Friday, May 25, 2012

Atheist prefers reasonable believers to some fellow atheists

HT: Steve Hays.

His heresy trial starts tomorrow, Judge Richard Dawkins presiding.

105 comments:

Crude said...

You know, he sounds superficially reasonable here. But I'm cynical.

He talks about having a litmus test for the coalition of the reasonable. Here's one I'd propose for him, and for all I know he met it: let's see Baggini denounce a prominent atheist leader or group as unreasonable. Or are all these unreasonable atheists people no one has heard of?

It's pretty easy to find Christians criticizing other Christians, even prominent ones, who go to rhetorical excess or who are unreasonable.

unkleE said...

I really liked what he had to say. But I see a few issues.

1. "do they take any individuals or texts to be infallible sources of knowledge? If the answer is yes, they fail the test of sincerity. "

I'm happy with this provided he doesn't include God in there. God by definition must be infallible, but no human spokesperson is - will that satisfy his conditions?

2. Some people, believer and unbeliever alike, are just not intellectually and educationally equipped to be as impartial and reasonable, but will inevitably tend to simplistic and dogmatic beliefs, whether political or religious or anything else. They may not ever qualify for the coalition of the reasonable, but neither should they be disparaged.

3. Such people's opinions are generally led by mass media and in-group peers (not aristocracy but friends). The "reasonable" people on both sides have some responsibility to care for those with lesser education and natural abilities and to not inflame them with rhetoric. Unfortunately, I see the opposite happening all too often.

BenYachov said...

@Crude

The only thing you can do is take him at his word and open up a dialog with him and see where it leads.

If he goes all fricken Gnu on you then you know he was full of shit.

But not being perfect even a generally reasonable Atheist might use a Gnu argument or two.

It happens.

Crude said...

Ben,

The only thing you can do is take him at his word and open up a dialog with him and see where it leads.

Sure, I agree. I've run into agnostics and even atheists who were entirely capable of rational discussion. I'm just pointing out, sometimes it's bull. And UnkleE actually noted one thing I didn't comment on. Funny how the "sincerity" test only applies to religious people. Do you accept papal infallibility? Oops, you're not reasonable. Do you believe the Bible is the inspired word of God? Apparently, you don't make the cut. No matter what your reasons or rationales are for believing either of these things.

And sure, a reasonable person may use a bad argument. But Dawkins and other atheists have dived far into the unreasonable territory more than once. I'll wait to see if Baggini called or calls them out. Otherwise it comes off as Michael Ruse antics - Ruse being a guy who loves to talk about how he's an 'accommodationist', but if you actually read what he writes, he's largely a fake.

BenYachov said...

Still taken at face value what this guy says is reasonable.

Your average Atheist needs to learn denial of God does not equal automatic logical thinking and rationality.

Just as answering an Altar call or going to Mass and zoning out for 45 minutes twice a year doesn't equal spirituality or living the Christian life.

B.L.T. said...

So anyone who views the Bible as infallible is insincere in trying to understand? Sorry but that is silly. He assumes that the only common ground we can have is the common search for truth. While we all have this in common to an extent, it certainly isn't the only common ground we have. We also have the common ground of desiring to be moral people, and we believe that logic and reason is an effective tool to discover truth. But back to what I was saying about a common search for truth. We all seek truth, but we disagree in many ways on how to find it. Christians believe it is through reason and scripture, atheists believe it is through reason alone. Furthermore, believing the Bible is infallible doesn't show someone is insincere any more than believing we can know for certain that God doesn't exist is insincere. What matters is why one holds such beliefs.

rank sophist said...

It's funny how he still gets torn to shreds by the Gnus in the comments section. CIF is a scary place.

Crude said...

rank sophist,

It's funny how he still gets torn to shreds by the Gnus in the comments section.

Well, "reasonable believers are better than some atheists" -- hell, the very idea of a belief in God being reasonable -- is the anti-plank of the Cult of Gnu.

It's one experience, but: I once had a conversation with an atheist who described himself as a New Atheist, but said along the lines of 'I don't think Christians or religious people are irrational or stupid or horrible. I just don't like their certainty. If they admitted they could be wrong, even if I disagree with them, that's no problem.' I told him, then you are not a New Atheist. He insisted he was and he could call himself what he wanted and that he liked the New Atheists because it helped atheists come 'out' and there was a sense of community, etc.

I said, alright. Hit your community (I think Dawkins' comments section/forum was his preferred place) and tell them what you just told me. See if the community accepts you.

That was the end of one New Atheist.

Ilíon said...

"... Judge Richard Dawkins presiding.

Can one be both a Pope and a Judge?

BeingItself said...

Crude,

Your naïve essentialism is showing. What are the necessary and sufficient conditions for the proper application of the term 'new atheist'? Good luck with that.

Ilíon said...

Julian Baggini: "We should ask of those who claim to be part of the coalition of the reasonable: do they take any individuals or texts to be infallible sources of knowledge? If the answer is yes, they fail the test of sincerity."

Really?

In your book, this is fellow is a 'reasonable' 'atheist'? In my book, the only difference between him and Dawkins (or Russell) is the words he uses: but, as is almost always the case with 'atheists', what he means is "The only 'reasonable' believer is the one who doesn't actually believe"

Matt DeStefano said...

The irony is too rich: Baggini pleads the case of the reasonable believer, and most of the comments here are already pulling at the seams his sincerity condition and questioning whether or not he actually means what he says or if he's just another, terrible Gnu in disguise.

BenYachov said...

>most of the comments here are already pulling at the seams his sincerity condition and questioning whether or not he actually means what he says or if he's just another, terrible Gnu in disguise.

Most? How is Crude's cynical suspicious nature based on being burned in the past & or Ilíon's kneejerk tendency to classify all atheist as being unreasonable just because they are Atheists and example of most?

I only count two.

Besides reasonable or not his views on those who believe the Bible is inerrant (which includes every believer here I can count) are fair game.

Just because you try to be reasonable doesn't mean you get a pass on bad arguments.

rank sophist said...

Crude,

That's hilarious.

BI,

Define "Christian" and "atheist". What are the "necessary and sufficient" conditions for these labels?

Matt,

I find Baggini's columns dull but inoffensive. In any case, he's obviously no Gnu. He lacks the characteristic bile and war-like hysteria.

Crude said...

BI,

What are the necessary and sufficient conditions for the proper application of the term 'new atheist'?

*Jeff Foxworthy voice*

If you're a loud, obnoxious arsehole to everyone who believes in God... you might be a New Atheist!

If you can't shut up about science and reason despite demonstrably knowing little about either... you might be a New Atheist!

If the scientists you have the most have a failed track record when it comes to actually doing science... you might be a New Atheist!

If you think the X-men are a prime example of natural selection... you might be a New Atheist!

Crude said...

Matt,

The irony is too rich: Baggini pleads the case of the reasonable believer, and most of the comments here are already pulling at the seams his sincerity condition and questioning whether or not he actually means what he says or if he's just another, terrible Gnu in disguise.

I didn't say he was 'another, terrible Gnu in disguise'. I criticized his standards of 'reasonability', and I said I'd like to see him criticize the leaders of the Cult of Gnu. I even admitted he may have done so in the past for all I know.

I point again to Michael Ruse as a guy who talks up how he's so nice to Christians, but the terms of his 'niceness' are downright rotten.

Ilíon said...

"... or Ilíon's kneejerk tendency to classify all atheist as being unreasonable just because they are Atheists ..."

Son-of-Confusion is such a damnable fool.

Matt DeStefano said...

I only count two.

Only two people directly questioned his honesty/integrity (Crude & Ilion, and like you said I'm not terribly surprised), but two other people immediately took issue to the sincerity clause.

Of course, this turns out to be the most important part of the article. His whole thesis that people should be "open to the possibility of being wrong" is immediately discounted when someone pulls the "Bible is infallible" card, and he sees that.

What could an atheist possibly do in the face of an infallible source? If you're not willing to admit that the Bible can possibly err, we've got no common ground to stand on.

I find Baggini's columns dull but inoffensive. In any case, he's obviously no Gnu. He lacks the characteristic bile and war-like hysteria.


Here's a question for you: If Dawkins and his ilk are characterized as "Gnus" because of their "bile" and "war-like hysteria", what category does the fan-favorite Ed Feser fall under? From my vantage point, he's just as polemic and war-like as Dawkins, but he just happens to be standing on the same sideline as you. (See 'The Last Superstition, etc.)

Crude said...

If you're not willing to admit that the Bible can possibly err, we've got no common ground to stand on.

A person can affirm infallibility while admitting that they themselves could be wrong in their belief that something is infallible. The question is whether Baggini would accept that.

Yes, with Baggini proposing a litmus test for being reasonable, I questioned the effectiveness of his test, and I pointed at the bad track records of others. I entirely left the door open to his being sincere, and stated he may well have done this in the past. Read a bit more carefully.

, what category does the fan-favorite Ed Feser fall under? From my vantage point, he's just as polemic and war-like as Dawkins

Complete, utter horseshit. Feser doesn't run around saying that raising a child in an irreligious household is tantamount to child abuse, and is worse than sexual abuse. Feser very often praises various atheists as being thoughtful, having good objections, and being serious thinkers despite being atheists - Dawkins expressly avoids this. Dawkins is on record as saying one of his goals is to belittle and mock Christians and religious believers out of their beliefs - Feser nowhere makes this move.

I know people got upset because Feser said bad things about their idols in his book, but the fact remains that he's vastly more judicious, fair, and yeah, even humble compared to the Cult of Gnu leadership. Show me where Feser says that anyone who disagrees with him regarding his views is 'ignorant, stupid, insane or even wicked'.

Ephram said...

Matt,

Just because Feser does not respond kindly to a bigot like Dawkins, does not make him a bigot like Dawkins.

Moreover, Feser always supports his rhetoric with scrupulous philosophical argumentation, whereas Dawkins couldn't think his way to the end of a simple syllogism.

Matt DeStefano said...

Just because Feser does not respond kindly to a bigot like Dawkins, does not make him a bigot like Dawkins.

Loaded terms aside, each one is similarly polemic. Anyone who can't see this is either blinded by partisanship or hasn't read the requisite material.

It's telling that Feser gets a pass by many here for his "bile", but Dawkins is demonized and lambasted as a "bigot".

Crude said...

Loaded terms aside, each one is similarly polemic.

This is a complete load to anyone who reads both, for reasons I stated and more.

Dawkins has expressly called on his cultists to mock and ridicule Christians in public, and to use that as a means to change their minds. Feser's most damning complaint about Dawkins is that he doesn't know what he's talking about re: Aquinas and other arguments. And Dawkins essentially concedes that point, typically adding that he doesn't need to know anything about it to dismiss it.

You're deluded, Matt. Dawkins is a jackass, and Feser's behavior, at its worst, does not compare. Anyone who reads the kind words Feser has for multiple atheists (Quentin Smith, etc) would realize as much. You're just threatened. ;)

rank sophist said...

Anyone who can't see this is either blinded by partisanship or hasn't read the requisite material.

"Anyone who doesn't agree with me is either biased or ignorant." Sounds like something Dawkins would say.

I disagree with many of the jabs Feser put forward in The Last Superstition--I found them unnecessary and often less than funny. However, the book was not a polemic; it was an instructional text on philosophy that happened to be infused with polemics. It's a far cry from The God Delusion, whose purpose was to incite a mob. Plus, TLS received praise from no less a figure than Anthony Kenny, who also happens to be one of the foremost contemporary critics of Aquinas. He's also an agnostic.

Feser is remarkably even-handed when engaging with reasonable people on the other side. Just look at his recent argument with Robert Oerter, and at the praise he regularly bestows on atheist philosophers like Thomas Nagel, John Searle and Quentin Smith. He also criticizes the arguments of people on the Christian side of the debate, while being willing to admit when they're right. For example, he doesn't agree with William Lane Craig's theology, but he praises his defense of the resurrection.

Feser gets aggressive when he's confronted by arrogant blowhards like Dawkins, Myers and Chris Hallquist. Even then, he doesn't call these people evil--merely ignorant and conceited. And are you going to defend them on that front? Argue that Dawkins' "who created the creator" objection is valid, perhaps? Or that Myers' "Courtier's Reply" is an intelligent concept? Good luck.

By comparison, people like Dawkins and Harris get called ignorant and even cowardly by their more reasonable fellow atheists. The Gnu cult attacks any atheist who cedes an inch to the religious. I recommend this article on the subject: http://www.newstatesman.com/religion/2012/02/neo-atheism-atheists-dawkins

If you think that Feser is in any way comparable to Dawkins, you're going to have to pony up with an argument. Bald assertions will get you nowhere.

BenYachov said...

Matt

>but two other people immediately took issue to the sincerity clause.

Rather they did point out a flaw in his reasoning.

>Of course, this turns out to be the most important part of the article. His whole thesis that people should be "open to the possibility of being wrong"

I would accept this if Atheists would concede it applies to them as well.

>is immediately discounted when someone pulls the "Bible is infallible" card, and he sees that.

>What could an atheist possibly do in the face of an infallible source? If you're not willing to admit that the Bible can possibly err, we've got no common ground to stand on.

An Atheist could realize Protestantism, Evangelical Protestantism and Fundamentalism do not compose the whole of Christianity. All of these religious traditions unlike Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy and Orthodox Judaism believe Scripture is clear and perspicuous and doesn't need tradition or authority to interpret it.

Inerrancy works rather well when you realize the idea the Bible is clear was invented by a rogue German Priest in the 16th century. Problems only come about when you reject Holy Tradition and Church to interpret it.

But to be fair even some modern Evangelicals might say the Bible is only clear in matters directly related to salvation.

Atheists waste their time arguing the Bible with us Catholics. We can argue it with Jews and Protestants but that is our common ground. You are not involved.
What you need to do is answer our philosophical arguments for God and pretty much address us on that level. Everything else is a waste of time.

I have no doubt if you hold fanatically to a crass literalism it will be hard to maintain an inerant Bible. But the problem neatly solves itself once you ditch the crass literalism and the fun thing is ditching crass literalism isn't purely a modern phenomina. Many of the Ancients did it.

So it vain for You and Baggini to even bring the Bible up to us. Show us your philosophy then we can have common ground.

> what category does the fan-favorite Ed Feser fall under? From my vantage point, he's just as polemic and war-like as Dawkins,

He has been very civil to sincere atheists like Robert Oerter who have attempted to honestly critique his work. Oerter is a physicist who has stated openly he doesn't understand philosophy. But he has asked us to bear with his criticism even if they are philosophically flawed because he wants to understand the philosophical argument. That gets mad respect from me.

Feser has a link to David Stove an Atheist philosopher and praises his work. He has nothing but affection for the rational Atheist crowd. Smith, Nagel, Churchland, Searle etc....

>Loaded terms aside, each one is similarly polemic. Anyone who can't see this is either blinded by partisanship or hasn't read the requisite material.

Feser has never said raising children Atheist was worst than molesting them. His Thomistic Ethics would never let him say that. Dawkins OTOH has said that about raising kids Catholic.

There is a blind partisanship here Matt and it comes solely from you.

I would never defend Ray Comfort's book You Can Lead an Atheist to Evidence but You Can't Make Him Think, because philosophically it's a piece of crap.

But for some reason you are all butt hurt over the idea Dawkins is objectively the stupidest Atheist on the face of planet Earth. His sole skill set is arguing with YEC types. Outside of that he is rubbish!

BenYachov said...

>It's telling that Feser gets a pass by many here for his "bile", but Dawkins is demonized and lambasted as a "bigot".

Matt is making a moral equivalence between being merely aggressive with being extremist and unjust.

From the Catholic League.

Quote"On Saturday, March 25, atheists staged a “Reason Rally” in Washington, D.C.

Although atheists claim that people of faith brainwash kids, it is they who are the masters. “Hey Kids,” one of the signs read, “It’s Okay—GOD is PRETEND.” Being vulgar comes natural to them: “Religion is Like a Penis,” another sign read, “It’s OK to have one…But it is NOT OK to whip it out in public, shove it in my face, or tell me what to do because you have one….” Then there was the gal who held a sign demanding that adherents of the three monotheistic religions “Get Out of My Panties.”

They got specific with signs such as “So many Christians, so few lions.” There was a man dressed as Jesus riding an inflatable dinosaur; another man held a large wooden cross with a mask of “The Joker” on top. They really got specific when Australian songwriter Tim Minchin thrilled the crowd with “The Pope Song.” Here are some of the lyrics: “I don’t give a f*** if calling the pope a motherf***er means…You see I don’t give a f*** what any other motherf***er believes about Jesus and his motherf***ing mother.”

The big draw was Englishman Richard Dawkins. He implored the crowd to “ridicule and show contempt” for people of faith. “Mock them, ridicule them in public,” he bellowed. Especially Catholics. Dawkins not only mocked the Eucharist, he advised the crowd to ask Catholics, “Do you really believe…that when a priest blesses a wafer, it turns into the body of Christ?”END QUOTE

BenYachov said...

Let face it there is no moral equivalence between Feser vs Dawkins.

Crude said...

If you really wanted an equivalent to Dawkins, Myers, etc, you wouldn't pick Feser. You'd pick Westboro Baptist or Jimmy Swaggart.

cl said...

Matt DeStefano is somewhat up-in-arms about reactions to this post. Hardly a surprise. In fact, Matt sprang immediately to mind when I read the following from Baggini:

"I don't think anyone who genuinely embraced sincerity, charity and modesty could be intolerant or divisive. On the other hand, those who do not display these virtues are just the kind of people who would advocate separate schools for people of different faiths, demonise those with different views and see compromise as an inexcusable sell-out of principle."

This is exactly what Matt has done to me. In pure Loftus-esque style, he accuses me of being "anti-science" when in reality I am not. Granted, I don't swallow any given scientific narrative the same way Matt does, and I'm much more skeptical of most science than he is, but does that mean I'm anti-science? Hardly. I just understand that data often overthrows "unassailable" theories, and that science is not about certainty, especially WRT metaphysical implications. In all seriousness, I'm saddened—but not surprised—to see Matt becoming more and more Gnu-like as his sense of certainty accumulates. I see the pattern again and again with deconverts. In fact, I've never seen a deconvert break that pattern.

I think deconverted fundamentalists and evangelicals tend to make the most dangerous atheists. Often, the mental weaknesses that led them to dogmatic ways of thinking in the first place persist. These traits then carry over into their newly-embraced “skepticism,” the weaknesses again take the helm, yet, this time, they are actually far worse off because a thin veneer of rationalism masks their dogmatic and irrational tendencies and puffs many up with a false sense of confidence. Consequently, many mistakenly believe that their change of psychological allegiance solved the problem. They’re often less likely to see it, because they still have that “in the tribe” mentality, only now, they fancy themselves in the *RIGHT* tribe. I cannot overemphasize the threat this phenomenon poses to critical thinking and pursuit of truth. Trading one’s cross for a scarlet A accomplishes nothing unless the old habits are shed.

At any rate, enough about that. Kudos to Baggini for standing out from the atheist fundies.

cl said...

rank sophist, Crude, Yachov... you are all doing an excellent job of demonstrating what you claim. No, Feser is nothing like Dawkins, at all. Dawkins' philosophy is so bad even fellow atheists disown the guy. Feser doesn't write sophomoric arguments aimed at college freshman taking bong rips in their parents' garage. Feser doesn't publicly declare that secular education is "child abuse." Feser displays tack and willingness to disagree with prominent Christians. Etc. Now, does Feser get a little polemic at times? Certainly, but by no means does that warrant equating him with Dawkins.

Matt, you should really listen to these guys. They're making great points and so far you haven't really engaged any of them. What gives? You write,

"It's telling that Feser gets a pass by many here for his "bile", but Dawkins is demonized and lambasted as a "bigot"."

Uh, can you point me to the post where Feser says, "Anyone who doesn't accept my Thomism is wicked, stupid or evil?"

C'mon man, you're making a fool of yourself. I *KNOW* you know better than to try equating Feser and Dawkins. Nonetheless, the burden of proof falls to the positive claimant, and that's you. Notice how I included at least a semblance of an argument to support my belief that Dawkins and Feser are not cut from the same cloth?

You need to do the same. No more dancin'.

Matt DeStefano said...

I disagree with many of the jabs Feser put forward in The Last Superstition--I found them unnecessary and often less than funny. However, the book was not a polemic; it was an instructional text on philosophy that happened to be infused with polemics. It's a far cry from The God Delusion, whose purpose was to incite a mob. Plus, TLS received praise from no less a figure than Anthony Kenny, who also happens to be one of the foremost contemporary critics of Aquinas. He's also an agnostic.


Aquinas is Feser's "instructional text", while TLS is clearly a polemic against the New Atheists. The barbs are not only unnecessary, but they're angry and vitriolic. Here's the words of some Amazon reviewers:

"Feser has written a lively and well informed polemic against the latest crop of Village Atheists - Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, & Co..."

"“New Atheists Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris get their comeuppance from philosopher Feser in the spirit with which they abuse believers. "

"Edward Feser's The Last Superstition is a polemical work. However, this should not be surprising for two reasons. First, Feser is dealing with amounts to not mere nonsense, but nonsense on stilts. Second, Feser once wrote an essay entitled, Can Philosophy be Polemical?, pondering whether it is appropriate to engage in polemical debate over philosophical questions. In this book, Feser answers that question in the affirmative. He freely admits in the preface, "If this seems to be an angry book, that is because it is." (TLS, x)"

I had totally forgotten about the bit in the Preface, but there he goes admitting it for me. Personally, I don't hold Feser's polemics against him (after all, it seems most serious philosophers don't bother responding to him - Churchland, Rosenberg, etc.), but I find the double standard to be quite frustrating.

"If you think that Feser is in any way comparable to Dawkins, you're going to have to pony up with an argument. Bald assertions will get you nowhere."

I think they're both polemic, not necessarily in degree or content.

"I would accept this if Atheists would concede it applies to them as well."

Most atheists have openly admitted to being wrong, even the Gnus like Dawkins have said that it's possible God exists. OTOH, on this very blog we have theists admitting that a time machine which shows the Resurrection to be a fraud to be unconvincing and wouldn't bother their faith.

"Matt is making a moral equivalence between being merely aggressive with being extremist and unjust."

Let's not put words in my mouth. Remember Baggini's principle of charity? I said that they both were polemic (I should have noted that they differ in degrees, although I thought that would be obvious as one is an internationally known public figure that receives hatemail by the barrel-full and one is a city college professor), and wondered if the same standard applied each way.

cl said...

Ben Yachov,

Completely invaluable, your comment at May 26, 2012 8:24 PM. That shows, so clearly, the undeniable differences between Feser and Dawkins, as well as the irrationality of mainstream atheists in general.

All hail the new gestapo of science and reason! Agree with them, consent to their demands, or perish!

Man, here we are 2,000 years past Roman times and the crowd still wants to see people crucified.

We need another flood.

cl said...

Matt,

"Most atheists have openly admitted to being wrong, even the Gnus like Dawkins have said that it's possible God exists."

Is saying "it's possible God exists" the same as admitting one is wrong?

"I think they're both polemic, not necessarily in degree or content."

Now you're backpedaling. Earlier you claimed Feser was "just as polemic and war-like as Dawkins." Now you say "they're both polemic." Even that seems a bit of a broad stroke for any self-touted critical thinker. Jesse Jackson and Obama are both black. Need I say more?

At most, you could say both have written polemically on the subject of (a)theism, Dawkins much more so and with farther reaching negative ramifications. The problem is, that doesn't support your implied argument. You're here accusing the brethren of holding a double-standard—of tolerating Feser's "bile" while condemning Dawkins'—but in order for that claim to hold, you need to demonstrate what you've already conceded to be false: that Feser was "just as polemic and war-like as Dawkins." Then, and only then, would you be justified in even insinuating that Vic's commenters were guilty of a double-standard. However, as you now admit, the two are *NOT* equally polemic and war-like. Therefore, no double-standard is being applied.

Right?

cl said...

Matt,

Sorry, I missed this bit of nonsensical horseradish:

"Personally, I don't hold Feser's polemics against him (after all, it seems most serious philosophers don't bother responding to him - Churchland, Rosenberg, etc.), but I find the double standard to be quite frustrating."

Arghh... that is *SO* annoying, and by "that" I refer to intellectual snobbery masked by this statement. That you would even make that claim shows that you consider yourself a reliable arbiter of "serious philosophy" and that's just a joke. Even if I agreed with your arbitrary pontifications in this regard, 2 philosophers hardly merits the quantification of "most."

Ephram said...

cl,

Actually, Rosenberg has directly corresponded with Feser on at least two occasions. Once via e-mail (as Feser notifies his readers here: http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2012/04/reading-rosenberg-part-ix.html), and another time in a discussion thread at WWWW (http://www.whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2009/12/rosenberg_on_naturalism.html), in which he engages Feser and a couple of other commentators. In addition, Feser's books have garnered praise from serious analytical philosophers like Sir Anthony Kenny, David Oderberg, John Haldane, and Charles Taliaferro. Matt simply doesn't know what he's talking about.

rank sophist said...

Aquinas is Feser's "instructional text", while TLS is clearly a polemic against the New Atheists.

And here's what Kenny said:

In this good cause he does not hesitate to use the same weapons as his atheist adversaries: tendentious paraphrase, imputation of bad faith, outright insult. Fortunately, the book contains far more argument than invective, and in order to keep the reader’s attention Feser has no need to descend to vulgar abuse, because he has the rare and enviable gift of making philosophical argument compulsively readable.

What else needs to be said? Which reviewer is more qualified than Kenny to judge this book?

I had totally forgotten about the bit in the Preface, but there he goes admitting it for me. Personally, I don't hold Feser's polemics against him (after all, it seems most serious philosophers don't bother responding to him - Churchland, Rosenberg, etc.), but I find the double standard to be quite frustrating.

Did I ever say that it didn't contain polemics? No. I said that it was an instructional text about philosophy with polemics on top. I highly doubt that you would find a serious reviewer who disagreed with that statement, even if they found the book overall to be poor. (Also, Rosenberg did respond to him, but it was via email.)

Now, compare this to The God Delusion. The arguments Dawkins presents are by turns hand-waving, question-begging and incredulous, among other fallacies. He is not at all interested in giving any theist a fair turn--unlike Feser, who in fact quotes numerous atheist philosophers in TLS. Dawkins is pursuing an agenda while trying to whip his cult into a frenzy, forsaking careful reason in favor of violence.

Compare the argument Feser put forward at the Science and Faith Conference (http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2012/01/video-of-science-and-faith-conference.html) to what Dawkins said at the Reason Rally, which Ben quoted above. Let me describe one of the highlights. Dawkins expresses shock that people believe in transubstantiation, and he tells his followers how to respond: "Mock them. Ridicule them." This is not a response to a flaw in philosophical reasoning, nor to some kind of zealotry. Dawkins is asking his worshippers to attack a harmless tradition merely for the sake of mean-ness. This is Myers-level excess. If you think that Feser is at all comparable, then you've been brainwashed.

cl said...

Ephram,

"Feser's books have garnered praise from serious analytical philosophers like Sir Anthony Kenny, David Oderberg, John Haldane, and Charles Taliaferro. Matt simply doesn't know what he's talking about."

I agree, but how do we get Matt to concede such an obvious and elementary error? That's what I'm most interested in. It seems that the more evidence is presented, the more he digs his toes... exactly like fundie creationists do when confronted with scientific evidence pertinent to evolution. How do we break this pattern and bring him back to reality? It's about critical thought, not conversion.

rank sophist,

"Compare the argument Feser put forward at the Science and Faith Conference (http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2012/01/video-of-science-and-faith-conference.html) to what Dawkins said at the Reason Rally, which Ben quoted above. Let me describe one of the highlights. Dawkins expresses shock that people believe in transubstantiation, and he tells his followers how to respond: "Mock them. Ridicule them." This is not a response to a flaw in philosophical reasoning, nor to some kind of zealotry. Dawkins is asking his worshippers to attack a harmless tradition merely for the sake of mean-ness. This is Myers-level excess. If you think that Feser is at all comparable, then you've been brainwashed."

QED.

Same question: how do we get Matt to concede such an obvious truth? Do we simply accept that we can't? That he'll have to come to this conclusion on his own? That even if he does, pride might prevent the merited concession?

It's so frustrating at times.

cl said...

Another thing DeStefano seems to be missing: Feser's polemic is in direct response to Dawkins'. Dawkins just came out the gate as a polemical hatemonger. Feser simply replied in kind, albeit tactfully (notice Feser isn't out there demonizing those who disagree with him as "stupid, wicked or insane").

Just another example of the disanalogous nature of Matt's purported equality.

Matt DeStefano said...

Arghh... that is *SO* annoying, and by "that" I refer to intellectual snobbery masked by this statement. That you would even make that claim shows that you consider yourself a reliable arbiter of "serious philosophy" and that's just a joke. Even if I agreed with your arbitrary pontifications in this regard, 2 philosophers hardly merits the quantification of "most."


You're right, that was an unfair comment. I'll retract the idea that lack of response merits any sort of proclamation of one's credibility as a thinker. Moreover, while I don't think Feser deserves quite the credit he gets here - I think he's a sharp thinker and an even better writer.

Did I ever say that it didn't contain polemics? No. I said that it was an instructional text about philosophy with polemics on top. I highly doubt that you would find a serious reviewer who disagreed with that statement, even if they found the book overall to be poor. (Also, Rosenberg did respond to him, but it was via email.)

You said it was an instructional book first and a polemic second. I disagree (I'm going to read his "Aquinas" soon, and I think that will likely fall under the "instructional" label and can contrast nicely), but I'd do best just to concede this point. I'm not trying to defend Dawkins's acumen as a philosopher - I wanted to see if anyone here could call out their own for polemics as well (and you did, which I can appreciate).

C'mon man, you're making a fool of yourself. I *KNOW* you know better than to try equating Feser and Dawkins. Nonetheless, the burden of proof falls to the positive claimant, and that's you. Notice how I included at least a semblance of an argument to support my belief that Dawkins and Feser are not cut from the same cloth?

CL, I know you're itching for a response to the above and it'll come. But to give you something to chew on, I was wrong in mistakenly comparing the two as being similarly vitriolic. It wasn't my intention (my Gnuish tendencies were flaring ;)), but now I can see that's what I wrote.

What I was searching for was whether or not vitriol and polemic are naughty for both sides, or if it's warranted to slap back once you've been slapped.

Ephram said...

rank sophist:"...a harmless tradition"

Oh, but doncha know 'bout all them Crusades and Spanish Crown Inquisitions, the travesties of Galileo and The Scopes Trial, slavery and misogyny, and the horrible, rampant opposition to evolution, feminism, abortion, contraception, and gay marriage? The world overflows with homophobia thanks to Christianity!


cl:how do we get Matt to concede such an obvious and elementary error?

Looks like you guys did. It was a black and white issue, anyway.

BenYachov said...

@Matt

You wroter
>Let's not put words in my mouth. Remember Baggini's principle of charity? I said that they both were polemic (I should have noted that they differ in degrees,

Matt these are your words not mine It's telling that Feser gets a pass by many here for his "bile", but Dawkins is demonized and lambasted as a "bigot".

Thus it is reasonable to conclude you are drawing a moral equivolence between them.

But with that last sentence of yours in brackets I am satified.


>CL, I know you're itching for a response to the above and it'll come. But to give you something to chew on, I was wrong in mistakenly comparing the two as being similarly vitriolic. It wasn't my intention (my Gnuish tendencies were flaring ;)), but now I can see that's what I wrote.

I know that wasn't addressed to me but good on you.

Maybe one day in the future we can revisit the Genesis issue and we can try again.

Peace to you Matt.

BenYachov said...

BTW I should add one caveat.

Feser differs in kind not just degree from Dawkins.

Feser will take seriously a serious philosophical criticism/polemic of either Thomism or Classic Theism.

Dawkins OTOH does not treat the case for Theism seriously since he can't rise above his anti-YEC fundamentalist polemics & is irrationally forced to equivocate between all forms of Theism with anti-YEC polemics.

cl said...

Ben Yachov,

To Matt, you wrote,

"Maybe one day in the future we can revisit the Genesis issue and we can try again."

Can you point me to the discussion(s) you allude to? I'm curious...

BenYachov said...

>Can you point me to the discussion(s) you allude to? I'm curious...

It got a bit ugly but it was the Evil and the Atheism of the Gaps tread.

BenYachov said...

I notice cl you showed up late there talking to Walter about the problem of Evil.

Papalinton said...

Victor, your comment is the form of misconstrual endemic among christian believers. Baginni didn't say anything about "prefer[ring] reasonable believers to some fellow atheists". His exact words, to quote, "That's why I've often had more fruitful dialogues with some Catholics and evangelicals than I have with some fellow atheists". And I am in full agreement. Indeed, despite out sometimes heated differences, I have a far greater affinity with the likes of Bob Prokop than many atheists.

Your mischaracterization of Baginni's words foments the somewhat spiteful reactions on this site that the sentiment of his article is speaking out against. Central to his theme are the notions of "sincerity, charity and modesty". And christians do not have a monopoly on the qualities of sincerity, charity and modesty. Even today, christian revile atheists, for no good reason, indeed for no reason other than the bible encourages christians to rout them out. Yet, survey after survey, study after study, clearly demonstrate that atheists are more moral and ethical than christians.

"A growing body of social science research reveals that atheists, and non-religious people in general, are far from the unsavory beings many assume them to be. On basic questions of morality and human decency— issues such as governmental use of torture, the death penalty, punitive hitting of children, racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, environmental degradation or human rights — the irreligious tend to be more ethical than their religious peers, particularly compared with those who describe themselves as very religious."
http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/laurilebo/4576/are_atheists_more_moral_than_the_religious

Another recent article on research: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=in-atheists-we-distrust
I would suggest that many, if not most, atheists seem angry and militant, simply as a result of the enormous propagandising that occurs by believers in the media and the public, not because there is any evidence to rightly withhold that trust about atheists, but because at the very core, believers are concerned that atheism is shaping as a defeater defeater of religious belief, in all its forms, on almost any criterion one wishes to apply.

And I have no qualm in people believing what they wish, and they constrain that belief to living their own lives recognising that others in the community choose to live their lives on and for very different but nonetheless valid and reasonable grounds.

I would suggest this is what Baggini is getting at.

cl said...

Nice cherrypicking Paps.

Religious Attendance Relates to Generosity Worldwide

Worldwide, Highly Religious More Likely to Help Others

Etc. That you don't tell the whole story suggests that you, too, may have fallen victim to a strangulating endemic of agendist atheists more interested in gaining converts than assessing the entirety of any given situation.

So come down off your high horse and treat Mr. Reppert with a little more respect eh?

Papalinton said...
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Papalinton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Papalinton said...

Hi cl
From the Gallup Poll articles, it would seem that religious people are indeed more helpful than less-religious people. The only criticism I have , or perhaps more a question, is the methodology used to gather the information. By simply asking a number of questions either by telephone or face-to-face, the responses do not seem to have been tested or investigated by follow-up questions as to their veridicality or otherwise. And just as in the nature of political surveys, for which Gallup surveys are more renowned, the resultant responses to the questions could quite well have been influenced by the mood or how the respondents felt on the day. There are other surveys that have noted, when parishioners are asked, particularly questions about church attendance and other religious activities that they might necessarily engage in over the course of a period of time, the results show a demonstrable overinflation in the claims made of their frequency, which do not reconcile with logged statistics of attendance etc. Incidentally the authors make mention of 'secular' respondents but in an unconnected way, and they not define them as a particular group within the survey.

Interestingly, the Gallup Poll makes it clear, as they note at one point in one of the articles, "Though the overall numbers are lower here in all regions except Africa, highly religious respondents are again more likely to say "yes" than those who are less religious." [My bold and italics]. Simply by saying 'yes' does not mean that the more religious are indeed more generous. One needs to delve deeper.

Given the balance of other surveys and research, I probably would suggest that the respondents are more likely to be emotionally obliged to affirm rather more than less. It would be personally embarrassing to acknowledge anything other than being overly generous, to such direct questioning, given the nature of both explicit and implicit demands in the religious community for members to claim generosity, regardless of the truth or otherwise of the reply. I suspect one's conscience would mitigate against telling an outsider what would be a true account.

I am somewhat a little skeptical in accepting the results of the Gallup Poll be at face value without further work.
By contrast, cl, in reading through the two sites I offered, the researchers sought to confirm the responses by running further cross-testing of the respondents.

In the part titled: 'The Bottom Line', the telling admission and perhaps the the level that one would posit this survey is, "But it does make intuitive sense that religious people around the globe are likely to engage in helping behaviors." Why would the authors of this survey see a need to make the point that the outcome of the survey pretty much informs only at the intuitive level?

BenYachov said...

Paps,

According to one of your own links suicide rates are higher among unbelievers then believers?

I guess that means Atheists are just not as happy as believers?;-)*


*Of course I don't believe this but sometimes I like to switch off my intelligence and think like Paps for a while.

Ilíon said...

*ahem* That swith appears to have been mislabeled, or to have been installed upside down.

BenYachov said...

Wow that was quick Ilion! Have you always been this quick or is this something new?*

*A gold star to whomever can guess what movie I lifted that line from.

Jason Pratt said...

Incidentally, this isn't the most recent thing Julian has written on the topic.

A few weeks later on March 25 he tried a "Heathen Manifesto" here.

I heard about it last week, and wrote a (personal) commentary on it at the Cadre here.

I thought he ramped back a bit from some of his other previous entries in the series (Victor's hat-tip from Steve being one; another one being Julian's Four Articles of A 21st Century Faith which I was rather more annoyed about.)

I think it's kind of silly to call himself a "heathen" (since real heathens exemplified the things he routinely stands against); and I think his political theory is at least naive (or rather outright self-contradictory in practice); and obviously I disagree strongly about supernaturalistic theism being false (but naturally a naturalistic atheist manifesto would have to have a point of dogma, for want of a better word, about it being false).

But I'm willing to appreciate the principles of most of his, um, doctrinal suggestions (or in some ways all of them although I disagree with his application or results sometimes. Such as his rejection of "dogma": I understand and agree with his rejection of the popularly negative connotation of that term--beliefs which should simply not ever be challenged under any circumstances--but he's promoting beliefs which serve as group identifiers all over the place himself, and that's positively what dogma is about.)

Anyway, I think he's taking steps in the right direction.

JRP

Ilíon said...

Doesn't it seem a bit odd that I don't have to get my quips from movies?

Really, Ben, it's not such a big deal if your switch is installed upside-down; it's relatively simple to fix: just pop out a couple of screws, flip the switch right-side up, and snug the screws back into place. And, there is the added benefit that once those screws are snugly back into place, no one can accuse you of having a loose screw!

BenYachov said...

You are not even going guess what movie I took that line from?

You are no fun anymore.

cl said...

Paps,

"I am somewhat a little skeptical in accepting the results of the Gallup Poll be at face value without further work."

You should be, in the same way you should refrain from cherrypicking evidence at face value without further work. This is about critical thought, not converting others... right?

B. Prokop said...

"Even today, Christians revile atheists, for no good reason, indeed for no reason other than the Bible encourages Christians to rout them out."

Papalinton, I can't think of anyplace in the Bible where Christians encouraged to rout out atheists. Perhaps someone else can enlighten me on this...

But nevertheless, I personally don't generally revile atheists as such. My own brother is one, and I love him to death. He's as good (and as bad) a person as I am. But what I do revile is atheism. No apologies there. I've posted on this many times, so there's no need to repeat myself here, but I honestly do believe that the inevitable result of atheism on a societal level is Pyongyang and Auschwitz. the verdict is already in on that issue, and I believe that is something very much worth fighting against.

Ilíon said...

I never claimed to be fun. And I never was plugged into pop culture.

B. Prokop said...

Bad typo day! The one time I don't check my work, and this is what I get. What I meant to write was:

Papalinton, I can't think of any place in the Bible where Christians are encouraged to rout out atheists. Perhaps someone else can enlighten me on this...

Crude said...

Does anyone else ever get a kick out of atheists - particularly jackass atheists who constantly bitch about, belittle, mock, and generally act like assholes towards Christians online - spinning around and whimpering like utter pansies 'Christians dislike atheists for no good reason!'?

People dislike atheists because of how atheists behaved when they attained substantial power (see the typical Soviet examples) and their behavior and attitudes towards Christians in general (holy hell, the entire New Atheist schtick largely boils down to "Act like as big a jackass as possible towards Christians whenever you can").

If you act like a crappy Bill Maher or PZ Myers wannabe and find yourself teary-eyed in confusion because Christians have a low opinion of you, the problem isn't the Bible. It's in your socially autistic behavior. More likely, those tears are of the crocodile variety.

cl said...

Crude,

"Does anyone else ever get a kick out of atheists - particularly jackass atheists who constantly bitch about, belittle, mock, and generally act like assholes towards Christians online - spinning around and whimpering like utter pansies 'Christians dislike atheists for no good reason!'?"

I know right? How many atheists were martyred this year?

Speaking for U.S. atheists, I think this phenomenon might stem at least in part from the general overlap of liberalism and atheism. Let's face it, the whiny, "I'm gonna call the ACLU because I don't like your cross" type is a real archetype, one that tends to be godless and hypersensitive. Even more ironic, these are often the same people who ostensibly support the confrontational-rhetorical approach when used by Dawkins, Hitchens, et al., yet insult their atheism or even fail to give it any respect and all of a sudden they're oppressed. All the while, Christians are actually getting killed on the regular around various parts of the world—while atheists are sitting back complaining about oppression and bigotry on their computers.

Puh-leaze!

Ilíon said...

"Papalinton, I can't think of any place in the Bible where Christians are encouraged to rout out atheists. Perhaps someone else can enlighten me on this..."

It's right next to the place where they are commanded to commit "charity" (minus handling fees) with the wealth they have forcefully expropriated from others.

"... but I honestly do believe that the inevitable result of atheism on a societal level is Pyongyang and Auschwitz."

Or, in less metaphysical terms, "... the inevitable result of [leftism] on a societal level is Pyongyang and Auschwitz."

B. Prokop said...

This from the person who has yet to repudiate Hell's own governing constitution.

Ilíon said...

Says the leftist who gets pissed when his corruption of Christ's message is frankly shown for the lie it is.

But then, leftists lie, and about anything -- for instance, leftists call theft "charity" when they do it, and leftists call any resistance to that theft "greed" ... and then parade around as though someone else's alleged greed is any of their damned business.

B. Prokop said...

Thanks for proving my point.

Papalinton said...

Bob
Perhaps my word 'rout' was a touch of hyperbole. But I have no doubt that the bias against atheists within the Christian community stems from the Bible itself.

Some of the verses that come to mind: The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good. Psalm 14:1; 53:1
and: The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, [19] since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them….They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, [30] slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; [31] they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Romans 1:18-31

From my reading, I think reasonable believers know and understand that many ideas and teachings in the Bible are downright hateful, and, as a result must gloss over the less enlightened parts and attribute them as some kind of man-made change to what would otherwise be the Word of God. It just seems odd to me that what is acceptable in the Bible in one generation is only found unacceptable in another by the rise of secular social awareness–not any specific revelation from God.

So, in today's community why are atheists reviled, or indeed atheism reviled? What constitutes as something “evil” from a Christian standpoint? If, as you seem to infer about your relationship with your brother, that not believing (or rejecting) the idea of God and Jesus is not “evil” per se, is it then evil to spread the idea that the Bible is wrong and God is imaginary? ["I personally don't generally revile atheists as such. ......But what I do revile is atheism. No apologies there."] The question then, if your godless brother is a good and decent man then it seems rather obvious that atheism is not a factor about whether a person is evil, untrustworthy, wicked, full of envy, murder, strife and understanding no fidelity, no love, no mercy, as the bible says it, does it not?

I think your examples of Pyongyang and Auschwitz are just plain wrong. Germany was 95% christian, and yet despite this overwhelming majority of law-abiding christians, Auschwitz occurred, and in Poland no less, a country replete with catholics. The massive scale of the concentration camps of Auschwitz, Treblinka, Belsen etc etc could not have been carried out without the compliance of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of christians in all fields of the german military. "Hitler made me do it", simply does not ring true. In respect of Pyongyang, the cult of personality has more to do with modeling religious organisation than is does with atheism. Indeed, Kim Jong-un is a revered God, the saviour of his people. His word is infallible.

B. Prokop said...

Papalinton, you have it backwards. The verse you cited makes no claim that the atheist is a fool. What it does say is that the fool is attracted toward atheism. A completely different point.

Ephram said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Papalinton said...

Bob
"Papalinton, you have it backwards. The verse you cited makes no claim that the atheist is a fool. What it does say is that the fool is attracted toward atheism. A completely different point."

What's the difference? Was I a fool before I came to the rational realization there probably is no god? Or, was I a fool after I came to the rational realization there probably is no god?

Either way, by the standard of the bible, I am a person who is corrupt, do abominable deeds, and who does no good. Psalm 14:1; 53:1
and: as a godless and wicked person, I suppress the truth by my wickedness, [19] since what may be known about God should have been plain to me, because God has made it plain to me….I have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. I am full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. I am a gossip, [30] a slanderer, a God-hater, and insolent, arrogant and boastful; and i do no less than invent ways of doing evil; apparently I also disobeyed my parents; [31] and finally, I have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.

It says so in the bible, no less. All because I do not believe in the abrahamic god.

As a sample: This dissertation brings some light to the prevailing circumstance in modern US: "In subsequent studies, distrust of atheists generalized even to
participants from more liberal, secular populations. A description of a criminally untrustworthy individual was seen as comparably representative of atheists and rapists, but not representative of Christians, Muslims, Jewish people, feminists, or homosexuals (Studies 2-4)."
http://www2.psych.ubc.ca/~ara/Manuscripts/Gervais%20et%20al-%20Atheist%20Distrust.pdf

B. Prokop said...

Papalinton, I do not believe you have ever even once seriously and carefully read the Psalm you are quoting so inappropriately. It's not talking about atheists at all, but about evildoers. "Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers
who eat up my people as they eat bread?" The phrase "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'" means simply that the evildoer imagines he will get away with it - that there is no consequence to his oppression and lack of concern for the poor. You could just as easily translate this line "The evildoer is foolish in imagining there is no accountability."

This line (and the others that surround it) could just as easily apply to a believer, yea even someone who regards himself as a Christian, who does not put concern for the widow and the orphan, the poor and the oppressed, the "stranger among us", the unemployed, the person drowning in debt, the persecuted, as his first priority.

They are the fools, not atheists (at least in this case).

Papalinton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Papalinton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Papalinton said...

Bob
"Psalm 14:1-3
King James Version (KJV)
14 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

2 The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.

3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

King James Version (KJV)
by Public Domain

Psalm 53:1-3
King James Version (KJV)
53 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.

2 God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God.

3 Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

My italics and bold. Bob, it is there in black and white, "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God." Any interpretation is moot. And your particular interpretation has no more currency than any other christian who places a very different and diametric interpretation. Interpretation is largely, if not solely, predicated on personal confirmation bias. Unfortunately, that is why religion is not substitutive and eliminative, where old and wrong ideas get thrown out. Religion is additive and/or schismatic by its very nature. Old ideas swirl indiscriminately with new ideas; none are replaced. And if interpretations disagree, the alternative strategy most practiced by religions as history attests, is the schismatic approach. This is the prime reason there are some 20-plus thousand derivations of christianity, each with largely irreconcilable, but begrudgingly tolerated, interpretations of the exact same book.

B. Prokop said...

"And your particular interpretation has no more currency than any other Christian who places a very different and diametric interpretation. Interpretation is largely, if not solely, predicated on personal confirmation bias."

Papalinton, for a Catholic, this is simply not true. The One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church takes Saint Peter seriously when he writes:

"First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation." (2 Peter 2:20)

It's why we have the Magisterium.

But even without the above, even a Protestant should be able to see that your misinterpretation of the Psalms is just that - a misinterpretation. (Such things do exist.)

By the way, I applaud you for using the Authorized Version. I am in the middle of reading that translation straight through from beginning to end, something I have never gotten around to before. Although I prefer the RSV/CE for daily use, there's no beating the power of the English language in the KJV.

Papalinton said...

Bob
""And your particular interpretation has no more currency than any other Christian who places a very different and diametric interpretation. Interpretation is largely, if not solely, predicated on personal confirmation bias."

Papalinton, for a Catholic, this is simply not true. The One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church takes Saint Peter seriously when he writes:
"First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation." (2 Peter 2:20)
It's why we have the Magisterium."


Then how does one explain to the Eastern Orthodox Church or Luther or Joseph Smith that they got it wrong?

Interestingly, here is the take from the Eastern Orthodox perspective:
"Almost from the very beginning, Christians referred to the Church as the "One, Holy, Catholic [from the Greek καθολική, or universal] and Apostolic Church".[11] Today, in addition to the Orthodox Church, a number of other Christian churches lay claim to this title (including the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Assyrian Church and the Oriental Orthodox Church); however, the Orthodox Church considers these other churches to be schismatic and, in some cases, heretical. In the Orthodox view, the Assyrians and Orientals left the Orthodox Church in the first few centuries after Christ, and later the Catholics did the same, becoming the largest ever group to leave the Church. This event is known as the East–West Schism, and it is traditionally dated to the year 1054, although it was more of a gradual process than a sudden break."

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Orthodox_Church

So, who's interpretation is right?

BenYachov said...

>Then how does one explain to the Eastern Orthodox Church or Luther or Joseph Smith that they got it wrong?

They reject the Pope so they get it wrong.

Duh!

BenYachov said...

>And your particular interpretation has no more currency than any other Christian who places a very different and diametric interpretation. Interpretation is largely, if not solely, predicated on personal confirmation bias."

What makes you so pathologically stupid Paps is the above is an argument a Catholic would use against a Protestant who believe Scripture to be perspicuous and the sole rule of Faith.

As Americans what you think Our Constitution means in fact means little to us compared to what the United States Supreme Court says it means.

In a like manner what you and other self-serving Atheists think the Bible means also means little to Catholics like Bob, Rank, Crude, TheO'Flynn and myself.

Which is why you waste your time giving us your interpretation of the Bible. Even if the Pope & the Church do not have the authority to interpret the Bible from God there is no reason to accept your interpretation over theirs.

You need to learn philosophy and make philosophical arguments for Atheism and against Theism.

Otherwise you are a waste of time.

Which pretty much is what you are......

B. Prokop said...

Actually, Ben, Papalinton is merely attempting to change the subject to avoid having to admit that he has grossly misinterpreted the Psalms by anybody's standards, be they Catholic, Orthodox, Baptist, or atheist. He has simply gotten the meaning wrong. It's not a matter of "interpretation", but of knowing how to read.

Karl Grant said...

Bob,

It's not a matter of "interpretation", but of knowing how to read.

You're not the only one who has noticed Paps' reading comphrension skills leave something to be desired.

cl said...

Karl Grant / Bob Prokop,

We all know that Paps isn't here to learn, he's here to push his agenda because, just like those he criticizes, he believes he has the TRUTH. I pointed out his violation of rationality WRT to cherrypicking evidence to bolster his case, you both pointed out his propensity to hear what he wants to hear when reading Scripture... honestly, there's nothing we can do. There are none so blind as those who don't want to see.

cl said...

Ah, crap. Where did I get "Bob" Prokop from? Sorry, B. Prokop, if I botched your name again. I don't know what's going on here...

BenYachov said...

Works for me Brother Bob.

B. Prokop said...

And another thing...

My original comment was, "I can't think of any place in the Bible where Christians are encouraged to rout out atheists. Perhaps someone else can enlighten me on this." Papalinton responds with the words from the Psalms, "The fool hath said in his heart, 'There is no God'." Now, if if this passage was in fact equating fools with atheists (which it is not, as I have explained above), it is still in no way a call to "rout out" atheists.

So my question remains: Papalinton, you claim that the Bible tells Christians to rout out atheists. Where? Please show me.

cl said...

For Pete's sake Paps, cooperate with the reason and critical thinking you claim to be so about. Answer B. Prokop's question. Where is this call to rout out atheists?

Papalinton said...

Bob
"My original comment was, "I can't think of any place in the Bible where Christians are encouraged to rout out atheists. Perhaps someone else can enlighten me on this." "

Go back a few posts, Bob. I have responded to this.

The Psalm quote is what one wishes to read into it. Nothing more nothing less. In any case, you would have been spoon-fed the particular interpretation you have trotted out because as you say, ""First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation." (2 Peter 2:20). It's why we have the Magisterium." And of course the magisterium, in the cold light of day and reason, is a bunch of old terrestrially-bound, [no different to a boardroom of a multi-national] human farts, telling how others must interpret, otherwise it is heresy or blasphemy to think and speak, and interpret against the party line. Sounds quintessentially like communism to me. Perhaps rather than a magisterium, a more definitive descriptor would be an Authoritarium. And remember there is no come-back on this bunch of old farts. Their decision through the pope is infallible. Hitler knew about authoritarianism. And as he said, "I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so." And so he is, to this day.

You have kept on about the Psalm thing, as would a rotweiller with a child's head in its mouth. One thing that can be said, you are very dogged about it. No question. Dig up my response to the Psalm in an earlier post, and then perhaps we can both proceed on that front. In the meantime, when it came to the 'big ticket' items, these have simply been glossed over by picking out the most peripheral of issues, the supposed 'misinterpretation' of Psalms. Such as:

1. Reppert's undisciplined and unprofessional mischaracterisation of Baggini's article [No Response]

2. " .... reasonable believers know and understand that many ideas and teachings in the Bible are downright hateful, and, as a result must gloss over the less enlightened parts and attribute them as some kind of man-made change to what would otherwise be the Word of God. It just seems odd to me that what is acceptable in the Bible in one generation is only found unacceptable in another by the rise of secular social awareness–not any specific revelation from God." [No response]

3. " ... today's community why are atheists reviled, or indeed atheism reviled? What constitutes as something “evil” from a Christian standpoint? If, as you seem to infer about your relationship with your brother, that not believing (or rejecting) the idea of God and Jesus is not “evil” per se, is it then evil to spread the idea that the Bible is wrong and God is imaginary? ["I personally don't generally revile atheists as such. ......But what I do revile is atheism. No apologies there."] The question then, if your godless brother is a good and decent man then it seems rather obvious that atheism is not a factor about whether a person is evil, untrustworthy, wicked, full of envy, murder, strife and understanding no fidelity, no love, no mercy, as the bible says it, does it not? " [No response]


Cont.

Papalinton said...

Cont.

4. " ... your examples of Pyongyang and Auschwitz are just plain wrong. Germany was 95% christian, and yet despite this overwhelming majority of law-abiding christians, Auschwitz occurred, and in Poland no less, a country replete with catholics. The massive scale of the concentration camps of Auschwitz, Treblinka, Belsen etc etc could not have been carried out without the compliance of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of christians in all fields of the german military. "Hitler made me do it", simply does not ring true. In respect of Pyongyang, the cult of personality has more to do with modeling religious organisation than is does with atheism. Indeed, Kim Jong-un is a revered God, the saviour of his people. His word is infallible. [No response]

5. " ... As a sample: This dissertation brings some light to the prevailing circumstance in modern US: "In subsequent studies, distrust of atheists generalized even to
participants from more liberal, secular populations. A description of a criminally untrustworthy individual was seen as comparably representative of atheists and rapists, but not representative of Christians, Muslims, Jewish people, feminists, or homosexuals (Studies 2-4)."
http://www2.psych.ubc.ca/~ara/Manuscripts/Gervais%20et%20al-%20Atheist%20Distrust.pdf " {no response]

6. "Interestingly, here is the take from the Eastern Orthodox perspective:
"Almost from the very beginning, Christians referred to the Church as the "One, Holy, Catholic [from the Greek καθολική, or universal] and Apostolic Church".[11] Today, in addition to the Orthodox Church, a number of other Christian churches lay claim to this title (including the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Assyrian Church and the Oriental Orthodox Church); however, the Orthodox Church considers these other churches to be schismatic and, in some cases, heretical. In the Orthodox view, the Assyrians and Orientals left the Orthodox Church in the first few centuries after Christ, and later the Catholics did the same, becoming the largest ever group to leave the Church. This event is known as the East–West Schism, and it is traditionally dated to the year 1054, although it was more of a gradual process than a sudden break." "
Catholic truth? Or more likely Eastern Orthodox truth? [Still no response]

Come on boys, start thinking for yourself. Don't let the Authoritarium, erhh, Magisterium have all the original fun in making up stuff. Make up some stuff of your own.

BenYachov said...

Paps,

Man up and admit you misinterpreted the Psalms & stop changing the subject.

I read debates between Catholics and Eastern Orthodox. You being an ex-fundamentalist Christian turned Fundamentalist Atheist wouldn't even begin to know what argument either side would put forth for their claim to be the Church Christ founded.

You can't even defend Atheism or intelligently polemic Theism or read English there Peggy Hill.

You really think you can be an Eastern Orthodox Christian apologist?

Paps don't get ideas above your station in life.

Ilíon said...

^ Now there is a real yawner ... SonOfConfusion exposing his Rah-Rah Catholicism. Again.

B.Prokop: "Actually, Ben, Papalinton is merely attempting to change the subject to avoid having to admit that he has grossly misinterpreted the Psalms by anybody's standards, be they Catholic, Orthodox, Baptist, or atheist. He has simply gotten the meaning wrong. It's not a matter of "interpretation", but of knowing how to read."

In the context in which it was written, one might almost get the impression that even B.Prokop gets tired of continuous Rah-Rah Catholicism (Rah-Rah Leftism is likely a different matter).

Ilíon said...

Papalinton: "So, who's [sic] interpretation is right?"

(Look up the context yourself, people: I'm not going to do everything for you)

None of them; for they falsely and vainly imagine that membership in the "Body of Christ" is co-extensive with and equivalent to cheering for some particular human bureaucracy.

====
Still, Papalinton, you foolish little man, you petty man who willfully chooses to be a fool, until you admit that atheism is false, until you acknowledge that God is, you really don’t have a place in any discussion about whether Christianity is false, or whether any particular Christian sect has committed itself to an erroneous understanding.

===
And the rest of you, you who claim the name of Christ – do you not believe what the Bible says?

The Bible says that those who deny the reality of God are fools – it doesn’t say that they are stupid (as so many misuse the word, as though their vocabulary has never advanced out of the schoolyard), but that they are intellectually dishonest. The Bible *also* says that those who refuse to acknowledge and worship the only God there is have no excuse for this sin, that it is not out of ignorance, but rather from willful dishonesty, that they do this (Paul is not talking about putting Christianity to the test, he is talking about something more basic).

Now, if you do believe that what the Bible says on this matter is true, then why do you keep talking/arguing/behaving as though it were not true?

The Bible claims that no one has any rational excuse for denying that God is, nor for refusing to worship him. These two claims are true or they are not true (hint: they are true, the second following from the first). There are logical implications to these truths – one of which is that it is always irrational (and may in some circumstances be sinful) to engage in this sort of (ahem!) argument about Christianity and/or the Bible with the so-called atheists who buzz around this and other blogs.

B. Prokop said...

"The question then, if your godless brother is a good and decent man then it seems rather obvious that atheism is not a factor about whether a person is evil, untrustworthy, wicked, full of envy, murder, strife and understanding no fidelity, no love, no mercy, as the Bible says it, does it not? " [No response]"

OK, I'll bite. Here's my response:

My brother is a good and decent man despite and not because of his atheism. He has the immeasurable advantage of living within a society that still benefits from 2000 years of Christian influence. Such an environment plus his Catholic upbringing cannot help but have a positive influence on his personality, outlook on life, and overall character. No atheist (at least in the USA) lives in an atheist society, and thank God for that!

B. Prokop said...

"Almost from the very beginning, Christians referred to the Church as the "One, Holy, Catholic [from the Greek καθολική, or universal] and Apostolic Church". Today, in addition to the Orthodox Church, a number of other Christian churches lay claim to this title (including the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Assyrian Church and the Oriental Orthodox Church); however, the Orthodox Church considers these other churches to be schismatic and, in some cases, heretical. In the Orthodox view, the Assyrians and Orientals left the Orthodox Church in the first few centuries after Christ, and later the Catholics did the same, becoming the largest ever group to leave the Church. This event is known as the East–West Schism, and it is traditionally dated to the year 1054, although it was more of a gradual process than a sudden break. [Still no response]"

And here's my response to that:

I have no quarrel with the Orthodox Church. Nor does the Catholic Church have one. The legitimacy of their apostolic succession is not disputed, nor is the validity of their sacraments. There is a slight (and ultimately irrelevant) disagreement over filioque, which is of interest only to professional theologians and to people with way too much time on their hands.

I personally have no quarrel with the Anglican Church. My younger daughter was confirmed in the Church of England with my blessing, and worships with its closest analog here in the States, the Episcopal Church. When I lived in England (or when I worked in New Zealand), I attended services in Anglican churches as well as Catholic ones (but chose not to take the Sacrament, out of respect). I have the utmost admiration for Anglican thinkers (such as Thomas Cranmer or C.S. Lewis), past and present. A copy of The Book of Common Prayer is next to my Catholic Liturgy of the Hours on my nightstand. I regard the Authorized (KJV) translation of the Bible to be one of the greatest works of English Literature of all time.

As for the Assyrian or Oriental Orthodox Churches, I am not competent to speak on that matter.

BenYachov said...

Ilion,

Bob and I are Catholic so by definition we will always Rah! Rah! Rah! Rah-Catholicism!

Always! We are not ashamed of it and we will never apologize for it.

Live with it.

Papalinton said...

Bob
Thanks for your replies.
You say:
There is a slight (and ultimately irrelevant) disagreement over filioque, which is of interest only to professional theologians and to people with way too much time on their hands.

It's difficult to accept that the Filioque was a minor irrelevancy between the Eastern Orthodox and the catholics. That is just wishful nonsense and does not account for the strength of the disagreement according to history. Indeed your rendition is simply a personal whitewashing of the historical record and a theologically harmonized revisioning of the historical context. The schism was not without its share of wholly unnecessary bloodshed all because the two groups couldn't sort out their diverging views on superstition.

"In a similar vein, Siecienski comments that, although it was common in the twentieth century to view the Filioque as just another weapon in the power struggle between Rome and Constantinople and although this was occasionally the case, for many involved in the dispute the theological issues outweighed by far the ecclesiological concerns. According to Siecienski, the deeper question was perhaps whether Eastern and Western Christianity had wound up developing "differing and ultimately incompatible teachings about the nature of God." Moreover, Siecienski asserts that the question of whether the teachings of East and West were truly incompatible became almost secondary to the fact that, starting around the eighth or ninth century, Christians on both sides of the dispute began to believe that the differences were irreconcilable.[7]
From the view of the West, the Eastern rejection of the Filioque denied the consubstantiality of the Father and the Son and was thus a form of crypto-Arianism. In the East, the interpolation of the Filioque seemed to many to be an indication that the West was teaching a "substantially different faith". Siecienski asserts that, as much as power and authority were central issues in the debate, the strength of emotion rising even to the level of hatred can be ascribed to a belief that the other side had "destroyed the purity of the faith and refused to accept the clear teachings of the fathers on the Spirit's procession."[7]" [Wiki]

So I don't think there is any merit in downplaying irreconcilable differences on the filioque and to do so is imprudent and serves no purpose in your argument.

But perhaps you are right. I can see from your perspective that the argument over the filioque really is only 'slight', and not any big deal. Indeed that sentiment more than adequately sums up most if not all catholic theology as largely peripheral issues in today's community; and as the Reason Rally suggested, should be ridiculed, mocked and satirized for the mythological nonsense that it is. Supernatural superstition just does not cut the mustard in the community anymore, no matter how it is sliced, no matter how the clergy would wish to maintain its stranglehold on power.

Now Bob. Tell me about this one: ""In subsequent studies, distrust of atheists generalized even to
participants from more liberal, secular populations. A description of a criminally untrustworthy individual was seen as comparably representative of atheists and rapists, but not representative of Christians, Muslims, Jewish people, feminists, or homosexuals (Studies 2-4)."

B. Prokop said...

My response:

I thought you were interested in what I thought, not other people.

But my opinion of you did drop through the floorboards after your posting of that video.

Papalinton said...

Bob
"I thought you were interested in what I thought, not other people.

But my opinion of you did drop through the floorboards after your posting of that video.


But not if what you present plummets to the level of garbage. It must be always in context of the debate, not personal wishlisting. I leave personal proclivities to those wanting to follow the jesus mythos in the privacy of their own home. I want to concentrate on the facts, not the allegory or the metaphor.

Posting a video on the furtive and surreptitious nature of christian ethical behaviour simply demonstrates the subversive nature of catholic realpolitik. I would think priests conducting such acts of hatemongering towards the gay sections of society, is akin to being branded with a pink triangle, and sails close to an act of sedition and civil disorder.

In relation to your opinion dropping through the floor, you are simply shooting the messenger. But then reason and fairmindedness and justice are apt to be thrown out the window, when when catholics perceive their version of superstition on which their belief system is founded, is being challenged. Never in the history of catholic supremacy has its doctrines and dogma been under such sustained scrutiny and forensic investigation as it is today. And the evidence is essentially confirmed, god is most assuredly a gap inhabiter.

B. Prokop said...

"But then reason and fairmindedness and justice are apt to be thrown out the window, when when catholics perceive their version of superstition on which their belief system is founded, is being challenged."

If disrupting a religious service for a personal agenda is "reason and fairmindedness", then so are the actions of the so-called Westboro Baptist Church when they picket funerals. I'm not "shooting the messenger". By engaging in what are essentially terrorist acts, as your video taker did, the messenger becomes the message. Did your comrade in arms think he would gain converts to his cause by acting like an asshole? I can assure you, if that was his motivation, he has made himself the best possible argument against whatever it was he was championing.

Such supremely uncivil activity needs to be condemned in the strongest possible terms as often as possible, and by all people. And anyone who supports or approves of such actions is equally culpable.

Once again, shame, shame, shame! NOTHING you say can excuse what this person did!

cl said...

B. Prokop,

I'm certainly not one to tell you how to spend your time, but I can't help but notice how your responses to Paps simply reinforce his belief that he has the truth. I mean, look at this discussion from a meta-POV. What has Paps contributed, other than his usual cheapshots at all people of faith based on the actions of subset, and an irrelevant "tu quoque" attack? ("You think atheists are bad, look at these Catholics.") How are the evils of the church—whatever they may be—even remotely relevant to the OP? What can he possibly gain by pointing out that even religious people fall short of goodness from time to time? He seems to see this fact as some sort of "argument" or reason to reject religion, but that's completely absurd.

I certainly can appreciate the pragmatism of giving him a quick swat-down when he commits blatant fallacies like cherrypicking evidence to bolster his own metaphysical preferences, but continued engaging seems to simply fuel his mistaken idea that he's saying something substantial. At least, that's my opinion.

May I ask, when do you think one ought to shake the dust?

Papalinton said...

Bob
So you support civil disobedience and branding gays from the pulpit. Is this one of those sacrosanct moments when hatemongering under the guise of christian morality and ethics is supposed to get a free pass from public scrutiny?
What is so sacred about inciting institutional homophobia against a specific group of people, a minority in the community no less, that institutional bile can be trotted out from the pulpit with impunity. This is no different to the hate and righteous bombings espoused from the Muslim pulpit, the Minbar, in a Mosque.

In a fair and decent society we must robustly challenge all anti-social and anti-community activities wherever it may be found; there is nothing sacred about hate mongering simply because it is promulgated from the pulpit. That is an unacceptable and a horrendous double standard.

I am reminded by Harvey Cox, Jr [1939-], leading American theologian, professor of divinity, Harvard Medical School:

"Sermons remain one of the last forms of public discourse where it is culturally forbidden to talk back."

B. Prokop said...

Papalinton,

I support the dignity and respect one should have for the most solemn and sacred rites another human being can possibly have. I do not support demonstrations or heckling at funerals, weddings, divine services, baptisms, etc. What is the difference between what this individual did and what the so-called Westboro Baptist Church does when they disrupt mourners at their children's funerals? They are both despicable behavior, and deserve our strongest condemnation possible.

CL,

Do you actually think there is any chance that Papalinton will ever listen to reason or learn to argue coherently? I've given up all expectation of that some time ago. I respond to him because he appears to have surrounded himself in a thought-proof cocoon in which the only thoughts he hears are his own. But there is always a hope that something from the Real World will penetrate, that some small voice of sanity will manage to shine a light into the darkness.

Papalinton said...

There is no dignity and respect in hatemongering from the pulpit. It is the worst form of unethical behaviour in anyone's language. The officiating priest was going to read out an edict from the archbishops that sought to single out and destroy a section of the community because a 2,000-year old book says so.

Catholicism indeed bears the seeds of destruction in its primitive shamanic teachings.

BenYachov said...

>single out and destroy a section of the community because a 2,000-year old book says so.

So not giving a marriage license to two adult people of the same gender who together can legally have sex anyway is equivalent to "destroying them"?

Just as not allowing women to become Priests to a god you don't believe exists in the first place and equate belief in with belief in faeries or unicorns constitutes "misogyny"?

Paps seriously dude, lay off the drugs.

BenYachov said...

>Do you actually think there is any chance that Papalinton will ever listen to reason or learn to argue coherently?

I might have said no a few days ago but then djindra told Lance he thought his view where too extreme.

So there is a small hope for Paps he may one day become a rational Atheist instead of a mindless fundie Gnu that he is now.

Papalinton said...

So not giving a marriage license to two adult people of the same gender who together can legally have sex anyway is equivalent to "destroying them"?

Yes. Such action destroys equity, their human rights, to be not only regarded but treated as an equal and valued member in the community worthy of decency and respect. Such action stigmatizes, marginalizes, and brands some members in the community as not worthy of equal treatment. This is not unlike the imposition of wearing a pink triangle or a yellow/white star in earlier times of humanity's sordid history to earmark some members of the community as 'different'.

Yes, it is a destruction of their value and worth, for no other reason than maintaining a 2,000 year rage against those who we now know without a shadow of doubt, are a product of the random genetic makeup from their parents and the genes of every past descendent. No different, Ben, to the random pattern of genetics that generates autism.

Papalinton said...

"Just as not allowing women to become Priests to a god you don't believe exists in the first place and equate belief in with belief in faeries or unicorns constitutes "misogyny"?

No, not at all. Precisely because no god exists is why it is that extreme misogyny is the driving force behind the catholic doctrine and dogma. The governing council of the church is a bunch of old terrestrial earth-bound farts that get together and decide for everybody else that women are to be shunned in the upper reaches of the men's only club, the Magisterium. As I may have written on another thread, a more functionally accurate name for this earthly collection of psychosexually eviscerated old farts is, the Authoritarium.

Surely, Ben, you can see you are being hoodwinked by the oldest huckster organisation in the world.

BenYachov said...

>Yes. Such action destroys equity, their human rights, to be not only regarded but treated as an equal and valued member in the community worthy of decency and respect.

That is mere assertion. In my experience growing up & often being picked on & of course called a "fag" because I couldn't stand sports and would rather read or play video games or AD&D it was never the religious types who fag-bashed. It was always the non-religious macho types who hypocritically condemned male on male gayness but OTOH liked lesbians for pornographic purposes.

Because I believe all human beings are made in the divine image I must love that image in them. Even old farts who reject reason & think I can be moved by an emotion based argument over brute reason.

I wouldn't give a marriage licence to two gay brothers to marry. Nor an Adult Father and Daughter who promised to serilize themselves. I would never treat a person as a second class citizen because of their sexuality. But it doesn't logically follow that marriage is a civil right open to all.


>No, not at all. Precisely because no god exists is why it is that extreme misogyny is the driving force behind the catholic doctrine and dogma. The governing council of the church is a bunch of old terrestrial earth-bound farts that get together and decide for everybody else that women are to be shunned in the upper reaches of the men's only club, the Magisterium. As I may have written on another thread, a more functionally accurate name for this earthly collection of psychosexually eviscerated old farts is, the Authoritarium.

So the misogyny is the result of Bishops having gastro-intestinal problems? Huh?

Are you still high Paps? That must be some wicked potent shit!

Anyway as an Agnostic Feminist co-wrker once told me. "If I doubt there is a God why should I care if women are allowed or not to be priests to him/her? OTOH if God exists and your Church speaks for him/her why would I want to go against the divine will on this matter?"