Continued from: Daily Kos: Take Legal Action to 'End Organized, Institutionalized Religion'
Here is the rest of my post from the above topic posted here: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tim-graham/2010/07/25/daily-kos-take-legal-...
Logical Fallacies: The Fallacy of the Question-Begging Epithet
At the beginning of the 21st century, it is a wonder that a group of ignorant, bigoted and hateful men (yes, mostly men) can preach against scientific progress and try to take this country and the world a few centuries back.
A tactic often used by liberals and materialists is to try and discredit their opponents, and in this case Creationists, by using emotionally charged language to accuse them of impeding scientific progress. But is this true? Do Creationists wish to impede science? Do they wish to “take this country and the world a few centuries back”? To hear the atheist’s side of things, you’d think so.
But let’s look at the facts.
When it comes to discussing science what often gets lost in the mix is how terms are used and defined. It’s important therefore to define the terms clearly. The true disconnect is between Operations Science and Origins Science.
Operations Science is that science which uses the scientific method to arrive at truth. It does so through observational and repeatable experiments in a controlled environment with the intent of finding recurring behavior in the present. Operations Science is used in a wide variety of areas like studying the spread of disease, observing speciation, or cracking the human genome.
Origins Science, on the other hand, deals with non-repeatable events that happened in the past such as creation science and macroevolution. Because the past cannot be directly observed in a lab using Operations Science, presuppositions very heavily influence this field.
For example, the evolutionary view is that the Grand Canyon was formed gradually over long periods of time by small amounts of water. The Creationist on the other hand suggests that the Grand Canyon was formed very quickly with large amounts of water over a short period of time. There are examples in the modern day that can lend us clues to support a given theory like this one at Canyon Lake in 2002 (link). Creationists believe that the Canyon Lake flood lends credibility to the idea that huge amounts of water over a short period of time cut its way through limestone and rock to form the Grand Canyon: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100620155748.htm
As you can see, there are two very different views; they both can’t be right, and neither is provable scientifically. We can only make assumptions about how the Grand Canyon formed based on what we find in the present. We can’t go back in time and prove it scientifically.
Can a Creationist then, be a scientist? Indeed he can. Dr. Raymond Damadian is a young-earth creationist who is credited with inventing the MRI scanner. Francis Collins, the man who cracked the human genome, is also a believer as he explains here: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article673663.ece ). Other noted Creationists include Sir Francis Bacon, Johann Kepler, Blaise Pascal, Robert Byle, and Sir Isaaac Newton.
It is clear that Creationists aren’t “anti-science”, but ant-macroevolution (goo-to-you by way of the zoo).
Defending an Absolute negation
It is time to face the truth -- THERE IS NO GOD.
It is impossible to defend an absolute negation. “There is no God” is an absolute negation. In order to know for certain that “there is no God”, one would have to be infinite in knowledge. But being infinite in knowledge would make one “God”, and that’s who Bluemoon is trying to disprove and not prove, so therefore his assertion refutes itself.
In simple terms, “If there were no God, there would be no atheists.” – GK Chesterton
I don't begrudge the faith to those who believe -- but I am not out there trying to impose vegetarianism or red uniforms on anyone. So, please, keep your religion out of my face.
Christians don’t impose God on anyone. Imposing God on someone would NOT make them a Christian; it would make them an automaton, which would then defeat the purpose of the Christian doctrines of faith and atonement.
But what Christians do exercise is their Constitutional rights as US citizens. That might often mean using the legislative process to fight for the lives of the unborn, defending the sanctity of marriage as defined by God, standing up for the hungry, the poor and the infirm, standing against slavery and human trafficking, and standing as a stop-gap against the immoral actions of predatory groups who seek to undermine the family.
All of this is done within the parameters of our Constitutional rights as citizens as well as our Christians mandate to see moral justice accomplished.
Emotionally Charged Language Misses the Mark
Humanity may have needed to believe in rocks or celestial bodies when we barely could walk upright.
This is another attempt at the Fallacy of the Question-Begging Epithet. This is used when a person attempts to use emotionally charged language to defend their position. It is often extreme in nature and misrepresents the opposing position. I can say for a fact that “believing in rocks” is found nowhere in the Judeo-Christian tradition, nor is the worship of “celestial bodies”. We believe in the One, true and eternal God – Jehovah.
Is Christianity evil?
Religion in general and chirstianity in particular are EVIL.
Someone has been reading Dawkins again. Is Christianity evil? Let’s address Bluemoon’s assertions and see.
1) **the church tells you that as long as you go to confession and pray to God, all the wrong-doing will be forgiven. Therefore, religion teaches us an inconsiderate, irresponsible behavior to our fellow humans. No, I do not want someone who wronged me to ask forgiveness from God. I want them to come to me, to face me and ask for forgiveness from me, not some abstract and supposedly all-forgiving god.
This isn’t true. Forgiveness is something granted by God through Jesus Christ, not by man. Being forgiven by God does NOT absolve us of the consequences of our behavior.
For instance, if a man murders his wife and goes to jail for life, he may indeed have a change of heart in prison and find God in the process, but that does not absolve him from the consequences of his behavior nor of his obligation as a believer to rectify his actions regardless of whether it’s received by the ones he has hurt or not.
Forgiveness within God’s economy is not a one-sided deal. There is the responsibility of the sinner as well. A sinner is expected to repent. Repentance is not just simply admitting sorrow for a wrongdoing, but it is actively making the effort to change the sinful behavior. Repentance means, “to turn away from”. Continuing in sin is a sign of an unrepentant heart. A man may beat his wife and be sorrowful for having done it, but unless he willfully commits to turning away from that sin, he has not repented. Without repentance a person is not saved.
Though we may be forgiven by God and redeemed from our sin, the PROOF of spiritual change is evidenced, in part, by the fact that the “forgiven” seeks forgiveness from those he has wronged and turns from his sin. In God’s eyes the evidence that a person is born again is not in what he claims, but what he does. I’m afraid, there are far too many who fail to meet this first proof of redemption.
2) **religion teaches us to abdicate responsibility for our actions with respect to the world. No, everything is NOT in God's hands and does NOT happen to god's plan. It is the inevitable consequence of human action and we better relize this before the planet is damaged irreparably whether through ecological or military catastrophe.
I can’t speak to other religions, but within Christianity this is also untrue. I have already spoken to the “responsibility factor” above. But to the point of “God’s plan”, yes the world does operate according to His plan. What we fail to realize from our vantage point, as God’s creation, is that God is eternal and knows the end from the beginning.
Remember the account of Joseph in the Bible? Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt. For some 13 years Joseph remained a slave, much of that time spent in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. I can imagine that there were many times when he probably questioned God’s motive for allowing him to have to endure such brokenness and pain. He sat there in solitude for years wondering if he’d ever see his family again. But one day a famine came to Canaan, and people flocked to Egypt to find food. By this time, Joseph had been elevated to a place of prominence and was given the responsibility of overseeing the distribution of wheat during the famine. It was then that he and his family would once again be reunited.
In the end, and after many years had passed, and though all had seemed lost, Joseph was elevated to a place of prominence where he was not only able to save Egypt, but also his own family. God had foreseen this from the beginning. God knew Joseph’s brothers would sell him into slavery. God knew Joseph would have to spend years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. God knew the famine would one day come and drive his family to Egypt for help. And God knew that Joseph would be waiting to feed and provide for them. God had a plan that seemed cruel at first, but what we fail to understand sometimes is that God’s plan does not always follow our plans. His ways are not our ways, nor His thoughts are not our thoughts. The Bible says this: “There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the way thereof leads to death.” We should be thankful His ways are not our ways.
Relativism leads to three possible outcomes: Stalemate (tolerance), war/conflict, or tyranny
It is time to organize and take legal action against religious intitutions. There are many avenues available to pursue lawsuits against churches and such. It is time to turn up the heat in the media and the blogsphere against this unnecessary and harmful atavism of the past.
I wrote a piece yesterday about how relativism leads to three possible outcomes: 1) a stalemate (tolerance) – where two parties learn to tolerate their differences and live together in relative peace, (though this is impossible because conflict is inevitable with relativism) 2) war/conflict – where the two sides in opposition reach a point where their differences are irreconcilable, (we see the rise of this in America today between Conservatives and liberals) and the matter escalates into war (race war, class war, etc), or lastly, 3) tyranny – when tolerance nor war are viable options forcing the opposition to submit through totalitarian rule will often suffice.
This is where atheism and its agent relativism will always inevitably lead.
UPDATE: Please, do not confuse -- accidentally or on purpose -- my position that we need to end ORGANIZED, INSTUTIONALIZED religion with my already stated belief that everyone has the right to believe in the big polka-dotted betentacled glamgrum from Aldebaran if you want. Belief is a personal choice and I am regarding it as such. However, institutions with a vested interest in ignorance whose last check on reality was during Nero's time (if then), have to be fought tooth and nail.
Belief is indeed a personal choice, but not all beliefs are equal. In his brilliant work, “Can Man Live Without God” , Ravi Zacharias frames for us this eternal question:
“The issue, then, is not whether the belief system you espouse – monotheistic, atheistic, pantheistic, or otherwise – is exclusive. The issue is whether the answers to the four basic questions of life pertaining to origin, meaning, morality, and destiny within the context of each of these world-views meet the tests of truth. Are they logically consistent, are they empirically adequate, and are they experientially relevant?...The answers to life’s four questions must in each instance correspond to reality, and the sum of the answers must cohere as a system.
“It is absolutely imperative to understand that when an antagonist of the Christian faith poses a question of the Christian, he or she must, in turn, be willing first to justify the question within the context of his or her own presuppositions. Second, he or she must also answer the question on the basis of those presuppositions ...An attitude that says, “you can’t answer my question, and therefore I can believe whatever I want to believe,” is intellectual hypocrisy.”
One may choose to profess a belief in a “big polka-dotted betentacled glamgrum from Aldebaran”, but does this belief system provide a cherent set of answers to life's biggest questions? Can this belief answer the questions pertaining to origin, meaning, morality, and destiny – questions all worldviews must answer? And are theses answers logically consistent, empirically adequate, and does this belief system correspond to reality? Belief systems must be qualified before they can be taken seriously. Christianity can answer all of these clearly.
There’s reality and then there’s a skeptic’s reality
I am now convinced the church harbored pedophiles throughout its history. It is in all the books of the past centuries -- read Bocaccio's Decameron, read Mandragola by Macchiavelli... read any honest writer -- the priest is always portrayed as the sexual opportunist, enabler and predator.
Bocaccio's Decameron was an allegorical novel and the other, Mandragola, was a satirical play. This is like comparing Hollywood movies to reality!
Kill them all, and let God sort them out!
It is only because contemporary media finally dared lift the curtain that we have finally gotten a glimpse of the true face of the church -- a criminal, predatory instution that needs to be attacked with lawsuits and any legal means unto death.
The Bible says that judgment first begins at the House of God. In other words, when God’s house becomes a house in ill repute He will be the one to cleanse it. God did this at Shiloh (1 Samuel 2). Because Eli the Priest refused to rebuke the sins of his sons who had lightly esteemed the work of God and had committed sin in the House of God, God wrote above the door of that place Ichabod, which means, “The glory of the Lord is departed”. God is beginning to cleanse His house of all of those who have practiced their wickedness while pretending to be His. He does not take these acts committed by these rogue priests lightly.
But we must also not throw out the baby with the bath water. Like I’ve mentioned before, a system is not measured by its abuses but by its essential tenets. Should these priests be defrocked and held accountable for their crimes? A thousand times, yes! But Christianity as a system is not the culprit here but individuals who chose to indulge their baser instincts against the oath they swore to God. If this shows us anything it’s that the depravity of man is very real and that a man is not exempt from sin simply because he wraps himself in priestly garb. For “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
I wonder too, why those who stand so ardently against the Church for these crimes still defend with as much ardent conviction the homosexual community, which by and large also wishes to see the illegality of pedophilia lifted. When the Church does it, it’s a crime; when the homosexual community does it, it’s all right.
UPDATE II: Thank you for the responses. It was unexpected. I sometimes wonder how we, as humans, would behave in the absence of religion. Would it be all that intolerable -- the huge empty space of the universe... our own short lives... no other morality but what we devise for ourselves? Would it? Would it be so bad to appreciate the uniqueness and preciousness of every human life ... to know that we have to love our fellow humans NOW, in this very moment, in every second of our waking lives because there is NO second chance... because death is painfully (but also mercifully) final. Would it be so bad -- to look to the heavens and see the real miracle of existance -- not created by someone or something with a purpose.. not predestined.. but here nevertheless... here in all its magnificence of randomness and unpredictability... and us, this world, this tiny precious planet -- not part of a design at all, but an accident really. An accident so unlikely... that I, with a conscious self-awareness am present to write this -- that you are here to read it. No God and no religion can diminish this sense of wonder... if anything this world, our fellow humans are even more precious, more worth protecting...
This is where Bluemoon reveals the real crutch of the matter. Of everything he’s written thus far, this is really what is at the heart of everything else. First, Bluemoon asks, “Would it be so intolerable (to believe that no other) morality (exists) but what we devise for ourselves?” Yes, Bluemoon it would!
If the material is all that there is, and there is no God, then morality becomes relative to the situation. If, then, a priest decides to molest a child, he is well within his right to do so, because according to you, he is adhering to a morality he has devised himself – one that allows him to satisfy his baser instincts. We can’t say the priest is wrong, because he is doing that which is right for him.
Bluemoon then goes on to address the “uniqueness and preciousness” of every human life. Yet, earlier in the piece while Bluemoon rebukes Dr Tiller’s murderer he says nothing of the babies Mr Tiller had himself murdered. Were their lives not equally as precious and unique?
Furthermore, and more importantly, if the material is all that there is, and there is no God and no absolute moral law, then there is no intrinsic uniqueness to human beings. According to evolutionary theory, we are all just products of time plus chance – a collocation of random atoms. We’re all here by accident. We have no more value or purpose than a slug or a rock. We are all just part of a grand cosmic accident trying to survive by hook or by crook.
Bluemoon then explains that we are to “love our fellow humans NOW, in this very moment.” But love in a godless universe is an abstract concept. The feeling of love is just the reaction of chemicals within the brain and nothing more. It is ultimately meaningless.
What strikes me as odd, too, is that Bluemoon begins this rant by denouncing God and moral absolutes, but then here in this last paragraph we find him using moral absolutes at his own leisure. According to Bluemoon, there is no God to define morality, but then Bluemoon decides to do it himself by telling us that we must “love our fellow humans NOW…” But what makes this moral assertion any less absolute than God saying: “Love your neighbor as yourself,” or “Love your enemies; do good to those who persecute you”? What gives Bluemoon the authority to posit an absolute when God cannot? Again, if we’re all just making this up as we go along, then why should anyone care what Bluemoon says over and above anyone else? On what authority does he make these assertions? And who has given him that authority?
Next, Bluemoon dreams of a universe devoid of purpose. This is odd considering the fact that Bluemoon expects us to find purpose in his “rant”. If there is no purpose to life, if the material is all that there is, then why should we bother about pedophiles or love or much less what Bluemoon thinks?
As you can see, the world of atheism is a world of endless contradiction. He is forever trying to find meaning in a meaningless world. He makes the claim that there is neither purpose nor meaning in life but then we’re expected to believe that his assertions should hold special purpose and meaning.
It’s clear that Bluemoon is placing the blame for the ills of the world at the feet of God and the Church, but fails to admit his own contribution, or even humanity’s contribution to the state of affairs the world finds itself in.
Let me end this with a quote from Malcolm Muggeridge the famed English Journalist:
We look back upon history, and what do we see? Empires rising and falling. Revolutions and Counterrevolutions. Wealth accumulated and wealth disbursed. Shakespeare has written of the rise and fall of great ones, that ebb and flow with the moon. I look back upon my own fellow countrymen, once upon a time dominating a quarter of the world, most of them convinced, in the words of what is still a popular song, that the God who made them mighty, shall make them mightier yet.
I've heard a crazed, cracked Austrian announce to the world the establishment of a Reich that would last a thousand years. I have seen an Italian clown say he was going to stop and restart the calendar with his own ascension to power. I've heard a murderous Georgian brigand in the Kremlin, acclaimed by the intellectual elite of the world as wiser than Solomon, more humane than Marcus Aurelius, more enlightened than Ashoka.
I have seen America, wealthier and in terms of military weaponry, more powerful than the rest of the world put together, so that had the American people so desired, they could have outdone a Caesar, or an Alexander in the range and scale of their conquests.
All in one lifetime, all in one lifetime, all gone. Gone with the wind. England part of a tiny island off the coast of Europe, threatened with dismemberment and even bankruptcy. Hitler and Mussolini dead, remembered only in infamy. Stalin a forbidden name in the regime he helped found and dominate for some three decades. America haunted by fears of running out of those precious fluids that keeps their motorways roaring, and the smog settling, with troubled memories of a disastrous campaign in Vietnam, and the victories of the Don Quixotes of the media as they charged the windmills of Watergate. All in one lifetime, all in one lifetime, all gone. Gone with the wind.
Behind the debris of these solemn supermen, and self-styled imperial diplomatists, there stands the gigantic figure of one, because of whom, by whom, in whom and through whom alone, mankind may still have peace: The person of Jesus Christ. I present him as the way, the truth, and the life.