Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Atheist Charitable Giving

There is an idea floating around that Atheists are more generous and caring than Christians because of some verses removed from the context of the Bible. Oddly this is one of those ideas that can be fact checked, but seems not to have been. Here are some facts regarding Atheist charitable giving vs Christian charitable giving.

”One of the most significant differences between active-faith and no-faith Americans is the cultural disengagement and sense of independence exhibited by atheists and agnostics in many areas of life. They are less likely than active-faith Americans to be registered to vote (78% versus 89%), to volunteer to help a non-church-related non-profit (20% versus 30%), to describe themselves as "active in the community" (41% versus 68%), and to personally help or serve a homeless or poor person (41% versus 61%). They are also more likely to be registered to vote as an independent or with a non-mainstream political party.

One of the outcomes of this profile - and one of the least favorable points of comparison for atheist and agnostic adults - is the paltry amount of money they donate to charitable causes. The typical no-faith American donated just $200 in 2006, which is more than seven times less than the amount contributed by the prototypical active-faith adult ($1500). Even when church-based giving is subtracted from the equation, active-faith adults donated twice as many dollars last year as did atheists and agnostics. In fact, while just 7% of active-faith adults failed to contribute any personal funds in 2006, that compares with 22% among the no-faith adults.”
Barna Group Poll.


To recap, Christians give 2:1 more money to charity, not counting church donations, than Atheists give to charity. Three times as many Atheists, per capita, give nothing at all.

Even some Atheists admit to the problem. These Atheists have set up an Atheist foundation to encourage giving by Atheists:

“A new foundation in Georgia is urging atheists and secularists to donate more to charity in order to show that their generosity equals that of churchgoers — even if their checkbooks haven't shown it thus far

''The nonreligious are generous and compassionate, but our giving lags behind the religious," said Dale McGowan, executive director of Foundation Beyond Belief. "It's time for those of us who are otherwise engaged on Sunday mornings to have our own easy and regular means of giving."

The recently formed foundation seeks to "focus, encourage and demonstrate the generosity and compassion of atheists and humanists" and also provide "a comprehensive education and support program" for nonbelieving parents, according to its Web site.

The foundation has good reason to be concerned — a 2000 survey by the charitable giving group Independent Sector showed that 87.5 percent of all charitable contributions come from religious donors.”
K. Haus, newsok.com
This Atheist charitable foundation has collected $6,500 from 250 individuals, a whopping $26 average.

56 comments:

JD Curtis said...

If the term "Atheist Charitable Giving" isnt an oxymoron, then I don't know what is.

Stan said...

Yep.

The Atheist lives in a cloistered ideological fantasy world, where he is the most caring person – not because he ever does anything himself, but because he has plans for everyone else’s property redistribution. It's conceptual caring as opposed to active caring.

If everyone else just cared as much as he does (ideologically of course), then they all would voluntarily redistribute their wealth. It’s all for the common good, of course.

But try to find an Atheist who has actually given his "excess" property and wealth away voluntarily and lives just above poverty level purely because of his ideology.

No, that part comes when everyone is forced to do it. And as in Animal Farm, some will be more equal than others, primarily those who administer the ideology of sharing everyone else's wealth.

Sam said...

"There is an idea floating around that Atheists are more generous and caring than Christians because of some verses removed from the context of the Bible."

Who said that? Practically every Bible verse I've quoted encourages Christians to be generous and compassionate. (Not that I couldn't find dozens that encourage rape, murder, slavery, genocide, etc, etc)

And I do recall commending the charity of your daughters Christian neighbors.

Maybe you are thinking of when William Lane Craig said that its good when God lets babies be slaughtered?

But if you just want to whip out numbers and see who is bigger; The Giving Pledge, organized by Bill Gates (humanist), and Warren Buffet (agnostic) would add up to about 600 BILLION.
http://news.discovery.com/human/billionaire-pledge-income.html

Oh, what's that? Voluntary redistribution of wealth for the common good? Facts, my friends, are stubborn things.

JD Curtis said...

Neither one of the two examples you cite are atheists Sam.

When did WLC state that "its good when God lets babies be slaughtered?" Source please?

Sam said...

Neither are theists, which sounds like atheism to me. And the main thrust of the past arguments have been Humanist vs Christian morality. So I think the examples are very valid.

""Moreover, if we believe, as I do, that God’s grace is extended to those who die in infancy or as small children, the death of these children was actually their salvation. We are so wedded to an earthly, naturalistic perspective that we forget that those who die are happy to quit this earth for heaven’s incomparable joy. Therefore, God does these children no wrong in taking their lives.

So whom does God wrong in commanding the destruction of the Canaanites? Not the Canaanite adults, for they were corrupt and deserving of judgement. Not the children, for they inherit eternal life. So who is wronged? Ironically, I think the most difficult part of this whole debate is the apparent wrong done to the Israeli soldiers themselves. Can you imagine what it would be like to have to break into some house and kill a terrified woman and her children? The brutalizing effect on these Israeli soldiers is disturbing.""

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5767

That's WLC own website fyi.

Adding context seems to make the quote even more repugnant.

Stan said...

Sam,
What is the source of your own moral repulsion? In other words, against what standards are you judging God? Assuming that you have specific standards, what is the source of their legitimacy?

Why should I accept your judgment of the morality of God?

Sam said...

To be clear..

You are asking me why I think it is wrong to murder babies? And on what basis do I judge those who would?

JD Curtis said...

Sam, exactly what knowledge are you in possession of that if these vile people were not wiped out, that their practice of the human sacrifice of babies to their god, sex with their children and beastiality wouldnt continue or even spread to other cultures?

If fire and brimstone would have been preferable in this instance instead of armed conflict, please explain why.

entlype said...

Now we wait for Sam to support his moral judgement with another moral judgement or any of the common circular responses atheists offer. It will just eventually boil down to subjectivity where the response would be to his repulsion is "who cares?" since it isn't really repulsive.

Stan said...

051311 Sam
Sam,
Blogger is back, but not without leaving some problems. I'm not sure which thread you're reading right now, but I'll use this one for now. Several of the later comments did not resurface with Blogger. The technicians appear to have restored it to a previous state, losing some of the later content. You had posted a long list of Bible quotes that you find objectionable; you'll have to resubmit that, because that and my response to it are gone.

I will go ahead and repeat my response here, at least my new version of it.

I now realize the game you are playing, which is a pissing contest, and is one that I am opting out of. I admit to reneging on a promise of a discussion, but I had forgotten how Atheists look at things and respond. Maybe I am too far away from my Atheism now to anticipate this kind of stuff, or maybe I was just tired at the time. Regardless, I do not engage in pissing contests.

The Atheist view of the Bible goes something like this:

Because there is no god the Bible can't be perfect, so I'll find errors or objectionable materials that don't fit my narrative of good ethical behavior and that will prove that there is no God.

In order to do that, the Bible must be interpreted purely literally, unexegeted, and judged by my personal standards of what a decent God would do (if I were God).

My own standards, however, are also developed and interpreted by me to fit my own narrative of superior morality, and are subject to change as necessary to meet the sliding morality du jour.

Because there is no God, of course, the ancient documents are the silly works of silly men; my own ethic is superior because it is mine and it is modern, and because it is superior, there is no God.


By insisting on a literal translation of ancient languages, and by refusing to acknowledge the ancient intellectual capacity to use metaphors and analogies, and by presupposing what a real deity would do, the Atheist creates a false atmosphere and false reality in which he, the Atheist, is superior in every way to the deity which he imagines he sees documented.

In your case you apparently refuse to accept the full meanings in the Manifestos, applying dictionary definitions for concepts which are defined otherwise in the text… actually changing the meanings to suit your own narrative. So there will be no literal translation of the Manifestos.

So no, I won’t engage in this conversation because it cannot be held in a fashion that is intellectually honest. But I will do the following because I once had a problem with one of the same verses you mentioned:

The claim that Jesus wants people to hate their parents is based on the passage Luke 14:26. The word “hate” is translated in other versions as “not love more than” and “refuses to let go of”. The idea that any translation of the ancient languages is perfect is absurd, because those languages had fewer words, requiring expanded and multiple meanings depending upon context. Exegesis is not a mathematical correspondence theory. I know that some Christian groups insist on the literal truth of every word of the bible. But nowhere in the bible have I found a statement that every English translation is perfect. Much less French, Italian, German, Chinese, Arapahoe, etc.

However, there is a certain sense being developed through the various books in the Bible, and that sense, which carries across many centuries and many writers who did not know each other, contains a coherence and a format for personal development that is compelling.

Reading the Humanist Manifestos, which were written in the English language commonly used in the past century, gives a different sense altogether, being based on levelling rather than development. I have already discussed that.

You still appear to be engaging in bumper sticker philosophy, using sound bites as conclusions without passing through the region of premise / evidence regressed to absolutes. That is the focus of my purpose here, and I am returning to that.

Sam said...

Yeah too bad about blogger.

By 'pissing contest' you mean comparing the words of Jesus, to the words of Humanists ... like you had requested?

The Bible is full of atrocities. Things any moral person should rebel against. It's not "translations" or "context" that makes people read horror where you proclaim divine morality. If anything, adding context tends to increase the repulsion. It literally says that God commands the heads of babies to be dashed against rocks. God literally commands people tp kill their child. Offering your daughters to be raped rather than male guests is held as a moral act. The horrors are exhaustive, and the moral gems few and far between.

There ARE some very good verses in the Bible.

Really, its only by presupposing that God exists that you give the Bible any credence. Without that presupposition, whole books read like the ravings of a madman, and others are indistinguishable from children's fables. I'm not trying to be rude or snarky. I can provide examples, although if you've actually read the Bible, you know what I'm talking about.

Can you give me a citation for those translations? I've honestly never hear that interpretation. Although again, honestly, a proscription of a willingness to abandon your family seems only moderately better to hating them.

There is a common thread throughout humanism. One of reason and compassion. You are taking parts which are basically saying all people deserve to be treated equally and we should try and ensure everyone has access to the basic essentials of life, and making it sounds like some malignant socialist plot. You'll note that there is nothing anywhere in humanist literature that says if you don't believe it, you will be condemned to eternal torture?

Stan said...

Let’s try a little different tack here, since you claim reason for your side.

First, the ideas that a) there is no first cause, or b) there must be evidence for a first cause are not parsimonious. Because the universe is clearly an effect, it is parsimonious to expect it to have a cause, rather than not have a cause. Not to have a cause would introduce a new phenomenon, which is an existence coming from non-existence: this is not observed and is without explanan: it is not expected.

Also, since we depend on universal features (mass/energy) to make any and all experimental measurements, then any pre-universal existence would not be detectable using these experimental methods and thus material evidence is impossible: it is not parsimonious or even rational to demand it.

So denial of a first cause is not parsimonious and does not pass Ockham’s Razor, which many Atheists love and many even seem to think that it is a natural law.

Choosing to pursue the concept of a first cause existing for the universe, then what would the characteristics of the universe suggest about its cause? The cause for the universe would require a vastly powerful source, a coherent source, and given that the universe contains intelligence, an intelligent source. Choosing to deny any one of these is not parsimonious, given our experience with cause and effect as a universal law. It is possible to deny cause and effect, but so far there is no evidence to support that denial. In fact, deduction from cause and effect is the basis for empirical science: it is expected.

Now if we choose to deny the existence of a powerful, intelligent, coherent first cause of the universe, we have show two things: first is it parsimonious to deny it; second is there rational basis to support the denial. No, and no.

If we choose to demand evidence for a powerful, intelligent, coherent first cause of the universe, we are demanding an impossible task for empirical science, and that is unreasonable.

And is the universe caused intentionally or accidentally? If there is reasonable presumption for a powerful, intelligent, coherent first cause, it seems unlikely that the universe is an accident; in fact it is more parsimonious that the universe was intentional.

So the presumption of a powerful, intelligent, coherent, first cause of the universe is in no way irrational, and is in fact the more parsimonious presumption.

Now concerning the actions of the powerful, intelligent, coherent, first cause of the universe (which I’ll call PICFCOTU, for short), whatever PICFCOTU decides to do with its universe is a decision that is not refutable by the components of its universe.

Should PICFCOTU decide to modify certain components, it is neither moral nor immoral. Should PICFCOTU decide to modify certain components by using other components to implement the modification, that is neither moral nor immoral. Should PICFCOTU decide to destroy all or part of the universe, that is neither moral nor immoral.

Thus, there is nothing that PICFCOTU can do that is immoral.
(continued)

Stan said...

(continued)
If PICFCOTU gives rules of behavior to certain non-intelligent components of its universe, then the non-intelligent components obey the rules of behavior, and behave accordingly without question.

But if PICFCOTU gives rules of behavior to intelligent components, the intelligent components are able to disobey the rules of behavior and even question the authority and existence of PICFCOTU. This is the entry point of morality, where immorality is disobedience.

If the intelligent components question the morality of PICFCOTU, they are questioning a non-existent feature, because PICFCOTU may do as it wishes with its universe, including the intelligent components. So declaring PICFCOTU’s behavior to be onerous or immoral has no meaning, logically. It is always logically False that PICFCOTU’s behavior is immoral.

While this might irritate the intelligent components of PICFCOTU’s universe, it does not change the reality in which they live.

Just as there is no reason to expect PICFCOTU to obey the natural laws that govern the universe, there also is no corresponding reason to expect that the laws of moral behavior given to the intelligent components would apply in the same manner to PICFCOTU. For example, if PICFCOTU demands that intelligent components be just, yet does not guarantee justice during the life span of the intelligent components, it does not mean that PICFCOTU is not just. And if PICFCOTU applies a different justice than is expected of its intelligent components, that has no moral meaning regarding PICFCOTU.

In short, PICFCOTU cannot be understood in terms of examining the universe nor in terms of morality, especially if the specific morality under consideration is not from PICFCOTU, but is derived for their own convenience of conscience or self-righteousness by the intelligent components which PICFCOTU created. PICFCOTU can only be understood as the separate entity which it is.

If PICFCOTU is rejected, it is not on a rational basis.

Sam said...

So in summary: God is good (or at least not evil) when he commands babies heads to be dashed off rocks.

Even questioning the existence of your imaginary friend becomes grounds for immorality punishable by eternal torture.

You admit there is no evidence that such a being exists, nor can he be understood unless you presuppose that God already exists, and is beyond moral judgement.

You say he prescribes rules of behavior (in the Bible I'm going to have to assume). Yet you interpret the rules as you like anyways. Anything which doesn't agree with your internal morality, you chalk up to being mistranslated or out of context.

Unless you do stone to death your disobedient children, and neighbors that work on Sundays? If your daughter was raped, of course you would insist she marry her rapist. God said it! I believe it!

You simultaneous claim that this being is beyond comprehension, yet you have a personal relationship with him. You claim this being may command the greatest evils, yet is not evil...

Right. What's unreasonable about all that?

Stan said...

Sam 051611
”So in summary: God is good (or at least not evil) when he commands babies heads to be dashed off rocks.

Even questioning the existence of your imaginary friend becomes grounds for immorality punishable by eternal torture.”


No, actually you keep saying those things based on your personal selection of verses from the Bible. What I said is that your personally derived morality cannot be applied to a being such as would be the First Cause. Your attempt to eliminate the First Cause by using your personal horror at the verses you don’t care for is a non sequitur.

”You admit there is no evidence that such a being exists, nor can he be understood unless you presuppose that God already exists, and is beyond moral judgement. “

I said no such thing. I said that there is no Material evidence. If you deny that there is any other kind of evidence than material evidence, then you need material evidence to support that statement.

I also did not presuppose the existence of God. I logically derived a necessity for the existence of a First Cause with certain characteristics. It apparently is necessary for you to purposely corrupt what has been said, in order to support your worldview. I’ll try to keep you straight on what has actually been said.

”You say he prescribes rules of behavior (in the Bible I'm going to have to assume). Yet you interpret the rules as you like anyways. Anything which doesn't agree with your internal morality, you chalk up to being mistranslated or out of context.”

Judeo-Christianity has its first and second covenants; under the influence of free will, they can be obeyed or not obeyed. If you refer to that as interpretation, then yes. If you are referring to the need for full understanding through exegesis and context, then no. They should be understood in context and under complete exegesis with a full understanding of original language complex meanings and contexts. This conflicts with your necessity to denigrate the Biblical translations as compared with your own personal code. But that is not in any way a reflection on the necessity for a First Cause.

”Unless you do stone to death your disobedient children, and neighbors that work on Sundays? If your daughter was raped, of course you would insist she marry her rapist. God said it! I believe it!”

Those are not commandments; they were functional civil laws for the Hebrews. And not even as you choose to state them in your denigration. You might disagree with their civil laws under your understanding of your own personal code, but that does not invalidate the need for rules to fit the social situation, however foreign and onerous to your personal ears.
(continued)

Stan said...

(continued)
”You simultaneous claim that this being is beyond comprehension, yet you have a personal relationship with him. You claim this being may command the greatest evils, yet is not evil...”

And your interpretation of that is itself onerous and evil. You ascribe evil where it is present only under your personal code. I do not dash babies heads on rocks, and neither do any Christian cults no matter how far out they are. Babies, pre-born, are butchered in utero daily, but not by Judeo-Christians. Your criticisms are without merit. They are designed to highlight your own personal self-righteousness due to your personal code which abjures such behavior (at least in others), as do the rest of us to which you ascribe it.

Your claim of the greatest of evils is a claim which has no moral basis beyond your own personal code, one which you develop out of nothing whatsoever and which therefore has no force whatsoever. Therefore, your attempt to dictate your personal morality as binding on a creating force is superfluous.

The dashing of children on rocks has been the modus operandi of Atheo-Leftist Humanists in the near past, not of Judeo-Christians. Yet you adhere to the same credo that provided the impetus for that atheist behavior, while condemning the ancients and God for it. What about the butchery of >50,000,000 humans in the uteruses which harbor them in today's Atheo-secular culture? What about the Atheist butchery of >250,000,000 persons in the last 100 years?

As for personal relationships, they are as mysterious – yet extant – as the being itself. There is no reason to expect that those who deny such a thing exists would ever experience it; quite obviously to the contrary.

”Right. What's unreasonable about all that?”

What is unreasonable here is your attempt to deny the existence of a First Cause based on selections of Bible verses, and applying your own self-righteous condemnation to a existence that is outside the constraints placed on humans and certainly outside your control. That coupled with your adherence to the worldview that results in the exact horrific things you condemn: that is specifically non-coherent and irrational.

It is irrational to demand literal interpretation of millennia-old, ancient language documents while declining a literal interpretation of modern English language documents of manufactured morals.

It is irrational to be horrified by “dashing infants heads against rocks” and yet not be disturbed by thrusting scissors through the skulls and into the brains of unborn infants, summarily dismembering them in utero while alive, or allowing them to die slowly in the stack of baby parts. This is the infanticide which is preached and practiced today, by Atheo-Leftist-Humanists as sacred rites / rights and which, incidentally, is racially focused and implemented. Notice that it is not endorsed by Judeo-Christians.

Finally, it is irrational to try to paint ancient civil laws as moral constructs for all time behaviors.

I hope this clarifies my position.

Sam said...

So, when God commands something that I think is evil, it is my own moral failing for attempting to pass moral judgment on a being you claim I have no authority to judge?

I'm not attempting to eliminate a First Cause by argument from moral revulsion. I'm saying that if such a being as you describe exists, he is monstrous. And its incredibly sad that people derive morality from any interpretation of millennia-old, ancient language documents.

No material evidence then. Kindly present your non-material evidence by which you claim the authority of God. Kindly present any reason to suppose that you have a close personal relationship with the PIKACHU that created existence itself.

I did not claim Christians murder children (this is where I resist linking to articles of people drowning their kids because 'God' told them to). I said your God is said to, and Christians defend this. You conflate the issues only to your own convenience.

There are over 300 commandments in the Bible. Some such gems include:

Don't wear clothes made of more than one fabric (Leviticus 19:19)

Don't cut your hair nor shave. (Leviticus 19:27)

If a man has sex with another man, kill them both. (Leviticus 20:13)

If a priest's daughter is a whore, she is to be burnt at the stake. (Leviticus 21:9)

Psychics, wizards, and so on are to be stoned to death. (Leviticus 20:27)

Note that this is specifically GOD dictating these laws. Not 'ancient civil laws". Excuses like free will, translations and context are just that. Excuses.

When people complain about taking such quotes out of context, it merely reinforces to me that they have not read their own holy book.

As far as abortion goes, I personally do not think it should be used as a form of routine birth control. I seriously doubt any of the murders you claim are the result of a reasonable and compassionate world view.

Stan said...

”So, when God commands something that I think is evil, it is my own moral failing for attempting to pass moral judgment on a being you claim I have no authority to judge?”

No, logical error, not moral failure. It’s the same as going into court in handcuffs and orange pajomas and telling the judge that the system is evil and that he has no legitimate authority over me: that is illogical.

”No material evidence then. Kindly present your non-material evidence by which you claim the authority of God. Kindly present any reason to suppose that you have a close personal relationship with the PIKACHU that created existence itself.”

You will get no empirical evidence at all, one way or the other. You have personal accounts (witness testimony) to consider, and that is all. There is no way to convince the unconvincable, nor is there a need to. It is not my job to convince you. It is your job to prove me wrong, delusional, liar, etc, should you choose to do so. Either you can or you can’t. Either you find your way or you don’t. But you have heard the personal witness that a relationship happens; that is all there is and that is all you get. You will make your own judgment based on your free will to decide.

”I did not claim Christians murder children (this is where I resist linking to articles of people drowning their kids because 'God' told them to). I said your God is said to, and Christians defend this. You conflate the issues only to your own convenience.”

While I doubt the veracity of this accusation, it makes no difference to the overall issue. What Christians believe is of no consequence to Truth. Christians believe a great many contradictory things which they make up based on attempts at literal interpretations of some translation. This is exactly what Jesus fought as moral error in the Pharisees: literal interpretation.

You can undoubtedly find “Christians” to defend anything whatsoever; it makes no difference to the Truth, whatever that might be. Your persistent ranting about dashing infants heads on the rocks is certainly an indication that you are choosing to take this a commandment, a Christian precept, and an indication that Christians and their deity are evil – all by association. It is your judgment, made by your own personal necessities. All under your own free will, of course.

”There are over 300 commandments in the Bible. Some such gems include: [Much of Leviticus].

There were ten commandments received by Moses; there also were many civil regulations related by God at a different time (referred to as “laws”, not commandments, in my NIV version). You may whine about them all you want, it changes nothing.

I'm not attempting to eliminate a First Cause by argument from moral revulsion. I'm saying that if such a being as you describe exists, he is monstrous. And its incredibly sad that people derive morality from any interpretation of millennia-old, ancient language documents.”

Yes, this is your personal judgment: the God of the Old Testament is a monster; there is no valid moral knowledge in ancient texts. You are entitled to your personal judgment due to the existence of free will – presumably you arrived freely at your judgment without any mental coercion from any will-driver other than yourself. It is one thing to deride free will, another to claim that you do so without any free will. Nonetheless, you are certainly entitled to throw curses at any part of creation you wish including its source. I am not here to stop you. But I do insist on decorating any logical failures which occur along the way.
(continued)

Stan said...

(continued from above)
So let’s examine modern self-exalting philosophies, those that “know” the moral problems of the world and can fix them with easy steps: the Humanist redistributionist philosophies, of Comte, Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, Che Guevara, etc. These moderns of the intellectual Atheo-humanist persuasion are certainly human monsters. And it is interesting that you continually do not address these issues.

”Note that this is specifically GOD dictating these laws. Not 'ancient civil laws". Excuses like free will, translations and context are just that. Excuses.”

Yes, according to the text, God did dictate the civil laws some time after having given the commandments. How to deal with bull goring is not exactly a moral issue or requiring of a commandment.

But of course it is necessary for you to be absolutely rigid in your understanding; otherwise, your narrative of a monstrous deity might fail. As for excuses, rigidity is easily seen as an excuse for seeking support for a pre-existing belief: i.e. rationalizing data to fit the desired conclusion. Denial of the need for free will, proper translations and context is blatantly denying reality in valid knowledge gathering in favor of rationalizing your conclusion. But you will do what is necessary to support your belief.

”When people complain about taking such quotes out of context, it merely reinforces to me that they have not read their own holy book.”

An empty accusation if ever there was one.

”As far as abortion goes, I personally do not think it should be used as a form of routine birth control. I seriously doubt any of the murders you claim are the result of a reasonable and compassionate world view.”

EVERY abortion is a death of an innocent party by another person who intentionally causes that death: murder. It is not my idle claim as you suggest, it is fact. Your doubt doesn’t seem to go very far here, because it is exactly those who claim reason and compassion who champion abortion. But I share your view that it should not be used as birth control.

Sam said...

"You have personal accounts (witness testimony) to consider, and that is all. "

That's the best you have? Take my word for it? On that basis you feel confident that you can interpret God's commands? During the tenure of this personal relationship, God hasn't revealed any bit of wisdom that might be slightly more convincing than that? You don't think that perhaps it is entirely valid to NOT just take your word for it??

"Yes, this is your personal judgment: the God of the Old Testament is a monster; there is no valid moral knowledge in ancient texts."

Yep. Creates a perfect garden, puts a demon in it. Creates a perfect earth, drowns every living creature. Tells fathers to sacrifice their children. Sacrifices his own son. Commands the deaths of millions. Jesus isn't much better, sends those that don't believe he is God to everlasting torment. I guess we should just have taken his word for it, huh? Or am I picking the wrong verses again?

At what point are these not the actions of a monster? This is not just a personal judgement, I have heard monsters described, and they act very much like this creature.

Also, I specifically said that there are parts of the Bible that are gems of moral knowledge. There just isn't anything unique or divine about them. Yet if it is illogical for me to call God evil, how is it any more logical for you to call him good? Such declarations do not apply to such a being, by your terms.

You know I keep coming back to the slaughter of infants because WLC defended it. And there are multiple instances of God commanding the deaths of children. Am I being unfair about that?

Frankly, when God commands something, I don't quibble over whether he wrote it down or not. Whether a 'law', a 'precept' or a commandment, you probably shouldn't be picking and choosing. He dictates the laws of Leviticus to Moses in much the same manner he delivers to him the 10 commandments (both versions of them).

"So let’s examine modern self-exalting philosophies, those that “know” the moral problems of the world and can fix them with easy steps: the Humanist redistributionist philosophies, of Comte, Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, Che Guevara, etc."

Oh come on. Hitler wasn't enough of a low blow, you want to throw Pol Pot in there? Yeah, he's a prime example of a humanist.

Shall I list every murdering Christian so that we might arrive at truth via the lowest death toll? It's not that I'm intentionally avoiding these issues. Rather you throw up so much I need to respond to, that pointing out that mass murdering psychopaths are actually not Humanists seems a waste of time.

Notice now how I fail to address the morality of judging God by his own standards, or your interpretation of free will that suddenly became a topic of contention? Only so much time and space. If you want me to address something, don't raise twelve different issues.

Stan said...

”You don't think that perhaps it is entirely valid to NOT just take your word for it??”

Did I not predict that you would say something to that effect? It is of no benefit or detriment to me whether you believe it or not. It is your choice (and you were the one who denied free will…). You will believe what you wish to be true. What you believe is your issue, not mine. However, here’s what you cannot do: you cannot prove that it is false.

”Yep. Creates a perfect garden, puts a demon in it. Creates a perfect earth, drowns every living creature. Tells fathers to sacrifice their children. Sacrifices his own son. Commands the deaths of millions. Jesus isn't much better, sends those that don't believe he is God to everlasting torment. I guess we should just have taken his word for it, huh? Or am I picking the wrong verses again?”

No, you are merely cartooning it. It is just a joke to you, so be it. Nothing in your cartoon has any bearing on whether a First Cause exists. Your cartoon joke is merely an excuse, as you call it, to be annoyed, righteously annoyed by things which do not meet your expectations. I personally have no expectations of what I think is the First Cause; it seems completely irrational to make demands of my own derivation on such a being. You, however, are comfortable declaring that compassion as you personally conceive it negates any possible justice of a personal nature which such a being would exact. So you recoil in horror at the sight of justice as predicted. For Humanists, social justice removes personal responsibilities, thereby creating a consequence-free utopia on earth. The bible does not promise a utopia on earth, it promises striving and trouble and it gives character-building, self-discipline and self-denying behaviors to help us deal with that imperfect environment. It is far less parsimonious to expect to create a utopia on earth, than to provide methods to develop character strengths to deal with reality.

Sure, your cartoon looks monsterish; any sort of dealing with personal weaknesses via self-control and self-discipline would look monsterish when compared with an idealized consequence free utopia on earth which does not exist and never has existed. To expect it to come into existence is not an act of reason. It is an act of wishful thinking. Omni-compassion does not exist, and reason will not bring it about. In fact omni-compassion is evil because it rends personal responsibility from the individual.

” Also, I specifically said that there are parts of the Bible that are gems of moral knowledge. There just isn't anything unique or divine about them. Yet if it is illogical for me to call God evil, how is it any more logical for you to call him good? Such declarations do not apply to such a being, by your terms.”

I did not call the First Cause good. I called the First Cause neutral, in terms of the morals placed by the First Cause for humans to develop themselves.
(continued)

Stan said...

”You know I keep coming back to the slaughter of infants because WLC defended it. And there are multiple instances of God commanding the deaths of children. Am I being unfair about that?”

WLC once again did not defend it. He defended the fact that the deity would accept these children into his presence, due to their innocence. Moreover, I don’t care one whit what WLC says one way or the other. Whatever is True is independent of what WLC says about it, what I say about it, what anyone anywhere says about it. Truth is incorrigible; we can hope to find it or we can deny it exists – neither of those things affects the existence of Truth. (BTW, if Truth does not exist, then everything is automatically not-truth). Now how that applies here is that whatever I think about whatever it is that happened, biblically, is completely without any influence on the fact of it, whatever that fact might be. I can condemn it and so what? I can disbelieve it and so what? The only thing that I can do about it that makes sense is to wonder, and to try to estimate the reality behind it.

I do not pretend to make moral judgments on the First Cause based on compassion or on justice or on any other high minded principle. This is because of what I have written above: the facts are outside and beyond me and my control, and most likely beyond my comprehension or even knowledge of their actuality. To pretend otherwise is to presume too much impossible knowledge for myself. However, I can presume certain truths which flow through the texts are supportive of an overall validity, despite the many things such as facts, and explanations for the deity’s behavior, which I cannot know for certain. But none of that negates the logical path to the existence of a First Cause. A First Cause which is intentional, intelligent, and powerful enough to create an orderly, law driven universe, is not likely to be easily understood. Just easily cursed at.

You choose the cartoon as your truth, and no one can argue with that. So take it and go in peace. But know that the likelihood of such a cartoon being the actual Truth is quite small.

Once again, your reference to Hitler is based on your apparent continuing ignorance of what the Humanist Manifestos actually say, and their reference to Hitler, which I pointed out. Yes, a low blow, but coming directly from the Humanists.

Sam said...

No. I'm not 'cartooning' it. That's what your blasted holy book says. People live their lives based around these children's tales thinking it is the divine word of God. It's not a joke.

Of course it isn't True. But people think it is. Because that's what the BOOK SAYS!! /frustration

It's like I need to staple a bible to every post I make.

Oh, I can't prove it false? That's a fantastic argument. You can't prove that Jesus wasn't a velociraptor. Less absurdly, you can't prove that any of the ~19 major world religions are false. I suspect you've stuck with the Bible more from social ease and less because you've actually studied and contrasted each religion.

Yes, WLC does defend the murder of children as commanded by God.

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5767

Of course this has no bearing on the truth. I never claimed it did. What it clearly demonstrates is that people will bend their moral compass into knots to defend their God.

"It is forty years since Humanist Manifesto I (1933) appeared. Events since then make that earlier statement seem far too optimistic. Nazism has shown the depths of brutality of which humanity is capable. Other totalitarian regimes have suppressed human rights without ending poverty. Science has sometimes brought evil as well as good. Recent decades have shown that inhuman wars can be made in the name of peace. The beginnings of police states, even in democratic societies, widespread government espionage, and other abuses of power by military, political, and industrial elites, and the continuance of unyielding racism, all present a different and difficult social outlook. In various societies, the demands of women and minority groups for equal rights effectively challenge our generation."

The reference to Nazism in the manifesto preface was a commentary on the horrors of Nazism and generally decries totalitarian regimes. It is a comment on how we can be naively optimistic, and should always be on the look out for the beginnings of police states and abuses of power. It clearly says that above. Your attempts to twist its meaning and conflate it with the goals of Nazism reek of prejudice.

Nazi Germany was explicitly religious (98.5% religious). That they had a treaty with the Vatican (1933), Hitler was never excommunicated. Hitler constantly referenced God in his speeches and writings... And Nazism itself is very much a political religion. To conflate Nazism with Humanism is either ignorance, bias or both.

Martin said...

Sam,

You seem hung up on this whole Bible thing. You should realize that moral theories involving theism do not necessarily have anything to do with, as you say, the ramblings of Bronze Age goat herders.

You should make yourself aware of generic theism, as well as divine command theory. The core defense of these ideas can be and often are based on reason, independently of any "holy" scripture.

Russell said...

"Creates a perfect garden, puts a demon in it. Creates a perfect earth, drowns every living creature."

"I'm not 'cartooning' it. That's what your blasted holy book says."

Whoa, hold up there. Have you actually read the Bible? At no point does the Bible teach that God placed a demon in the garden of Eden.

Anyone with a passing understanding of Christian theology would know the Bible ties Satan and the serpent together, allegorically and, as in Genesis, literally. (See John 8:44, Revelation 12:9 and 20:2, John 13:26–27, Mark 5:1–13).

Although not scripture, Paradise Lost acts as a Biblical exegesis on this matter for further consideration.

The Flood came because of the fallen nature of man and earth, nothing was pure at that point.

So, yes, you are cartooning two major events.

"Nazi Germany was explicitly religious (98.5% religious)." No, Germany was explicitly religious even under Nazi rule.

"Hitler was never excommunicated" He was never Catholic. Why would the Pope excommunicate someone not Catholic?

"Hitler constantly referenced God in his speeches and writings" The bulk of which were made in public before 1934, when he was still stumping for elected office.

"To conflate Nazism with Humanism is either ignorance, bias or both."

You should inform Roger Griffin, who is Professor of Modern History at Oxford Brookes University, of that since he wrote: "What the Nazi world-view shared with humanism was a belief in the perfectibility of mankind, albeit that their racially pure, culturally homogeneous utopia entailed the purging of all dysgenic and decadent elements. Theirs was a selective humanism, a definitively modernist bid to apply biopolitical principles that graded individuals according to their degree of innate humanity."

The two are similar in principles, forms and functions.

Stan said...

”I suspect you've stuck with the Bible more from social ease and less because you've actually studied and contrasted each religion.”

First, I don’t actually defend the bible, you apparently haven’t been paying attention. I defend my personal view that the Bible cannot be taken completely literally, having been filled with parables, allegories, metaphors, poetry, music, etc. I have said that many times. I also said that there is a general theme of validity that pervades those parables, allegories, metaphors, poetry, music, etc.

Second, you have no idea what or how much I’ve studied. Your attack on me is unwarranted and untrue.

” The reference to Nazism in the manifesto preface was a commentary on the horrors of Nazism and generally decries totalitarian regimes. It is a comment on how we can be naively optimistic, and should always be on the look out for the beginnings of police states and abuses of power. It clearly says that above. Your attempts to twist its meaning and conflate it with the goals of Nazism reek of prejudice.”

Your first two sentences are correct. What you fail to connect is that that is the reason for rewriting the Manifesto: to remove the methodology from public view. Reek? The prejudice of not reading the why of what they are blatantly saying is obvious here.

” Nazi Germany was explicitly religious (98.5% religious). That they had a treaty with the Vatican (1933), Hitler was never excommunicated. Hitler constantly referenced God in his speeches and writings... And Nazism itself is very much a political religion. To conflate Nazism with Humanism is either ignorance, bias or both.”

When the tactics are the same then there is no functional difference between them. Hitler used the churches for his own end, and told what they could and could not preach. The churches were just another tool, already in place.

Here’s what is not said in the Manifesto II: the tactics made explicit in Manifesto I closely resemble the Soviet implementation of “communism”, which used the tactics to turn from any concern about humans to the valuing of humans specifically for eradication, notably the Kulaks and the Cossaks, followed by Martin Latsis’ (director of the Cheka) declaration: “we don’t make war against any people in particular. We are exterminating the bourgeoisie as a class.” (Black Book of Communism, p 8).

This is not Humanism, it is the consequence of Humanist-types of philosophies. Here is the further corruption of equality:

”Here, the genocide of a “class” may well be tantamount to the genocide of a “race” – the deliberate starvation of a child of a Ukrainian kulak as a result of the famine caused by Stalin’s regime “is equal to” the starvation of a Jewish child in the Warsaw ghetto as a result of the famine caused by the Nazi regime.”

Whether you approve of the use of this information or not, it has roots in Humanist-types of intellectualizing the human condition. Whether you are frustrated by these facts, they still are fact. Whether you deny their applicability or not, I can only surmise they have applied before and in spades; exactly why would they not apply now?.

Sam said...

Martin. Yes I am a bit hung up on the bible. It is called the 'word of God' is it not? If everyone can agree that it is NOT the word of God, I will HAPPILY drop the matter.

Russell. "Anyone with a passing understanding of Christian theology would know the Bible ties Satan and the serpent together, allegorically and, as in Genesis, literally. (See John 8:44, Revelation 12:9 and 20:2, John 13:26–27, Mark 5:1–13)."

Yes that is exactly my contention. I'm using the term demon as a synonym for the serpent/Satan.

"The Flood came because of the fallen nature of man and earth, nothing was pure at that point."

Who created the earth and man? Created sick and commanded to be well. Drowned for being sick. Yes it is just a story. A horrible story.

I'm obviously simplifying and paraphrasing. But the core is there and I don't think I am misconstruing the core of the story.

" "Nazi Germany was explicitly religious (98.5% religious)." No, Germany was explicitly religious even under Nazi rule. "

Don't you mean Yes? You just repeated what I said, but disagreed.

Hitler was a Catholic. If not strictly in practice, then at least to the extent that he could be excommunicated.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Hitler's_religious_views

That's a valid point there about Nazism/Humanism. Both do posit an ideal to which humanity can aspire. "a belief in the perfectibility of mankind" - although I would balk at using the term "perfectibility" myself.

Frankly, the same could be said of any ideology. The similarities end there. I think I actually posted something to that effect before Bloggers meltdown.

Reread the Professor's quote. He opens with the mild comparison and then spends the rest of the quote underlining the differences.

Sam said...

Stan. That's an excellent point. I have no idea how much, or what, you have studied. Could you explain how you have falsified every other major religion? Can you explain how "I can't prove it to be false" is a valid form of reason?

"What you fail to connect is that that is the reason for rewriting the Manifesto: to remove the methodology from public view."

Um, the manifesto is easily available online. I am completely unaware of any attempts to hide it from the public. Why would they call the second manifesto #2, if they didn't want people to know they had a #1?

"This is not Humanism, it is the consequence of Humanist-types of philosophies."

Yes, corrupted humanistic ideals are corrupted.

"When the tactics are the same then there is no functional difference between them. Hitler used the churches for his own end, and told what they could and could not preach. The churches were just another tool, already in place."

It sounds like you are arguing that Nazism is a form of religion, with Hitler acting as the pope of Nazism if you will... I agree?

Any talk of eradication is anathema. If the goal is compassion, and the method eradication, you are doing it wrong.

Martin said...

Sam,

Did you miss the links I provided? What do you think about Divine Command Theory? Generic theism?

Russell said...

"Yes that is exactly my contention. I'm using the term demon as a synonym for the serpent/Satan."

This what you said: "Creates a perfect garden, puts a demon in it." The Bible does not say that. The serpent is serving Satan, who is different than just 'a' demon. You are wrong to say that the Bible says God put a demon in the garden, and you are willfully misconstruing the importance of Satan in Christian theology.

"Who created the earth and man? Created sick and commanded to be well. Drowned for being sick. Yes it is just a story. A horrible story."

Again, these are your words: "Creates a perfect earth, drowns every living creature." Which, again, isn't taught in the Bible. Moving the goal posts do not change what you said at first. You can recant your previous statement, of course, but using different words to express a different meaning while maintaining that it is the same as your first statement does you no good.

"I'm obviously simplifying and paraphrasing. But the core is there and I don't think I am misconstruing the core of the story."

Yes, you are. I've shown it.

"Nazi Germany ... No, Germany was explicitly religious even under Nazi rule. "
"Don't you mean Yes? You just repeated what I said, but disagreed."

Words have meaning, historical events happen in sequence. I'm mildly surprised I have to explain this, due to your affirmation of being reasonable, but see if you can follow along. Germany was Christian before the rise of the Nazi party. They did not abandon their heritage overnight, so even under Nazi rule they remained religious.

By saying "Nazi Germany" you deceitfully ascribe national religious behaviors to the ruling party, a party opposed to Christianity.

Had the Nazis been able to stay in power, they mostly likely would have implemented a plan for a National Reich Church, drawn up by Alfred Rosenberg, the Nazi ideologist who was Reich Minister and head of the Centre of National Socialist Ideological and Educational Research.

Three keep points to the plan :

"1. The National Reich Church is determined to exterminate irrevocably and by every means the strange and foreign Christian faiths imported into Germany in the ill-omened year 800.
2. The National Reich Church demands immediate cessation of the publishing and dissemination of the Bible in Germany as well as the publication of Sunday papers, pamphlets, publications, and books of a religious nature.
3. The National Reich Church does not acknowledge forgiveness of sins. It represents the standpoint which it will always proclaim that a sin once committed will be ruthlessly punished by the honorable and indestructible laws of nature and punishment will follow during the sinner’s lifetime."

Kinda sets the National Reich Church counterpoised to anything Christian.
(cont)

Russell said...

(cont)
"Hitler was a Catholic."

Oops! My mistake, and a stupid one at that. My apologies.

"If not strictly in practice, then at least to the extent that he could be excommunicated."

More research on my part indicates the matter isn't too complicated, there are two types of excommunication, ab homine ("from the man") and a jure ("by law"). Ab homine are fairly rare, and usually reserved for prominent members of the Church that are acting divisively, and a jure excommunications that are automatic, latae sententiae. Hitler falls in the latter category. It seems that Pope Pius XII might have simply figured it wasn't worth the effort.

"Frankly, the same ["a belief in the perfectibility of mankind"] could be said of any ideology."
Nonsense, Christianity teaches that man is fallen and will not achieve perfectibility on this mortal coil. The core message is that Christ died to pay for our sins, and through His sacrifice we can become clean after this life.

I've just shown that your statement is false, the same could not be said of any ideology, which renders your assessment of Nazism and Humanism suspect, to say the least.

So, you've willfully misconstrued two major events in the Bible and shown not to know much about the Nazis or the workings of Catholic excommunication, while complaining that a man you deem to have no special powers in a church you don't believe in play by rules you don't understand. And yet you insist you are reasonable.

Sam said...

Russell. God made the serpent. God made Eden. God made man. God put them all together.

God made the earth. God drowned the earth and every living creature in it, save Noah and his menagerie.

You want to argue to the veracity of any of that?

This is essentially the same as my original statement. I'm not moving any goal posts.

I understand what you were saying about German religiosity now. I think that makes perfect sense, thanks for the clarification.

"Christianity teaches that man is fallen and will not achieve perfectibility on this mortal coil."

So human perfection is still obtainable, you just have to die first. That statement stands.

According to the rules you just posted, Hitler could easily have been excommunicated under both types. " It seems that Pope Pius XII might have simply figured it wasn't worth the effort." Is likely the right conclusion. Not a ringing endorsement is it? That statement stands.

Boiling things down to their bare elements is not 'misconstruing'. I'll readily accept corrections based on facts.

Stan said...

”Stan. That's an excellent point. I have no idea how much, or what, you have studied. Could you explain how you have falsified every other major religion?

OK. Hinduism and its derivatives believe that they can carve a god out of wood and that the god they thus create will fulfill their wishes. (Zacharias)
This is a materialist idol worship, and is easily falsified materially.

Buddhism is actually a derivative of Hinduism, in that when the Buddha abandoned his family to seek to become one with nothing (aspiring to Nirvana), he would have failed except for the intervention of a Hindu god which saved him. The absurdity of Hinduism carries into Buddhism. Also, becoming one with Nirvana is a logical absurdity, which negates its validity to western logic.

Islam is a corruption of Christianity in a similar fashion to Mormonism. There is a claim of revelation which is illogical, taken both in its whole and in its parts. If a position is true, then it must be coherent, and these two are not.

” Can you explain how "I can't prove it to be false" is a valid form of reason?”

Sure. The Atheist claim is twofold. First they claim that knowledge is material experience based only, i.e. empirical experimentation. Second they claim to know that there is no God. In order to have the explicit knowledge that there is no God, they must use their own rules for knowledge to empirically prove their statement of belief. They cannot provide an experiment that proves there is no God. So their claim of knowledge is false.

That is the specific reason that modern Atheists have changed the meaning of the word Atheism: to avoid having to prove their assertion, under the Burden of Rebuttal.

"What you fail to connect is that that is the reason for rewriting the Manifesto: to remove the methodology from public view."

Um, the manifesto is easily available online. I am completely unaware of any attempts to hide it from the public. Why would they call the second manifesto #2, if they didn't want people to know they had a #1?


Turn it around: why would they need a Manifesto #2 if they were OK with #1? And why did they eliminate the methodology, which was explicit in #1? Plus, what exactly is their methodology? Is it their expectation that everyone will line up to voluntarily sign up for “fair” assessments of their property values? #2 makes sense only if they prefer to keep the methodology of #1, and not to tumble to it publicly.

"This is not Humanism, it is the consequence of Humanist-types of philosophies."

Yes, corrupted humanistic ideals are corrupted.


And the point is that they are always corrupted. The starry eyed are shoved aside by the political adventurers.

"When the tactics are the same then there is no functional difference between them. Hitler used the churches for his own end, and told what they could and could not preach. The churches were just another tool, already in place."

It sounds like you are arguing that Nazism is a form of religion, with Hitler acting as the pope of Nazism if you will... I agree?


Not at all. Hitler was merely using the tools available to him. The church was an avenue with which to influence a great many more people than through the Brown Shirts alone. No theology involved.

”Any talk of eradication is anathema. If the goal is compassion, and the method eradication, you are doing it wrong.”

It’s the results that count. Humanism is a utopian desire for a Brave New World. But Humanism is weak, too weak to stand on its own without draconian implementation procedures. So it is ripe for takeover by radicals who also want a Brave New World, one that they dictate to.

Russell said...

"Russell. God made the serpent. God made Eden. God made man. God put them all together.

God made the earth. God drowned the earth and every living creature in it, save Noah and his menagerie.

You want to argue to the veracity of any of that?"

Again, you are changing what you said at first "Creates a perfect garden, puts a demon in it." No, God did not put a demon in the garden. No, the demon wasn't 'a' demon, but Satan. Even this latest version you fail to mention Satan. Your inability to understand your own words is amusing.

The flood came about because of the wickedness upon it, and that came about because of the fall. You are misconstruing the story. At this point I can only conclude you are doing it on purpose.

"This is essentially the same as my original statement." Nope, and now you have shown you have problems with reading comprehension, too. You've changed the meaning every time, one only has to read what you have written to see it.

"I think that makes perfect sense, thanks for the clarification."

NP, do you now recant that statement?

"Christianity teaches that man is fallen and will not achieve perfectibility on this mortal coil."

"So human perfection is still obtainable, you just have to die first. That statement stands."

At no point did I say Christianity teaches that mankind is perfectible, here or after death. The ideologies of Humanism and Nazism have made the claim that mankind is materially perfectible. The difference is stark, and cannot be considered equal. Ergo, Christianity does not have the same ideology.

Buddhism teaches that the end of man is to get off the endless reincarnation cycle and end suffering by reaching nirvana, non-existence. Nothing to do with material perfectibility.

So now we are up to two ideologies that do not teach "a belief in the perfectibility of mankind".

Again, both statements are incorrect.

"According to the rules you just posted, Hitler could easily have been excommunicated under both types." Did you not understand what I wrote? By his actions, he was excommunicated a jure, which is automatic.

"Not a ringing endorsement is it? That statement stands."

Now you've moved the goal posts. Your contention was Hitler was never excommunicated, you didn't know enough to state what type. Hitler was excommunicated a jure. Now you want an ab homine excommunication, which you didn't know existed until now. And again, you want this to be have done by a man in a church you don't believe in following rules you don't understand.

"Boiling things down to their bare elements is not 'misconstruing'." Had you done only that, you'd be correct. But you haven't and I've shown you where you are wrong and why.

Sam said...

Actually, that doesn't falsify the religion, it merely points out that the interpretation of that text is erroneous.

Your failure to comprehend Buddhism can easily be attributed to your lack of understanding. Your insistence on adhering to 'western' logic is evidence of that.

Pointing out that Islam is based on Christianity no more falsifies Islam than Christianity is falsified by pointing out it is based on Judaism.

” Can you explain how "I can't prove it to be false" is a valid form of reason?”

Forgive me for saying so, but you appear to be addressing a different issue. There are a thousand imagined claims I could posit which you could reasonably dismiss without providing evidence that it is false.

"Not at all. Hitler was merely using the tools available to him. The church was an avenue with which to influence a great many more people than through the Brown Shirts alone. No theology involved."

But if the tactics are the same, there is no functional difference. As you claim. Preaching from the pulpit is the tactic.

"Humanism is a utopian desire for a Brave New World. But Humanism is weak, too weak to stand on its own without draconian implementation procedures."

You understand that by implementing draconian procedures, the very idea of humanism is defeated before it has begun? No, the government must answer to the people, not the other way around.

Sam said...

"No, the demon wasn't 'a' demon, but Satan."

If this is the basis of your objection, I'll let you have it. I personally think Satan qualifies as 'a demon'. Yes God put the serpent/Satan/demon there. Read your Bible. It's probably on page 2 or 3.

"The flood came about because of the wickedness upon it, and that came about because of the fall."

And the wickedness originated with ...??? Let's see. God made man. God made Satan. I can find you a bible verse which affirms God made evil if you like. Like I said. Made sick and commanded to be well. And drowned for being sick.

I said Nazi Germany was explicitly religious. Which is was. I don't see why I should recant that. I will affirm that it wasn't religious BECAUSE of Nazism.

" Hitler was excommunicated a jure."

Oh, he was? My mistake I've never heard that before. Citation?
..You didn't actually say that he was. You just said there were two types, and that the Pope possibly didn't think the effort worthwhile.

"At no point did I say Christianity teaches that mankind is perfectible, here or after death."

"Christianity teaches that man is fallen and will not achieve perfectibility on this mortal coil."

Yeah .. I think you did say that. Worse, you quoted it right before you denied it. And are criticizing me for reading comprehension. :/

Russell said...

"If this is the basis of your objection, I'll let you have it. I personally think Satan qualifies as 'a demon'."

Satan is more than 'a' demon. By placing Satan just as 'a' demon, you've misconstrued the story.

"Yes God put the serpent/Satan/demon there. Read your Bible. It's probably on page 2 or 3." Chapter and verse, please. Because all I have in my KJV is God making the serpent in Genesis, and verses in the New Testament explaining how Satan used the serpent. Serpent is tied to Satan, but is not him. So God did put in the serpent, but not Satan, and certainly not Satan in the serpent.

"And the wickedness originated with ...???" The fall. As I have already said.

Your words "Creates a perfect earth, drowns every living creature." Which is not a recap of the story of the flood, but a cartoonish version of it. You want to recant that and argue a different point, go ahead, but your original statement is wrong.

"I said Nazi Germany was explicitly religious. Which is was. I don't see why I should recant that. I will affirm that it wasn't religious BECAUSE of Nazism."

Again, words have meaning. Nazi Germany wasn't religious, Germany was before the Nazi's took over. Nazi Germany was bent on eradicating Christianity. Again, failure to understand this leads me to believe you are doing this on purpose.

"Oh, he was? My mistake I've never heard that before. Citation?"

Really? I've explained it already.

"You didn't actually say that he was."

Let me repeat myself:

"Hitler falls in the latter category." (Latter referring to a jure)

"You just said there were two types, and that the Pope possibly didn't think the effort worthwhile." Let me clarify, the Pope didn't do an ab homine excommunication because Hitler was already excommunicated a jure.

Let me repeat this:
"Your contention was Hitler was never excommunicated, you didn't know enough to state what type. Hitler was excommunicated a jure. Now you want an ab homine excommunication, which you didn't know existed until now. And again, you want this to be have done by a man in a church you don't believe in following rules you don't understand."

"At no point did I say Christianity teaches that mankind is perfectible, here or after death."

"Christianity teaches that man is fallen and will not achieve perfectibility on this mortal coil."

"Yeah .. I think you did say that. Worse, you quoted it right before you denied it. And are criticizing me for reading comprehension. :/ "

Did you read the 'will not' part? Maybe you missed that? Let me try this again: Christianity teaches that fallen mankind cannot be made perfect on earth. I did not say that Christianity teaches that mankind will be perfected after life.

The ideologies you are talking about, Humanism and Nazism, espouse mankind is materially perfectible. Christianity does not do so. Buddhism does not do so.

If you state that all x's are y's, and I can show some x's are not y's, your statement is false. Your inability to understand what I wrote doesn't change that fact.

I am criticizing your reading compression because you keep proving that you don't know what has been written.

Sam said...

Wow.

He's EVIL. That's the point. It doesn't matter what you call him.

God makes man, puts him inside a garden, with EVIL. And then when EVIL corrupts the fallible man that GOD JUST CREATED, God casts man out.

"Your words "Creates a perfect earth, drowns every living creature." Which is not a recap of the story of the flood, but a cartoonish version of it. You want to recant that and argue a different point, go ahead, but your original statement is wrong."

Did He, or did He not,
a) create the world?
b) drown the world in a flood?

Look I'm sorry I'm not providing enough context for your bedtime stories, but your petty semantics are just that.

Same with the other issues you bring up. The point is the Pope could have excommunicated him and didn't. The point is that the Vatican had a fracking treaty with Hitler. The point is that people in Germany during Nazi rule were overwhelmingly religious.

"That's a valid point there about Nazism/Humanism. Both do posit an ideal to which humanity can aspire. "a belief in the perfectibility of mankind" - although I would balk at using the term "perfectibility" myself.

Frankly, the same could be said of any ideology. The similarities end there. I think I actually posted something to that effect before Bloggers meltdown."

That's what I said. I'm clearly talking about some sort of ideal (which easily could comprise Heaven, Nirvana or a transhuman cyborg body). I even said I wouldn't use the term perfectibility myself.

And pointed out how you are completely misinterpreting the original quote by the professor!

Your insistence on quibbling over x's and y's, and your constant need to criticize my english skills is both annoying and insulting.

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create EVIL: I the Lord do all these things.
—Isaiah 45:7

Stan said...

Sam,
Let me summarize your position as I see it.

First, God is evil and the Bible is evil and it all is the work of Iron Age ignoramuses and should not be considered of any moral value because of they are old and deserve no respect. I will stick like gorilla glue with my desperately strict literal translations because that is what I need to support my narrative. Now since I have condemned God, it is incumbent upon me to save makind myself. Thus, since I am more moral than God and more intelligent than the Iron Age ignoramuses (and those who place any value on them), I am called upon by myself to devise a set of morals that is so superior that everyone on the planet will want to line up to sign on. These morals are easily stated with very few, very uplifting words, and the implementation is crazy easy, because everyone will volunteer; they’ll have to volunteer or it won’t work. But that is not an issue because my plan is rational, and I believe in people. And finally, there is no danger that my plan could be subverted by radicals as have been the previous plans that are just like my plan. That’s because I have no real plan, just some moral sounding words; we’ll all just sit down and come to an agreement as to what is “fair”, and then everybody will rush to give up their excess which will then be given to the have nots. Except that we do need to punish the excessively rich, which valuation specifications will be defined at a later time. Finally the evidence seen here that there will be resistance to my plan is of no importance, because I have faith in my plan, which is more moral than God.

Now then, as you insist, this is not a cartoon, it is merely a summary of your position.

Russell said...

"God makes man, puts him inside a garden, with EVIL."

Again, chapter and verse, please. Because I am not seeing that in my KJV. But I think this is a better attempt you've made so far, at least you aren't changing meaning.

Your argument is similar to
Did George Washington, did he not
a) Join the British provincial militia
b) Shoot British soldiers

To say it's a cartoonish version of what happened seems apt.

"Look I'm sorry I'm not providing enough context for your bedtime stories, but your petty semantics are just that."

Context? No, you have repeatedly characterized both stories into cartoonish version. And now I'm confused, are the Bible stories mine? Or are you saying that my "petty semantics" are bedtime stories?

I'm amused you haven't a clue about the importance of meanings and words. By all means, keep calling my attempts to stick to the point and discuss what you have written as "petty semantics", it really does amuse me.

"The point is the Pope could have excommunicated him and didn't."

Really? That's not your original statement: "Hitler was never excommunicated." Which we found out he was, a jure, but not ab homien because that was most likely assessed as being not needed by the Pope, since Hitler was already excommunicated. You've moved the goal posts on that one, it's all there in this thread.

"The point is that the Vatican had a fracking treaty with Hitler." Yes, in 1933! And the concordat was between the Holy See and Germany, guaranteeing the rights of the Catholic Church in Germany.

"The point is that people in Germany during Nazi rule were overwhelmingly religious." It's because they were before the Nazis came to power, but the Nazis had plans to undermine the entire religious structure. Not much of a point when the ruling party was actively seeking to destroy Christianity.
(cont)

Russell said...

(cont)
""That's a valid point there about Nazism/Humanism. Both do posit an ideal to which humanity can aspire. "a belief in the perfectibility of mankind" - although I would balk at using the term "perfectibility" myself.
Frankly, the same could be said of any ideology. The similarities end there. I think I actually posted something to that effect before Bloggers meltdown."
That's what I said. I'm clearly talking about some sort of ideal (which easily could comprise Heaven, Nirvana or a transhuman cyborg body). I even said I wouldn't use the term perfectibility myself. "

I have no idea what you said before the Blogger meltdown. I can only assess what you said from what I've been able to read.

So let me try to recap

1. Nazism and Humanism aren't the same.
2. But "Both do posit an ideal to which humanity can aspire."
3. Which ideal is "a belief in the perfectibility of mankind" (from the professor, but you quoted that chunk)
4. "Although I would balk at using the term "perfectibility" myself."
5. "Frankly, the same ["a belief in the perfectibility of mankind"] could be said of any ideology"
6. "I'm clearly talking about some sort of ideal"

See number 5? That's your statement, expanded to use which ideal you had previously referred. 6 is not supported by the proceeding statements, you specified which ideal "a belief in the perfectibility of mankind", even though you didn't like the word "perfectibility". It can't be "some sort" unless you want to retract the statements that clearly spelled out that there was a specific ideal you were using. All x's are y's. That's it in a nutshell. But two major belief systems run contrary to that, ergo, your statement is false.

"Your insistence on quibbling over x's and y's,"
See, you put yourself in this position by declaring yourself to be able to reason. Reason requires logic, and logic has tools, like propositional logic, which is x's and and y's. I insist on treating you the way you claim to understand, but sadly, all sizzle, no steak.

"and your constant need to criticize my english skills"
Nah, just your reading comprehension. Mostly because you keep proving your skill to be worthy of critique. Remember how you accused me of having poor reading comprehension and tried to throw my words at me and failed? Good times, good times.

"is both annoying and insulting."
I'm sorry, you must have me confused with someone who responds to your transient emotional states. I, for one, am amused. Do carry on!

Anonymous said...

By Jove! These atheists are going to burn in the fires of Tartarus. I say, jolly good show, what?

Dave said...

Stan,

You are correct but if you leave out a pretty important fact. If you separate the people out by age statistics, they equal out to roughly the same amount of giving to charity.

Stan said...

You'll need to show your work. If Group A gives more than Group B, it shouldn't matter how the internals break out, Group A still is > Group B. But perhaps you have a different metric in mind, that's why details are needed.

Dave said...

Stan,

If you break down the groups into ages the amount that each gives to charity, excluding religious charity (i.e. churches), is about the same. So what you would have to do is:

Groups
A = Atheist
B = Theist

Subgroups
1 = 18 - 30
2 = 31 - 45
3 = 46 - 65
4 = 66+

Group A gives less than group B.
A<B

Subgroup 1 gives less than subgroup 2.
1<2<3<4

A1 gives less than A2.
A1<A2<A3<A4

B1 also gives less than B2.
B1<B2<B3<B4

A1 gives the roughly the same percentage as B1.

A1 = B1
A2 = B2
A3 = B3
A4 = B4

The reason that group B gives more of a percentage than group A is because group B has a higher percentage of people in the subgroups that give more of a percentage. So it actually has more to do with the ages of the people in group A and B, than whether or not they believe in god(s).

I hope this is clear. If not I will try to explain it better.

Stan said...

Two things don't seem to follow:

First, if A(n) = B (n), then A = B, which is not the case according to the survey.

Second, your assertion that "group B has a higher percentage of people in the subgroups that give more of a percentage" defeats the idea that A(n) = B (n). Also that statement does not imply your conclusion involving God. If anything it defeats your conclusion because a (higher)% of people, giving (more)% of $ leads to (if anything) a higher order of belief, not a lower one.

Dave said...

Stan,

In the survey, they didn't take into account ages. Younger people don't give as much to charity as Older people. Most atheist fall into the younger age groups.

The reason we know that religious belief doesn't play a part is because the younger people give the same amount as younger people, regardless of religious belief. The older people give the same amount as other older people, regardless of religious belief

Stan said...

Dave,
Please use numbers from the survey so that I can add them up to understand why you think that to be true. Thanks.

Stan said...

Dave, Here is the point of the survey:

"The typical no-faith American donated just $200 in 2006, which is more than seven times less than the amount contributed by the prototypical active-faith adult ($1500). Even when church-based giving is subtracted from the equation, active-faith adults donated twice as many dollars last year as did atheists and agnostics.

Now how do you slice that up amongst age groups to make the conclusion which you make? You cannot create an equality when there is an overall inequality. Maybe some subgroups are equal, but not all subgroups can be equal when there is an overall inequality.

So if you use actual numbers, what does it look like?

Dave said...

A no-faith American donated 200 on average and the active-faith Americans donated 400 on average. The active-faith based Americans on average are older than the no-faith Americans. The older a person gets the more likely they are to give to charity. The main thing that I am trying to say is that theist have more people in the age range that is more likely to give to charity and therefore it looks like active-faith Americans give more, but it only shows that people of higher age give more to charity. I will try to find the article that I read about this particular study. I will post it when I find it.

Stan said...

I finally see your point, which seems to me to make the leap that it is indeed due to age (data needed).

The downside of your argument is that Atheists and Agnostics tend to no longer be Atheists and Agnostics as they age. I doubt that that is a desired outcome of the argument, at least from the Atheist's perspective.

Unless you use the 70's argument that anyone over 30 is stupid... But those people grew up.

Stan said...

Hmm, the more I think about it, I like the idea that the survey "proves" that Atheism / Agnosticism is an affliction of the young.

Dave said...

I don't think people over 30 are stupid. Hell I'm going to be over 30 next year. I'm glad you finally get my point though. I am still looking for the study, I can't remember where I saw it so Google and I are trying to find it.

The reason people become more religious as the get older could be a number of things. I have heard some people say it is because they are getting closer to death and the fear of death drives them towards something that tells them there is an after life. I have also heard that as people get older they long for the sense of community you can get in a church. The older generation that we have now also grew up in a different time, for instance if you weren't a Christian back in the day, you were a communist. What we actually see in the statistics of the religiosity of the population, is that more people are claiming no religion in all generations. As my generation gets older, I am interested to see if we make a shift in the direction of non-religion or if we continue to stay in a religious direction.

There are other reasons also that atheist might give less than theist. Atheist tend to look around more when choosing a charity to give to that will do the most good. Atheist also tend to be less active in their community, many feel excluded from most functions and therefore don't get the chance to give back. Personally I give a lot to charity, but my job puts me in a position to volunteer and to give. I currently serve on the boards of a few charities and give regularly to them. I wouldn't give to or serve on a charity like the Boy Scout's of America because I have ideological differences with them, but I have given to religious organization after I ensured that the money was going to charity and not to the church.

Stan said...

You'd make a good sociologist, making up reasons for the things other people do. Your caricature of my generation is without merit. Plenty of people, me included, were not Christian and were never accused of being communist. Perhaps you should a read at least a few things that are not manufactured by Atheists for their own justification. Religion never once came up in any social or professional occasion during the 40 years I was an Atheist. In fact if a person was "too" Christian, that was a problem for that person.

Religion didn't become an issue until the Atheists decided to make it so. M.M.O'Hair kicked it off, and the Atheist attack rolled. That's one of the things that disturbed me about my Atheism - it associated me intellectually with the most base elements, those who threw off the onerous yoke of character in favor of intellectual anarchy. Atheism goes directly into that intellectual anarchy when it denies all absolutes, meaning truth, and it never recovers. Atheism and Atheists never even understand what it has done to their own rationality - even Nietzsche can't convince them. But few of them read Nietzsche. Or much of anything which is not Leftist it appears.

That's what I could see but could not state clearly at the time. I had to learn logic from the ground up, even though I was a logic designer as a profession. And so much more. Basic rationality is squelched in school in favor of memorization of factoids for the test. And what is learned on the street is just a reinforcement of the survival of the fittest and social Darwinism. If one is to actually learn to think, then one must read the great thinkers, and then ponder what has been read.

You can make up all the reasons you want as to why Atheism fades with age. I think that it is inevitable that you know more, the older you are. And the younger you are the more you think you know. Which makes more sense, that people gain experience, knowledge and wisdom with increasing time, or that they lose it? And on what does the inexperienced person base his knowledge? Or his perception of his own superior knowledge to that of older people?

Another known factor is that young people necessarily rebel during the process of cutting the umbilical cord from parental control. During rebellion they reject authority which they see as controlling them against their will – and willful they are, naturally and normally. For many this continues for a while into adulthood; it did for me, for example. But when it continues too long it is a delay of emotional maturity, a maturity that allows truly objective viewpoints to emerge, rather than rebellious reactions. An active intellect with a delayed maturity produces a rebellious intellect well into what should be objective intellectual years. Angry rebellion can be seen in much Atheist writing, and along with that stubborn rationalizations for irrational positions. But rebellion and rationalization do not produce the rationality that Atheists claim.

Your generosity is commendable of course. And I too would not give to an organization that was incompatible ideologically, certainly not to an Atheist organization. But like you I have given to (secular) organizations that do not support (Atheist) causes.

Dave said...

I think we will have to agree to disagree. I think the important thing is to just get as many people to volunteer and give to charity as possible regardless of their religious affiliation.

Stan said...

I never agree to disagree. That is a condescension between people who value friendship over substance, which is not part of the purpose of this blog.

If you disagree with what I said, then give reasons why, so that we can consider them.