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Go to: Frank Schaeffer on Rachel Maddow

cowalker's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by cowalker

Layla Nasreddin, thanks for the link to Schaeffer's article at comment 5. That article is quite the dog's dinner of concepts.

At its best faith in God is about thanksgiving, shared suffering, loss, pain, generosity, and love. The best religious people and the best secular people learn to ignore our chosen (or inherited) religions’ nastier teachings (be those found in the Bible or in the “science” of eugenics and white racial superiority) in order to preserve the spirit of our faiths, be it a faith in secular humanism, science, God or in all of the above.

So the "best" religious people pick and choose the bits of their religion that support humanism. And the "best" secularists pick and choose scientific theories that support humanism. Why not just agree that societies should be based on humanist principles? We don't need religion or science to do that.

Science is the pursuit of knowledge about the material world. We need to be aware that science can go down wrong paths due to bias. But we can't reject what we learn just because it doesn't support what we want to believe about ourselves. What we can do is agree to apply the knowledge based on humanistic principles.

So what do we need religion for?

Fri, 18 Sep 2009 14:54:00 UTC | #398676

Go to: Frank Schaeffer on Rachel Maddow

cowalker's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by cowalker

I am puzzled by people insisting that they find the Bible so helpful on moral issues. If you read it with an open mind, you see that the main goal of the Christian life is to attain salvation. You don't love your neighbor as yourself because it is right, or because it is an effective way to survive as a community. You do it because God says you must do it to go to heaven. The practical effect of loving your neighbor as yourself doesn't matter. You are doing it for spiritual reasons.

Forgive your fellow seventy times seven. Turn the other cheek. If someone tries to take your tunic, give him your cloak also.

None of that helps you build a moral society. If your government lets you die without health care, it doesn't matter because you're going to heaven and the insurance executives aren't. All those rich folks who don't pay their share of taxes won't go to heaven while the poor and exploited will. So quit bellyaching about unfairness. It's all good because if you practice personal virtue you'll get to look down on those who didn't as they burn in hell for eternity.

And how can Christian Americans possibly believe that Jesus would have endorsed a war based on taxation without representation? He didn't give a hoot about liberty and freedom. It was all about the salvation. Slaves and masters could both go to heaven by obeying Jesus while staying in their proper places in society.

The Bible doesn't even help you deal with personal issues such as an abusive spouse, a mooching friend or a substance-abusing child. You'll get more helpful advice from Dear Abby.

What guidance does any religion bring that we can't get from compassionate and well-informed thinkers who live in the modern world?

Fri, 18 Sep 2009 14:20:00 UTC | #398657

Go to: St Therese of Lisieux: come out, atheists, and fight

cowalker's Avatar Jump to comment 27 by cowalker

Hahaha. Did you hear about how wacky the wife of the new Japanese prime minister is?

“While my body was sleeping, I think my spirit flew on a triangular-shaped UFO to Venus,” wrote Miyuki Hatoyama. “It was an extremely beautiful place and was very green.”

The space-bound spouse has also been a musical actress, cookbook writer, designer and TV personality — and says that she was friends long ago with Tom Cruise, whom she knew in a previous life when he was Japanese.

She would be regarded as nutty anywhere in the world . . . .,2933,546240,00.html

But there's nothing nutty about expecting to influence your God to heal you with supernatural powers based on your proximity to the remains of a person canonized by the Catholic Church.

And we must be very respectful of the book based on oral tradition purporting to be the word of God as heard in private by a middle-aged, seventh century Arab merchant. Because there's nothing nutty about expecting the reward of heavenly fruits, fountains and renewable virgins for killing people who don't believe in that book's teachings.

And don't go making fun of folks who think their God helps them shoot baskets or make touchdowns. It's religion! Show some respect!

Thu, 17 Sep 2009 19:02:00 UTC | #398313

Go to: Collision: Christopher Hitchens vs. Douglas Wilson

cowalker's Avatar Jump to comment 26 by cowalker

In comment 413397, Nalfeshnee says:

Wikipedia informs me that Wilson once said this:

"The Christian faith is good for the world because it provides the fixed standard which atheism cannot provide and because it provides forgiveness for sins, which atheism cannot provide either. We need the direction of the standard because we are confused sinners. We need the forgiveness because we are guilty sinners."

My response to Wilson would be:
In the Woody Allen movie "Annie Hall," Alvy tells the old joke about a man who goes to see a psychiatrist. He says, 'Doc, my brother’s crazy, he thinks he’s a chicken.' The doctor says, 'Well, why don’t you get him cured?' and the guy says, 'I would, but we need the eggs.'

Tue, 08 Sep 2009 18:55:00 UTC | #395384

Go to: Why I Think the New Atheists are a Disaster

cowalker's Avatar Jump to comment 124 by cowalker

Adrian Bartholomew and Zeroangel, I had no idea that was why the scene was done that way! I think it ended up being an iconic film moment.

But perhaps we can take suffering from a case of dysentery as analogous to a person sensing that there isn't much time before the final exit. ;)

I can imagine how impressed my Irish-American Catholic grandmother would have been if she had been told she shouldn't exhort her relatives to remain practicing Catholics unless she could rebut Ingersoll, Nietzsche, Engels, Russell, Schopenhauer and Buddha.

Fri, 14 Aug 2009 18:43:00 UTC | #388231

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