Friday Roundup

What the writer of this essay doesn’t probably get, is that many “religious” or people of faith also see these trends as a good thing.  All it means is that fundamentalism is losing its grip.  It says nothing about people becoming less spiritual or becoming radical materialists/atheists.

This is…beautiful…

Two points regarding here and here…first, we see that the economic policies favored by many atheists happened because of a mentality or view inspired by the Gospels.  Second, we see the radical difference between what motivated those who pushed the Social Gospel and what motivates this atheist.  The first saw it as the right thing, the ethical and moral thing to do.   They appealed to our hearts and our “better angels”.  Here is what motivates this atheist:
“While I see no necessary relationship between atheism and belief in social reform—the kind of reform that makes people more economically and socially secure, and provides government-sponsored healthcare—it’s obvious that if we want to eliminate religion’s hold on the world, we must also eliminate the conditions that breed religion. In that sense, Marx was right…This view differs from that of the so-called “social justice warriors,” who see a necessary philosophical connection between atheism and “social justice.”  I don’t agree. Atheism is simply a lack of belief in gods, and has no necessary link to any social view, liberal or otherwise. The connection I see instead is a tactical and practical one:”

That may tell us all we need to know.

Here Daniel Dennett compares being religious to being impaired by alcohol.  That’s a reasonable view.  Very thoughtful…reflective.

Here we get this most wonderful exchange:

“DS: Indeed. Here is a definition of psychosis: a derangement of the mind characterized by defective or lost contact with reality; evidenced by delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized thought or behavior. I claim that, by that definition, all organized religion is fundamentally psychotic. Do you agree?”
“DD: There is definitely a similarity, but more interesting are the differences: most deeply religious people can be entirely effective and clearheaded agents on behalf of their curious beliefs. Nothing disorganized about their behavior.”

I love how Dennett doesn’t come right out and say he agrees, just notes the “similarity” and is bamboozled by how these people with their “curious” beliefs seem to be effective, clearheaded, and organized.  One can almost envision the old man patting the head of a slightly retarded child and noting how well he does given his disability.  Nope, nothing dismissive, arrogant, radical, or a threat to religious liberty about these guys.

And now from his book “Breaking the Spell” (which he writes un-ironically, completely clueless, while under the spell of philosophical naturalism) we read:
“All these policy questions lie unexamined in the shadows cast by the first spell, the one that says that religion is out of bounds, period [who says this except religious fundamentalists?  And who takes them seriously?  No one].  We should not pretend that this is benign neglect on our part, since we know full well that under the protective umbrellas of personal privacy and religious freedom there are widespread practices in which parents subject their own children to treatments that would send any researcher, clinical or otherwise to jail [what are these treatments?  Does he mean to say that parents can do these same things, whatever they are, and it is legal?  And, if they are not legal, and the parents can be jailed too, then what is the problem?]…

It will not please everybody, any more than our current laws and practices regarding the consumption of alcoholic beverages please everybody…there are still laws forbidding the sale of alcoholic beverages to minors…And there are plenty of gray areas: what should we do if we find parents giving alcohol to their children?  At the ball game, the parents may get in trouble, but what about in the privacy of their own homes?  And there is a big difference between a glass of champagne at big sister’s wedding, and a six-pack of beer every evening while trying to do homework.  When do the authorities have not just the right but the obligation to step in and prevent abuse?  Tough questions, and they don’t get easier when the topic is religion, not alcohol.  In the case of alcohol, our political wisdom is importantly informed by what we have learned about the short-term and long-term effects of imbibing it, but in the case of religion we’re still flying blind [emphasis added]” (Pgs.322-323)

The only person “flying blind” here is poor Mr. Dennett.  What the hell is he drinking?  If these people ever get in charge, God help us.

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2 Responses to Friday Roundup

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  2. Burk Braun says:


    Yes, analogies can be treacherous in this field. I think atheists are continually amazed how people who believe in such weird things can be so practically normal. Even, in the case of Mormons, ultra-normal! Obviously there is something about the careful bounded-ness of supernaturalism that keeps the so-called “magisteria” apart, in an effective, if loose, way. It isn't a philosophically sound boundary by any means, but does work as a practical one.

    Of course, conversely, religionists are continually amazed at how atheists can keep from killing their mothers for lack of any moral compass. So, fair is fair. To me it seems that further investigation of our psychology will shine lights on all these issues, as it has done on homosexuality, to take one example.

    So, point well-taken, and we atheists should … hate the sin, not the sinner, so to speak. Meaning poor thinking, unsupported beliefs, undeserved faith. As well as unnecessary and morally repugnant hatred.


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