Michael Battalio

Thursday, December 11, 2008

This I Believe (part 5)

This is part five of my “This I Believe” series. I’m going to be spending most of the time delving into my struggles in deciding what it is I actually believe. I have had trouble over the last several years defining exactly what it is I prescribe to as a worldview. I consider myself a man of science, but I also consider myself a man of faith. So, where am I exactly? I hope to figure some of it out here.
This short entry is a comment on the lack of respect in the argument over religion.

Theists and atheists do a really good job of insulting each other, but many fail at actually proving or even really arguing anything. Many people of faith find Richard Dawkins offensive. I, however, find that people who prescribe to his beliefs more offensive than he. (Before I get a bunch of atheists mad at me, I also find many religious people offensive. [Pat Robertson comes to mind.]) They have a self righteous, childish, indignation for people of faith because they have found a leader, someone to champion their cause, and they are willing to bash whoever it takes to make sure Dawkins’s message is heard.
The fact of the matter though is that both sides of this argument are pretentious. Both believe they are absolutely correct and don’t care if insulting the opposition makes them or anyone else appear foolish. I am very turned off by both sides of the atheist/theist debate when they resort to name calling, which unfortunately they both do frequently. I don’t want to read a book or critique when a person resorts to calling people naïve or stupid. They spend so much time insulting the other side that one never actually gets to the point. If you can’t intelligently defend your argument or retort another’s, do not fill your essay with mindless blather. It helps no one and hurts your cause. Isn’t the point of argument to find a resolution? What many of these people do is make matters worse.


Wesley said...

While I acknowledge that there probably are some, I have not met a single atheist who considers Dawkins to be his or her leader. If I have concentrated on Dawkins in my previous posts, it is only because I knew that he was an atheist author whom you had read and with whose ideas you were familiar.

Also, I have not had your experience of atheists resorting to name-calling. I'm curious - when have you been exposed to this? I think a very significant difference between atheists and theists is that most atheists come to their belief through reason, while most theists are born through childhood indoctrination. As a consequence, I think atheists are far more likely to want to rationally explain their beliefs than theists. I think in most cases, theists do not have a rational basis for their beliefs and will resort to name-calling more quickly because they run out of logical argument.

Also, if I have ever resorted to spite and name-calling I'm sorry. However, I don't think I have. In fact, I challenge you to find a single example (either here or on Homiehut) where I have done this.



mbat said...

I know you aren't assuming that any of the comments were directed at you, but just so you know, they aren't. And for the record, I have never found anything you have said offensive.

I have looked at several atheist forums and many of their comments are very mean, and quite a few of them quote Dawkins. (I suppose I shouldn't call dawkins an atheist leader based off of a few forums.) A lot of times though the name calling is a result of people losing patients with a theist who started the name calling. Although sometimes the name calling comes from nowhere.
This post was the lumping together of everyone who is name calling; it does nothing to further discussion. Both sides of the argument are guilty of it.

--jam said...

MBat, point well made, and taken. Just once, I'd love to find a good apologetic book that doesn't begin every other sentence with some flowery variant of a phrase that really is meant to say "those stupid < other denomination > believe..." or "can you believe that the < name of group who don't share our belief > actually think...". I'm embarrassed by books like that. It's starts on the playground. Human nature, I suppose, makes us believe that we can build our own case up by putting the other one down. I please guilty on that one myself.

Anonymous said...

You know...no one really cares about whether or not atheists and theists agree or disagree. We who believe in Christ have a right to profess our core beliefs. Siding with atheists only neutralizes things for a short while. The big problem is really never addressed. If a Christian cannot stand for Christ, then I believe the scripture says, "He will be ashamed of us on judgment day..." Atheists compose about 1% of our society. Who cares if their feelings are hurt? The USA was founded on values--God-fearing values. Sorry, but I will stand for Christ, no matter if the atheist starts shedding his tears over it. :(

Wesley said...

Atheist and agnostics make up 9% of the US population - some 26 million people. They make up a much larger percentage of the population worldwide, including being approximately 75% of the population of the Scandinavian countries.

Furthermore, the US was not founded as a Christian nation. Practically none of the founding fathers were Christians; most (including all the big ones like Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Allen, Madison, and Monroe) were Deists or Atheists.

Jefferson said, "There is not one redeeming feature in our superstition of Christianity. It has made one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites." Jefferson also said "To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings. To say that the human soul, angels, God, are immaterial is to say they are nothings, or that there is no God, no angels, no soul. I cannot reason otherwise."

When the constitution was penned, many ministers of the time were outraged at God's exclusion. One said, "When the war was over and the victory over our enemies won, and the blessings and happiness of liberty and peace were secured, the Constitution was framed and God was neglected. He was not merely forgotten. He was absolutely voted out of the Constitution. The proceedings, as published by Thompson, the secretary, and the history of the day, show that the question was gravely debated whether God should be in the Constitution or not, and after a solemn debate he was deliberately voted out of it."

Article VI, Section 3, of the constitution states that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." Why would Christians establishing a Christian nation put that in there?

Article 11 of the Treaty with Tripoli declared in part that "the government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion..." Again, why would these allegedly Christian founding fathers put that in there?

The idea that this country was founded on biblical principles is not consistent with a factual view of history (ask any historian). In fact, it is an outright lie invented by modern Christians. It is just as preposterous as the lies of modern Christians concerning the age of the Earth and the evolution of species.

Wesley said...
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