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Author Topic: Criticism of Atheism  (Read 14238 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #270 on: January 11, 2011, 10:36:57 PM »

BTW your Church was made by MEN, all the traditions are formed by MEN. All the rituals are done by MEN. What Jesus said "Oh you gotta walk down this aisle just like that, make sure you make an altar of myself when I die, also make sure you give a cup of my blood and body to everyone here"

Come on.
This board would avoid this.

Avoid what? Your non-argument?  Your puerile rant?  There's nothing of substance here to "avoid."

Uhhhhh for example the Greek Orthodox Church is a denomination, by definition. They've taken a name after themselves, one that doesn't exist in the New Testament, by the way. As to keeping the doctrine of the Bible, the Greek Orthodox Church places it's tradition on the same level as scripture itself. That is also antithetical to the Gospel. If the traditions of men were genuinely on par with scripture then the Pharisees claims against Christ would have been legitimate and Christianity would have been a heretical faith. It just doesn't work that way, as the Lord himself pointed out many times. As to the source of true Christian doctrine, the Holy Spirit is that source. The letters were written to existent churches (and individuals), but often they contained admonishments for misbehavior in those churches. They weren't a rubber stamp on whatever churches were choosing to do. You can claim your denomination has the authority to make it up as they go, but that is simply not in line with what God the Holy Spirit has revealed to the catholic Church in scripture.

I'm confused.... are you an atheist arguing against Christianity and the Bible, or a Protestant arguing against Orthodoxy?  Regardless, the above claims have been dealt with, do a search on "Alfred Persson", and enjoy a good 1,000+ posts.  You two actually have much in common.
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« Reply #271 on: January 11, 2011, 10:47:50 PM »

BTW your Church was made by MEN, all the traditions are formed by MEN. All the rituals are done by MEN. What Jesus said "Oh you gotta walk down this aisle just like that, make sure you make an altar of myself when I die, also make sure you give a cup of my blood and body to everyone here"

Come on.
This board would avoid this.

Avoid what? Your non-argument?  Your puerile rant?  There's nothing of substance here to "avoid."

Uhhhhh for example the Greek Orthodox Church is a denomination, by definition. They've taken a name after themselves, one that doesn't exist in the New Testament, by the way. As to keeping the doctrine of the Bible, the Greek Orthodox Church places it's tradition on the same level as scripture itself. That is also antithetical to the Gospel. If the traditions of men were genuinely on par with scripture then the Pharisees claims against Christ would have been legitimate and Christianity would have been a heretical faith. It just doesn't work that way, as the Lord himself pointed out many times. As to the source of true Christian doctrine, the Holy Spirit is that source. The letters were written to existent churches (and individuals), but often they contained admonishments for misbehavior in those churches. They weren't a rubber stamp on whatever churches were choosing to do. You can claim your denomination has the authority to make it up as they go, but that is simply not in line with what God the Holy Spirit has revealed to the catholic Church in scripture.

I'm confused.... are you an atheist arguing against Christianity and the Bible, or a Protestant arguing against Orthodoxy?  Regardless, the above claims have been dealt with, do a search on "Alfred Persson", and enjoy a good 1,000+ posts.  You two actually have much in common.

He's both, because he only has arguments that work within the Western "Atheist vs. Protestant/Roman Catholic" milieu.
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« Reply #272 on: January 11, 2011, 10:55:59 PM »

Perhaps this book would help...?  Tongue

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« Reply #273 on: January 11, 2011, 10:59:04 PM »

Actually, scripture is a product of Tradition, not seperate.

This is a problem because Paul wrote that 1 Cor. 15:50-56 that “flesh and blood cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven. But other letters of "Paul" (or whoever) say completely different things. In Collosians "Paul" gives a view that the Resurrection was a heavenly event which broke the powers of the heavenly archons and elemental spirits of the universe...this is a Gnostic idea/reading and almost certainly not by the same author who wrote 1st Corinthians.

Why does your book have so many contradictions with itself if it's grounded in Tradition?

I would need the other quote for an accurate explanation. Most of perceived contradictions are based on context and/or understanding.
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« Reply #274 on: January 12, 2011, 12:04:15 AM »

This is an article I just translated by a Brazilian philosopher criticizing the mainstream militants of atheism, for you appreciation.
Very good read, it's thoughts like this which have made me begin to despise most people who call themselves atheistic.
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« Reply #275 on: January 12, 2011, 12:05:06 AM »

BTW your Church was made by MEN, all the traditions are formed by MEN. All the rituals are done by MEN. What Jesus said "Oh you gotta walk down this aisle just like that, make sure you make an altar of myself when I die, also make sure you give a cup of my blood and body to everyone here"

Come on.

These aren't the tradition being talked about.

When someone says Tradition, they are talking about beliefs and practices to enact a Sacrament and partake of God's Grace.

Walking down an aisle correctly is a characature. Instead, we are talking about proper prayer, proper belief, etc. I've already made my case about Tradition coming from men alone, when I debated your SDA friend. These beliefs come from the source of the faith itself.
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« Reply #276 on: January 12, 2011, 12:12:33 AM »

Just to echo what was said about Tradition, here are some quotes...

"Tradition is the living faith of the dead; traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. Tradition lives in conversation with the past, while remembering where we are and when we are and that it is we who have to decide." - Jaroslav Pelikan

"Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead." - G.K. Chesterton

Tradition is, in essence, the method and meaning of the transmission of truth throughout the ages. What you are criticizing, TTC, is dead traditionalism, not living tradition.
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« Reply #277 on: January 12, 2011, 12:21:02 AM »

I found Atheism unsatisfactory primarily due to its absolute nature. Those who think that there is no God, gods, goddesses, higher powers may well be correct but I'm unable to achieve the degree of certainty necessary to embrace the concept without reservation. However I have experienced the Risen Christ, so I do not hold that there could be a possibility of God's inexistence.

I had a friend of mine once say "So Jesus left us behind with a bunch of texts and micromanages their lives through the proxy of priests." Heh, he viewed the confessional thing as flawed.
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« Reply #278 on: January 12, 2011, 12:39:01 AM »

CONTEXT NOTE: This and a sampling of the posts that follow were originally posted here on Faith Issues.  -PtA



Here are is a series of podcast that are excellent in content if not sound fidelity. He argues passionately in them for the action before explanation route of sharing the faith with others:

http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/hopko/teaching_doctrine_in_the_world_we_live_in_today_part_1
http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/hopko/teaching_doctrine_in_the_world_we_live_in_today_part_two
http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/hopko/teaching_doctrine_in_the_world_we_live_in_today_part_three[/color]

I listened to these three (WOW what a shock I know Cheesy). Putting faith before thinking is dangerous and extremely foolish. What if I pray to God and nothing happens?

I've read the New Testament slowly before. I'm not going to follow a lot of its rules, because a lot are stupid. What's wrong with having sex with someone else that I'm not married to?

Now giving away extra money and helping some people out for 1 or two hours sounds like a good thing to do, but impractical.

The first thing you can do is stop believing in God.

Ignorance is bliss, but knowledge is liberating.


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This attitude always reminds me of one of the prayers by the lake by St Nikolai Velimirovich.


Link
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« Reply #279 on: January 12, 2011, 12:49:13 AM »

CONTEXT NOTE: This and a sampling of the posts that follow were originally posted here on Faith Issues.  -PtA



Here are is a series of podcast that are excellent in content if not sound fidelity. He argues passionately in them for the action before explanation route of sharing the faith with others:

http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/hopko/teaching_doctrine_in_the_world_we_live_in_today_part_1
http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/hopko/teaching_doctrine_in_the_world_we_live_in_today_part_two
http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/hopko/teaching_doctrine_in_the_world_we_live_in_today_part_three[/color]

I listened to these three (WOW what a shock I know Cheesy). Putting faith before thinking is dangerous and extremely foolish. What if I pray to God and nothing happens?

I've read the New Testament slowly before. I'm not going to follow a lot of its rules, because a lot are stupid. What's wrong with having sex with someone else that I'm not married to?

Now giving away extra money and helping some people out for 1 or two hours sounds like a good thing to do, but impractical.

The first thing you can do is stop believing in God.

Ignorance is bliss, but knowledge is liberating.


You were warned not even ten days ago to stop trolling the Faith Issues board with your atheistic propaganda (see THIS POST), yet you continue. Therefore, you are on Post Moderation for the next 30 days. During the time of your Moderation, every post you submit must be reviewed by a moderator before it will appear on the forum. If you think this action wrong, please appeal it via private message to Fr. George.

- PeterTheAleut



This attitude always reminds me of one of the prayers by the lake by St Nikolai Velimirovich.


Link

"The shortsighted see only this life, and say: "This is the only life there is, and we shall make it immortal by means of our deeds among men." But I tell them: "If your beginning is like a river, then it must have a source; if it is like a tree, it must have its root, if it is like a beam of light, it must come from some sun." And again I tell them: "So, you intend to establish your immortality among mortals? Try starting a fire in water!"

Brilliance.
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« Reply #280 on: January 12, 2011, 01:26:53 AM »

Confucius say: When a person analyzes religion from the outside without immersing oneself within the rituals, it is as useful as trying to see through a brick wall.
You act like I never was a Christian. Guess what I was, and it's the biggest bambazoole concoted by a bunch of charltans the world has ever seen.

Western christianity (especially Protestantism) has done a fine job of excising the ancient rituals which have been intimately linked with the faith from the beginning, and have reduced it to primarily an intellectual exercise. This is why I believe that atheism is such a prevalent phenomena in the west, because without this association present, (the ritual tied to the myth) the myths eventually start to become ridiculous and meaningless, and are subsequently abandoned.
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« Reply #281 on: January 12, 2011, 01:04:18 PM »

I will contribute with my own witness about it. My conversion was firstly intellectual and only then it was related to faith. I will not bother people with the story itself, but I'll go straight to the thinking behind it.

Some background is necessary though. I was never an atheist. At some points I was agnostic, in adolescence I got involved with spiritism and later with compared religion with that blasé pseudo-intellectual self-satisfied vanity of being able to understand all religions deeper than their own believers, see the truth past their superstitions and have an independent, free-thinking personal relation with Divinity, whatever it could be in itself. I thought it was self-sentient, intelligent, free-willed, but nothing more than that.


When I decided to seriously study Christianity, I had already read many books about Christianity. But that is different from a serious study. I was, even in my best moments, contaminated by the many cultural prejudices against Christianity and the Church our era has. Any conspirationist theory about the resurrection was better and more probable than a dead person actually rising from the dead. In mere speculative terms, it was easier to believe that some sort of big lie was plotted, even if with good intentions, than that a man resurrected. Rationally, it makes sense. The story could have been inveted based on previous mythologies. It was sufficiently similar to then to justify that. Something historical might have happened, but overlayed by myth and superstition. Anything. But not the resurrection.

I then read C.S. Lewis. It was a shock. Not much because of the arguments in themselves, but because I was looking at what was, until then, a mythological inexistant creature to me: an intelligent educated Christian. Then came Thomas of Aquinas, Chesterton and others. But it was Lee Strobel and his "The Case for Christ" who showed me the right angle to look at this issue.

Skeptics usually ask for proofs or at least, outstanding evidence since it is an outstanding claim. Some atheists do convert, so it shows that there are enough good evidence around for the subject, but, of course, there are those who remain unconvinced. It may be the case that they are perversely obsessed with their little confortable world as some claim, but I suppose these are a minority. Some are probably like I was, they have not yet grasped what *kind* of *fact* is under scrutiny in this discussion: it is a historical fact.

When I say it is a historical fact, I am not stating the conclusion before the analysis. What I am saying is that we are discussing if this a historical fact or not, that is, *if* it is a fact that happened some two thousand years ago, it has to be evaluated in the same way any historical fact is. So, this limits what kind of extraordinary evidence has to be provided. Whatever it is, it will share the nature of *any* historical fact that happened in that same period (it is not scientific to expect the same kind of evidence from a fact in the last century and a fact 10 thousand years ago).

I will not summarize the book, since some few lines would just do it a disservice. I recommend it for everybody who needs or wants an intellectual rational approach to the issue: http://www.leestrobel.com/store.php .

But, moving on, once I started analysing the resurrection, and its competing theories, as history, and not artificially demanding more evidence than something that would have happened 2 thousand years ago could give, and with further help from the book "Hidden Gospels: How the Search for Jesus Lost Its Way"http://www.amazon.com/Hidden-Gospels-Search-Jesus-Lost/dp/0195156315/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1284671194&sr=1-2 by Philip Jenkins  it became clear to me that it was a reasonable and even probable explanation for all the facts surrounding it.

You see, to me, the main evidence for the truth of Christianity, when you are searching from the outside, is in *history*. Not on philosophy, or logic, or common sense. There is no set of logical sylogisms that can proove that on May 3rd, 1981 I had eggs for lunch. There might be only the kind of "proof" archeology or history provides. Some centuries from now, even my own existence will be doubtful if even remembered by someone. Nobody will be able to give ultimate proof that I existed. Historically, one could make a "strong case" and that is as far as one can go. Now, of course, there are degrees of certainty in this. One can reasonably be more sure that Julius Ceasar existed than that any of his generals and for various reasons: there are more documents about him, more references, etc, etc. The whole set of evidences that are used by historical science. One of the things "The Case for Christ" does is to show convincingly that the number and quality of references about Christ are larger and better than, for example, Alexander, the Great.

When you come to this point, then, and only then, you deal with the issue of faith, that is, of trust. If I can have more or less the same intellectual degree of certainty for the resurrection that I can have for other known historical facts, will I trust this and treat it as if it is true or not? *This* is the step of faith, after the "preparation" of intellectual effort.  There is an advantage about this possibly historical fact that no other has: *if* it is true, and *if* I trust it, according to the theory, my life will change in the very present I live. It may be a radical change as a miraculous healing or more subtle like a change of direction in the meaning of my life. Plus, this change will not come about randomly, but it is supposed to happen in a way that will show that there is a *person* guiding events toward a certain direction. There will be a "plot" so to say, and this "plot" will converge with the intentions, wishes and character of that Jesus. But if it is true the change will happen, and this a test that can be done.

I did the test, and many others have. In fact, all those who did it, consistently verified that the changes have happened. Now, it is not the same kind of knowledge we have that 1 + 1 =2. It is the same knowledge that a person exists. It relies on a series of subjective perceptions some of which you'll be the only one to know. It is a knowledge that is not easily socialized. Scientific knowledge is easily socialized. You can say it almost imposes iself. The airplane will fly whether you believe in aerodynamics or not. But, like any human relationship, you just enjoy the friendship of a person, if you feel and act like a friend towards this person. A friendship is no less true than a mathematical equation. But it is not an impositive truth.

Our relationship with God is more like a friendship than like a mathematical truth. It is love between two people. And here resides its excellency and its difficulty.

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« Reply #282 on: January 12, 2011, 01:17:02 PM »

Looking forward to the, "Lee Strobel?!  Roll Eyes" retort.
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« Reply #283 on: January 12, 2011, 01:46:52 PM »



How can a Perfect Creator make a Failed Creation?


Being that this is the first real question, from a state of humility, I believe it deserves an answer. But let me tell you, TtC that unless you have actually studied what the Orthodox teaching is on Sin, you may find that these answers only leave you with more questions. So far your statements have shown that your understanding of Christianity is from a Protestant variety. So you are lacking.

answer: He did not. We are made in His image. We have fallen from a state of grace, becoming subhuman.

you said, "Can a Perfect Carpenter build a crooked cabinet? And does it make sense for him to get angry at the cabinet for having skewed angles?"

This is one of those questions which shows that you lack understanding of Orthodox doctrine. I'm beginning to believe that you are truly hoping for God to change your mind.

you said, "Can the plans of an Omnipotent God be waylaid by impotent Man without that God's consent?"

God allows free-will that we will freely come to know and love and live in Him. Very simply, God became man that man may become God.

You said, "What meaning does free will have when one's soul (assuming that such a thing exists) is held hostage with the threat of Hell? Wouldn't the worship thus extracted be about as voluntary as money surrendered at gunpoint to a robber? Would the Christian reader exonerate the robber when he argues "But, your Honor, she chose to give me the money, I didn't force her to"? Why then, would he or she exonerate God's behavior?"

...again, you lack the basic doctrine and theology to have a conversation with ORTHODOX Christians. But if you are willing to ask questions about what we believe, rather than assuming, we can help.

you said, "Blackmail, genocide, group punishment, eternal torture, these are all evil things."

yes they are an unfortunate consequence of the disease of sin in this world. But God did not create these things. They are manifestations of sin in this world.
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« Reply #284 on: January 12, 2011, 02:41:14 PM »

Sleeper, why can't you research the Bible critically. I understand why you don't, though. You're afraid. Afraid of losing your eternity in some wonderful afterlife that doesn't exist, with a triune god that doesn't exist, but prepared to believe it no matter the cost. You are the poster boy for Pascal's Wager. You should have more Christians applaud you.
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« Reply #285 on: January 12, 2011, 03:34:26 PM »

Sleeper, why can't you research the Bible critically. I understand why you don't, though. You're afraid. Afraid of losing your eternity in some wonderful afterlife that doesn't exist, with a triune god that doesn't exist, but prepared to believe it no matter the cost. You are the poster boy for Pascal's Wager. You should have more Christians applaud you.


Which flavor of Protestantism did you come from?
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« Reply #286 on: January 12, 2011, 04:38:15 PM »

Sleeper, why can't you research the Bible critically. I understand why you don't, though. You're afraid. Afraid of losing your eternity in some wonderful afterlife that doesn't exist, with a triune god that doesn't exist, but prepared to believe it no matter the cost. You are the poster boy for Pascal's Wager. You should have more Christians applaud you.

I still cannot fathom why in the world you find my position so impossible to comprehend.  What do you mean why can't I research the Bible critically?  I do!  What I've been saying this entire time is that I agree the Bible contains things that we know to be false, scientifically speaking, historically speaking, etc.  How much clearer and plainer can I make this?

My point is that Christianity does not hinge on the reliability of the Bible.  I've said this.  Bolded.  With every. single. word. spelled. out. for. you.  And even after reading that, you still think I hold a position on the Bible that I do not.

Please, just be honest for once and tell me that you're just messing with me, because I'm at a loss.  Truly.  Just say, "Sleeper, I'm just messin' around with you man.  I've read your posts, they are plain as day, and I understand your position.  I don't agree with it, but I get it."

Then we can move on.
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« Reply #287 on: January 12, 2011, 04:52:23 PM »

Sleeper, why can't you research the Bible critically. I understand why you don't, though. You're afraid. Afraid of losing your eternity in some wonderful afterlife that doesn't exist, with a triune god that doesn't exist, but prepared to believe it no matter the cost. You are the poster boy for Pascal's Wager. You should have more Christians applaud you.

I still cannot fathom why in the world you find my position so impossible to comprehend.  What do you mean why can't I research the Bible critically?  I do!  What I've been saying this entire time is that I agree the Bible contains things that we know to be false, scientifically speaking, historically speaking, etc.  How much clearer and plainer can I make this?

My point is that Christianity does not hinge on the reliability of the Bible.  I've said this.  Bolded.  With every. single. word. spelled. out. for. you.  And even after reading that, you still think I hold a position on the Bible that I do not.

Please, just be honest for once and tell me that you're just messing with me, because I'm at a loss.  Truly.  Just say, "Sleeper, I'm just messin' around with you man.  I've read your posts, they are plain as day, and I understand your position.  I don't agree with it, but I get it."

Then we can move on.

Wait he'll bring up some pagan parallel to Jesus with no scholarship to it. And then go back to pointing out flaws in the Bible.
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« Reply #288 on: January 12, 2011, 04:56:08 PM »

Sleeper, why can't you research the Bible critically. I understand why you don't, though. You're afraid. Afraid of losing your eternity in some wonderful afterlife that doesn't exist, with a triune god that doesn't exist, but prepared to believe it no matter the cost. You are the poster boy for Pascal's Wager. You should have more Christians applaud you.

I still cannot fathom why in the world you find my position so impossible to comprehend.  What do you mean why can't I research the Bible critically?  I do!  What I've been saying this entire time is that I agree the Bible contains things that we know to be false, scientifically speaking, historically speaking, etc.  How much clearer and plainer can I make this?

My point is that Christianity does not hinge on the reliability of the Bible.  I've said this.  Bolded.  With every. single. word. spelled. out. for. you.  And even after reading that, you still think I hold a position on the Bible that I do not.

Please, just be honest for once and tell me that you're just messing with me, because I'm at a loss.  Truly.  Just say, "Sleeper, I'm just messin' around with you man.  I've read your posts, they are plain as day, and I understand your position.  I don't agree with it, but I get it."

Then we can move on.

YES!!!  Amen to that!
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« Reply #289 on: January 12, 2011, 11:08:56 PM »

Sleeper, why can't you research the Bible critically. I understand why you don't, though. You're afraid. Afraid of losing your eternity in some wonderful afterlife that doesn't exist, with a triune god that doesn't exist, but prepared to believe it no matter the cost. You are the poster boy for Pascal's Wager. You should have more Christians applaud you.

I still cannot fathom why in the world you find my position so impossible to comprehend.  What do you mean why can't I research the Bible critically?  I do!  What I've been saying this entire time is that I agree the Bible contains things that we know to be false, scientifically speaking, historically speaking, etc.  How much clearer and plainer can I make this?

My point is that Christianity does not hinge on the reliability of the Bible.  I've said this.  Bolded.  With every. single. word. spelled. out. for. you.  And even after reading that, you still think I hold a position on the Bible that I do not.

Please, just be honest for once and tell me that you're just messing with me, because I'm at a loss.  Truly.  Just say, "Sleeper, I'm just messin' around with you man.  I've read your posts, they are plain as day, and I understand your position.  I don't agree with it, but I get it."

Then we can move on.

Wait he'll bring up some pagan parallel to Jesus with no scholarship to it. And then go back to pointing out flaws in the Bible.

From a source hundreds of years newer than the biblical texts.
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TryingtoConvert
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« Reply #290 on: January 16, 2011, 12:28:15 AM »

I wanted to apologize to Fabio for totally derailing his thread into my rants, that is my bad and I should have directed the conversation to what the thread entails. Maybe I should just make one big thread with my discussion eh?

I'd like to bring up the very fundamental flaws in Fabio's philosopher here, see below. I reply to this post not with enthusiasm or a vehemence to be seen as correct. Chagrin fuels my urge, and reminds me of why I initially wanted to ignore this post. "Don't you have a book to write?" says my conscience, willing me to move along. But the elongated sigh exhaling from my mouth since first reading this after work last night seems unquenchable otherwise. I see nothing but regret coming from me replying. I see nothing but a future headache. Still, I persist, because I'm a fool. Let's do this.

This is an article I just translated by a Brazilian philosopher criticizing the mainstream militants of atheism, for you appreciation.
Firstly, that's really interesting. Do you often get the opportunity to translate articles like this?

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The crooks' "debate"
Because when I write a criticism of those whose beliefs differ from mine, the first thing I want to relay is the best condescending name I can muster. Egads!

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techniques have been very simplified in the last years. They
Stop, stop, stop. Who is this odious 'they'? And why are we attempting to instill an Us and Them mentality in the reader? It's disingenuous.

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no longer appeal to the refinements of the old sophists, nor to the trickeries of the false rhetoric which Aristotle called eristics. To save time, or maybe for laziness and incompetence to study these things, they transfer the challenge from the field of logic to that of psychological manipulation, seeking not to persuade or confound, but simply to intimidate and subjugate.
The language of this article is then ironic to a degree beyond calculation. 'Big-shot Atheists' today, such as the four people mentioned soon, likely have the notion that most religious people don't know why they entertain a faith, and wish to stir a discussion, or rouse thoughts contrary to one's beliefs, which is great. There is not enough challenge presented to common laymen these days. I implore anybody to seek challenge. I'm only mentioning my inferences of those individuals I'm familiar with. More on that later. I don't see it as manipulative, or hostile, but wanting to invoke dialogue.

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The method to obtain such a result is simple. With an innocent countenance they throw shocking or insulting statements in a deceivingly sophisticated language.
This just sounds like somebody taking offense. It's an odd thing to say. I don't feel like I'm reading a philosopher. Did it ever occur to this man that the awkward, scientific individuals he soon lists lack the social graces necessary to wear a countenance more befitting of what he envisions when speaking in certain ways? The handful of Dawkin's lectures I've watched definitely suggest he is a pleasant fellow, without a lot of knowledge about social subtlety. I get the impression that he cannot help deploying his own frivolous sense of humor. It just so happens he sees religion as a thing to laugh at, thus, the brows of many religious people wrinkle when he throws out an offhanded remark, meant to be funny (by him).

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Next, they impose to the adversary rules of politeness that exclude every possibility of complaining or any proper reaction. To the poor victim there is no other way but to submit to the chicanery, timidly trying to move in a field defined to humiliate him.
What? Who, and when? I'm reminded of that Wendy Wright debate with Richard Dawkins, wherein Dawkins is on the opposite end of the spectrum, left in the same communicative minefield he claims the man tries to put others in. Again, where are these discussions that paint such a picture? Admittedly, I've not seen much of him, but what I have seen often has Dawkins on the defensive, (clumsily) struggling to not be made an idiot of.

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The polemicists who have stood up the most in employing these techniques are the Four Asses of the Apocalypse
When I read that, my palm nearly merged with my face.

I mean come on. Really? Seriously? For real? I feel like I'm reading a highly offended Christian's blog, not a philosopher's article.

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- Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett - whose goal is to wipe out religion from the face of Earth, imposing the cult of "reason" and of "science".
Just stop. I want to create a drinking game regarding this article and Strawmen. Well, to be fair, I'm passingly familiar with Dawkins, very familiar with Hitchens, and have never read or listened to anything by the others. However, I can only image the paled grimaces they'd make if shown this. Wipe religion from the face of the Earth? Is that what opening dialogue of a taboo subject is now? I'd love to hear them lampoon this interpretation of their actions, I really would.

'Cult' of reason and science. What rubbish. They're people speaking their minds on a subject for which they have some fervency. Whoever constructed this 'agenda' mentality needs to be hung upside down and beaten until candy erupts from them. I don't buy into this notion that people speaking about something automatically must be pushing some dogmatic agenda. It's ludicrous and silly.

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They do not hate all religions equally.
Hate is such a strong word. You sure . . . ah, never mind.

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Their bête noire is Christianity and, in particular, Catholics, in whom they behold the greatest enemies of humanity.
*Shot* No, no, no, no, no, no, no, why am I replying to this trite? I've lost my mind. I have lost my ****ing mind. Do you think this is true? If so, congratulations: You're wrong. I don't even need to know who the hell Sam Harris is to know they would spit their coffee out over this accusation. It's insane, and almost scary.

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For reasons we shall soon see, they would rather destroy them by means of a generic attack against "religion", hoping, rather reasonably, that the suppression of the gender brings the annihilation of the species.
I feel like I'm reading the words of somebody who is profoundly mentally ill. I cannot rebut that statement, it's monstrous in its absurdity. That's the best I can do. Otherwise, I'm bewildered at this man's ideas, in a bad way.

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The issue is that "religion", in the way they use it, is not a historically identifiable entity; it's not even a concept. It's a fetish word, a verbal straw-man with meanings that include, with no distinction, Christianity, Gnosis, state worship of the Caesars, witchcraft, shamanism, astrology, alchemy and esoterism in general, all indian religions, Mormonism, ufology, spiritualism and who knows how many more, giving them a fictional unity by using a common word.

Next, they give to the amorphous entity the unity of a conscious subject, able to take decisions and act - of having moral responsibility - and then proceed with the judgment of this weird creature. In such conditions, condemnation  is inevitable. With so diverse historical incarnations, heterogeneous and mutually incompatible, "religion" can escape almost none of the accusations made on it. Omnipresent and undefined, the imaginary monstrosity takes the blame for all the evils that affect the human race. And because what is general applies to all particular cases, each existing "religion" bears not only its own faults, but those of the group, and by attribution, the faults of the other ones.
Ah, I see. This bit is insightful. I like it. When people scoff at religion, it is usually not undefined, but incorrectly defined. Defined as 'mainstream religion' and, perhaps, particularly frightening cults. To my awareness, I've encountered very few atheists (if any) who 'attack religion', as a whole. Usually they criticize the misgivings of the Abrahamic faiths exclusively, and never even try to say all religions enable strife. Maybe I'm sheltered, and there are droves of Atheists attacking an undefined Strawman of religion. But they're surely uninformed of *cringes* "the Four's" perspectives. How do I say this, without knowing two of the men in question? It's a matter of faith. But if they're any bit like Hitchens or Dawkins, I can easily predict they'd despise this misrepresentation.

I think, most commonly, in the useful, colloquial sense, when people say religion, they mean organized religion and stereotypical cults. These can at times be dangerous in the wrong people's hands. It's no secret that believing you hold the ultimate truth and do a God's work can spur horrific beliefs about the self. But to say all religion is wrong, because those who have a propensity to do crazy things, do crazy things in the name of something, is stupid. If that is what the article is trying to say, I agree. But again, I don't think Hitchens and Dawkins believe this, at all. I might be wrong, I simply don't see it.

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The normality, the flamboyance and the frequency with which the four idols of the atheistic militancy
I threw up a little in my mouth. Huh? Okay, I get that we're jumping to idolatry now, but it only makes the insult more funny.

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appeal to this transfer of guilt would suffice to list them among the greatest intellectual cheaters of all times.
This paragraph belongs before the two I posted together. It doesn't flow well. That being said: I can do nothing, apart from disagreeing. Sullenly.

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Just to give one example: in one of his last polemical charges, Christopher Hitchens concluded that Nazism was a Christian Catholic regime because German soldiers of World War II bore on their belts the phrase "Gott mit uns" (God is with us), and, therefore, the Roman Church was to be blamed for the war, the Holocaust etc.
Citation? Did the conclusion really go like that? Maybe he meant to say it (Hitler's form of Nazism) was an offshoot of Christianity—a new, pseudo-denomination.

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The missing detail is that although Hitler was not an Atheist, he was not Catholic. He was a gnostic, engaged in reshaping the Gospel and in actualizing an earthly Judgment Day without waiting for the heavenly one. For that, he used to say, it was necessary "to crush the Catholic Church like you step on a toad".
This is true. He was a member of the Catholic Church until his death, and devout for most of his life, but came to hate its hierarchy. He wished for a huge reformation, which lends credence to the notion that his regime was attempting to become a new Christian denomination.

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Gnosticism is the oldest and wildest enemy of the Church, which condemns it as the root of all heresies. But, for Christopher Hitchens this makes no difference. Catholicism is "religion", gnosticism is "religion": their faults are, thus, interchangeable. But isn't gnosticism a pseudo-religion? It matters not: pseudo-religion is religion.
I'm uncertain of him as a Gnostic, I really am. His God was defined as Jesus, or Yahweh. He never made any reference to Pleroma, Sophia or anything akin to a higher entity than Yahweh. None, in all of his speeches or writings. I don't see it, at all. Hitchen's lack of distinction might be due to misinformation; he might believe Hitler was a die-hard Catholic, incorrectly. Again, I really would love citation of this Hitchens debacle. I don't think he's blanketing all religion, especially if he has no awareness of Hitler's alleged Gnosticism. He's criticizing what he sees as an offshoot of Catholicism, which is a denomination that does have a rich history of heinous behavior.

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The most constant and efficient use of this trick has been to claim that the deeds of the Islamic terrorists are proof of how dangerous... Christianity is!
What? Who's claiming this? I've only ever heard Atheists say extremist Islamic groups are dangerous because of their interpretation of the Qur'an. Never that there is potential for violence in Christians BECAUSE Islamic extremists interpret the Qur'an dangerously.

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And atheism, isn't it guilt of anything? The most striking fact of modern history is that the atheistic ideology of communism killed more people, in a few decades, than all the religious wars since the beginning of the world.
I strongly doubt that is factual. The religiously inspired wars and executions of people must surpass those killed under Atheistic Communists' rule. Not that there are cold, hard statistics covering just how many burnings, hangings, and stonings occurred due to mental illness and suspected witchcraft. My guess is rather lofty, given how well-represented these forms of punishment are in historical writings. This, factored with the Crusades, Dark Ages, Inquisition and the wars hinted at by the Old Testament, which practically assert MANY undocumented religious wars happened? No. I don't buy it. Sorry.

But that's irrelevant, It doesn't matter who killed what amount of people, that has nothing to do with the veracity of something, or the ideals of those who practice it today.

How do the Four Asses get out of that? They say communism is also "religion", and the problem is solved. "Religions", in particular Catholicism, are now guilty of all the crimes of the governments that killed the largest number of believers and religious people in name of scientific atheism.[/quote]
I still can't get over this 'Four Asses' thing. Also, when do these people say Communism = religion? That sounds made up, and not at all extractable from the words (I've heard) of these men. I can't imagine anybody making this claim, it's profoundly absurd. Also, 'killed in the name of Scientific Atheism™'? Where, who, how, why, and when? I know people have been killed for holding religious beliefs, but because they do not think scientifically—which is apparently Atheism too?

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Being an atheist, say the Four,
It's still preventing me from taking this seriously.

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consists merely in the refusal of believing in God - any God - and not in advancing any goals or concrete values. Thus conceived, atheism is just an inner attitude, with no identifiable historical incarnation and can't, by definition, be accused of anything.
In a sense, it is very open. One can be an Atheist and a tyrannical Communist, or the most gentle pacifist you'll ever meet. That's just a fact, not some definition modern Atheists are trying to push like an agenda.

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The fact that in practice this atheism never limits itself to the refusal to believe, but brings with it the apology of "reason" and "science",
Who is this nut-job? No, Atheists can reject science and be completely irrational. It's not a 'practice', it does not have a set of beliefs or ideals, Atheism is a reply to one question. If you perceive trends in Atheists, it's nothing but stereotyping. It's like saying black people are unintelligent. Stay away from generalizing, kids. Just say no.

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can't make it responsible for the crimes of the scientific ideologies of Marxism and Nazism, because, according to the Four, they were not based on science, but on pseudoscience.
Atheism is not responsible, people are. People who were mad, people who were egotistical, people who held frightening ideals and commanded great power. It has nothing to do with science, knock that idiocy off (author). How infuriating. Again, when do any of these people say anything even remotely like this?

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I will not even ask with which legitimacy the concept of "pseudo", forbidden to the defenders of religion, could suddenly reappear as a valid distinctive criteria.
Hey, let's go on a tangent attacking our Strawman some more. Also, pseudoscience is pretty easily defined. It's not a mystery, but it is irrelevant to anything the author is talking about.

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I do not ask either with which right they appeal to the distinction of science and pseudoscience as it were something obvious, primary and automatic, when it seems to have escaped completely from a whole constellation of eminent Marxist scientists.
Modern science is defined well, as is pseudoscience, which acts against the scientific method, or methodological naturalism. Pseudoscience is bad science, this is simple right? Science that makes faulty inferences based on the evidence, does not make logical connections, fails to acknowledge a bulk of evidence in favor of pursuing evidence for an unnecessary and contradictory avenue (as is the case with the Expanding Earth crowd, as opposed to Plate Tectonics). Science that is demonstrably false based on other, better science. Again, why are we talking about science? It's such a jump from the rest of the article. Science =/= Atheism.

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What seems most beautiful in this jink is appealing to the notion of "purity", denied to the defenders of religion. According to the Four, that Marx or even Darwin himself openly defended the systematic killing of "inferior peoples" does not make their atheism guilty of anything, because, when proposing this murderous idea, they didn't do it for a coherent devotion to scientific and rational atheism, but for a brief religious temptation...
Really, Darwin advocated the systematic killing of 'inferior people'? Right, of course he did. I've heard rumors of racism from Darwin, none of which I've explored, mostly because I do not care (cite something, heck, I'll read it). This appeal to emotion is sad. Somebody can be the biggest flaming racist to ever live and it detracts nothing from a scientific theory they construct. If somebody is all for killing people they perceive as lower than others, that has nothing to do with their belief in a God, unless they're killing people because they believe in a God. If you care about genetics, Atheism is no longer relevant. Wanting to kill people for that reason is not scientific either, it's idealistic. It's personal, and unrelated to science as a whole, or atheism as a whole. These generalizations are daunting. The urge to kill alone is shorn of empathy, and recognized as mentally ill behavior. It's not a logical end to being an Atheist who thinks scientifically. If you have murderous thoughts, your wiring is bad and you need help.

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Reduced to a pure idea, or, more exactly, to the personal version this idea assumes in the heads of the Four Asses, atheism is as innocent, as untouchable as a geometric figure in the heavens of platonic forms.
Atheism is 'innocent' because it has no doctrine or teachings. It compels people to do nothing in particular. There's no line in a holy book to interpret as 'cleanse the world of people who don't believe in me'. That being said, Atheists can hate religion, and do bad things against religious people. Is that Atheism's fault? I don't think so. Again, mental illness is not imparted by a belief in Gods. Just as I would not blame Islam for terrorists, I would not blame Atheism for the actions of insane Atheists.

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This is the debate that the Four put forward. Just like communists propose the confrontation of the innocence of their ideal society and the evils and sins of the existing society. Just like Seyyed Hossein Nasr, in “Ideals and Realities of Islam”, compares the beauties of his ideal Islam to the ugliness of the Western societies historically known. The demand for a honest confrontation - comparing ideals with ideals, realities with realities - is dodged a priori. For the adversaries of the Four rests only the inglorious task of defending, in vain, reality from ideal.
More of the sigh-worthy same, erecting appeals to emotion by drawing a line between modern, prolific Atheists and evil movements in history. It's so banal, I'm literally frustrated that this man has won anybody over using these tactics. I know of zero, count 'em, zero Atheists who desire for religion to be purged from the world. I know of many who criticize religion, and see it as potentially detrimental, but none who would ever try to rob the rights of others and prevent them from believing. This article reads like lazy propaganda.

I'm defending, in vain, reality from Strawmen the size of zeppelins.

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With the help of their editors and billionaire marketing people, such has been the "invitation to debate" the Four offer to whom may be naïve enough to fall for the cheat. The strictness in the demand for academic politeness is what makes impossible the denunciation of the essential cheat which created and shaped the invitation.

This is really verbose. I can't even decipher it. The offer to open dialogue is a cheat because their parameters avert proper dialogue from being conducted, and this is definable as a cheat? That's my guess. I just don't see it, is my reply. I don't see the invitation as a cheat, or those who engage these Atheists as being victims. Oftentimes, I see Dawkins annoyed by the conversational gambits utilized by his opponents. I see him as genuinely wanting others to do what he sees as opening up and learning what he knows, not as something vile or malicious. Oh, but I forgot, I've been cheated, haven't I? Because that's how learning and growing works in the Land of Agendas, I can't listen to various people and come to a conclusion because I find their arguments and evidence compelling. No, no, I've been swindled, blinded, corrupted, led astray, and tricked by the obvious chicanery of those pesky individuals who have different thoughts than somebody else.

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Once the cheat is debunked, though, all the fake intellectual respectability of Hitchens and his partners falls into pieces. It is not healthy to discuss politely with cheaters, because denouncing the trick is forbidden, in limine, as an awful insult.
Right. More of this trick mentality, alleging fake intellectuality, and a few pointers for dealing with us pesky cheaters. This is a deplorable sentiment, and it saddens me. I hit the submit button not feeling good, not feeling witty or impressive, but tired and enervated. I don't know why I enter these discussions. It's a mournful waste of time and energy. People depress me.
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Dnarmist
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« Reply #291 on: January 16, 2011, 04:23:03 PM »

So TtC, the bottom line is that the higher in the hierarchy and more vocal the advocate on either side of the issue, the more likely they are to be jerks.
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