More Failed Logic From The Believers

I found this stuff at Fide Dubitandum

I don’t even feel like replying to the post. It seems pointless. Having said that, it is fair game for me to post about my reaction to it.

They start with a quote:

“The only way, really, to pursue a godlessness in good conscience is to forget history.”

- David Bentley Hart

It’s no surprise that Mr Hart is a theologian. Fide begins with:

In context, I found this a deeply penetrating statement about the condition of the current discussion between theists and materialists. What is that context? I highly recommend the full talk, but it can be summarized as follows:

It was, in many ways, understandable that Enlightenment thinkers would believe that a society liberated from all belief in transcendence would achieve new heights of prosperity and morality–that enough education, or the right social programs, would do what religion could not.

What he left out was the undeniable idea that religion has had its chance and created nothing but bloodshed, pain, and anger. There is no point in mentioning that because it kind of ruins his post. There is no reason to believe that a world bereft of religion would be a wonderful place with no problems but there is plenty of reason to think that a world without religion would be a better one than the world we have now.

Now that we are living in the wake of the bloodiest century in all of human history, it takes a deep lack of curiosity (or downright willful ignorance), to believe that a godless society is the unqualified good to be zealously persued.

This guy has clearly not acquainted himself with the work of Steven Pinker… he should.

He points out that Nietzsche’s fear of the “last men”–of those who have no deep truth to speak, no rational basis for morality, and therefore no meaning in their lives–now seems rather quaint. This idea has gone from a horrific and seemingly wild proclamation to a banal, almost tedious, observation the facts.

Yes, because without religion the world will crumble to one huge Mad Max film set. This kind of thinking gives zero credit to human nature and the idea that we are all basically good, willing to help, compassionate and often going well out of our way to help others. To such apologists as Fide these things are to be ignored or blamed on the remaining shards of religion in the world. This cynical denial of human nature is, at its root, disgusting in as much as it denies any goodness in any human except that they believe in a god.

The fact that so many, from the New Atheists to an all-too-large group of theists, have such a distorted, shallow view of what it is that Christianity actually claims is only the most recent evidence that ours is an age which has become so used to living without transcendence that far too many of us don’t even understand the word.

It is fair to say that IF non-believers have a distorted view of what Christianity claims it is because the claims are distorted and shallow. Many new atheists are reformed Christians who know all too well what Christianity claims and offers. To deny this is to simply ignore the facts and that is generally thought of as telling lies.

We can’t, of course, correct the problems sparked by the naivety of the Enlightenment thinkers simply by insisting that their view of reality was perfectly correct. And, whether they realize it or not, this is exactly what Dawkins and his fans are doing.

Right! Because nobody alive today has had a new idea or learned from past mistakes. Again, this intolerance of the idea that humans by nature are good and industrious as a group is disgusting. It denies all that is good in the world except that which is borne of religion. This is patently untrue and even this forked tongue apologist will admit that many atheists are good and that human nature is good but it doesn’t stop him from spouting just the opposite to make claim to righteousness and moral high  ground.

I, for one, think there are very good reasons to dismiss materialism as false. But, if it is true, it is a catastrophic truth–a bearer of meaninglessness and death. Those who speak as if it were, in some unspecified way, a glorious triumph have simply ignored the facts.

Here he speaks as if he ‘KNOWS’ that there is meaning to life and that there is more than death at the end of each human life. There is no evidence offered to support the claim and he further claims that the ‘facts’ do not support materialism. The trouble is that the facts do support materialist views. Non-materialist views have no credible evidence to support believing there is more to live than what materialism has to offer in that respect. This is presupposition pretending to be rationality. Pure bunk.

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  1. For lack of a better adjective, Debilis, is a pain..! It is pointless responding to his posts and pointless have a discussion with him. He has one redeeming feature, he is quite civil

    • I just did reply. I feel terrible. I know I shouldn’t…

      • lolol

    • I’m still amazed at folk who seem incapable of wondering why others do not believe as they do

  2. “This guy has clearly not acquainted himself with the work of Steven Pinker”

    That was my first thought as well. I’m currently making my way through Better Angels. As I recall (I don’t have the book with me now to confirm) WWII ranks as 9th and WWI and 16th on the list of worst things humans have done to each other since 1400 (I think that was the date). So, not even close!

    And I couldn’t agree more with your next point “… he should.” It’s an excellent book.

    • Even just the youtube video of Pinker talking about the book is freaking awesome

  3. I’m not interested in a debate here. As Mak says, we don’t see eye to eye on much, and I’ve not been given the impression that my questions are understood terribly well.

    But I did want to pop by and at least point out that, yes, I’ve read Pinker. And that I’ve responded to many of these objections on my own blog.

    Still, little that I say is of any value to one that assumes materialism from the start (which has typically been the case).

    That being so, I do wish everyone here well, and suppose we’ll simply have to agree to disagree.

  4. These are two things I will never understand.

    How these believers think one cannot possibly be good without god. So, without god, I don’t know that I shouldn’t steal from others, or kill people. Right.

    Without god, your life doesn’t have a meaning. If the meaning of life is to sacrifice it to god, than I’ll walk a different way. Life doesn’t have a meaning as is, why should there be one? It’s up to you to decide what to do of your life, how you want to spend it. Wasting a life to god is, to me, senseless. Unless, of course, if you believe there will be another life after this one, which I don’t.

    • Tom, Thanks for commenting.

      I’m right there with you on all those points. I like the analogy of sacrificing a life for god…

  5. I…. I do not understand the sheer willful ignorance of the premise/quote: “The only way, really, to pursue a godlessness in good conscience is to forget history.”

    I feel like there is so much more to this post that is not being said, or at least fully argued. Which is understandable… one can’t back all of their truth claims within the one article without writing a book, or following all of their posts. But there’s just too many of them in that one article to not illicit far too much questions, or at least illicit quite a few “orly?’s”.

    Most denial’s of a materialistic understanding, however, goes down the road of filling in the gaps. “What about this thing that we don’t know everything about…?” Which I usually answer with “…..yet.” and go on my merry way because I don’t feel like arguing with people that make the gap type arguments.

    • It is interesting, and scary, to note that you and I will do the same wilful acts regarding other things… it is how our brains work..

      • Late, I know –

        True. I know I have done it in the past, and my personality type leads me to do it over and over, still. I can only hope to fight for keeping the conversation open..

        • Keeping it open is good until one side shuts down… I’ve been working on keeping it open… the other side generally stops/blinks/cries uncle first

  6. The “Mad Max” scenario is a tried-and-true scare tactic that religion uses to discredit humanism/secularism. Without God, we have no basis for behaving morally and will revert to cannibalism and anarchy (or so the thinking goes).

    • Yet they won’t admit that if pressed to do so. Sad that those who claim the high road of morality do such things.

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