunction for the capital punishment of bible printers and financiers thereof. Keep in mind that such a decree would not be particular to England, but universal. If your argument OTOH, is more similar to the cited source regarding being against translation, and to make it easier for you, let us limit this to England, this injunction against English translation would have come as a shock to Bede (7th cent.) and Aelfric (11th cent.)

              • Pofarmer

                No true Scotsman, got it.

                • Procopius

                  No, more like you cannot historically substantiate your claim. Thanks for playing though….

                  • Pofarmer

                    So, would those who committes the actions have felt justified by the Church? Were they sanctioned in any way?

                  • Pofarmer

                    Also, fwiw, isn’t more a Catholic Saint? How in the world does an organization have acts perpetrated in it’s name, and then completely dissavow them because perhaps they weren’t explicitly ordered ( wink, wink). What other organization in the world would this be acceptable for?

      • enness

        Guessing is not recommended.
        As it turns out, ‘convincing evidence’ was not hidden from anybody who had eyes and traveled a bit. Even a telescope was unnecessary.
        http://indianapublicmedia.org/amomentofscience/greeks-knew-earth-copernicus/

    • http://www.2catholicmen.blogspot.com/ Ben @ 2CM

      “positive belief requires actual evidence”
      People need to re-think how they toss the word “evidence” around. Accepting some things without observable evidence is rational &
      responsible solely based on the reasoning. I just wrote a piece about it.
      http://2catholicmen.blogspot.com/2013/09/what-evidence-do-you-have.html

      • Pofarmer

        My take is that you basically just restated Pascal’s wager.

      • MarylandBill

        Actually pretty much everyone (including atheists) believes lots and lots of things without any evidence what so ever. This is not to say that the evidence does not exist, but rather the current sum of human knowledge is so great, that it would be impossible for everyone to actually gather all the evidence and evaluate it (assuming they are even capable of evaluating it, which in many cases people are not). As a result, we have to rely on authorities for our answers.

        With that BTW, when it comes to religion, I will take Pope Francis over Professor Dawkins.

    • vito

      This is not an argument from humility but an argument from majority. Peter Kreeft forgot that 4/5 of the world do not believe the way he believes, even assuming the Catholic population share a uniform set of values and beliefs which of course they don’t. The majority argument is invalid anyway, as history shows. 99 per cent of Germans supported Hitler, so what?

      • Steve

        99 percent of Germans did not support Hitler. I am forced to assume that you have retrieved such fallacious information from an excretory vacuum accessible by one’s backside.

        • jaybird1951

          Correct! For instance, the Nazis got no more than a third of the vote in the last free election in Germany and they didn’t get them from the Catholic minority, which voted for the Centrum Party. Many did come to support Hitler as they saw the economy revive and nationalism stirred up but I do not believe that anything like 99% of all Germans “supported” him. Many were scared for their lives in a dictatorship where dissent could be punished with death or being shipped to the camps. It took real courage to speak up and be an active dissident.

        • vito

          a vast majority did support him, whether 99 per cent or a little less. He was elected and supported later on by a huge percentage. The point is the majority is not always right. And this has been demonstrated throughout history

          • Steve

            Yeah… your example is still full of false and misleading information, so it doesn’t help your case.

      • Steve

        See response above. Believing that Catholicsim is 100% doesn’t demand belief that Islam or Hinduism is 100% false. The Catholic Church does not view other religions in such a binary way.

        • vito

          I am confused so is Islam right of wrong?
          Anyway, I am just saying the vast majority of the world’s population, past and present, does not share the religious beliefs with Kreeft does. If we take all people who have ever lived on earth, he is in the tiny minority

          • Steve

            And again, the choice is not binary. It takes a little sophistication to see this.

            Islam is right about many things, and wrong about other things. They believe in one God, who created the universe, who is the judge of mankind, who revealed Him to Abraham, who is worthy of adoration. That’s a good start!

            While most of human history doesn’t share 100% of Kreeft’s religious views, they share many important aspects. Such as: theism. Not necessarily mono-theism, or even a personalistic theism, but most people have followed some species of theism.

    • http://hjg.com.ar/ Hernán J. González

      Kreeft’s argument sounds rather dumb -even dangerous- to me. Those statistics are wholly impertinent. And they could be used the other way round.

    • Pofarmer

      You do realize, that that 98% includes an awful lot of Gnostics, and Buddhists, and Hindu’s, and Ebionites and an awful lot of other beliefs?

      • ThisIsTheEnd

        My guess: no, he doesn’t.

      • Steve

        Ahh, my friend. You must read very carefully. Did I not say, “completely wrong”? As a Catholic, I believe what the Catechism says:
        “The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life.” -CCC 843
        I need not say they are completely wrong. I think they have both truth and error.

        • Pofarmer

          As a Catholic, what may be true as a Catholic, may not be true at all.

    • ThisIsTheEnd

      It’s not hard to think that 98% of all humans are wrong on an important subject

      • Mike Petrik

        You miss the point, which was simply that when you believe you are among a small percentage of folks who are right it is understandably hard to resist wearing a certain amount of unbecoming pride on your sleave. This point is valid whether the majority is right or wrong.

        • ThisIsTheEnd

          So the small percentage of German folks who opposed the Nazis in the 1930′s had a certain amount of unbecoming pride on their sleeves? OK I would regard that as a price worth paying.

          I presume you’re practicing Christian? Wouldn’t you say that you’re in the world but not of it?

          • Mike Petrik

            First, I have no idea whether such Germans were prideful in their presumed moral superiority, but I think Kreeft is addressing the situation where the minority’s self-regard is grounded not in its self-perceived moral superiority but in its self-perceived intellectual superiority. The answer to your last question is no, I’m both — which makes me the rather typical imperfect Christian, no more, no less.
            Finally, I would add that only one of my close friends is an atheist, and he would be embarrassed by the general tenor of the combox posts in the cited article. I have known other atheists, and all behave as gentlemen. I think the anonymity of the Internet attracts doofuses and encourages jerky behavior among atheists, believers, and any other cohort one might imagine.

            • ThisIsTheEnd

              I’ll answer the first part of your post as the second part I find interesting but irrelevant.

              If self perceived intellectual superiority means helping the Jews to escape from the Nazi then you can sign me up every time.

              And I was paraphrasing John 15:19.

              • Mike Petrik

                I understood the source, but just don’t understand the relevance.
                If your x means your y, then I would also sign up for x, especially since there is nothing wrong with x itself. X may be an incubator of sinful pride, but it is not in itself sinful. But there is no evidence of x meaning y. If anything I would speculate that it was those Germans who were Nazis who were most likely to be afflicted with x.

                • ThisIsTheEnd

                  I always took it mean don’t get so hung up about the world. Who cares about what the majority or minority of our fellow humans say or do. Cultivate your own garden.

                  • Mike Petrik

                    Fair enough. I don’t think that has anything to do with Kreeft’s point though, which is that it is kind of easy to understand why a small minority of thinkers who reason their way to a conclusion at odds with that of the vast majority of people could find disordered pride a bit hard to resist. While I think Kreeft’s point is a fair one, I also think that he overstates it, at least given my limited personal relationships with atheists, which have always been very warm and cordial and not especially impaired by pride.

                    • ThisIsTheEnd

                      Mirrors my own interaction with some theists.

        • Newp Ort

          lesson here being: don’t let what you beleave affect what you wear on your slieve

      • chezami

        Particularly when you are a socially maladroit jerk who imagines that intellect worship is the same as intellect use.

        • ThisIsTheEnd

          Ah mein host, nice to see that you’re in a fine fettle of mind today

      • vito

        They have such a diversity and contradiction of ideas on that subject among those 98 per cent that there is no actual majority anyway. 98 per cent have some idea or belief of a very varying degree in supernatural or some higher power and they all disagree about what and who that is. That’s it.

        • ThisIsTheEnd

          I agree. I find it strange that a Christian “philosopher” would say such a thing and other Christians would agree. It seems to suggest that a mere belief in any God is good enough.

  • Lee Johnson

    I found it easy to believe that there had to be something or someone.

    The problem for me is the universe is so big, that it’s not only unfathomable, there really isn’t a word for how unfathomably big it is. I know there’s a lot of jokes about that, pace Monty Python and Adams’ Total Perspective Vortex, but there is a real point in there.

    When I say God is omnipotent or omnipresent, or whatever omni, I really have no conception of what I’m talking about.

    In my prayers before the Blessed Sacrament, I’ve discovered my soul … and my soul believes. My mind … not always so much. I find my mind sometimes actively puzzled while my soul actively communes with the Holy Spirit. In the depths of my soul, I believe. It’s like my soul knows something I don’t :)

  • vito

    nothing new there in the referenced article. Just another probably closeted believer trying to tell non-believers to SHUT UP about their disbelief.

    • chezami

      And another Fundamentalist with no social skills is heard from.

      • vito

        are you talking about yourself and responding to yourself? It looks like you do.

        • Jared Clark

          Free advice: “I’m rubber, you’re glue…” isn’t really all that clever.

  • ahermit

    Some atheists can be annoying, but they’re no worse than the believers who are constantly telling me I’m lost/ blind/ a fool/ hellbound/ immoral/ amoral/ confused/ in need of salvation/ living without meaning/ or “less than fully human…”

    You’ve got some 2×4′s to pick out of your community’s eyes before you go digging for motes in mine…

    • ThisIsTheEnd

      You’re only saying that because you can’t get dates ; )

      • ahermit

        My wife would be upset if I did… !o.O

        • ThisIsTheEnd

          LOL. I just eat dates

    • MarylandBill

      Yes, some Christians can get annoying or downright offensive as they deal with atheists, but, lets also keep in mind that many (hopefully most) are doing it because we are concerned about your eternal welfare. If God doesn’t exist however, there really should be no urgency about convincing people he doesn’t exist.

      • ahermit

        Well those annoying atheists are concerned about people’s earthly welfare, so the motivation is much the same, isn’t it?

        Most of the time those comments I get from believers sound more like self righteous judgement than genuine concern.

        • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

          And, arguably, since most atheists believe there is no afterlife, from those atheists’ persective people’s earthly welfare is the entirety of people’s eternal welfare.

        • Ye Olde Statistician

          Well those annoying atheists are concerned about people’s earthly welfare

          Through Christianity, the individual was made so important, so absolute, that he could no longer be sacrificed. … All ‘souls’ became equal before God: but this is precisely the most dangerous of all possible evaluations.
          – Nietzsche, Will to Power

          Life itself recognizes no solidarity, no ‘equal right,’ between the healthy and the degenerate parts of an organism. . . . Sympathy for the decadents, equal rights for the ill-constituted—that would be the profoundest immorality, that would be anti-nature itself as morality!
          – Nietzsche, WIll to Power

          If we cast a look a century ahead and assume that my assassination of two thousand years of opposition to nature and of dishonoring humans succeeds, then that new party of life will take in hand the greatest of all tasks—the higher breeding of humanity, including the unsparing destruction of all degenerates and parasites.
          – Nietzsche, Ecce Homo

          • ahermit

            A few snippets of Nietzsche does not represent all non-theist thought. Try Huxley, Russel, Andre Comte-Sponville…

            or maybe Paul Kurtz:

            We affirm humanism as a realistic alternative to theologies of despair and ideologies of
            violence and as a source of rich personal significance and genuine satisfaction in the
            service to others.

            We believe in optimism rather than pessimism, hope rather than despair, learning in the
            place of dogma, truth instead of ignorance, joy rather than guilt or sin, tolerance in the
            place of fear, love instead of hatred, compassion over selfishness, beauty instead of
            ugliness, and reason rather than blind faith or irrationality.

            We believe in the fullest realization of the best and noblest that we are capable of as
            human beings.

            • Alma Peregrina

              “We believe in optimism rather than pessimism, hope rather than despair, learning in the
              place of dogma, truth instead of ignorance, joy rather than guilt or sin, tolerance in the
              place of fear, love instead of hatred, compassion over selfishness, beauty instead of
              ugliness, and reason rather than blind faith or irrationality.”

              As a theist, I also believe all the above (except for the learning / dogma bit, which is a false dichotomy).

              But as your comment show, there’s also other level of obnoxiousness in atheism. Yes, some theist can be annoying by thinking: “You’re not happy, You don’t have meaning in your life. You’re hellbound” etc…

              But atheists are also obnoxious when they, completely out of the blue, misrepresent our motivations and atribute everything we do to fear, guilt and ignorance.

              All the marvellous theist philosophies (Augustine’s platonismo, Aquinas’ aristotelism, the Church’s Father’s writings) are ignorance?
              The catholic universities are ignorance?
              Pascal, Leibniz, Pasteur, Mendel, Lemaitre are ignorance?
              St. Paul’s Hymn to charity is hate?
              All the charities and catholic NGO’s are sellfishness?
              All the saint’s quotes about being a joyous person are guilt?
              The distinction between contrition and atrition is guilt of sin?
              The Three theological virtues are despair and hate?
              The Catholic Church’s condemnations of fideism is blind faith?

              You, sir, are being profoundly unjust in your assertions. You miss the point to such a degree that a theist would find ground to call you an ignorant yourself. Those are not our beliefs!

              • Pofarmer

                “All the marvellous theist philosophies (Augustine’s platonismo, Aquinas’
                aristotelism, the Church’s Father’s writings) are ignorance?”

                Pretty much, yeah. When you incorrectly consistently credit the supernatural with that which cannot explain,then I think you can debate that many of their arguments, are, indeed, out of ignorance.

                • chezami

                  Except that’s not what they do.

                • Alma Peregrina

                  “When you incorrectly consistently credit the supernatural with that which cannot explain,then I think you can debate that many of their arguments, are, indeed, out of ignorance.”

                  Yeah.
                  God of the gaps.
                  That’s EXACTLY what Augustine, Aquinas and the Church Father’s taught.

                  You, sir, are an ignorant.

                  • Pofarmer

                    Augustine, Aquinas, and the church fathers seems a little overly broad. Is there something specific you are thinking of? Perhaps the myth of original sin?

                    • Alma Peregrina

                      ” Is there something specific you are thinking of? Perhaps the myth of original sin?”

                      No. I’m specifically thinking of the myth that theism = ignorance.

                      Or perhaps the myth that Augustine and Aquinas used arguments from the “God of the gaps” type, just because they were theist philosophers.

                      You know, the myths you subscribed and commented to.

                    • Pofarmer

                      Augustine and Aquinas operated within their time frame and the knowledge of their day.

                    • Alma Peregrina

                      So does Dawkins and every atheist on the face of the Earth. So why single them out?

                    • Pofarmer

                      Is there some specific argument you are thinking of?

                    • Alma Peregrina

                      Pofarmer: Simple as this… you atheist guys are allways talking about “burden of proof” and whatnot.

                      Now you want ME to provide YOU an argument?

                      No way.

                      You made the assertion.
                      You said that theist philosophers were ignorant.
                      You “proved” that assertion by saying that they attributed to the supernatural that which they could not explain.

                      Which is false.

                      The burden of proof is yours. Prove to me that theist philosophers were ignorant.

              • ahermit

                I don’t see where it says “all” theologies…

                Please don’t put words in my mouth.

                • Alma Peregrina

                  OK, sorry. I thought your dichotomies signified “atheism vs. theism”. But if you don’t mean that, then you’re fine by me.

                  • ahermit

                    Thanks for that. I’m not an atheist of the Dawkins/Harris variety. I subscribe more to the views of Comte-Sponville, who advocates for what he calls “fidelity” to the positive aspects of our religious heritage even when we find we can no longer live by faith. I certainly wouldn’t throw out the compassionate, peaceful ethics I learned from my Mennonite parents just because I no longer feel the need to ground those ethics in a belief in the existence of the Christian God.

                    • enness

                      As fair as that is, I think the point that so often gets missed is that you — and all of us — may be very fortunate that they did ground their ethics thus. That has the potential to be lost over generations.

            • http://brianniemeier.com/ Brian Niemeier

              You’re undeniably right that Nietzsche doesn’t represent the sum total of atheist thought. He does represent atheism taken to its ultimate logical conclusion.

              Kurtz’s stirring affirmations of human dignity and support for the common good are certainly noble. The problem is that his position is inherently self-defeating.

              Nietzsche rightly points out that the western understanding of human dignity relies on the Judeo-Christian doctrine of man’s creation in God’s image. He demonstrates full intellectual honesty when he notes that men are materially unequal and that overthrowing Christian morality will eliminate what he sees as the disorder of equality.

              Kurtz’ humanist credo shows much less integrity. He denies the transcendent but champions inherent human worth and exceptionality despite unanimous empirical evidence to the contrary.

              • ahermit

                You are misrepresenting the humanist case. Kurtz isn’t suggesting that every human being is equal in all ways, he argues that we need to value each other equally in spite of our differences because of our common humanity.

                • The Deuce

                  he argues that we need to value each other equally in spite of our differences because of our common humanity

                  Of course, atheism provides no reason that we “need” to do any such thing, and if we are not actually equal in any objective sense, then “valuing each other equally” is not morally superior, but just a silly game of make-believe that goes against the facts.

                  Our “common humanity” is no more a rational justification for equal value on atheist grounds than is “common white-skinnedness,” except that the latter is at least *definable* on atheist grounds and not just an inspiring-sounding piece of ultimately vague and vacuous throwaway vocabulary. There’s no rational or objective reason why the unintelligent, weak, disabled, or sickly “need” to be thought of as having equal “humanity” (whatever that is) to the rest of us when they are adults than most atheists grant them when they are unborn.

                  • ahermit

                    It seems to me that the commonality of our humanity is a more rational justification than the proposition that our commonality comes from being created in the image of some ineffable divine being. In fact I don’t see much difference between those two justifications except that our common humanity is a universally observable fact, unlike the existence of a deity and can be taken as a common starting point for the discussion about human rights regardless of the particular religious beliefs of those having the conversation.

                    • http://brianniemeier.com/ Brian Niemeier

                      I understand your desire to find common ground to discuss human rights with people of differing beliefs. However, proposing common humanity as a universally observable condition takes the western view of morality for granted. Most other cultures throughout history (and many today), saw humans of other nationalities and social classes as ontologically different with more or less inherent dignity.
                      Implying that God is a less rational source of human dignity than empirically observable traits entails a pre-rational bias. Firstly, the only justification for trusting reason goes back to our creation in God’s image (with a rational intellect and free will). This belief is why science flourished in the west only to spring up and quickly wither elsewhere. Reason alone cannot confirm its own reliability.
                      Secondly, “humanity” as such is not an empirically observable condition. Genetics can confirm an individual’s membership in the species homo sapiens, but it cannot identify the rights and dignity proper to members of that species. “The human condition” and “personhood” are purely speculative, philosophical terms.
                      So ascribing human dignity to our creation in God’s image isn’t just a rational basis for discussing human rights, it’s the only rational basis available.

                    • ahermit

                      Most other cultures throughout history (and many today), saw humans of
                      other nationalities and social classes as ontologically different with
                      more or less inherent dignity.

                      You’re not seriously suggesting this was never the case in Western, Christian culture, are you?

                      “humanity” as such is not an empirically observable condition. Genetics can confirm an individual’s membership in the species homo sapiens, but it cannot identify the rights and dignity proper to members of that
                      species…

                      The ability to identify an individual’s member ship in the species would seem to make it an empirically observable condition, and the concept of rights and dignity are the product of our evolved sense of empathy for members of our common species. It’s part of what makes us human.

                      If you make something other than our humanity the basis for moral behaviour than humanity can be disregarded n making moral decisions.

                  • ahermit

                    Humanity is the most basic, fundamental condition we have in common. If we make that the basis of morality, without regard to other considerations like health or ability (which are variable conditions within the lives of individuals) then we can’t limit it or modify on the basis of variables like race or gender or class.

                • enness

                  Why? What’s in it for me? ;)

                  • ahermit

                    What’s in it for all of us is freedom from compulsory religion. We shouldn’t have to participate in or pay lip service to religious beliefs we don’t hold to.

                    Also, If we value others equally regardless of whether they believe in God, or which God they believe in, surely that’s a better world for all of us.

              • ahermit

                the western understanding of human dignity relies on the Judeo-Christian doctrine of man’s creation in God’s image..

                Of course that Judeo-Christian doctrine has been flexible enough to allow for beliefs in “chosen peoples” and inferior races whose natural, God-ordained condition was one of servitude; an idea which is certainly not consistent with empirical observation or an ethic grounded in simple common humanity.

                • http://brianniemeier.com/ Brian Niemeier

                  Are you claiming that Judeo-Christian thought isn’t the basis for prevailing western morality and instead posit some unrelated source? Do you acknowledge the religious origins of western morals but take issue with perceived flaws in the system? Or is it something else I’ve missed?
                  I’m forced to assume that the “allowances” you refer to are Israel’s divine election and 19th century pro-slavery rhetoric. Neither example suffices to discredit Judeo-Christian understandings of human dignity, much less refute western civilization’s historical reliance on that tradition as a source of morals.
                  In the first case, your err in viewing Israel’s chosen status through the modern lens of worldly privilege and power. God intended Israel’s role quite differently. Unlike gentile rulers who lord authority over their subjects, Israel’s royal priesthood is a call to serve all people, which I think Kurtz would approve of. The notion that divine election makes Israel ontologically “better” than other nations is roundly condemned in Scripture.
                  Secondly, claiming that Judeo-Christian doctrine “allows for” inferior servant races confuses abuse of that doctrine with normative use. Yes, the ancient Hebrews were commanded to slaughter enemy peoples and take POWs as slaves. But the reason wasn’t that the Hebrews were superior, but that they were too impressionable to coexist with pagan tribes who would tempt them to break their covenant vows. That this situation was temporary and not normative doctrine is obvious from the fact that Jews and Christians don’t routinely launch genocidal wars against their neighbors. In fact, the opposite scenario happens to us with far greater frequency.
                  As for slavery advocates citing the curse on Noah’s son to justify blatantly ignoring the overwhelming contrary evidence in the tradition, the fact that a moral code can be twisted to promote the opposite of its original intention is no argument against it, because people can and will twist any system that way.

                  • ahermit

                    the fact that a moral code can be twisted to promote the opposite of
                    its original intention is no argument against it, because people can and
                    will twist any system that way.

                    Indeed they can, which rather argues against the supposed inherent superiority of your preferred system doesn’t it? People claiming to speak for God or to be doing God’s will have committed, and continue to commit, terrible offences against humanity. There seems to be a lot of disagreement about what God’s intentions are…

                    In my first comment here I quoted a Catholic Cardinal who thinks that I am “not fully human” because I don’t believe in his God.

                    Now I might disagree with Catholic teaching and Catholic beliefs but the worst I would ever say about Catholics is that they are mistaken about some things. I would never deny their humanity. I can’t if I ground my ethics in that humanity. If an ethical system depends on something other than humanity, be it some conception of deity, or a political ideal, only then can humanity be set aside in favour of that other ideal.

                    • enness

                      “Indeed they can, which rather argues against the supposed inherent superiority of your preferred system doesn’t it?”
                      Not necessarily. That’s hardly objective.

            • Ye Olde Statistician

              But that is because, as Nietzsche also pointed out, that much of modern atheism — esp. Anglophone atheism — is hopelessly contaminated with the Christian ethos. The “English flatheads,” he said, have not thought matters through logically.

            • enness

              ‘Theologies of despair’? Well, fortunately I don’t have one of those, and I suspect I’m in good company here.

              As a matter of fact, I believe in hope, truth, joy, courage, love, compassion, beauty, reasonable faith, and all kinds of noble things. Plus, transcendence. What does this humanism have to offer me? And why?

  • Stu

    I’m not defending atheism one bit. Nor do I defend atheists who simply act, rude, smug or throw around petty insults. But I don’t support Christians who return in kind either.

    I can respect that a person is challenged by the notion of God. Further, I also reflect on how fortunate I am to not have that challenge. Doesn’t make me better but certainly better off. But even still, I wonder how much better than me some atheists would be if the Grace I squandered were applied to them.


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