From Chrisian fundamentalism to atheistic fundamentalism (Part 1)

I had recently a revealing exchange with anti-theists at the DebunkingChristianity blog. They are all former fundamentalists who are now doing their best to deconvert as many Christians as possible while preaching them the good news of scientism.

Many of them have been gravely traumatized by their fundamentalist education.

They usually (albeit not always) believe that the Bible is free of contradiction with respect to its moral message which they see as absolutely atrocious and akin to Mein Kampf.

They constantly PICK AND CHOOSE the worse passages in the whole Bible, interpret all other texts in the most negative light and then conclude that Christianity is one of the greatest evil of the world which ought to be eradicated.

While they think that all people not agreeing with their worldview are either dishonest, delusional or hopelessly dumb, they think that they themselves arrived at their current position through a dispassionate use of their reason. They get utterly infuriated if one dares suggest to them that psychological factors may have played an important role for their becoming Evangelistic Atheists.

Here was the original post.

John Loftus is the leader of DebunkingChristianity. Here he’s quoting liberal Christian scholar Thom Stark with whom I’m in agreement for a lot of things. 

*****

 

 

 

So the news has just broken [March 14, 2012] that a Moroccan girl has committed suicide after being ordered by a judge to marry her rapist. Now before some self-righteous Christians begin mouthing off about how unenlightened Islamic culture is, let’s go to the source:

“If a man meets a virgin who is not engaged, and forcibly seizes her and lies with her, and they are caught in the act, the man who lay with her shall give fifty shekels of silver to the young woman’s father, and she shall become his wife. Because he violated her he shall not be permitted to divorce her as long as he lives.” Deuteronomy 22:28-29.

Now this law is often decried by religion’s detractors as barbaric and misogynistic. In fact, however, this law is designed specifically with the woman’s well-being in view.

Then comes the kicker:

In many ancient cultures, women enjoyed second-class status. Societies were dominated by males, and women were objects to be traded from one male to another. This is not a religious problem, so much as a vestige of homo-sapiens’ evolutionary development. But in such cultures, especially in Hebrew culture, women who were victims of rape were considered “spoiled.” The law, in effect, says, “You broke it, you buy it.” In these cultures women depended upon men (fathers, husbands, and sons) for their well-being. In Israelite society, women could not own property; neither could they make contracts without the approval of their male master. This means that a woman was totally dependent upon a man for her survival. But once a virgin had been subjected to sexual violation, she was considered undesirable. Thus, the law dictates (as punishment) that the rapist must marry his victim and, more pointedly, that he is not permitted to divorce her. This law, though obviously very psychologically destructive to the woman (yes, even in an agonistic society), sought to secure the woman’s well being.

So it isn’t the law here specifically that’s evil, barbaric, or what have you. What’s evil and barbaric, rather, is the culture itself—the male-dominated society, the culture that sees unmarried non-virgins as less than a woman, the culture that does not permit a woman to own property, to conduct her own business arrangements by making contracts and vows, or to decide for herself whom she wishes to marry. What’s more, note that there is no mention in this law of whether or not the woman might wish to secure a divorce from her rapist/husband. Women did not have the right to pursue a divorce; that right, too, was solely within the domain of the male.

And especially this:

If I were Yahweh, and I were communicating directly with Moses, who was writing down what I said and relaying it to the people, in order to fashion a society that pleased me, here’s what I would have said:

If a man meets a virgin who is not engaged, and forcibly seizes her and lies with her, and they are caught in the act, the man who lay with her shall be cast out from the people, left to fend for himself in the wilderness. The victim, however, shall not be stigmatized by the crime committed against her. She is more to be honored than other women, for she has undergone much suffering, against her own will, and has emerged from her torment a woman of great strength. Woman is to be honored among you, but a woman who has overcome adversity is to be honored tenfold.

See, now, that would have been revolutionary. The biblical apologists wish to argue that God made concessions to a sinful culture, while leading them, by baby-steps, toward a more enlightened way of life. That’s of course offensive bullshit. Any God who would concede to male-domination, concede to the deprivation of basic rights to women, concede to a society in which the only hope for a rape victim is to be bound as long as she lives to her rapist, is a God I don’t have much use for. Especially when all it would have taken was a few simple sentences, such as the ones I offered above, designed to change fundamentally the way men thought about women. Link

Amen on that. AMEN!

Now Thom thinks there is a God who can be found in the Bible somehow, but that’s an argument for another time. At least Thom’s faith is not one that will embrace pseudo-science and fly planes into buildings based on an ancient superstitious barbaric “holy” book. I could wish all Christians had his faith even if I think it’s delusional as well. Faith, as I’ve argued, is always irrational.

*****

(To his credit, I must recognize that Loftus is slightly more moderate than most of his minions. Many of same would say that all Christians or religious people are the same).

Here was my response to the main post.

***

“Faith, as I’ve argued, is always irrational”

There are different definitions of faith.

Which one are you using? Belief without any reason? Hope in something without any reason?

There are purely secular philosophers who believe that one cannot ground knowledge while avoiding basic beliefs, circular reasoning or infinite regress.

What make you think they’re irrational?

****

I received a gentle, insightful, kind and incredibly profound answer:

“Use whatever definition makes you sleep at night.”

So asking a deep and serious question is worthy of ridicule for these folks.

This type of reaction is a hallmark of the fundamentalist mindset. People feel so convinced they have the truth they ought to preach everywhere that they no longer think that reality (including the religious landscape) might be extremely more complex than their current binary vision of it.

Since I began to read a lot of articles concerning epistemology (the theory of knowledge, how does one knows what one knows), psychology, meta-ethic (the foundation of morality), philosophy of mind, theology and controversial field of inquiries concerning phenomena loosely called “paranormal” (see this link for my parallel blog about those), I have been increasingly realizing that many things people take for granted are very far from having a solid foundation.

This is why I am very suspicious of both Christian and atheistic apologists pretending to rationally prove the very strong plausibility of their worldview.

As I explained, I view faith as a choice, namely the choice to hope in God while the evidence isn’t conclusive either way.

I also had an exchange about the main topic of  their post, namely the presence of laws in the Old Testament we now clearly recognize as suboptimal and harmful.

To make things more digestible I decided to mention it in a new post.

You’re warmly encouraged to write down comments explaining what thoughts came to your minds after having read this.

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

My other blog on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP)

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3 thoughts on “From Chrisian fundamentalism to atheistic fundamentalism (Part 1)

  1. Interesting article. It seems to me that most atheists tend to be liberal politically. This is also true for most progressive Christians. To the extent that is true, it seems to me that we’d do well to reduce the militancy and rigidity found in either camp and instead focus on our common ground of concern for the well-being of the planet and the pursuit of justice. Division within our ranks only helps the right wing agendas.

    author, Kissing Fish: christianity for people who don’t like christianity

    • I agree. As a Christian, I am still the liberal and compassionate person that I was as an angry atheist. I just don’t hate ‘religion’ any more.

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