New Atheism, Child Abuse and Deception: a Response to Tildeb

dawkins-child-abuse

I had an interesting (but heated) discussion with a fellow blogger named „Tildeb“ on the blog of the Christian Apologetics Alliance.

http://www.christianapologeticsalliance.com/2013/08/04/religion-and-violence/#comment-991897719

He identified himself as a New Atheist while asserting he just wants „religion“ to stay in the private sphere but not to disappear.

This is certainly strange, since Dawkins, Harris, the late Hitchen, Stenger and Coyne really want all „religious“ beliefs to be wiped out. The tolerance of private beliefs is considered by them as a form of „accommodationism“ and Dawkins even likens that to the appeasement policy of Chamberlain towards Hitler.

It is true that they don’t always express themselves clearly on that topic, but frankly speaking, if you were to ask one of them: „Is it okay if I keep believing in God while not trying to influence public life?“, what answer would you expect?

These authors further say that tolerating religious moderate groups to exist is wrong, because they give credibility to radical ones. This claim is ridiculous if ones considers the amount of time many liberal and progressive Christians spend exposing the errors, flaws and atrocities of fundamentalists.

In my contribution to the discussion, I pointed out that while it is entirely fallacious to say that atheism caused many deaths, the same cannot be said of ANTItheism (the willingness to eradicate all religions) if one considers the eastern Orthodox and Buddhist priests murdered in Russia and China during the Communist era. Tildeb didn’t go into that which could be a sign he somehow agrees that ANTItheism (as I’ve defined the term) can have dangerous consequences.

Concerning the topic of religious education as child abuse, he wrote the following:

The key here to understanding why many New Atheists do hold exactly this position is the phrase ‘religious education‘ as if religion offers knowledge that can be passed on. It doesn’t. It contains what is more accurately described as religious indoctrination(which explains why there is such a strong correlation between geography and the predominant faith. Religious belief is not knowledge (in that it fails to to produce explanations that work in reality to describe it, fail to produce applications, therapies, and technologies based on these) but faith of the religious kind… which in any other human endeavor (asking us to believe in specific causal claims without compelling reasons based on evidence of effect from reality to do so) is considered (at best) foolish and gullible and (at worst) deluded. This is what is being taught to children… a failed methodology that does not describe reality as we know it to be nor explain causal effects and the mechanisms by which they operate in reality. In short-hand, it’s comparable in effect to ‘lying’ to children and fooling them not for their sake but for yours. As if this weren’t bad enough, the addition of everlasting and/or eternal and/or terrifying torments and abandonment and/or separation from loved ones after deathfor failing to accept some or most or all of these claims is not in way beneficial to children’s mental and emotional well-being here in this life where reality operates. This is what New Atheists are referring to when they talk about religious indoctrination of children to be a form of child abuse.

1357686033_1609_abuse

After further reflection, I realised there are many things I agree and many things I disagree with here.

I believe that one can only call something abusive if it has detrimental consequences for the physical and/or mental health of the person undergoing this.

I agree that teaching to small kids that God will eternally torment them if they don’t believe in Him is a gruesome form of child abuse.

Actually, I also find that profoundly blasphemous, because it is impossible for a good God to do such a thing.

But I fail to see why teaching a child that God loves her unconditionally but will leave her the choice to be with Him or not is abusive.

I also fail to see why the teaching that God wants every human being to follow the golden rule and hates selfishness and injustices would be abusive.

From my own experience, I’d say quite the contrary is true: children who receive such a teaching feel unconditionally loved and really fostered to love their neighbours as themselves.

Tildeb is free to consider such beliefs delusional but they are by no means a form of abuse.

In short-hand, it’s comparable in effect to ‘lying‘ to children and fooling them not for their sake but for yours“

This assertion is false in almost every case, because even parents who propagate an abusive theology are truly convinced their doctrines are true, and are therefore not lying.

They don’t teach hellfire for manipulating their kids and getting absolute submission from them, but because they’re themselves deeply convinced of the reality of the flames there.

The consequences can be quite tragic for the mental health of the child, but this isn’t a form of deception.

I’ll leave the question of the truth or falsehood of religious beliefs to another post.

Finally, Tildbed wrote:

referring to New Atheists promoting secular humanism is a sly way of trying to equate religious extremism that you know is all too common with non belief, where there is no evidence to back it up. None, or you would provide the sources for this blanket assertion. I’ve read Stenger and Grayling and Coyne and Onfray and Carroll and Pinker and Krauss and so on and so forth and I have not once ever come across anything I could honestly describe as an equivalent kind of hatred to the religious impulse to reject and condemn wholesale the pleasures and comforts of this life in preparation for the next one. This assertion by you is just another smear. Whether it is true or not doesn’t seem to be of any importance to you. You should reflect and learn from this… it’s a pretty good clue of what’s really going on in your efforts to vilify others in the name of defending your faith from legitimate criticism. Continuing to do this doesn’t reflect well on your character.

I’ve several remarks here.

I do not consider Onfray, Carroll and Pinker as New Atheists (or Anti-theists) according to the definition I’ve given above.

I do welcome and feel challenged by arguments against the truth of theism (like the problem of evil and of religious confusion) so long as they are well grounded and any kind of aggressive rhetoric is absent.

For example, I consider the atheistic arguments of Jeffrey Jay Lowder (the founder of the Infidels website) really LEGITIMATE and interesting because he is a careful thinker who tries to always remain respectful while debating with respectful opponents.

The same cannot be said of the extremely aggressive and yes, hateful, rhetoric of Dawkins, Sam Harris and Jerry Coyne. They have a strong bias towards only considering the worst kind of „religious“ beliefs and people while ignoring or minimising the significance of the beneficial effects.

As a comparison, I believe Islam is wrong, but while criticising it, I recognise that there is a great diversity in this religion, that only a minority of Muslims advocate terrorism, and that there are clearly good and progressive parts of the Koran and Mohamed’s theology.

Finally, to reject and condemn wholesale the pleasures and comforts of this life in preparation for the next one“ isn’t in and of itself hatred against anyone. It is just a very bad theology.

When conservative Christians teach that premarital sex is a sin which is always wicked, they can cause emotional harm, but they’re by no means being hateful against anyone.

I’m looking forward to reading Tildeb’s response.

 

Thematic list of ALL posts on this blog (regularly updated)

My other blog on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP)

Advertisements

18 thoughts on “New Atheism, Child Abuse and Deception: a Response to Tildeb

  1. LS, in regard to why indoctrinating children into a religious identity you write I believe that one can only call something abusive if it has detrimental consequences for the physical and/or mental health of the person undergoing this. You then say But I fail to see why teaching a child that God loves her unconditionally but will leave her the choice to be with Him or not is abusive.

    Firstly I can think of no religion (and I’ve studied the subject quite a lot) that teaches only that “God loves her unconditionally”. If that were all religion taught, we wouldn’t have religion as we know it today. We would have far more religious unification without all the violence done in its name. So there is a lot more to religion than this notion of unconditional love. In fact, most religions make god’s love highly conditional… based on first believing a raft of central tenets or suffering some kind of social sanction and even exclusion… not just in this life but the next. In other words, most religions include a punitive aspect to non acceptance of these central tenets. So I don;t think you’re being very accurate or honest to suggest that god’s unconditional love is synonymous with religious belief.

    And this matters because of the effect we see from religious indoctrination and this lead me to your definition of what constitutes abuse.

    You assume detrimental consequences is necessary and I agree but where we differ is how you categorize this detriment. I categorize it by evidence from reality, namely, the detrimental effect religious belief has with all kinds of negative social behaviours and association with the rejection of good science. For example, although you can religion without creationism, you do have belief in some kind of creationism without religion. I categorize this as a detriment to understanding the best science humanity has ever produced, namely, the the theory of evolution. And the statistics here are unequivocal: religion in the form of belief in some kind of POOF!ism promotes a rejection of science that demonstrates otherwise. And it does so by teaching that the methodology of faith is equivalent to the methodology of science in order to make wiggle room for contrary and incompatible claims. This wiggle room comes at a very steep price, namely, rejecting what reality shows us to be the case with faith-based belief that refuses to acknowledge reality’s role in arbitrating claims made about it. This is a detriment that is so widespread (propagated solely by the religious meme of creationism in all its guises) that more people believe in the reality of demons and angels active int he world than the demonstrable mechanism of natural selection and common ancestry. This is a detriment to billions of people world wide.

    But the detriment does not end here. The identical methodology that empowers faith-based belief is not bounded only by religious belief but underlies the belief in all kinds of woo, such as alternative medicine, astrology, tarot cards, conspiracies, possession, dowsing, and so on. This foolishness not only costs people money but causes real harm to real people in real life who empower belief in these to divert them from acting in a responsible and scientific way, meaning appreciating how effect is linked to cause in any knowable way. Believing in the efficacy of alternative medicine diverts people from receiving good medical treatment and this is detrimental; belief that the alignment of celestial bodies causes real deterministic effect diverts people from accepting responsibility for their actions here on earth and this is detrimental; believing tarot cards reveal the future means allowing the reading of them to have a real manipulative effect on how one behaves and this is detrimental; and so on. The detriment I speak of with religious indoctrination is teaching children to empower a method of thinking that is broken, that is untrustworthy, that leads to all kinds of unnecessary problems with very real negative consequences.

    But perhaps the greatest detriment is teaching children to believe in a supreme divine law giver who causes effect in this world is not how to be autonomous, responsible, mature, independent, and healthy adults but its antithesis: how to be a dependent, subjective, yielding, role-accepting, sin-ladden, broken person in need of redemption not for this life but to correct in preparation for the next one. In every way, this kind of belief is detrimental to children and reveals the scope of parental confusion about what it is they are trying to do, trying to reach, when teaching their children. And religious belief, which empowers a broken methodology, is manipulative and detrimental to reaching this goal of responsible and mature autonomy across the board. That’s why it is always abuse.
    , irresponsible, immature ; on the affects in en

    • Such an edit fail! Among many, the most important is in the fourth paragraph:

      For example, although you can sometimes have religion without creationism, you will not never find belief in some kind of creationism without religion.

      And, of course, the last sentence of disjointed words and punctuation.

      Sorry for my sloppiness.

    • Hey Tildeb, many thanks for your answer!

      I obviously share much of your moral indignation and believe that many religious beliefs are indeed harmful.

      In order not to misrepresent your position and formulate an appropriate answer, I’d have two questions:

      1) How do you define the word “religion”, “creationism” and “supernatural”?

      2)Do you really believe that biological robots, entirely determined by the laws of physics, can be “autonomous, responsible, mature, independent”?
      If so, what’s your definition for those terms?

      I’m hoping we’ll have an enjoyable interaction!

      • …believe that many religious beliefs are indeed harmful.

        This refers back to one of the central criticisms of religious beliefs: how can you determine which beliefs are harmful if your metric does not have an independent way to arbitrate this effect? The metric I use is not some separate faith-based filter of rules and regulations and assertions to be taken as an ‘divine’ authority but by its effect in reality itself: does the particular belief when enacted cause on the whole more harm than good in reality, in the natural world and the populations that inhabit it, we share?

        Off the top of my head, I define the three terms this way:

        1a) Religion I define to be a faith-based set of beliefs in supernatural causal effect that uphold certain particular tenets that define it.

        1b) Creationism I define as the faith-based belief of a creator (a creative agency with intention and purpose) intervening in the natural world and POOF!ing stuff into existence and inserting this POOF!ed stuff into the universe.

        1c) The supernatural I define as some imaginary non corporeal agency from a separate and distinct ‘realm’ of non material existence that nevertheless is still able to cause real effect in the natural world.

        2) Yes, although I don’t know what you mean by a biological robot but assume you mean it to be biological local units obeying distinct biological local rules.

        (I’m getting tired of this word game; I prefer dealing with reality)

        As for autonomous, responsible, mature, and independent, you are quite capable of looking these definitions up. There is no end to asking for clarification for the definition of words. I can appreciate the need for some clarity about religion but the rest of it is pretty straightforward. Note that I keep returning to this idea of a method for helping us figure out how the universe operates that is not based on just my beliefs or just your beliefs or the beliefs of some iron Age goat-herder or merchant; we need a method that allows reality to arbitrate claims made about it. And I shall continue to harken back to this need for a method that allows us the means to figure out which claims made be justified and which ones may not be justified and some way to differentiate between them.

  2. Hi Tildeb, you raise some very valid points.

    First of all, I agree we do need a method which contains as few unproven assumptions as possible for coming to terms with reality

    For the investigation of the material and natural realm, I (and even many conservative Christians) would agree that the scientific method is the only game in town, and it is relatively neutral with respect to worldviews.

    For our moral life and ethical decisions we definitely also need a good method. Is science up to the task? As I pointed out in a comment to one of your posts, I believe the answer is “No“.
    Obviously, once a moral postulate (like maximizing happiness) is present, it is possible to use scientific investigations to find out if a political decision would foster or hinder the achievement of this goal.
    But science is utterly unable to tell us which one of the postulate is the correct one:
    1) maximizing happiness and minimizing pain of the greatest number of sentient beings
    2) maximizing one’s own happiness and minimizing one’s own pain
    3) following one’s moral intuitions
    4) driving evolution forwards
    5) there are no objective moral values.
    without begging the question and smuggling a moral postulate within the alleged justification.

    How are we to proceed then? I as a Christian and the apostle Paul 2000 years ago believe that our deepest, purest moral intuitions are valid and God-given, and that one can use them to know how to behave rightly WITHOUT ANY HOLY BOOK.
    But I cannot answer this question for you, you’ve to make a choice.

    But before pursuing knowledge and trying to be a good person, life must first have a meaning and a purpose, and I don’t see any way one could discover it scientifically without begging the question.
    I do believe that many worldviews (with and without God) can provide people with meaning and goals. But I fail to see how reductive materialism can achieve this without completely redefining the words.

    I find many of your other arguments valid, but they only show that some religious beliefs (like the Gnostic idea that we are completely helpless, broken creatures just longing for the next life to come very soon) are false or out of touch with reality.

    Interestingly, according to your definition, the belief we’re living in a gigantic computer simulation of very advanced aliens can neither be considered supernatural nor religious.

    The definitions of „autonomous, responsible, mature, and independent „ are far from being clear if you’re a a reductive materialist. Many naturalists have realized that these words either need a huge redefinition or being abandoned altogether.

    Richard Dawkins wrote: „Retribution as a moral principle is incompatible with a scientific view of human behaviour. As scientists, we believe that human brains, though they may not work in the same way as man-made computers, are as surely governed by the laws of physics. When a computer malfunctions, we do not punish it. We track down the problem and fix it, usually by replacing a damaged component, either in hardware or software…..But doesn’t a truly scientific, mechanistic view of the nervous system make nonsense of the very idea of responsibility, whether diminished or not? Any crime, however heinous, is in principle to be blamed on antecedent conditions acting through the accused’s physiology, heredity and environment. Don’t judicial hearings to decide questions of blame or diminished responsibility make as little sense for a faulty man as for a Fawlty car? Why is it that we humans find it almost impossible to accept such conclusions? Why do we vent such visceral hatred on child murderers, or on thuggish vandals, when we should simply regard them as faulty units that need fixing or replacing? Presumably because mental constructs like blame and responsibility, indeed evil and good, are built into our brains by millennia of Darwinian evolution. „

    Prominent philosophical naturalist Tom Clark wrote:

    “In a deterministic universe, we understand that a criminal’s career is not a matter of an unconditioned personal choice, but fully a function of a complex set of conditions, genetic and environmental, that interact to produce the offender and his proclivities. Had we been in his shows in all respects, we too would have followed the same path, since there is no freely willing self that could have done otherwise as causality unfolds. There is no kernel of independent moral agency — we are not, as philosopher Daniel Dennett puts it, “moral levitators” that rise above circumstances in our choices, including choices to rob, rape, or kill”

    I always find it amusing when naturalists assert (after a huge over-generalization) that religion keep people from being free, whereas the freedom they have in mind is that of a robot to fulfill the most natural tasks programmed by blind forces.

    I think Sam Harris was entirely right when he wrote in this context:
    “A puppet is free as long as he loves his strings”

    To conclude, the topics I’ve touched upon are extremely complex and I’ll have a lot more to say about them in future posts of my blog.

    I don’t expect you by any mean to change your mind, but I hope to have slightly increased your curiosity about what the other side has to say. I guess this is probably difficult for everyone involved in a culture war, like the one which is raging in America.

    Kind regards, and have a nice weekend!

    Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son

    https://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com

  3. But before pursuing knowledge and trying to be a good person, life must first have a meaning and a purpose, and I don’t see any way one could discover it scientifically without begging the question.
    I do believe that many worldviews (with and without God) can provide people with meaning and goals. But I fail to see how reductive materialism can achieve this without completely redefining the words.

    But there is no evidence it does (and much compelling evidence to the contrary), which renders your insistence that there must be a link for the pursuit of knowledge and to be a good person to have any value rather a poor starting position because you are mixing up ontology with epistemology. Value is what WE bring to the table of our interactions with our world; it cannot be shown to be imbedded somewhere ‘out there’ because it’s not a material thing. Value is an assignment each of us gives to various things, events, relationships, properties, beliefs, etc., and this is not dependent on anything other than ourselves. As long as you have people, you will have them assigning values because that what people do. No other interventionist or creative agency is required; all we need is this biological body (that exercises what appears to have free will) to find these various and oftentimes competing assignments of value at work. Which ones are better or worse requires a metric for comparison and this is where science can and does play a vital role in measuring. Too often – as if powered by divine fiat – religious assumptions drive a wedge between acts and intentions behind those acts and makes unfounded pronouncements on the morality of acts alone. This presumes a universal value imbedded in acts which is then released into the universe by the action. This claim is subject to scientific scrutiny because it claims a ‘thing’ exists. And when we look for these ‘things’ we find zero evidence. But rather than appreciate this category mistake the religious make confusing ‘things’ with assigned values they themselves apply, the response is to insist that it is science that is making the mistake with such lovely phrases as ‘reductive materialism’! If you are going to make a claim that some thing exists independently, then the task falls to you to demonstrate it, to show its properties, to indicate its location, reveal the mechanism by which it exerts causal efficacy, and so on. To then further the category mistake and insist that these ‘things’ do indeed exist but in some imaginary alternate reality worked on by imaginary agencies who then apply it to our own is not an explanation. It’s an excuse for failure to make the case that these ‘things’ do indeed exist independent of those who assign it. It’s a ‘just so’ story about our shared reality unsupported by the reality we share. And the same confusion applies to claims about meaning and purpose, which are applied values and not inherent properties.

    If we want the discussion to be about comparative values – which ones are better or worse – then we are talking about effect, which requires a metric. And we can apply reasoning to figure out which metric we wish to use based on whatever it is we are trying to measure. This is where human well-being comes into it, and it is a pretty good one because it is a common concern shared by all people, whereas the well-being of your selected god (and by all appearances an imaginary one) is not. I do not value your god because I don’t think it exists and is not a ‘thing’ in this reality independent of your beliefs. And I think this because I see no compelling evidence that demonstrates its existence compared to the actual well-being of real people. I am concerned about that and so I can act with a moral consideration of well-being towards them. It is those who presume an independent objective moral consideration who use a comparative value metric not their own but borrowed from some theological set of tenets (that have no independent means to determine which tenet is better or worse moral consideration than another) who are badly confused about how we can measure values by effect! A pious value applied to people often results in effects that harm human well-being and this is the burden religious folk must bear alone. I argue that this casts the moral voice of the pious to be a net negative influence in this world because it is detached from this world we share and that retracting this voice to the private domain will yield a net positive effect on people.

  4. Please explain how conservative Christians saying that premarital sex is a sin can cause emotional harm? Do you suggest that they say it’s a great thing and then promote it? One thing that is certain is this, is that premarital sex leads to unwanted pregnancies culminating in widespread abortions, unstable families, broken families, rape and emotional and psychological harm of those involved.

    • Hello Adanma,

      That’s a fair question!

      I believe that one goal, telos of human life is to grow in one’s ability to give and receive love, and that a committed monogamous relationship is the best way to achieve this.

      I also think that sexual promiscuity (especially among young people) can have terribly harmful effects, especially under a hedonistic framework.

      That said, the Conservative Christian dogma it is a horrible sin for a long-standing (but not yet married) couple to have sex can (demonstrably) cause a lot of useless psychological harm and you can find countless vivid testimonies about this.

      There is no evidence that THIS KIND of premarital sex leads to the evils you rightly decry.

      But if you disagree, I’d be delighted if you could send me some studies I’m not aware of.

      Anyway, I certainly agree with you that the attitude of Western society towards sex is extraordinarily unhealthy, but it is not a matter of “all or nothing”, there are clearly degrees of shades in between.

      Thanks for your interesting contribution and friendly greetings 🙂

    • Adanma, you state One thing that is certain is this, is that premarital sex leads to unwanted pregnancies culminating in widespread abortions, unstable families, broken families, rape and emotional and psychological harm of those involved.

      If you turned this statement into a question, namely, Does premarital sex lead to these negative consequences? then how might you go about finding out?

      The first question I always ask of such statements is: Is this true? I then seek answers.

      If you want an answer that exists independent of your beliefs, then find out where rates of premarital sex are highest. A startling picture emerges: we get two very different results based on social and legal policies. Where policies are based on empowering women through freedom of choice, access to contraceptives and reproductive health clinics, and in-depth sex education, we get the highest rates of positive effects. That means these policies are correlated with the lowest rates in all the negative categories you list. Read that again: the LOWEST rates.

      This means that if your concerns are based on the health and welfare of unmarried people, then you have your work cut out for you to establish why you might wish to limit any of these responses.

      Where policies are most restrictive to women, where they have no right to choice, no easy access to contraceptives or unencumbered access to reproductive health clinics, abstinence only sex education or very little if any formal sex education, we get the highest rates of negative effects. That means these policies are correlated with the highest in all the negative categories you list. Read that again: the HIGHEST rates.

      Here’s the kicker: where religiosity is the highest, the correlation is with the highest negative effects. Where religiosity is lowest, the correlation is with the lowest negative effects.

      The next question you should be asking yourself is why does this correlation exist. One is led to see very quickly with easy access to research searched for through Google – and you obviously have access to the internet – that the health and welfare of women is not the primary concern of religious believers: submitting to, implementing, and maintaining misogynistic religious dogma is far more important… regardless of the very real cost this has to real people in real life.

      I think there is a very strong argument to be made – and one well worth deep consideration – that it is this support by religious believers of restrictive policies that is responsible for ALL the negative consequences you blame on premarital sex. It’s not the sex causing these differences in negative consequences and it’s not that the sex is premarital that increases these rates. It is the policies that restrict these services to women that is responsible.

      If you want to decrease these rates – and why wouldn’t you if you cared about real people more than piety – then your course is clear: stop supporting these restrictive policies.

      You are now put to the test: can you change your mind when you have compelling evidence from reality to do so or will you continue to blame the wrong causes in the name of piety?

      • There might be many true things in what you have just said.

        But your tone SOUNDS so arrogant and aggressive that Adanma is unlikely to interact with you.
        Like most of my commentators and myself.

        There are good ways to criticize religions in a rational, fair and nice manner.

        This is how I myself criticize respectful atheists.

        If you don’t abide by these basic rules of human decency, you’ll remain a very frustrated self-righteous man nobody (outside his sect) likes to talk to.

        Cheers.

        • Well!

          Here’s a person, Adanma, stating in absolutely no uncertain terms a claim that, with even a cursory glance by means of an internet connection, reveals widespread evidence accumulated from reality that such a claim turns out to be… wrong.

          It’s okay to be wrong. I’ve experienced many times and survived just fine. In fact, I like to have informed opinions so I actually appreciate it when someone takes the time and makes the effort to correct me when I’m factually wrong.

          But Adanma is not just incorrect or questionably inaccurate: the claim put forth as a certainty – as a something beyond questioning – is the antithesis of what is true in reality.. boldly laid out with a false certainty for all to see as if it is true and everyone should it is (that I think is synonymous with an arrogance of assumption that empower such an unjustified belief… because, after all, it wasn’t informed by reality)!

          But that tone, according to your lack of tonal correction, seems to be okay.

          That kind of certainty cannot possibly be arrogant… unconnected as it to reality.

          This self-righteous claim made by Adanma doesn’t stop here. It attempts to cast in the most negative light possible those who dare participate in such a well known harm – equivalent by Adanma’s own admission to be rape for crying out loud!

          Again, that tone seems to be okay. And not just okay but welcomed.

          That kind of false judgement cannot possibly be arrogant, you seem to be suggesting… even unconnected as it to reality.

          To add even more disdain to the very notion of attempting to find out what’s true in reality before casting such dispersions on people who have engaged in premarital sex, our esteemed commentator Adanma hasn’t even tried to question these beliefs s/he holds with such arrogant condemnation of others and self-righteous certainty that it is justified.

          All of this is perfectly acceptable in your estimation of a tonally correct comment.

          But, Lo and Behold!

          Along comes a New Atheist who seems to be alone in providing the necessary and truthful criticism, as well as a path of questioning this person obviously has never considered. And this comment by me is made in a very neutral yet truthful fashion. And you think my comment is worthy of special sanction… for its tone?

          Wow.

          Just… wow.

          I see I own a special category in your mind. I’m flattered.

  5. Militant atheists can and will say anything to discredit Christians. I say they can be just as fanatical as some religious people. Maybe they need to read the 1st Amendment of the Constitution where it says we have freedom of religion, not freedom from it! Atheists won’t be happy until they’ve made a state with no religion like what the Communists in the former Soviet Union attempted.

    • In the past month I’ve had six pairs of different ‘kinds’ of religious evangelicals come to my door. Not an atheist proselytizer in sight. Yet complaining of the arrogance of these pairs assuming they have the ‘truth’ to dispense because of their faith that they do earns me the title of ‘militant’. This is the kind of doublespeak that infuses the reasoning of those who support religious privilege.

      When you understand why the state cannot privilege, support and/or promote any religious belief, you will understand why the US – and not Russia – is the example of a secular state you seek.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s