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The Apologetics Death Spiral

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  • #46
    Originally posted by Christianbookworm View Post
    Why do I imagine that some fundy atheists would still be atheists after Judgement day. They could try to claim that God was "merely" some powerful alien or something.
    That was more or less the position of CS Lewis when he wrote:

    I willingly believe that the damned are, in one sense, successful, rebels to the end; that the doors of hell are locked on the inside . . . they enjoy forever the horrible freedom they have demanded, and are therefore self-enslaved: just as the blessed, forever submitting to obedience, become through all eternity more and more free.

    In the long run the answer to all those who object to the doctrine of hell, is itself a question: ‘What are you asking God to do?’ To wipe out their past sins and, at all costs, to give them a fresh start, smoothing every difficulty and offering every miraculous help? But He has done so, on Calvary. To forgive them? They will not be forgiven. To leave them alone? Alas, I am afraid that is what he does.
    Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
    But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
    Than a fool in the eyes of God


    From "Fools Gold" by Petra

    Comment


    • #47
      Originally posted by Dimbulb View Post
      I would tend to say that the Democratic party agrees with the bible on pretty much all issues, and the Republican party is against it on pretty much all issues...
      Yes, you do tend to say a lot of hilariously stupid things.
      Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
      But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
      Than a fool in the eyes of God


      From "Fools Gold" by Petra

      Comment


      • #48
        Originally posted by Starlight View Post
        Since I would tend to say that the Democratic party agrees with the bible on pretty much all issues,
        You mean, the Democrats agree with the parts of the Bible they want to accept, and ignore the parts they violate.

        and the Republican party is against it on pretty much all issues,
        You are proving your profound ignorance of what the Bible actually says.

        I am genuine really intrigued what you are preaching...?! Perhaps you could share with us two-sentence summaries of each of your last 5 or 10 sermons?
        Do you have a copy of the Bible? Perhaps you could actually READ it.

        "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

        Comment


        • #49
          Originally posted by Christianbookworm View Post
          Why do I imagine that some fundy atheists would still be atheists after Judgement day. They could try to claim that God was "merely" some powerful alien or something.
          This did make me think about what might happen on judgement day...

          I guess the Muslim in the line would say "Allah is judging, this proves Islam is the One True Religion". The Jew in the line would say "Yahweh is judging me." The Evangelical in the line would say "this proves Christianity is true, I am going to be saved by my faith". The Catholic next in line replies "Yes it proves Christianity is true, but your failure to be part God's true Church will be your downfall." The Orthodox Christian next in the line replies "True, but you're not part of God's true Church either." The Calvinist next in the line replies that "it doesn't matter if you're part of any specific church, you just has to be one of the elect" and has their fingers crossed behind their back as they desperately hope that they happen to be one of the elect. The one next line believes the world is a fully immerse computer game, and wonders aloud if the judges will score this particular run was highly enough for it to make the high score board. The next man along wonders if perhaps the humans of the future discovered how to manipulate time and thinks perhaps they have brought back his body from the moments before his death. Another in the line says perhaps it's aliens who are doing this rather than humans. Another in the line suggests that maybe alien scientists created the world in the first place in a test tube in their lab, and now they want to talk to all the individuals that were formed in that world.

          And so forth...

          Many many people can experience the same judgement day and yet for all it is simply proof of their own views.

          Comment


          • #50
            Originally posted by Andius View Post

            I agree to certain extent, where a great many social media platforms don't exactly give the space and format required for a proper debate. But to be fair, the video debate format that has grown in Youtube is actually really great for long format debates. A few discord platforms within academic social circles have also provided a good alternative to traditional forums (Reddit tends to be poorly moderated) of debate.

            I would actually do fault the apologetics movement to a certain extent. One terrible consequence I have noticed on the rise is the amount of young people hailing from American conservative backgrounds (growing up indoctrinated with terrible books such as Tactics by Gregory Koukl, ) with a hostile mindsets against most college professors and Academia in general. I can't help but notice how the Christian witness in Academia becomes compromised when orthodox intolerance, be it coming from crazed left-wingers viewing Whites in their social privilage as enemies or crazed right-wing reactionaries viewing progressives as threats to society. On the side of the Church (our side), there is some apologetics material that I consider is doing more harm than good in advancing the Gospel, especially when it comes at the cost of good quality apologetic books (The more difficult ones to digest admittedly).
            That judgement on Koukl’s book is interesting - David Wood (who is probably best known for his videos on Islam) has spoken very highly of it, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnp4rmk3ax8

            ”Terrible” is a strong criticism.

            Comment


            • #51
              I apologize for the delayed response. My leisure has decreased from my end of the world, but found a nudge of space to address your inquiries. Plus I wanted to take the time to catch up on what Richard Dawkins espouses nowadays just to see if anything has changed or evolved over the years. I stopped giving him any heed around 2012. The last straw was his clumsy handling of the Sokal Incident and his astounding ignorance when engaging with post-modern philosophy. I still want to give him as fair assessment as my time allows, and give you plausible addresses of why I consider him and ethnocentrist, religious illiterate, and seeing his latest stuff, I now add an ideological illiterate.

              Originally posted by Starlight View Post
              I've seen several variations of this religious-illiteracy claim made about Dawkins before by Christians, but having read some of Dawkins works myself I don't understand what it refers to - it appears to me Dawkins goes out of his way to be fair and balanced toward religious viewpoints and at no point did I notice any instances of him getting a piece of theology wrong. Could you perhaps cite a specific example of Dawkins doing this, so I can understand what you're getting at?

              Alright, let me give one relatively recent incident when he was interviewed by CNN Chile the start of 2019. I'll try to focus specifically ethnocentrism and religious illiterate bits, and translate the bits (his English tends to get overdubbed):



              0:26 "Well faith encourages people to do unreasonable things, faith says you must believe this"


              Okay for starters, taking the fideistic strands of religion and projecting them on the WHOLE of possible constitutions of religion? That's about as plausible as taking the Amazing Atheist's understanding of secularism and projecting it on the whole of Atheist thought. I also face palmed at his misreading of the Doubting Thomas story (classical example of using your present to interpret the past) in the Gospel, as if it helps his cause (There is no condemnation of his skepticism like Dawkins frames it).


              3:13 "But the non-extremist/fanatic have been raised to believe that faith is a virtue, I feel teaching them nonsense is depriving them of the opportunity how wonderful true facts are."


              I don't know if you can perceive it, but Richard Dawkins embraces this dogmatic understanding of Foundationalism, and uses it as an alibi to pontificate on the "right education" in a fashion that echoes to eerily of the "civilizing mission" mentality of colonialism. His constant appeals of "true facts" to designate whatever doesn't align to his understanding of "facts" or "evidence" as superstitious nonsense and child abuse really puts him on the extremist edge of being a cultural chauvinist.


              7:30 "No, I hope not (when asked if Modern Western morality is derived from the Bible), especially the New Testament, which is a poor manifestation of morality. But the central message of the New Testament, which is derived from Paul, is that mankind if born of sin, they love this word 'sin' and the only way to be saved is by Jesus' blood, God sent his only Son to die and to be tortured, how awful! We shouldn't blame on Jesus, we should blame Paul, since he (Paul) founded the Church."


              His astounding ignorance on Western thought manifest by hoping the Bible played no role on it? The man needs a serious dose of catch up reading to do, starting with Leo Strauss texts covering the tensions of Reason vs Revelation, and how it shaped centuries of thought in the Western traditions. I'd also add (and to quote Youtuber PresidentSunday ) that the majority of Enlightenment thinkers (from whom we derive plenty of modern moralities in the Western sphere) were themselves religious and emphasized religion's important in education and public morals. There is also his misreading of (again, religious illiteracy) of what constitutes "Pauline Christianity", ignoring how religious plurality functions in the first place, as if it's supposed to constitute some sort of "split" or "distortion" of what Jesus taught. Which, by the way, is also an instant of his theological illiteracy and ignorance. Christianity's conception of human nature does not involve it "being born with sin" but more a matter of "inheriting" the legal imputation that sin brings about, AND coupled with the historical Christian notion that human nature can be improved, it is not a static thing. His theological ignorance is astounding how his notion of God amounts to his personal disgust of how he interprets the acts of The Father and the Son.


              One more, since my time is a bit short, and I seriously don't have time to deconstruct every single piece of nonsense on this interview. This one bit irked me tons though:


              20:00 "Well it lead them to these extraordinary efforts to transport and chisel the statues, only religion can do that (in reference to the Easter Island Statues). Well it wasn't good for them since they wasted their lives doing that (When asked wether what they did was good)."


              His cultural chauvinism showing here, and displaying a dogmatic utilitarianism. The man is borderline jingoistic of the similar vein as Rudyard Kipling when it comes to understanding peoples beyond the Anglo-sphere, especially how he is still convinced that (and quoting from the About section of his foundation "Critical thinking is the real saviour of humankind." as if whatever understanding of "Critical Thinking" he holds were the golden path to Truth. And it comes to no surprise regarding Melvyn Braggs anecdote regarding Dawkin's comment on Australia's native people calling their dream songs as "useless clutter", and Lord Bragg is in the right calling Dawkins as completely disreputable for such comments.


              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3t9_UwuE9E


              As far as 'ethnocentric' goes I'm not sure if I get your point either. Dawkins lives in the modern West and is writing for readers in the modern West. Few authors write to audiences outside their own cultures, or are as comprehensible outside their own cultures - that's one of the issues that has to be taken very seriously in biblical interpretation and understanding the bible from our very different culture. I can understand, perhaps, that you living in Guatemala means that this in some ways Dawkins' writings don't appeal to you so much, but that doesn't seem to be a flaw in his work so much as an inherent limit on any work, even the best ones.

              I hope I have demonstrated where I get such notions with the few examples I showed above. Now true that Dawkins writes to modern Westerners (And for the record, Latin America and most of it's Spanish, Portuguese, and French manifestations constitute part of the West, albeitly, it's sub-developed portion). I actually don't mind authors being cultural-centric, that is to be expected, otherwise, I wouldn't have dabbled with texts like "From Babylon to Timbuktu" by Rudolph R. Windsor (he is afrocentric) when reading the case of existence of the Hebrew Diaspora in Western Africa. My issue with Dawkins and his like is his insistence to pontificate from his standpoint (justifying as advocating for facts) when interacting with spheres outside the Anglo-sphere and Secularism-sphere.


              To give you an idea of a far more respectable form of Secularism, I reccomend reading "God in the Age of Science" by Herman Phillipse. It is a stimulating reading that frames the age old "Provability of God" question within Phillipse's particular nuanced framework of Naturalism, staying away from Dawkin's cartoonish understanding of Naturalism as "undeniable facts".


              Another is a "disciple" of sorts of Phillipse: Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Her book "Heretic: Why Islam Needs Reformation Now", she approaches the critiques directed to Islam knowing Islam is not something "to be refuted", and his highly specific and well informed on the issues involving the integration of Muslims within modern European communities. She stays away from the bludgeoned approach "Islam is evil" schtick, and correctly identifies the factionalism within Islamic peoples, and how they can improve within their own framework.


              "Apriorism"? My viewpoint is based on ~20 years experience observing Christian-atheist interactions, not presuppositions about them.

              Then you of all people should know better that religious ideas are not things be treated as "debunkable". At best, particular claims such as claims of faith healings or visions that do merit inquiry. At best, frame critiques of beliefs and practices, and man are there TONS. At best adhere to reasonable and plausible motives to simply not believe in whatever you deem as religious notions, all those things DEFINATELY respectable and intellectually sound. Maintaining a dogmatic adherence of Foundationalism like the kind I see in Christian apologia and Atheist proselytization alike when arguing for their beliefs (Whilst also giving Foundationalism a bad name, extremely lamentable) is what leads to a mutual bad-faith with both parties, contaminating with black and white apriorisms on how to treat "the other", and usually not in a respectable light.


              With this at least I hope you can understand where I am coming from. And it is a high hope considering you do have an impressive knack I respect and admire when I see you comment on politics.
              Last edited by Andius; 01-19-2021, 03:35 AM.
              Ladino, Guatemalan, Hispanic, and Latin, but foremostly, Christian.
              As of the 1st of December, 2020, officially anointed as this:

              "Seinfeld had its Soup Nazi. Tweb has its Taco Nazi." - Rogue06 , https://theologyweb.com/campus/forum...e3#post1210559

              Comment


              • #52
                Originally posted by Andius View Post
                0:26 "Well faith encourages people to do unreasonable things, faith says you must believe this"


                Okay for starters, taking the fideistic strands of religion and projecting them on the WHOLE of possible constitutions of religion?
                While I agree that not all versions of Christianity or religion take such an approach to "faith", I think many do. If you interpret Dawkins' statement as "here's a critique of very common religious practices" rather than "this critique applies to all possible and all conceivable religious practices", then his statement is fine and accurate and reasonable.

                I've seen Dawkins show awareness of variations in religious practices in the past, and seen him make statements that critique common religious practices and follow it up with acknowledgements that obviously not all religious people have those practices. That always struck me as totally reasonable, and frankly as bending over backward to be fair. I personally don't tend to think such explicit disclaimers are needy - obviously a critique of a practice applies only to people who practice it, not to people who don't.

                So I think if you overgeneralize Dawkins' words, they become unreasonable, but they're perfectly reasonable if they're assumed to apply to those they reasonably apply to. So maybe the problem is with your interpretation of his words, not him?

                7:30 "No, I hope not (when asked if Modern Western morality is derived from the Bible), especially the New Testament, which is a poor manifestation of morality. But the central message of the New Testament, which is derived from Paul, is that mankind if born of sin, they love this word 'sin' and the only way to be saved is by Jesus' blood, God sent his only Son to die and to be tortured, how awful! We shouldn't blame on Jesus, we should blame Paul, since he (Paul) founded the Church."


                His astounding ignorance on Western thought manifest by hoping the Bible played no role on it? The man needs a serious dose of catch up reading to do, starting with Leo Strauss texts covering the tensions of Reason vs Revelation, and how it shaped centuries of thought in the Western traditions. I'd also add (and to quote Youtuber PresidentSunday ) that the majority of Enlightenment thinkers (from whom we derive plenty of modern moralities in the Western sphere) were themselves religious and emphasized religion's important in education and public morals.
                Hmm, to say that the Bible was involved in the process of the shaping of ideas about morality across the millennia in the West, is obviously true. However, I would tend to take the view that modern West has now reached a point where standard modern Western morality is fully secular and there is no longer a role played by the Bible in it. So I agree with Dawkins. And I hardly think he's ignorant of the fact that historically many moral philosophers were influenced by the bible, but that's not what his answer talks about.

                There is also his misreading of (again, religious illiteracy) of what constitutes "Pauline Christianity", ignoring how religious plurality functions in the first place, as if it's supposed to constitute some sort of "split" or "distortion" of what Jesus taught.
                This idea of a split between Paul and Jesus has been a common view among biblical scholars since the 19th century. It might be an incorrect view, though I don't personally think so, but I would say the fact that Dawkins knows enough about the views of biblical scholars to hold a common view shows knowledge not ignorance on his part.

                Christianity's conception of human nature does not involve it "being born with sin" but more a matter of "inheriting" the legal imputation that sin brings about, AND coupled with the historical Christian notion that human nature can be improved, it is not a static thing.
                Um, not everyone shares Roman Catholic theology's view on those things. Neither Protestants nor Eastern Orthodox theologians would agree with you. Maybe don't accuse him of being unaware of other views, only to be apparently unaware yourself that your own theology isn't shared by others?


                20:00 "Well it lead them to these extraordinary efforts to transport and chisel the statues, only religion can do that (in reference to the Easter Island Statues). Well it wasn't good for them since they wasted their lives doing that (When asked wether what they did was good)."


                His cultural chauvinism showing here, and displaying a dogmatic utilitarianism. The man is borderline jingoistic of the similar vein as Rudyard Kipling when it comes to understanding peoples beyond the Anglo-sphere, especially how he is still convinced that (and quoting from the About section of his foundation "Critical thinking is the real saviour of humankind." as if whatever understanding of "Critical Thinking" he holds were the golden path to Truth.
                Um, not sure of your point here. Are we supposed to think it was good that the Easter Islanders wiped themselves out due to destroying their environment in religious zeal to construct statues? Or are you saying you don't hold that common theory as to the cause of their destruction?

                And it comes to no surprise regarding Melvyn Braggs anecdote regarding Dawkin's comment on Australia's native people calling their dream songs as "useless clutter", and Lord Bragg is in the right calling Dawkins as completely disreputable for such comments.
                Its unusual to meet Christians who are very positive about non-Christian religions and practices. Are you saying you think the Australian native's religious practices were good? Or are you saying that if a culture comes up with a religion and set of religious practices, that is always a good thing regardless of the content or truth of those teachings and practices? That would seem quite an unusual position to take.

                Comment


                • #53
                  Oy Starlight! I apologize for the delay, hope the interest on this conversation hasn't waned, but if you wish, I will let you have the last say on this matter, and hope to take up another good discussion with you once my time frees up.

                  Originally posted by Starlight View Post
                  While I agree that not all versions of Christianity or religion take such an approach to "faith", I think many do. If you interpret Dawkins' statement as "here's a critique of very common religious practices" rather than "this critique applies to all possible and all conceivable religious practices", then his statement is fine and accurate and reasonable.

                  Framed in that manner, I can agree and perfectly valid. However, I cannot interpret his statements in that manner because of his past actions and of his institution of actively seeking to purge anything not aligned with their brand of secularism. The fruit of his labor constitutes a form of supremacist secularism, intent on wiping out non-secularist beliefs, fideist or not.


                  I've seen Dawkins show awareness of variations in religious practices in the past, and seen him make statements that critique common religious practices and follow it up with acknowledgements that obviously not all religious people have those practices. That always struck me as totally reasonable, and frankly as bending over backward to be fair. I personally don't tend to think such explicit disclaimers are needy - obviously a critique of a practice applies only to people who practice it, not to people who don't.
                  I would believe his acknowledgements if he would actually lay off on his intent in qualifying religion as an evil to purge and renounce his secular supremacist postures, his disclaimers are nothing but smoke and mirrors under a veneer of "fairness". He continually uses "religious extremists" as an alibi to justify his hate towards religion in general. But you are right that the critique applies only to the people who practice it, not to the people who don't, this I agree.


                  So I think if you overgeneralize Dawkins' words, they become unreasonable, but they're perfectly reasonable if they're assumed to apply to those they reasonably apply to. So maybe the problem is with your interpretation of his words, not him?

                  As far I am concerned, I am not overgeneralizing his words, and I derive my interpretations of him based on the corpus of his works, which tend to revolve around demonstrating the superiority of reason, scientism and secularism as is typical of the New Atheists. As he has grown older, I can't help but notice he has become disturbingly more dogmatic on his postures. A real pity, because I do sympathize with his goal of public scientific literacy and in demonstrating how the non-religious person can be virtuous person, notions I tend to support.


                  Hmm, to say that the Bible was involved in the process of the shaping of ideas about morality across the millennia in the West, is obviously true. However, I would tend to take the view that modern West has now reached a point where standard modern Western morality is fully secular and there is no longer a role played by the Bible in it. So I agree with Dawkins. And I hardly think he's ignorant of the fact that historically many moral philosophers were influenced by the bible, but that's not what his answer talks about.

                  Good acknowledgement. Mmhhhh, regarding modern Western moralities (pardon, I'm a fan of pluralities, heheheh, considering the synchronized cacophony that is Western morality ), I admittedly am not so absolutist regarding the Bible's role in Western morality due to my notion (To borrow John Rawls' and Jürgen Habermas' concepts of spheres) that the public-private spheres are never set in stone, especially how the private (think of one who adheres to the Bible) tends to inform/feed the public. But I do acknowledge since the Enlightenment era, the West has evolved to a point where Christian sensibilities have been pushed out of the Public Sphere regarding morals. Well I'd like to think Dawkins isn't that ignorant, yes.


                  This idea of a split between Paul and Jesus has been a common view among biblical scholars since the 19th century. It might be an incorrect view, though I don't personally think so, but I would say the fact that Dawkins knows enough about the views of biblical scholars to hold a common view shows knowledge not ignorance on his part.

                  It had been, yes, but don't be overstating how "common" such view is. The idea of a Jesus vs Paul split doesn't hold much currency anyways either in Biblical scholarship or amongst ourselves in the Christian communities around the world. It's a view yes, but about as as common and accepted (to draw a comparison) as the Austrian school in current mainstream economics, it's not as relevant as their adherents make it out to be. It is about as plausible as saying that there was a split between Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin, or between Plato and Aristotle (It irks me whenever I hear some knucklehead assert such idiocies such as Plato and Aristotle were "opposites", it shows they did not do their due diligence in reading their works). Differences and diversity within a lineage does not splits make.

                  But to be fair, it is perfectly valid to inquire and critically re-inquire about what Jesus and Paul taught, and making comparisons on their ideas is perfectly valid. Such has been the case with many Marxist authors and thinkers, and the same with ancient Greek philosophers. The likes of Friedrich Nietzsche to Slavoj Žižek (I admittedly love reading and hearing his ideas, heheheh) have done so in much smarter and plausible forms when they explored Pre-pauline and Pauline Christianity.



                  Um, not everyone shares Roman Catholic theology's view on those things. Neither Protestants nor Eastern Orthodox theologians would agree with you. Maybe don't accuse him of being unaware of other views, only to be apparently unaware yourself that your own theology isn't shared by others?

                  My view tends to lean closer to Eastern orthodoxy, they would actually agree with me. Even then, his notion of "original sin" does not excuse him of ignoring that it does not constitute as THE representation of the entirety of Christendom. At best, he can criticize it (As is the tendency of Semitic, Greek, and Slavic Christians when they criticize Latin Christians such as myself with respect to original sin ) , perfectly valid and welcome to. But to be fair, considering how he grew up with Anglican Christianity, and dealing primarily with Protestant and Roman Catholic Christians and it's ideas, all of them inheritors of the Augustinian notion of Original Sin, I guess I can't blame him if that's how he is perceiving Christendom.


                  Um, not sure of your point here. Are we supposed to think it was good that the Easter Islanders wiped themselves out due to destroying their environment in religious zeal to construct statues? Or are you saying you don't hold that common theory as to the cause of their destruction?

                  You are correct sir that I don't hold on to that theory, and that is because said theory is no longer "a thing" anymore. That the Rapa Nui "wiped themselves out" is not really a thing, they adopted to the changing environmental circumstances and went on. Plus attributing the ecocide to their reverence to the Moai or "Birdman" is something no serious scholar or scientist in the field of Easter Island studies proposes, and in truth, they are revealing that it is far more complex than a mere ecocide. I recommend reading up on the works of Professor Valentín Rull and Dr. Mauricio Lima regarding the latest findings regarding the Easter Island's history and paleoecology. Quite informative and filled with valuable datapoints.


                  Its unusual to meet Christians who are very positive about non-Christian religions and practices. Are you saying you think the Australian native's religious practices were good? Or are you saying that if a culture comes up with a religion and set of religious practices, that is always a good thing regardless of the content or truth of those teachings and practices? That would seem quite an unusual position to take.

                  Heheheh, I am admittedly a bit of an oddball Christian. I'm quite orthodox to be certain and my allegiance is to Christ and his Church , but still sympathetic to virtually all forms of religiosity and spirituality (or lack of, heheheh, they count as well ) around the world.


                  Regarding native Australian's religious practices, reading into them, they are beliefs and practices I can respect and admire for sure, and in a manner of speaking, I've no problem calling them good. The "truth" content (whatever that means) is not a thing that concerns me when it comes to understanding correctly a religion, its beliefs and practices. It is unusual, but it is one I picked up living and learning about Mayan worldview (being from Guatemala) who tend to have a very cosmopolitan attitude regarding religion and spirituality (as I am as well).



                  Hope this clears up a bit my postures sir. And really appreciate the comments and critiques. With you, I can definitely enjoy good conversation and discussion.
                  Ladino, Guatemalan, Hispanic, and Latin, but foremostly, Christian.
                  As of the 1st of December, 2020, officially anointed as this:

                  "Seinfeld had its Soup Nazi. Tweb has its Taco Nazi." - Rogue06 , https://theologyweb.com/campus/forum...e3#post1210559

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