Monday, June 04, 2012

On civility and the charge of abuse

I note that some people who have defended Dawkins on child abuse have complained that the Christian respondents here have been less than civil.

I am as great a champion of civility, so I am told, as there is who is engaged in religious debate on the Internet. Of course I'm not perfect that way, but I do try.

On the other hand, of all the points made on the atheist side, this is the one that infuriates me the most. My wife and I raised our stepdaughters as Christians, and they are now both indeed dedicated Christians. They were never told not to question their beliefs. That would be a hypocritical thing to ask of them, since I questioned mine a whole heck of a lot all through college and beyond. Before I met my wife, I dated a Jewish woman, and we ended that relationship when it became evident that, if we have children, we would not be able to agree on their religious upbringing. Since Christians are enjoined to raise their children in the fear of the Lord (and please don't misinterpret that expression), if the state says we can't do that, they are effectively taking away my freedom to practice my religion. You are telling me that I harmed my children more grievously than if I had molested them, and then you expect me to be civil in response? THAT deserves mockery, if anything does.

So, if you follow Dawkins here, you declare war on religion. If we are at all nice in response, it is supererogatory.

133 comments:

Crude said...

You are telling me that I harmed my children more grievously than if I had molested them, and then you expect me to be civil in response? THAT deserves mockery, if anything does.

Pretty much.

Not only that, but really, the one defining feature of the New Atheist movement IS its commitment to mockery and contempt. Being an atheist does not make a person behave like a contemptible jackass - but it's required for membership in the Cult of Gnu. If you believe in civil dialogue or the Christians and Christian belief deserves to be discussed respectfully, you're out of the Cult and into "quisling/accommodationist" land.

So really, even aside from these very reasonable complaints on your part, what we're seeing in this whining is hypocrisy. "We want to be able to mock and make fun of Christians personally and Christianity generally, all while cheering on chubby nitwits enjoining 'atheist hunters' to 'scale and sack the city of God' and make raising a child in a religious faith a state crime - but please don't call us names or mock us or say we resemble the frantic mob we clearly do. Please be nice to us!"

Nah. Reprehensible klan/Cult of Reason style behavior deserves to be mocked, and will be. Saying that raising a child with a religious upbringing is worse than child abuse is an insult to victims of abuse and religious people both, and will be mocked. And it won't just be here - it'll be in just about any non-100%-Cult-of-Gnu forum where the charges arise.

Get used to it. Or leave the Cult.

And if atheists want civil dialogue, there's a price to pay: denounce and separate yourself from the Cult, just as Christians who want civil dialogue are (rightly) expected to denounce and separate themselves from freaks like Westboro Baptist. They shouldn't expect to be able to play it both ways, where they personally may not engage in Dawkins level behavior in public, but they'll silently approve of it and keep their mouths shut rather than denounce it, for fear of pissing off their wilder atheist associates. It's not flying anymore, either in comboxes or in popular media.

Matt DeStefano said...

Victor, help me understand something:

In the past week or so on this blog atheists have been compared to the KKK, the Nazis, Stalin, Mao, and French (not the good kind). You've sounded the alarmist bell and proclaimed that Dawkins telling people to ridicule religious ideas is the precursor to genocide and that it's no better than the rhetoric at the KKK rally.

But, an atheist presents an argument defending a claim made by Dawkins as to why raising a child religious is akin to child abuse (is putting Jewish children in gas chambers along with their parents considered child abuse?) and suddenly mockery is encouraged and " [i]f we are at all nice in response, it is supererogatory".

I'll be quick to point out that I don't think being raised religious is akin to child abuse: I was raised religious by a single mother and I couldn't have asked for a better childhood. There is no substance to Dawkin's claim, and I don't mean to in any way defend or endorse it - I merely wish to point out the incredulous double standard employed here. I have to wonder if the same people who have declared you a "champion of civility" are still reading.

Karl Grant said...

Matt DeStefano,

proclaimed that Dawkins telling people to ridicule religious ideas is the precursor to genocide and that it's no better than the rhetoric at the KKK rally.

And you still haven't provided us with a list of differences between the behavior exhibited by atheists at the Reason Rally and that of any other hate group at their respective rallies. If we are really being alarmists and the New Atheist movement is not rapidly becoming a hate group such a list should be easy to compile. Yet, you have not done so.

But, an atheist presents an argument defending a claim made by Dawkins as to why raising a child religious is akin to child abuse (is putting Jewish children in gas chambers along with their parents considered child abuse?)

You know Matt, you should quit with the damage control because you are just not good at it. What does the Holocaust have to do with Dawkins, Haris, etc... saying raping a child is better than telling them 'Jesus loves them?' Answer: nothing.

I'll be quick to point out that I don't think being raised religious is akin to child abuse: I was raised religious by a single mother and I couldn't have asked for a better childhood.

Then why have you been defending it and Dawkins's behavior in general? All you're actions in the last three discussion threads can be summed up with the line: Dawkins isn't so bad! You guys alarmists blowing this way out proportion!

If that isn't defending him what is?

B. Prokop said...

"In the past week or so on this blog atheists have been compared to the KKK, the Nazis, Stalin, Mao, and French (not the good kind)."

No, Matt, and you know better than that. No one on this website compared atheists to any of the above. What they did compare to the above (and rightly so) is atheism.

Victor Reppert said...

I didn't intend to compare atheism to the KKK. What I said was that the response to religion constituted hatred, and, as such, is no less hatred than if it had been expressed by a Nazi or a Klansman. However, commitment to the cause of atheism can lead a person to do the sort of thing the Nazis and the Klan did. There is, for example, the idea about that somehow atheists can't be so committed to their beliefs as to be tempted to persecute others on behalf of their beliefs. After all, there is no hell to save anybody from, so while atheism might be worth advocating, it is nothing to kill or die for.

Christians have gone down the road of thinking that their religion is worth killing for. After the Wars of Religion in Europe they learned their lesson, and have gradually accepted some version of the separation of church and state. It's the separation that stops the bloodshed. Muslims are going to have a harder time buying that lesson, because their religion is set up in such a way as to be implemented by the state. (Bush's unjust invasion of Iraq was not motivated, so far as I can tell, by religion. At worst, his allegiance to oil companies was the cause).

I have no problem with mockery, so much as I have with a strategy of mockery designed to peer-pressure "fence-sitters" into unbelief. I'm a Monty Python fan and I love all of their mockery of Christianity. But, with Monty Python, everyone is a target, and no one is immune. What Dawkins is talking about is mockery designed to express and encourage disrespect.

Civility is not important because it is nice. Civility is important because a part of the task of dialogue between opposing sides of a controversial issue is the descriptive project of getting the views of one's opponent right. If people can't be bothered to be civil, then they can't be bothered to understand the opposing view correctly. With the Courtier's Reply, the child abuse charge, and the call to mock in order to peer-pressure "fence-sitters", I don't see this happening if one gets into dialogue with someone who takes their marching orders from Dawkins.

HyperEntity111 said...

"In the past week or so on this blog atheists have been compared to the KKK, the Nazis, Stalin, Mao...'

No they were not. Victor did not declare that most atheists are the reincarnation of Mao and most ommentators here have said nothing of the sort. Rather the claim was that a certain group of atheists are engaging in hate speech that it is indistinguishable from that found in KKK rallies or a Stalin speech. This claim was backed up with a number of quotations from members of that group (these can be found in the thread 'What are the Gnus doing to atheism...' If you have not read them please do). It is disingenuous to pretend that we all compared atheists in general (and not a specific group of individuals) to Stalin and the rest. It is disingenuous to pretend that such comparisons are unwarranted because the individuals in question do not engage in violent behaviour. Such a reply is no more respectable than claiming that people cannot be racists unless they engage in violent behaviour towards coloured individuals.

As for the atheist who you refer to I think it is clear that everyone (including myself) engaged with his argument. It is (unfortunately) true that a certain amount uncivil behaviour was displayed but when somebody informs you that by raising your child in your religion you become worse than a rapist or child molester and calls for the abolition of the seperation of church and state, the imposition of state atheism and criminalisation of the majority of your country's population for teaching them your beliefs... Well I hope you can understand why some people might have a strong emotional reaction to such statements.

Crude said...

No they were not. Victor did not declare that most atheists are the reincarnation of Mao and most ommentators here have said nothing of the sort. Rather the claim was that a certain group of atheists are engaging in hate speech that it is indistinguishable from that found in KKK rallies or a Stalin speech.

This bears repeating.

There's a difference between the Cult of Gnu and atheists. And Victor and company, myself included, have distinguished between one group and the other. The Cult of Gnu is a subset of atheists - but that subset exists, the parallels to Stalin, Mao and yes, even the KKK and the Cult of Reason are striking, while the child abuse > religious upbringing charge is insulting and deserving of mockery.

Again, I note the irony if Cult of Gnu proponents and members whining about how insulted they feel, when their leadership and organizations *explicitly promote mockery and insult* as a means to an end.

Chris said...

"You are telling me that I harmed my children more grievously than if I had molested them..."

I wonder if this accurately expresses Dawkins' view. He seems to largely focus on various types of actual religious abuse, such as sectarianism, extreme fears of hell, molestation by priests, etc. I don't think he actually believes that any and all religious upbringing is worse than pedophilia; but he does seem to worry over the 'mind control'/authoritarian aspect of religious upbringings, the teaching of unscientific facts (creationism/fundamentalism), etc., so the 'line in the sand', so to speak, of where abuse begins (in his mind) seems ambiguous at best. When I read/watch the links below, I don't get a sense that he thinks ALL religious upbringing is child abuse; but I also am not quite certain what his total view is.

http://richarddawkins.net/articles/118-religion-39-s-real-child-abuse

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xT3d5RFNATA&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=UifxeFy2qIY

Dawkins obviously dislikes religion but seems fine with secular remnants of it: he wants children to read the bible as literature, he likes Christmas hymns, he has called himself a cultural Christian. So it seems to me that there are nuances in his view that don't quite square with the purely fanatical. But by mixing these nuances in with such strong imagery and language, his view is easily misinterpreted (the article in particular is a minefield). But real abuse seems to be his focus and the spur to this line of thinking.

If I am wrong and he does really genuinely believe that all religious upbringing is child abuse, then of course that is utterly insupportable.

Metalogic said...

*sigh*

I've been growing more and more disappointed in my "fellow" atheists every day for awhile now. It's not even just those in the public spotlight anymore, but commenters and bloggers all over the internet. I even saw someone earlier today claim that nothing could possibly ever convince him of Christianity. It really does seem like it's turning into a cult.

So I guess I'd just like to say that even though I'm an atheist, I'm in agreement with you guys on this one: religion should be debated and discussed, not mocked; and it's certainly not child abuse.

Matt DeStefano said...

No, Matt, and you know better than that. No one on this website compared atheists to any of the above. What they did compare to the above (and rightly so) is atheism.

A sampling of quotes:

" (Victor, in reference to Dawkins) Does anyone remember the history of the French Revolution, when the "enlightened" leaders started chopping the heads off of first the aristocrats and then other leaders of the revolution?"

" (Victor, in reference to Dawkin's speech at the rally) I'm perfectly sure that the Nazis made their agenda sound appealing to the citizens of Germany. The picture that Hitler put into people's minds was certainly not the picture of the charred bodies found at Auschwitz. "

"(Victor, in reference to what will happen if atheists get power and an offhand comparison to Stalin, Mao, etc.) If the atheists have all the guns in their hands, why suppose that we will get world peace instead of some less savory result? Do atheists think they have nothing to kill or die for? When atheists have had a monopoly on the use of force, what was it like?

"(rank sophist, quoting Dawkins and comparing it to Mao, Stalin, Hitler, etc.) I'd like to add a couple of choice quotes from Dawkins to this, mixed in with quotes from a few historical figures."

"(rank again, I won't quote him too much because he just keeps repeating this line of attack throughout the comments) When you're dealing with someone who unconsciously paraphrases the rhetoric of Mao, Marx and Lenin to excite his followers, it's hard not to be worried."

(Karl, this is yourself) "Fanatics act the same regardless of them carrying a cross, the hammer and the sickle or The God Delusion."

(Ben, angry that someone argued we should provide contraception through government healthcare) "Lying Gnu'Atheist Fascist Bigot!"

(Morrison, a batch of extra-crazy) "And I think I know what they have planned for us if they ever get the chance. Although not well known...yet...there is a move in the Churches in many places to remind Believers of the history of Officially Atheistic Governments. We are going to caught by suprise this time."

You know Matt, you should quit with the damage control because you are just not good at it. What does the Holocaust have to do with Dawkins, Haris, etc... saying raping a child is better than telling them 'Jesus loves them?' Answer: nothing.

I wish you'd read my posts before bothering to respond: "I'll be quick to point out that I don't think being raised religious is akin to child abuse: I was raised religious by a single mother and I couldn't have asked for a better childhood. There is no substance to Dawkin's claim, and I don't mean to in any way defend or endorse it - I merely wish to point out the incredulous double standard employed here."

Comparisons between raising a child religious and child abuse are unacceptable by Victor's standards (and rightfully so), but comparisons between genocidal dictators of the past and Dawkins are completely acceptable and encouraged. Both are equally ridiculous, inflammatory, and not conducive to the rational discussion Victor pays lip service to.

"I have no problem with mockery, so much as I have with a strategy of mockery designed to peer-pressure "fence-sitters" into unbelief. I'm a Monty Python fan and I love all of their mockery of Christianity. But, with Monty Python, everyone is a target, and no one is immune. What Dawkins is talking about is mockery designed to express and encourage disrespect. "

People deserve respect, beliefs do not. There is a clear line between disparaging someone as a person and disparaging a set of beliefs. In Monty Python, they don't mock and ridicule individual people, they mock and ridicule beliefs.

B. Prokop said...

Matt, your quotes simply backed up my previous statement. Thank you for doing my work for me and for proving my point.

Karl Grant said...

Matt,

In addition to what B. Prokop said, I stand by the statement fanatics act the same regardless of them carrying a cross, the hammer and the sickle or The God Delusion. You have done nothing to disprove that statement. The only thing you have done is get pissed that someone would dare suggest that some elements of the New Atheist movement are starting to exhibit the classic signs of a hate group.

I wish you'd read my posts before bothering to respond

I did read your post, remember me asking you if that is the case then why have you been defending him?

Comparisons between raising a child religious and child abuse are unacceptable by Victor's standards (and rightfully so), but comparisons between genocidal dictators of the past and Dawkins are completely acceptable and encouraged. Both are equally ridiculous, inflammatory, and not conducive to the rational discussion Victor pays lip service to.

No, difference is if the comparison is valid. Dawkins shows all the signs of being a bigot intent on stirring up hatred. The Reason Rally shows all the signs of being a hate group rally (Pray tell, what do you think participants carrying signs like "Too many Christians, not enough lions" implies?).

There is a clear line between disparaging someone as a person and disparaging a set of beliefs.

I remember asking you to explain the difference between mocking a belief a person holds and mocking the person themselves. I never got a reply. Because isn't it an unspoken assumption that when you mock a belief as stupid or deluded that anybody holds said belief is stupid and deluded as well?

rank sophist said...

"(rank sophist, quoting Dawkins and comparing it to Mao, Stalin, Hitler, etc.) I'd like to add a couple of choice quotes from Dawkins to this, mixed in with quotes from a few historical figures."

"(rank again, I won't quote him too much because he just keeps repeating this line of attack throughout the comments) When you're dealing with someone who unconsciously paraphrases the rhetoric of Mao, Marx and Lenin to excite his followers, it's hard not to be worried."


And? I stand by everything I wrote. I'm not trying to insult Dawkins. I'm illustrating how his hateful rhetoric is identical to that of people who ended up killing millions of believers. No one has even tried to show that my comparisons are faulty.

In Monty Python, they don't mock and ridicule individual people, they mock and ridicule beliefs.

Clearly, you have never watched Monty Python.

Papalinton said...

Victor
They were never told not to question their beliefs.

And I would bet a dollar to a dime they were also never told to question their beliefs.

I do not expect a truthful response to that question. Christians are not known for incriminating themselves given the absolutes of christian theism. And there is no way of telling. Truthtelling is 'guided' by the bible and is a dog's breakfast of interpretation.

Was there any serious consideration given to educating your children that there are innumerable forms of religious expression? Did you encourage your children to look at Buddhism, or Islam? Billions of people on this globe differ in their religious views and practices. Were they informed about just how valid and valuable and precious each of the various major religions of the world are to their believers? Or did you just decide for them? Or do they regard catholicism as the only one true church to the absolute exclusion of all other forms of religious conversation.

So why would you be infuriated if you have only told half the story, or worse, a potted version of theism as it affects humanity?

Dawkins is clear. We cannot understand Western history, our literature, our governance, without a good grounding about the impact of christianity in Wester civilization. Equally we cannot understand global history without a good grounding in comparative religions that have shaped our multicultural humanity. Dawkins states it is a fundamental source of knowledge that each child must study and understand, if there is any hope of peaceful co-existence.

What you are really asking is, Victor, why shouldn't I inculcate christian theism in my daughters as the only right and true religion and to the exclusion by omission, of all the other religions that are simply mistaken? Surely by doing so, you are briefing your children and establishing the segregationist and exclusivist barrier that divides humanity into 'them and 'us'. Dawkins is offering a very different model, not based on any one absolutist position of any one religion.

And you are correct. If we are at all nice in response, it is supererogatory. But you seem to conveniently forget the past lessons of catholic treatment of atheists, heretics and various other forms of humanity over many many centuries. Catholicism is the senior service and it is beholden on them and their practitioners to be the role model of supererogation [and a good catholic term that is]. The catholic bottom feeders on this site need to follow your lead, Oh Master Reppert. That would be a good start.

B. Prokop said...

"And I would bet a dollar to a dime they were also never told to question their beliefs."

You lose. In yesterday's sermon at St. Paul's Catholic Church (the one I attend) the pastor told everyone in his sermon that doubt was an essential part of Faith, and that we should never lose it (doubt, that is).

When do I get my dollar?

Victor Reppert said...

Well, I am arguing that the New-Atheist way of supporting atheism is hateful, and will lead to dangerous kinds of atrocious behavior unless something checks it, particularly if these people actually exercise anything like political power.

Evil movements never start out with their evil on their sleeves. People start out wanting something legitimate, and then decide that the end justifies the means. Think Animal Farm.

Look Christians have gone horribly wrong in history. We have things to be ashamed of. Atheists like to distance themselves from the crimes of the Communists, who were certainly atheists.

I probably made this blog worse by continuous efforts to engage John Loftus. I kept wondering why he engaged the discussion the way he did, and then I found out that he was taking pages out of Dawkins' playbook. Now, he's not a full-blooded Gnu, but the discussion gets ruined because of his methodology. He has interesting ideas, but when he tries to sustain discussion, there is just too much grandstanding and propaganda tactics. Beyond a certain point, I can't make any progress in the discussion. And, I think I know why.

Victor Reppert said...

Why do kids need to be told to doubt what they have been taught? Adolescence guarantees that they will do that.

They knew I was a philosophy instructor, and that I treated the problem of God as a controversial issue.

I wonder if a Gnu like yourself were to have children who were starting to "go religious" on you, how would you handle it? How did Madalyn Murray O'Hair treat her son when he became a Christian?

Papalinton said...

Victor
Christians have gone down the road of thinking that their religion is worth killing for. After the Wars of Religion in Europe they learned their lesson, and have gradually accepted some version of the separation of church and state. It's the separation that stops the bloodshed.

You are right. Religion cannot of itself prevent killing. And no they did not learn their lesson. Religionists were dragged kicking a screaming to realizing that religion is not the answer to world peace. Never has, never will be.

The 'version of separation', as you call it Victor, has a proper name. It is called 'Secularism'. Secularism is the foundational plank of atheism as is humanism. Christians and muslims and hindus have yet to come to the full realization that religious belief even today is a grave threat, a real and present danger to the underlying principle of secularism. Read any text from the pope, to Mohler to WLC. To them secularism is not an endearing feature if it gets in the road of their particular stripe of christian theism.

"Secularism is the principle of separation between government institutions and the persons mandated to represent the State from religious institutions and religious dignitaries. In one sense, secularism may assert the right to be free from religious rule and teachings, and the right to freedom from governmental imposition of religion upon the people within a state that is neutral on matters of belief. In another sense, it refers to the view that human activities and decisions, especially political ones, should be unbiased by religious influence." [from All Reference Libraries]

Judging by recent political activity, secularism is in deep trouble. In the US christians continue to jostle [physically, rhetorically, legislatively, and legally] as to which brand or stripe of theism will dominate in the impending emergence of the Theocratic Republic of the United Sates [TRUSS]. :o)

Atheists are justifiably concerned by the deeply unsettling incursions of bible crazies into the political domain. It is reflected in every sphere of governance, from local councils, boards of education, state legislatures, and t the Federal level. All facets of the American constitution are under threat and in enormous peril. Religious complaisance by the majority of the citizenry simply exacerbates and contributes to this all-out attack from the religious nutballs. You have taken your eye off the game.

Crude said...

Victor,

Atheists like to distance themselves from the crimes of the Communists, who were certainly atheists.

I see this as one of the fundamental problems of the Cult of Gnu: the inability to admit that atheism and anti-theism have a history as bad as, or worse than, theism and popular religion. Whether it's due to honest ignorance or duplicity, it does not bode well, because it encourages (ironically enough) holier-than-thou thinking.

I keep pointing to Myers' pathetic speech because - while it is pathetic - it still does a grand job of illustrating the dangers of the mindset. There's the failed research scientist, trying his best to form his admirers into some kind of quasi-cohesive group so they can scale and sack the city of God, and make Christians tremble as the hunters go on the attack. And there's Dawkins, encouraging people to attack and belittle and mock religious people in the hopes of psychologically scarring them into obedience.

We saw this crap with the Soviets, with the Cult of Reason, with the Maoists, and more. And yes, we saw it with the Klan as well.

By the way, take a look at this gem:

All facets of the American constitution are under threat and in enormous peril.

First off, Linton (if I recall) is a freaking Aussie, and I probably know more about Australia than he knows about the US. But he's saying that "all facets of the American constitution are under threat and in enormous peril" by "religious crazies"? That's the ravings of a loon, or a muckraker. And frankly, it's a shade away from "the Jews are in control of Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC, all conspiring together to bring us to war on behalf of Israel - just as the Elders of Zion want!"

There's that freaking rhetoric - which, by the way, is yet another inkling of that whole Soviet/Klan connection: the lack of a sense of proportion, where the answer to every problem is heightened rhetoric and screaming and yelling, but never, ever comprehension and calm.

No, the proper reply to someone who equates a religious upbringing with an act worse than raping a child is not respect. It's mockery, shunning and disdain. And more and more people are starting to realize that. We do not need yet another repeat of past atheist crimes any more than we need a repeat of past theist crimes.

Tony Hoffman said...

VR: "Well, I am arguing that the New-Atheist way of supporting atheism is hateful, and will lead to dangerous kinds of atrocious behavior unless something checks it, particularly if these people actually exercise anything like political power."

Both sides have reason to fear the other. Today, apparently a murderous squad of religious fanatics were stopped hours away from killing as many as they could at the Danish newspaper that had previously published cartoons of the prophet Muhammed. And although I think that recent instances of atheist rhetoric (let alone directives) resulting in violence against others is far less than the other way around, I also think it is a possibility that everyone should try to mitigate.

VR: "Evil movements never start out with their evil on their sleeves. People start out wanting something legitimate, and then decide that the end justifies the means. Think Animal Farm."

But I do criticize you for this kind of rhetoric. It appears here that you are raising the stakes (I'll see your legitimate, and raise you to Animal Farm.) to the level where violence is necessary. You seem to be saying that Dawkins et al. are evil, and that kind of demonization is, as I think you should know, a first step in justifying organized violence. So, who's responsible for creating an environment for organized violence here?

VR: "Look Christians have gone horribly wrong in history. We have things to be ashamed of. Atheists like to distance themselves from the crimes of the Communists, who were certainly atheists."

I would meet you halfway here and say that people (whether they be Christians or atheists) have banded together to demonize one another in the past, and committed great and terrible and unforgivable violence as a result. I think their Christianity or their atheism were often incidental regarding all the factors that led to these atrocities -- for instance, I think that demonization is a more powerful force in genocide than either religion or a lack of religion.

VR: "I probably made this blog worse by continuous efforts to engage John Loftus. I kept wondering why he engaged the discussion the way he did, and then I found out that he was taking pages out of Dawkins' playbook. Now, he's not a full-blooded Gnu, but the discussion gets ruined because of his methodology. He has interesting ideas, but when he tries to sustain discussion, there is just too much grandstanding and propaganda tactics. Beyond a certain point, I can't make any progress in the discussion. And, I think I know why."

I haven't read your blog long enough to see any transformation. I think that Loftus is a deeply compelling figure in these discussions, as he seems to simultaneously exemplify the extremes of both sides in these discussions. I don't agree that he grandstands or uses propaganda tactics as a matter of course, and I think that it seems dismissive to attribute his style to being derivative of Dawkins or anyone else; he seems fairly original to me.

Papalinton said...

Victor
" ...We have things to be ashamed of. Atheists like to distance themselves from the crimes of the Communists, who were certainly atheists."

You are a disingenuous fool continuing to trot out this trope. You know full well that the principles of communism were in direct competition for the hearts and minds of those believing in christianity. Communism is the worldview. Christianity is the worldview. It was the clash of the mighty worldviews.

Funnily enough, when Communism fell over, because it never ever convinced the vast majority of the population that it was a true and viable substitute for christian theism, almost every communist crawled out of the woodwork still wearing their cross. Everyone was still a christian. There were no massive conversions of atheists back to christianity, there was no backlog, no 24-hour drop-in centres established for the expected rush of atheists to revert back to Russian Orthodox. In fact I could not detect one instance in the transition from the old communist regime to the current Russian state, which witnessed millions and millions of atheists converting to the Russian church. All the highly visible kissing of the christian cross hung around his neck and all the video-ed church visits by Putin are an unmistakable signature he is truly a christian. his stint as head of the KGB did not sway him from his christian roots and belief. And right now, as I write, Putin is putting his christian ethics and morality into practice in shaping the new Russian Republic. Equally, is Medvedev proudly touting his christian credentials.

And as an atheist, as with all atheists in the western world I rejoiced at the collapse of communism. Without doubt Communism was a highly suspect and dubious worldview that could never be a substitute for another highly dubious and divisive worldview, christian theism. Both are reprehensible.

Of course, your hatred and fear of atheism, or any concession to this perspective, will mitigate against any form of supererogation.
But that's fine by me. i did not for one moment believe that you practiced supererogation. The notion, ".. I am as great a champion of civility, so I am told, as there is who is engaged in religious debate on the Internet", is simply pious self-indulgence. I suspect only supporters provide that impression.
As Matt deStephano perceptively notes, "In the past week or so on this blog atheists have been compared to the KKK, the Nazis, Stalin, Mao, and French (not the good kind). You've sounded the alarmist bell and proclaimed that Dawkins telling people to ridicule religious ideas is the precursor to genocide and that it's no better than the rhetoric at the KKK rally."

Perhaps not to the letter, but clearly the intent of the parallels were conscious, deliberate and calculated. Otherwise, why offer them in the first place?

Crude said...

And as an atheist, as with all atheists in the western world I rejoiced at the collapse of communism.

That's right. Each and every atheist in the western world rejoiced at the collapse of communism.

There were no pro-communist atheists in the western world.

There were no atheists who agreed with the suppression of religion in the western world.

Holy hell, this is rich.

Papalinton said...

Victor
"You are a disingenuous fool continuing to trot out this trope."

I apologise for the slight. Unreservedly.

The appropriate response should have been, "It is disingenuous to continue to trot this trope."

Victor Reppert said...

My comments were not about atheism. They were about a particular brand of atheism, and a particular way of expressing that atheism.

Richard Dawkins is not atheism. Gnu atheism not atheism. If I oppose certain tactics in defense of atheism, that doesn't mean that I think atheists have to go down that road. Many do not.

Papalinton said...

To be factually and historically correct, Vladimir Putin was head [the Director] of the FSB (one of the successor agencies to the KGB).

Crude said...

Richard Dawkins is not atheism. Gnu atheism not atheism. If I oppose certain tactics in defense of atheism, that doesn't mean that I think atheists have to go down that road. Many do not.

I wonder, if you repeat this ten more times, will anyone get it?

Victor Reppert said...

No one who needs to, I am afraid.

Victor Reppert said...

"How many times does a man have to say something before he is safe from the accusastion of having said exactly the opposite? (I am not for a mmoment imputing dishonesty to Dr. Pittenger; we all know too well how difficult it is to grasp or retian the substance of a book one finds antipathetic."

C. S. Lewis "Rejoinder to Dr. Pittenger" God in the Dock (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970), pp 178-179.

Don Jindra said...

Crude,

"There were no pro-communist atheists in the western world."

There were pro-communist Christians in the western world too. Communism is not synonymous with atheism. The Anabaptists proved theocratic communists can be deadly too.

Papalinton said...

Victor
"My comments were not about atheism. They were about a particular brand of atheism, and a particular way of expressing that atheism.

I do not know what is meant by, "My comments were not about atheism. They were about a particular brand of atheism ..." I would appreciate clarification.

I understand the intent of " ...a particular way of expressing that atheism".
Perhaps, with the miniscule numbers of atheists in any one population, this should not even register on a list of priorities any time soon. A far more worthy and challenging task would be for reasoned and honest christians to rout out the particular brand of theism that simply swamps and drowns out the 'good' voices of christian theism.

And with a clearer and a more representative picture of what christian theism truly represents, the atheism/theism dialogue may well be a tad more ecumenical and supererogatory. I.m just sayin'.

Crude said...

DJ,

There were pro-communist Christians in the western world too. Communism is not synonymous with atheism.

Depends on the form of communism. Stalinist, maoist communism? Absolutely.

And regardless of that argument, the idea that "atheists cheered the fall of communism", as if atheists 'in the west' were united in their dislike of communism, is nothing short of insane.

rank sophist said...

djindra,

Communism is not synonymous with atheism, but all of the most well-known communist regimes have imposed state atheism. China under Mao, Russia under Lenin and Stalin, Cambodia under Pol Pot, North Korea since the '50s or so and Cuba under Castro (at least at first)--all of them violently oppressed religion. This is an uncontroversial historical fact. There are religious forms of communism, as I'm sure most of us are aware; but these are unrelated to the standard Marxist-Leninist and Maoist interpretations that have risen to power throughout history.

Don Jindra said...

I don't claim there were no atheistic communists. That would be crazy. But to blame communism on atheism is simply wrong. Communism been supported by theists as well as atheists. There is no cause and effect relationship there from either side. I might as well blame Marxism on essentialism since Marx was an essentialist. Or I could blame Marxism on messianic ideology since that's what it was.

Papalinton said...

"Christianity .... has been over for a hundred years now .... When something even so small as a light-bulb goes out, the eyes for a moment still see it; and a sound after it is made will have, in the right places, an echo. So it is not at all strange that when something so huge as a world religion goes out, there remains for a century or more in certain places some notion that it is still there."

"Indeed, it may flare up highly just before the end."

Mary Jean Irion
American theologist, poet; Professor at the University of Connecticut.
Author of: "From the Ashes of Christianity: A Post-Christian View."

rank sophist said...

I don't claim there were no atheistic communists. That would be crazy. But to blame communism on atheism is simply wrong. Communism been supported by theists as well as atheists. There is no cause and effect relationship there from either side. I might as well blame Marxism on essentialism since Marx was an essentialist. Or I could blame Marxism on messianic ideology since that's what it was.

I love watching Gnus try to wriggle out of this. No, djindra; that does not work. Your counter-examples would merely commit the post-hoc fallacy. Did Marxist-Leninist communism violently enforce essentialism, persecute nominalists en masse and declare state essentialism? Nope. Did Marxist-Leninist communism violently enforce atheism, persecute the religious en masse and declare state atheism? Yep.

Don Jindra said...

rank sophist,

"Did Marxist-Leninist communism violently enforce atheism, persecute the religious en masse and declare state atheism?"

Did the Anabaptists violently enforce theism and declare theocracy? Yes. You swallowed the dogma that communism is atheism. It isn't. As implemented it was an alternative quasi-religion based on a messianic ideology that happened to be atheistic. As newfangled religion it saw other religions as competitors.

So if I had to, I'd lump all those communistic persecutions in the same category as Catholic persecution -- all were religiously/ideologically inspired.

rank sophist said...

Did the Anabaptists violently enforce theism and declare theocracy? Yes. You swallowed the dogma that communism is atheism. It isn't.

Marxist-Leninist communism is atheistic. Necessarily. No exceptions. If it wasn't atheistic, then it wouldn't be Marxist-Leninist communism. Read up on it. I'm fully aware of Christian communism and so forth; but these systems are neither Marxist-Leninist nor Maoist, which are the two most prominent interpretations of communism. Blame communism rather than atheism for the religious persecution if you wish, but it really makes no difference. People were killed or imprisoned for their religious views, full stop.

Have religious governments done the same? Absolutely. That has been our point all along: both atheism and theism can be and have been used for violent oppression. If you grant us this much, then all arguments for religion-as-poison--per Dawkins, Lance Bush and Mao--are off the table. State atheism is neither better nor worse than theocracy, and enforcing it leads to just as much (if not more) death. Most reasonable people will acknowledge that it is human nature, rather than atheism or theism, that causes oppression. If you do too, then welcome to the anti-Dawkins club.

Crude said...

I'll add to RS's points: if 'religion' and 'ideology' are being equated, then the whole thing just whips around on the Cult of Gnu yet again, since an ideology is present there as well. You can even see Myers in his nutjob speech struggling to enunciate it. You can outright see Harris getting into the game with his focus on world government.

Regardless, the point remains. The Gnus are repeating some nasty mistakes of the past, and shouldn't be given a pass. (Pleading 'Well there's more theists than atheists!' doesn't get anyone off the hook, and it's not as if small groups haven't been able to persecute majorities in the past.) And frankly, given the responses I'm seeing, even the most diehard Gnus seem to know deep down inside the the charge sticks.

It may pain them, but it's time to face facts: the rhetoric and approach of the cult of gnu leadership and rank/file is deplorable. Time to ditch it. Time to denounce it.

Papalinton said...

The famous Alfred Hitchcock, film director, once pointed out of a car window at a priest talking to a little boy, and said:
"That is the most frightening sight I have ever seen. [Shouting out the window:] "Run, little boy. Run for your life!"

http://igotkittypryde.tumblr.com/post/7309618246/quotable-atheist-quote-of-the-day-7-6-11

Papalinton said...

Marxist-Leninist communism is atheistic. Necessarily. No exceptions. If it wasn't atheistic, then it wouldn't be Marxist-Leninist communism. Read up on it. I'm fully aware of Christian communism and so forth; but these systems are neither Marxist-Leninist nor Maoist, which are the two most prominent interpretations of communism. Blame communism rather than atheism for the religious persecution if you wish, but it really makes no difference. People were killed or imprisoned for their religious views, full stop.

This comment possesses characteristic attributes of someone oblivious to the historiographical origins of Marxist-Leninist thought and philosophy, and the underpinning principles by which it found political and activist expression in the 20thC. The naive and unsophisticated ideation contained in the form of words of the comment, distinctly marks the inexperience and greenness in intellect of the particular interlocutor.

Johnny Boy said...

Matt de Stefano says:

"People deserve respect, beliefs do not."

Yes people do. Only on theism though ;)

Johnny Boy said...

Papalinton says:

"This comment possesses characteristic attributes of someone oblivious...blah blah blah, yakity shmakity.. "

In other words.. you don't agree. Thanks for the naked assertions, but no thanks.

Papalinton said...

Johnny Boy
In other words.. you don't agree. Thanks for the naked assertions, but no thanks.

No, not at all. Nothing to do with my disagreement or otherwise. The commentary exposed a void where there should have been something meaningful and accurate among the riffling of words. That's all.

Johnny Boy said...

Papalinton says:

"No, not at all. Nothing to do with my disagreement or otherwise. The commentary exposed a void where there should have been something meaningful and accurate among the riffling of words. That's all."

So you weren't disagreeing but were self-aggrandizing. O.K. Thanks again, but no thanks.

B. Prokop said...

"This comment possesses characteristic attributes of someone oblivious to the historiographical origins of Marxist-Leninist thought and philosophy, and the underpinning principles by which it found political and activist expression in the 20thC. "

Papalinton,

As a Soviet analyst for the US Department of Defense for 34 years, fluent in Russian, and having read through the collected works of Marx, Lenin, Stalin, as well as a library full of material on communism, Marxism-Leninism, and Soviet Russia, and having extensively interviewed in person numerous Soviet emigres and military/political figures (once, even Boris Yeltsin himself!),as well as having visited many of the sites involved and examined physical artifacts, I can assure you, speaking with a professionally expert standing, that Marxism-Leninism and Soviet Communism was and is atheist at its very core, in its essential nature, and in every aspect of its real world manifestation in the Twentieth Century. This is as much a Fact of History as the reality of the Holocaust. To deny this is to put yourself on the same level (from the standpoint of both credibility and morality) as a Holocaust denier.

I hope you're not going to accuse me of being "oblivious".

And by the way, I'm still waiting for my dollar. I'll make it easy for you. Just drop it in the collection place at the nearest Catholic Church, because that's where I would have put it in any case.

B. Prokop said...

Sorry, I meant to type "collection plate".

Papalinton said...

Bob
" ... that Marxism-Leninism and Soviet Communism was and is atheist at its very core, ..."

No, only people can be atheists. Just as the Roman catholicism cannot be a believer. Yes, communism does not figure a god as a worldview. But there are many religions that do not subscribe to a god in their worldview.

Yes communism was godless. No question. But even over 90 years of Communist rule, the Russian population remained overwhelmingly christian. That is a fact. Putin is a christian. Medvedev is a christian. Russia is overwhelmingly a christian nation. The russian experiment was not an experiment with atheism, it was an experiment with Communism.

Is it any wonder that most governments around the world think poorly of the various intelligence arms of the US government.

And your nonsense about the League of the Militant Godless [LMG] also needs to be corrected. That stupid policy started in 1925 and was completely closed down by 1941 by the Soviet government. It was a useless program that even the Communists realized was nonsense. So for the remaining 50 years of the Soviet state, christianity flourished. Only those that spoke out against the russian government, be it from the pulpit or the street were incarcerated.

"One of the early Soviet regime's most ambitious attempts at social engineering, the League of the Militant Godless (Soyuz voinstvuyushchikh bezbozhnikov) was also one of its most dismal failures. Founded in 1925 as the League of the Godless, it was one of numerous volunteer groups created in the 1920s to help extend the regime's reach into Russian society. These organizations hoped to attract nonparty members who might be sympathetic to individual elements of the Bolshevik program...."
[LEAGUE OF THE MILITANT GODLESS: An entry from Macmillan Reference USA's Encyclopedia of Russian History [HTML] [Digital]
DANIEL PERIS (Author)]

"The climate of the campaign against religion was changing in the late 1930s and early 1940s. The regime slowly became more moderate in its approach to religion.[6] Yaroslavsky, in 1941 warned against condemning all religious believers, but said that there were many loyal Soviet citizens still possessing religious beliefs. He called for patient and tactful individual work without offending the believers, but "re-educating" them. He claimed that religion had disappeared in some parts of the country but in other parts (especially in the newly annexed territories) it was strong, and he warned against starting brutal offensives in those areas.[42]
He alleged that there were very few attempts to re-open churches and that this was a sign of the decline in religion. He branded those who tried to re-open churches as "former kulaks" and "falsifiers of figures".[43] This report was contradicted, however, by the LMG's own figures (based on the 1937 census) that found perhaps half the country still held religious beliefs, even if they had no structures to worship in any longer and they could no longer openly express their beliefs.[30]
An answer to this report was found when Nazi Germany invaded in 1941, and churches were re-opened under the German occupation, while believers flocked to them in the millions. In order to gain support for the war effort (both domestic and foreign; the allies would not support Stalin if he continued the campaign [44]) against the German forces that were effectively "liberating" religious believers from the persecution against them, Stalin ended the antireligious persecution[44][45] and the LMG was disbanded.[8] All LMG periodicals ceased to publish by September 1941. Its official disbandment date is unknown, but traced somewhere between 1941–1947.[43]"
[Wiki]

CONT.

BenYachov said...

It seems when hypocrites like Paps complain that the Church is taking civil rights away from gay by not granting them a novelty "right" they never had in the history of humanity he forgets to mention that countries who have granted this novelty "right" have gone out of their way to persecute those who disagree & take away their fundamental civil rights they have enjoyed for centuries.

see here:
http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/301641/canadian-crackdown-michael-coren

I love the part about the Fascist Canadians fineing a Knight of Columbus council for refusing to rent their hall for the wedding of a Lesbian couple.

It seems even in the west Atheism has an abyssmal

Papalinton said...

CONT

Imagine that! Hitler's Germans liberating religious believers in Russia in 1941. Let me say that again. Hitler's germans liberating religious believers. Why would he do that Bob? I thought you told me Germans were the enemy of religion and were completely driven by blind atheism. I was sure you were "speaking with a professionally expert standing". But I did some research notwithstanding your claim of intelligence expertise.

But back to the League of the Militant Godless, effectively and factually, the LMG operated for just 15 years, a tad over 3 Presidential terms in office. I was lead to believe from your posts that the LMG operated for the whole duration of the Soviet regime. That was no the case. Again the hyperbole from a Defense Department employee, "speaking with a professionally expert standing", no less.

The credibility of your commentary is somewhat in tatters and leaves little to be desired.

BenYachov said...

Paps is trying to be an apologist for Stalin? Is he is trying to down play Stalin's crack down on religion?

F***ing hysterical!:-)

Papalinton said...

"It seems when hypocrites like Paps complain that the Church is taking civil rights away from gay by not granting them a novelty "right" they never had in the history of humanity he forgets to mention that countries who have granted this novelty "right" have gone out of their way to persecute those who disagree & take away their fundamental civil rights they have enjoyed for centuries."

The workings of a neanderthal brain.

B. Prokop said...

"Is [Papalinton] trying to down play Stalin's crack down on religion?"

Yes, Ben, that's exactly what he is doing.

And watch this space. The new atheists will similarly play down the same behavior here if/when the state forbids the religious upbringing of children in the name of "freedom".

BenYachov said...

>Imagine that! Hitler's Germans liberating religious believers in Russia in 1941. Let me say that again. Hitler's germans liberating religious believers. Why would he do that Bob?

He wanted to get them on his side so he could turn around and oppress them.

I once attended a Ukrainian Eastern Catholic Church. The priest told me how Stalin starved his people for refusing to give up their religion. When the Nazi came they gave the Ukrainians respite from Stalin but then turned around and rounded up all the Jews and "racially impure" Ukrainians.

I talked to people who where there. Bob dealt with people who are there.

You are making piecemeal proof text apologist defense from secondary sources just because you can't bear the idea Dawkins doesn't know what the F*** he is talking about.

Pathetic! Atheist Apologetics!

BenYachov said...

>The workings of a neanderthal brain.

The facts are right there in front of you. I guess not every Atheist follows empirical evidence. I guess some empirical evidence is more equal then others.

B. Prokop said...

... which brings us full circle to how this particular thread began.

Here we see Papalinton, an apologist for Stalin and for Hitler, for God's sake, pulling his factoids out of wikipedia and the rest of the internet, and calling that evidence! And on top of that, having the unmitigated gall to say that those who call him on his ignorant blather using Real Facts deserve to be "ridiculed" for not adhering to the Party Line.

Well, comrade, all's I can say is that if there were Christians left in the Soviet Union after 70 years of state-imposed atheism, it is by the Grace of God that they there were. It is because in the end, Truth is stronger than any lie - even one backed with tanks, guns, and oppression.

You are fond of claiming that we are seeing Christianity's last days. Keep in mind that the same was said by Nero, Diocletian, Arius, the Vikings, Mohammed, Genghis Khan, the French "Cult of Reason", Karl Marx, Trotsky, Nietzsche, Spengler, Stalin, Pol Pot (wonderful company, these new atheists keep!), yet we are still here! As the founder of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church said to St. Peter, when He presented to him the Keys to the Kingdom, "The gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

cl said...

...sigh...

Came here in hopes of finding some new inspiration, but I see it's still Matt DeStefano, ducking, weaving and whining, totally misconstruing what Victor and others have said (the comparison was the hatred expressed at the rallies, not the people), all while still failing to rise to what should be a simple challenge if his claims are correct.

Oh well. Here's what I was going to say:

"Great post Vic, way to stand up against blatant atheist bigots WRT to religious freedom and raising children."

Crude said...

Bob,

I note that the Cult of Gnu brand of atheist is downright schizophrenic. One moment they're cheering on a chubby biologist screaming about scaling and sacking the city of God with their power - the next they're whimpering that they're a minority and wondering why Christians have a low view of them. They scream about how Christianity is doomed and the world has turned against God en masse, then they squeal about how the United States is either becoming or already is a theocracy.

Meanwhile, Linton there is saying that the League of Militant Godless 'only' operated for 15 years. But religion persecution continued well, well beyond that time, and by Linton's own sources (once again, he does not comprehend the very things he posts) was temporarily halted only because it became a liability in wartime. Apparently, we're all supposed to feel just *dandy* about past atheistic regimes' violent suppression of Christian belief because, if it gets too inconvenient for them, they may halt it temporarily.

And Cultists of Gnu who engage in antics like Linton do all this for one worrying reason: they cannot stomach the idea that their cause is anything but the purest. Just as the great Cause to wipe out religion and religious people By Any Means Necessary requires mockery, derision, insult, and hate rhetoric (viewing theistic ideas as capable of being rationally discussed is dangerous, y'see), the Cause also requires that the track record of atheists and atheism be spotless (self-skepticism or recognizing the sins of one's own intellectual clique is dangerous, and leads to worrying hesitation when we need one-minded discipline).

Lemme ask you one thing, Bob. Wasn't this a habit of the Soviets themselves? Didn't they have a knack for going back and making inconvenient people and awkward history just plain 'disappear', or be reinterpreted however it needed to be to make their own track record look clean and spotless? Granted, that wasn't limited to Stalin, but man - the Soviets took it to an interesting level.

cl said...

Crude,

Your opening comment in this thread was quite moving. I sense change'a brewin'...

B. Prokop said...

Crude,

I used to have a copy of the 1949 Bol'shaya Sovetskaya (Great Soviet Encyclopedia), but I tragically misplaced it over one of my many moves over the past years (I've lived quite literally all over the world at one time or another). It was an amazing, eye-opening read - written at the very zenith of the Cult of Stalin.

The Article on atheism ran on for several pages, and explicitly laid out how Communism was predicated upon an atheistic worldview, and that there wasn't a hair's breadth of separation between the two ideas. There was also a glowing article on St. Isaac's Cathedral in Leningrad, exulting in how the state had converted it into a "Museum of Atheism". One of the pictures in that article was a charming image of a Bible covered with a fake spiderweb. Another was a (very approving) photograph of Chekhist thugs looting a church and hurling icons into a gutter. The encyclopedia was actually boasting of such things!

In the 1970's I used to clean the apartment of a quite elderly Russian woman, Mrs. Krylova - a survivor of the Russian Civil War. My pay for doing this was the chance to converse in Russian with her as I worked. Boy did she ever tell me stories! One of them was how, as a young girl in school, she was instructed (ordered) along with her classmates to pray for lunch. When none came, the teachers explained how "useless" prayer therefore was. Then they were ordered to ask Lenin for lunch. Upon doing so, carts of steaming hot food were wheeled in for the children to eat. Lesson learned!

Maybe this is what Matt had in mind when he wanted to outlaw religious upbringing by parents in the US.

Johnny Boy said...

B Prokop says:

"Here we see Papalinton, an apologist for Stalin and for Hitler, for God's sake, pulling his factoids out of wikipedia and the rest of the internet, and calling that evidence!"

At least now he puts them in actual quotation marks not pretending his big brain came up with it himself --like he's been caught doing. It's progress of some kind.

Karl Grant said...

Paps,

I think you just sank to a new low. Being an apologist for Hitler and Stalin? What's the matter, did you get a buy-one-get-one free deal on some genocide memorabilia? Or are you still not bothering to read articles before the old copy-and-paste?

cl said...

Crude,

"Again, I note the irony if Cult of Gnu proponents and members whining about how insulted they feel, when their leadership and organizations *explicitly promote mockery and insult* as a means to an end."

I'll second that. You know, I've actually tested the Gnus' theory (that mockery has a place in discourse), and I was either swiftly or eventually banned from probably 10 of 15-20 atheist blogs.

The message is clear: it isn't so much that Gnus are for mockery, no no... you see, they clearly don't like it when it's foisted upon them in liberal dose. Gnus want to mock Christians while remaining immune from mockery themselves.

HyperEntity111 said...

Papa posted: "What you are really asking, Victor, is why shouldn't I inculcate christian theism into my daughters as the only right and true religion...Surely by doing so, you are...establishing the segregationist and exclusivist barrier that divides humanity into 'them' and 'us'."

Paps...If you teach someone that something is true you are necessarily teaching them that the opposing view is false. For example if you teach someone that atheism is true you are necessarily teaching them that theism is false and that billions of theists are mistaken (or stupid and deluded as you and Dawkins believe).

So your argument really boils down to the following:

-S teaches P that q is true
-If S holds that q is true he must believe that anyone who holds ˜q is wrong
-Therefore by teaching P that q is true and ˜q is false S is promoting divisive and segregationist ideas

Does this mean that by promoting atheism you and Dawkins are promoting segregationist ideas that divide humanity and create a 'them' vs 'us' mentality?

Indeed, Victor has not (to my knowledge) stated that atheists are stupid or crazy for not holding to the truth of theism. But you and Dawkins are quite explicit that theists are not merely mistaken but stupid and delusional because they are theists. You believe that mocking and ridiculing people are appropriate tools to promote the cause of atheism. Surely such behavior is even more likely to promote segregationist mindsets than merely teaching people that your belief is true?

With regard to the relationship between atheism and communism...It is unfortunate that certain commentators wish to claim that Christianity is responsible for moral atrocities but at the same time claim that atheism has done no wrong. Apparently we are expected to believe that when Pol Pot forced thousands of Muslims to eat pork and executed those that did not, atheism had nothing to do with it.

This might seem like strange thing to say but it is a surprising common belief among the Gnus. For example, the late Christopher Hitchens was fond of telling audiences that Stalin was not an atheist. Daniel Dennett has further defended this view by claiming that Stalin worshipped himself and so his crimes had nothing to do with atheism but were actually the caused by religion. Now is it just me or does anyone else detect a whiff of the 'no true atheist' fallacy in these claims

HyperEntity111 said...

Papa posted: ‘’ For the remaining 50 years of the Soviet state, christianity flourished. Only those that spoke out against the russian government, be it from the pulpit or the street were incarcerated.’’


Examples of the oppression endured by Christians in the USSR:

‘’The state was committed to the destruction of religion,[2][3] and destroyed churches, mosques and temples, ridiculed, harassed and executed religious leaders, flooded the schools and media with atheistic propaganda, and generally promoted 'scientific atheism' as the truth that society should accept. Criticism of atheism or the state's anti-religious policies was forbidden and could lead to forced retirement, arrest and/or imprisonment.’’

‘’Some actions against Orthodox priests and believers along with execution included torture, being sent to prison camps, labour camps or mental hospitals. Protestant Christians in the USSR (Baptists, Pentecostals, Adventists etc.) in the period after the Second world war were compulsively sent to mental hospitals, endured trials and prisons (often for refusal to enter military service). Some were even compulsively deprived of their parent rights.’’

‘’A massive purge was conducted at the same time of Christian intellectuals, who mostly died in the camps or in prison,[61] in order to take away the church’s intellectuals and assist official propaganda that only backward people believed in God.[62]’’


(It seems to me that if you accept Paps & Dawkins ’ views on religion than these actions are entirely reasonable. For example, if you think that Christians are literally deluded then it is completely reasonably to send them to mental hospitals for treatment. If you think that raising your children religiously constitutes child abuse comparable to child rape than it makes perfect sense to deprive religious parents of their parenting rights in order to stop them abusing their children. These are the consequences of New Atheism when followed to their logical conclusion.)


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Christians_in_the_Soviet_Union


Paps…Stalin murdered millions of Christians and persecuted people because of their faith. To deny that this occurred, to claim that religious people were not persecuted because of their religion in the USSR is tantamount to holocaust denial. Your behavior is disgusting and yet more proof of the morally retarding effect of dogmatic thinking on the human mind.

rank sophist said...

Papalinton just lost all of his credibility. Actually, it's worse than that. He's at negative credibility. I can't believe this damage control.

Also, I'm no B. Prokop (to put it mildly--wow) when it comes to communism, but here's a quote from Lenin: "Atheism is a natural and inseparable part of Marxism, of the theory and practice of scientific socialism." By Lenin's own words, atheism and communism go hand in hand.

Also, he said this in the '20s: "Children must be taught to hate their parents if they are not communists." Sound familiar? It should.

Don Jindra said...

rank sophist,

"Marxist-Leninist communism is atheistic. Necessarily. No exceptions."

Okay, if you say Marxist-Leninist atheists murdered a lot of people because they acted as Marxist-Leninist atheists I wouldn't complain. But you drop the Marxist-Leninist qualifier once you want to pin murders on your target -- atheists (in general). I say if you qualify communism (Marxist-Leninist communism) you must also qualify atheism (Marxist-Leninist atheism).

But I'm going to quibble with the "no exception" claim. It's a convenient definitional. "truth" which you use for obvious rhetorical reasons. You want to exclude all the contradictory evidence. How, for example do you deal with the many Marxists who were not atheists or who saw no necessary connection between atheism and Marxism? How would you deal with Liberation Theology? What are you going to do with Ernesto Cardenal, Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, François Houtart, Gustavo Gutiérrez, Thomas J. Haggerty, Camilo Torres Restrepo, Uriel Molin, Frederic Hastings Smyth, and James Cone? What of Jeremiah Wright? If he's not a Marxist a lot of "conservative" pundits have egg on their face. Let's even consider Alasdair MacIntyre.

You might complain that none of these people are bona fide Marxist-Leninists. I'd counter that anyone can artificially limit a sample to force the results to conform to the proposition.

But even that doesn't really get you far. Let's consider why atheism is of concern to a Marxist at all. Marx devotes thousands of pages to economic and class theory. He barely mentions religion. His economics has nothing to do with atheism. That's hardly a surprise. There's no way to reason from atheism to his economics. His attack on religion -- if we can even call it an attack -- was that it served as an impediment against his economic utopia. Communism was not a war on religion. It was a war on class oppression. That was the driving force. The Soviet's Cold War was not an effort to liberate the world from religious oppression, but from economic oppression. The ultimate sin was capitalism, not supernatural belief. So you can hardly accuse atheism -- which has no attached economic theory -- of being behind those crimes which were done in the name of economics.

It's simply wrong to claim that atheism goes to the core of Marxism or even Marxist-Leninism. Economics is at the core. To miss that is to deeply misunderstand it.


"If you grant us this much, then all arguments for religion-as-poison--per Dawkins, Lance Bush and Mao--are off the table."

I don't agree with Dawkins, Lance Bush and Mao. I don't see religion as poison -- or at least I try very hard not to. Nor do I see atheism as a bastion of moral virtue. My complaint is with using "godless communism" as an example of atheistic atrocities. To do that we have to ignore what communism was all about.

Don Jindra said...

tank sophist,

Lenin: "Atheism is a natural and inseparable part of Marxism, of the theory and practice of scientific socialism."

That really doesn't help your case because Marxism is not an inseparable part of atheism.

And there is also this:

"Marxism has always regarded all modern religions and churches, and each and every religious organisation, as instruments of bourgeois reaction that serve to defend exploitation and to befuddle the working class."

-- that is, religion is an impediment to their economic (not atheistic) end.

Crude said...

DJ,

That really doesn't help your case because Marxism is not an inseparable part of atheism.

Utterly distilled 'atheism' isn't what's receiving the bulk of the criticism here - it's the Cult of Gnu variant of it. That variant is explicitly tied up with political and social action, and also where the parallels with Marxist and Klan rhetoric pops up in spades.

Slavery isn't an inseparable part of the American government, but the link remains.

- that is, religion is an impediment to their economic (not atheistic) end.

You're leaving an important detail out: the economic end was able to be regarded as the supreme issue of worry precisely on the assumed truth of atheism and materialism. It's easy to see why if atheism were false - if it had even the possibility of being false - the entire Marxist project would necessarily have a different form than what Marx and others expounded.

Marxism didn't regard theism and religion as incompatible with the Marxist program by way of some contingent accident of history. It was necessarily incompatible.

Crude said...

To emphasize something I was driving at just now.

As I said, with Marxism, allowing the possibility of the truth of theism or religion was incompatible with the Marxist project: if it's treated as a live, much less respectable, possibility that God exists or some religion is true, that alone suffices to scuttle the Marxist value system, and along with it it the justification for the whole project.

Here's just one parallel with the Cult of Gnu: if the truth of some religion or theism is treated as rational possibilities, live options, then the Cult project doesn't get off the ground either. The movement is predicated upon atheism being the only rational option, and non-atheisms (even middling agnosticism) being regarded alternately as threats to be eradicated across the board. To say 'Well, maybe God does exist. Maybe some religion is true. To believe these things is not in and of itself condemnable, or fatally irrational' is to abandon the Gnu herd upon the instant.

rank sophist said...

Okay, if you say Marxist-Leninist atheists murdered a lot of people because they acted as Marxist-Leninist atheists I wouldn't complain. But you drop the Marxist-Leninist qualifier once you want to pin murders on your target -- atheists (in general).

Why would I want to drop the qualifier? I'm not trying to demonize atheists. I have no problem with them whatsoever. The point is that the rhetoric of Marxist-Leninist atheists (and of Maoists, a variant of Marxist-Leninists) sounds an awful lot like the rhetoric of Dawkins and the Gnus.

You might complain that none of these people are bona fide Marxist-Leninists. I'd counter that anyone can artificially limit a sample to force the results to conform to the proposition.

So you accuse me of the no true scotsman fallacy? Are you kidding? Read B. Prokop's post. Here, I'll excerpt:

"I used to have a copy of the 1949 Bol'shaya Sovetskaya (Great Soviet Encyclopedia), but I tragically misplaced it over one of my many moves over the past years (I've lived quite literally all over the world at one time or another). It was an amazing, eye-opening read - written at the very zenith of the Cult of Stalin.

The Article on atheism ran on for several pages, and explicitly laid out how Communism was predicated upon an atheistic worldview, and that there wasn't a hair's breadth of separation between the two ideas. There was also a glowing article on St. Isaac's Cathedral in Leningrad, exulting in how the state had converted it into a "Museum of Atheism". One of the pictures in that article was a charming image of a Bible covered with a fake spiderweb. Another was a (very approving) photograph of Chekhist thugs looting a church and hurling icons into a gutter. The encyclopedia was actually boasting of such things!"


If you want a more mainstream source, here's Wikipedia: "A society organised through a vanguard party on Marxist-Leninist principles seeks to purge anything considered bourgeois, or idealist from it; in addition, it seeks to implement universal atheism through the abolition of religion."

Marxist-Leninist communism imposes state atheism. That's what it does--no exceptions. If it doesn't do that, then it isn't Marxist-Leninist communism. This is not a no true scotsman fallacy, because atheism is written into the creed of Marxism-Leninism.

That really doesn't help your case because Marxism is not an inseparable part of atheism.

I never said that it was. I said that Marxist-Leninist (and Maoist) communism imposed religious oppression and state atheism. My point is that state atheism does not work any better than theocracy, contra Dawkins and Lance Bush.

I don't agree with Dawkins, Lance Bush and Mao. I don't see religion as poison -- or at least I try very hard not to. Nor do I see atheism as a bastion of moral virtue.

Then we have no quarrel.

Papalinton said...

The response was predictable. The bible crazies have had a field day. The form of 'logic' I used over the last few posts here was modeled on that which believers on this site utilize. My Russian commentary was scripted pretty much as the believers of the immaterial have caricatured atheists who have been compared to the KKK, the Nazis, Stalin, Mao, and the naughty French.

And they simply could not discern the irony. Now I'm a Hitler lover, a communist aficionado, a slaughter monger, a holocaust denier. In fact I won't be surprised when I am branded a holocaust perpetrator although I was born many years after the event. But that is no impediment when one is a believer in the immaterial.

Yes. Those that have been trained to be believers in the immaterial use their unknowable God-given skills to believe in things that are just not there, and it sounds and feels good to them because they have had a deep and personal experience. And as I noted earlier that is no obstacle for a believer because they believe in the immaterial. Anything is possible. Forget about the probable. What cannot be touched, smelled, heard, tasted, and is unseen is good enough for them. The power of the immaterial is a power indeed. Believers can think of a gap in their knowledge and they can fill it with anything, and it's meaningful and apparently it is logical. Evidence is material and they just get in the way.

Immateriality, the belief in a 'nothingness' is what the world is all about. They say god made the universe from nothing. Unfortunately, it is the nothingness that shines through. But that is a big plus according to the believers in the immaterial.

Don Jindra said...

Crude,

Utterly distilled 'atheism' isn't what's receiving the bulk of the criticism here - it's the Cult of Gnu variant of it.

As far as I know this "Cult of Gnu" is not a collection of Marxist-Leninists.

But I'll be glad to admit anyone who thinks it's child abuse to raise kids religiously (or non-religiously) is a person I wouldn't trust in politics.


"You're leaving an important detail out: the economic end was able to be regarded as the supreme issue of worry precisely on the assumed truth of atheism and materialism."

I doubt a Christian capitalist is any less fervent in his desire to keep a capitalistic system (or a Christian climate, for that matter).


"Marxism didn't regard theism and religion as incompatible with the Marxist program by way of some contingent accident of history. It was necessarily incompatible.

Empirical evidence (if we can call it that) refutes this. There are religious Marxists. They aren't rare. Besides, from that little follows. We can say scientists regard religion and science as necessarily incompatible. That doesn't mean scientists need to eliminate religion.

Don Jindra said...

rank sophist,

"Read B. Prokop's post."

I had read it. It doesn't impress me. He's paraphrasing from memory. And who cares if there's a "Museum of Atheism"? (that's poorly named, btw. It should be "Museum of Religion.")


"The point is that the rhetoric of Marxist-Leninist atheists (and of Maoists, a variant of Marxist-Leninists) sounds an awful lot like the rhetoric of Dawkins and the Gnus.

I'm not that familiar with the so-called Gnus. The only things I know are what theists say about them. And when I run down some of those quotes I see they're often interpreted badly out of context (like HyperEntity111's Harris quotes).


"Marxist-Leninist communism imposes state atheism. That's what it does--no exceptions.

a) Nicaragua.

b) My complaint has to do with smearing atheism with the Marxist-Leninist tag, like atheism is an equal (and necessary) component in the mix. IOW, the behavior of a Marxist-Leninist atheist tells us nothing about a capitalist atheist.


"My point is that state atheism does not work any better than theocracy,"

I agree. I hope we can agree any party that wants to impose a state creed of any sort is equally dangerous.

Crude said...

DJ,

As far as I know this "Cult of Gnu" is not a collection of Marxist-Leninists.

No one said they were.

But I'll be glad to admit anyone who thinks it's child abuse to raise kids religiously (or non-religiously) is a person I wouldn't trust in politics.

Agreed.

I doubt a Christian capitalist is any less fervent in his desire to keep a capitalistic system (or a Christian climate, for that matter).

Unfortunately, the closest you're going to find in terms of an ideology which involves a fervent desire to maintain a strictly capitalist system is going to be Ayn Rand's crew - and what a surprise, Rand's bunch is yet another which has very little patience for religion, with Rand herself being an atheist.

Which, frankly, just backs up my point: atheism is not an incidental part of either system. If you remove the atheism, you get a very different system. Marx and Stalin's bunch emphasized the atheism like crazy.

Empirical evidence (if we can call it that) refutes this. There are religious Marxists. They aren't rare.

Sure, and there's no shortage of capitalist marxists too. I mean, look at China. Clearly there's no incompatibility between capitalism and communist teachings, right?

Sorry, but no. Marxists who are sincere theists and religious are Marxists no longer. They've become something else, by Marx's own standard.

We can say scientists regard religion and science as necessarily incompatible. That doesn't mean scientists need to eliminate religion.

If you want to get into empirical evidence, you're going to find a striking correlation between scientists who at least give lip service to placing a high value on science, who think that religion and science are fundamentally incompatible in a 'if religion thrives, science necessarily suffers' way, and who does not therefore view the eradication of religion as a goal.

Crude said...

and who does not therefore view the eradication of religion as a goal.

Who does, that is.

Karl Grant said...

Paps,

The form of 'logic' I used over the last few posts here was modeled on that which believers on this site utilize....And they simply could not discern the irony.

Paps, you are not smart enough nor do you have the strategic foresight to pull off something like that. Plus, half of us doubt you can tell what irony is without heading over to Wikipedia. Plain and simple, you screwed up on damage control. Own up to the fact and don't try and pretend you're some blogger version of Sun Tzu.

In fact I won't be surprised when I am branded a holocaust perpetrator although I was born many years after the event.

Come on Pap, nobody is going suggest that. We all know the SS had higher recruiting standards. And while I have a very low opinion of Nazis suggesting that Himmler would hire you would be an unwarranted insult to the man's intelligence and competence.

What cannot be touched, smelled, heard, tasted, and is unseen is good enough for them.

Good enough for atheists too, witness how Dawkins appeals to the Multiverse theory to try and explain away Fine-Tuning. Ever touched, smelled, heard, tasted, or seen another universe? And what is this Dark Matter that physicists talk about? I have never seen it and neither have they. Pot, kettle, black and all that.

Believers can think of a gap in their knowledge and they can fill it with anything, and it's meaningful and apparently it is logical.

God-of-the-Gaps? Let's see, is this proof #1708 or #1709 that you are still a fundamentalist at heart? I am losing count.

Crude said...

Paps, you are not smart enough nor do you have the strategic foresight to pull off something like that. Plus, half of us doubt you can tell what irony is without heading over to Wikipedia. Plain and simple, you screwed up on damage control.

No kidding.

Wow, is he really trying the "I meant to do that!" Peewee Herman thing? Who does he think will freaking believe him?

This is too rich. :D

Karl Grant said...

Don Jindra,

As far as I know this "Cult of Gnu" is not a collection of Marxist-Leninists.

No one said they were. What we have said is that the rhetoric they are employing and their general behavior bares a disturbing similarity to various hate groups.

rank sophist said...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/mar/15/society

John Gray agrees.

Karl Grant said...

Rank Sophist,

I have linked to that article before on both this blog and CL's blog. Don't count on it persuading Paps, Tony, Matt, etc...

By the way, I just acquired and started reading a copy of Gray's Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia. Read it yet?

Papalinton said...

How is this for a piece of institutional misogyny? The magisterium, a collection of old male farts deliberately interfering in women's personal health issues. The woman, a nun, an emeritus professor of christian ethics at Yale University being condemned:

"The Vatican has condemned a leading American nun for writing a book in which she praises female masturbation and approves divorce and gay sex and marriage, warning that the book must not be used by catholic educators.
The Vatican's criticism of Sister Margaret Farley, a professor emeritus of Christian ethics at Yale University, comes amid escalating tension with America's nuns, after the Holy See accused them of preaching "radical feminist" ideas.
In a statement approved by pope Benedict and issued on Monday, the Vatican's doctrinal office claims Farley's book, Just Love, a Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics, "ignores the constant teaching of the Magisterium or, where it is occasionally mentioned, treats it as one opinion among others".


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/04/vatican-nun-sexual-ethics-book

The rest of the article is very interesting reading.

This institution is diseased through to the core. The civil course to this travesty is to close down the institution, pretty much as Murdoch closed down the News of the World. There is no ethical leadership shown by the church's hierarchy, just totalitarian hegemonic supremacy.

rank sophist said...

Karl,

Nope. I'm not incredibly familiar with Gray's work--just with his reputation. Much of my recent reading time has been taken up by David Oderberg's Real Essentialism (which I recommend to anyone interested in traditional metaphysics) and David Bentley Hart's The Beauty of the Infinite (which I recommend to anyone who, unlike myself, endorses postmodernism), but maybe I should check out Gray's book. His article on the Guardian was very fair and interesting.

Papalinton,

What, exactly, is the problem? The Vatican isn't saying anything out of the ordinary there. They're merely repeating the standard beliefs outlined by traditional Greek metaphysics.

Karl Grant said...

Paps,

old male farts deliberately interfering in

Now that is a subject you should know quite a bit about, since you are an old male fart deliberately interfering with other people's business on the net and continually butting into other people's conversations with the intent of dragging them off-topic and trying to boost your own ego.

....

You know, I am getting bored. Could you at least try to make it were the sarcastic comebacks don't write themselves?

Karl Grant said...

Rank Sophist,

I like Gray mainly because he does a good job of pointing out that many secular ideas are religious ideas with the serial numbers filed off and torpedoing the myth that scientific and technological development = superior enlightened society.

BenYachov said...

Paps,

Shocking! I'm simply shocked the Vatican condemns masturbation, gay sex, gay marriage and re-marriage "so called" between baptized people after a civil divorce!

What next! They could actually believe in God!!!!!!!

Oh the horror!!!!

Paps really lay off the drugs.

Drink some beer it kills less brain cells.

Steven Carr said...

VICTOR
I dated a Jewish woman, and we ended that relationship when it became evident that, if we have children, we would not be able to agree on their religious upbringing

CARR
Love conquers all.

Except religion.

Victor has just admitted that his religious beliefs were more powerful than love.

He wanted to be able to tell his children that they would burn in Hell if they rejected Jesus as the Jewish Messiah, and realised that that would upset their mother.

rank sophist said...

You're pathetic, Carr.

HyperEntity111 said...

I just stumbled upon Linton's latest ravings. I must say they are appalling pieces even by his low standards. Rather than retract, apologise, or clarify his previous comments he indulges in a brief bit of sophistry (suggesting that he was being 'ironic' and that everyone here was too stupid to realise that) before hurling abuse and trying to change the subject. Appalling.

"He wanted to tell his children that they would burn in Hell if they rejected Jesus..."

How do you know this? Are you a mind reader?

Ephram said...

Wow, this Carr bloke has got to be the biggest tool I've seen in a long while. What a wretched thing to say to Vic.

BenYachov said...

Carr,

Morally you are no different then the anonymous troll Dirt Bags who attack Loftus' personal life & or how he allegedly handles his finances.

Intellectually you are on the same level as Flat Earthers & or morons who deny men landed on the moon.

Papalinton said...

"I just stumbled upon Linton's latest ravings. I must say they are appalling pieces even by his low standards. Rather than retract, apologise, or clarify his previous comments he indulges ...."

"I certainly had no idea how little faith christians have in their own faith till I saw how ill their courage and temper can stand any attack on it."
Harriet Martineau; English abolitionist, publisher "Society in America", 'a doubter who believed everyone doubted'.

BenYachov said...

@Paps

"Scooby Dooby Doo!!!!!!"

-Scooby Doo the dog from THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SCOOBY DOO.

Papalinton said...

"CARR
Love conquers all.

Except religion.

Victor has just admitted that his religious beliefs were more powerful than love.


Read Reppert's OP again: "Before I met my wife, I dated a Jewish woman, and we ended that relationship when it became evident that, if we have children, we would not be able to agree on their religious upbringing."

Where did Carr get it wrong? Even if the Jewish woman insisted that the children were to be brought up kosher, clearly, there was no way Reppert was going to allow that to happen. If love was truly more powerful than the power of catholic hegemonic authoritarianism, then he would have gladly acceded to her wishes. After all a religion is just a religion is just a religion, no? And we are all ecumenical, right? And Jews and catholics all pray to the same god, no? I mean the Hebrew bible is an integral and inseparable part and integral parcel of the christian bible, No? Yahweh? No?

Clearly, the power of catholic hegemony is inversely proportional to the strength of a believer's character.
But then again, perhaps the love for the Jewish woman was not as strong as was first thought. And the 'upbringing' debate was the straw .... ..........

And the christians rode headlong into a dry gulch.

Crude said...

Bwahaha.

Linton, I thought you couldn't look worse after your plagiarism crap. But this took the cake. You are a living example of what the Cult of Gnu does to a mind - and what kind of minds are so fanatically loyal to it.

Keep it up. Seriously. Devote your remaining years to these kinds of antics, this kind of display, wherever you can. You and the Cult are to atheism what Westboro Baptist is to Christianity. ;)

Karl Grant said...

Steven Carr,

I have seen people break up over wanting their children to be raised Republican or Democrat. Love conquers all except for politics. And I have also seen couples break up because one wanted the child to be raised athiest, or at least in an irreligious household, and the other didn't. Love conquers all except for atheism. Now do you have anything to contribute to this discussion besides tired old cliches that usually don't apply to the real world?

Paps,

And what exactly do you know about relationships? We have yet to have seen any concrete evidence any woman would be interested in you. Please leave this discussion to people who actually have experince with the subject matter.

Cale B.T. said...

"He wanted to be able to tell his children that they would burn in Hell if they rejected Jesus as the Jewish Messiah"

Mr. Carr, I could be wrong but isn't Victor Reppert a proponent of or at least sympathetic to universalism?

BenYachov said...

>Clearly, the power of catholic hegemony is inversely proportional to the strength of a believer's character.

Victor is not a Catholic Christian but a Protestant.

Wow Linton can't even get that right.

cl said...

Totally depressing.

I guess one positive is that some good data came out of the exchanges with Paps.

Don Jindra said...

Karl Grant,

"What we have said is that the rhetoric they are employing and their general behavior bares a disturbing similarity to various hate groups."

I wouldn't know since I've never read any of their books. I guess I should to see what all the fuss is about. I do now own three of them so maybe I'll get around to it. (Above you mentioned Gray's Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia which I also have and it sounds a lot more interesting.)

I will say I don't trust authoritarians and meddlers no matter their ideology.

Don Jindra said...

Crude,

"Unfortunately, the closest you're going to find in terms of an ideology which involves a fervent desire to maintain a strictly capitalist system is going to be Ayn Rand's crew - and what a surprise, Rand's bunch is yet another which has very little patience for religion, with Rand herself being an atheist."

I doubt the libertarian/objectivist fringe are the most fervent capitalists. There probably aren't many real capitalists in that bunch. Talk is cheap. If Rand had created her own railroad I could take her interest more seriously. That group might be the most closed-minded ideologues, though. But I'm not sure you can count on them being atheists. Gary North is no atheist and he probably belongs in that camp.


"Which, frankly, just backs up my point: atheism is not an incidental part of either system. If you remove the atheism, you get a very different system."

How would theism appreciably change the system? From the historical record I see no evidence that theistic communists were much different.


"Marxists who are sincere theists and religious are Marxists no longer. They've become something else, by Marx's own standard."

That's like saying every Christian who doesn't adhere to your understanding of Jesus is a Christian no more. Marx's dabbling in religion was insignificant in his overall output. That tells me he didn't think it mattered that much. Other Marxist have seen it that way, others have not. But Marx was also a believer in dialectics. I doubt he thought he was writing holy texts. Religion is notorious for strict, unalterable dogma based on received word. I agree many Marxists have used the text in this way which is one reason I count Marxism a quasi-religion. If you say there must be a Marxist orthodoxy then I feel like you implicitly agree.

Don Jindra said...

Karl Grant,

"And I have also seen couples break up because one wanted the child to be raised athiest, or at least in an irreligious household, and the other didn't. Love conquers all except for atheism."

I'm going to take your meaning that we don't know who to blame because we don't know the details. I personally like the Spencer's Mountain solution. But that assumes mutual respect, confidence and dignity.

Victor Reppert said...

The idea that "being in love" is supposed to conquer every other consideration is a modern heresy. Love conquers all only in romantic comedies, not in the real world.

I wonder if Carr or Papalinton would willingly enter a marriage with a Christian woman if that woman wanted to take their children to church and allow them to receive a Christian education.

I mentioned it simply because in advancing the "child abuse" charge Dawkins is attacking us in an area of our lives that we take with the utmost seriousness.

As I see it, the New Atheism is the intellectual equivalent of Jihad. It is total war mentality, a scorched earth operation.

Whether child abuse or religious upbringing is more damaging to a child is a scientifically testable claim. and the evidence looks very bad for Dawkins' position.

http://www.breakpoint.org/component/content/article/71-features/1490-childs-play-from-dawkins

So, we might say, with Jeff Foxworthy, "You might be a New Atheist it you say that it is abominable to believe in transubstiation on the basis of the authority of the Catholic Church. But you believe that religious upbringing is worse than child abuse because Richard Dawkins says so." (Dawkins said it, I believe it, that settles it.)

B. Prokop said...

"I certainly had no idea how little faith christians have in their own faith till I saw how ill their courage and temper can stand any attack on it."Harriet Martineau

Wrong quote, Papalinton, and way off the mark. (Chalk up another miss. So far you're batting zero point zero.)

No one here is "ill" taking an attack on the Faith (and you know this perfectly well). They (and I) are reacting against (and rightly so) the idea that the state has a right to tell us we can't raise our children in the Faith.

HUGE difference. Surely even you can see that. Go ahead and attack the Faith all you want, because in the marketplace of Free Ideas, Truth will always win out. I personally have never seen an atheist beat a competent Christian debater in a head-to-head. But what Matt was effectively suggesting (though he failed to see this) was that we quash that free marketplace, and replace it with state-sanctioned compulsory atheism.

Crude said...

DJ,

I doubt the libertarian/objectivist fringe are the most fervent capitalists. There probably aren't many real capitalists in that bunch. Talk is cheap.

And Marxists were/are a pack of hypocrites when it comes to certain ideals. (See: China.) But I cannot think of an ideology more fervently capitalist than the Randites, and it just so happens the Randites are big on atheism and religion-hostile too. If there's any difference, it's that the Randite opposition to government means that you can't really count on them to persecute religion by government policy. Then again...

How would theism appreciably change the system? From the historical record I see no evidence that theistic communists were much different.

Because you're changing the core values of the system, particularly if you mean some sincerely Christian marxism. The overriding concern is no longer economical, and the entire practice would - if sincere - be at least in theory regulated by Christian values. To use an extreme example, marxists can set up rape camps to keep people in line. Christians can't, unless you're radically de-Christianizing the whole process.

Marx outlined a value system, and atheism and anti-religion was not incidental to it. There's just no denying that. I don't have to pretend there aren't socialist Christians, or Christians who behave rottenly, to make that point.

That's like saying every Christian who doesn't adhere to your understanding of Jesus is a Christian no more. Marx's dabbling in religion was insignificant in his overall output.

It depends on the understanding. If Jesus was a nice man who taught some nice things and that's it, yeah, Christian no more. And Marx didn't 'dabble' in religion - his views about God and nature were central to the values of his project. Alter those views in the way that basically runs totally opposite to Marx's, and you end up with a different system, pure and simple. It may still be a rotten system, but it's Marxism no more.

Religion is notorious for strict, unalterable dogma based on received word.

Ideologies are notorious for that, not religion alone - and 'received word' isn't the key aspect in any event.

Papalinton said...

"Go ahead and attack the Faith all you want, because in the marketplace of Free Ideas, Truth will always win out."

And would that be the Islamic truth? Or perhaps the Hindu truth? No. No. Wait. Scientology. That's the one. That's the one truth that will win out. No wait. I remember now. It's the new theism that is the binding truth that will win out. It's called Mormonology. It is far more relevant in a modern society. Mormons have told me so. The source of this revelation is unquestionably today's living LDS prophets.

Yes, truth will always win out. And that is the very reason for the significant trend towards scrutinizing and questioning even the most sacred of inane ideas that have never been challenged in the marketplace as ever before. In earlier times scrutinisers and questioners were summarily disposed of.

Don Jindra said...

Crude,

"But I cannot think of an ideology more fervently capitalist than the Randites"

Then we probably disagree on what it means to be fervent. I know the Randists are fervent. But their talk is nothing compared to those men and women who spend every waking hour and every cent they have to build a business. I'll put my money on the doer rather than the talker any day. I don't care how much a fan of basketball a person is, his fervency is nothing compared to the guy who goes to the court every day and works to make the team, help them win the games and take home the titles.

"Because you're changing the core values of the system, particularly if you mean some sincerely Christian marxism."

We can't probe people and find out what their core values are. I doubt half of the professing Christians in leadership positions believe a word of that stuff. Behavior is all we can see. Communism as implemented by professing Christians has very poor results.


"To use an extreme example, marxists can set up rape camps to keep people in line. Christians can't, unless you're radically de-Christianizing the whole process."

Unfortunately that's sort of what the Christians at Munster did. To say that it's de-Christianizing the whole process means nothing to me. How are we supposed to know until it's too late? If we're to know Christians by their fruit then why bother to listen to their words? Since I know the Bible fairly well, it's getting to the point for me that the more someone claims he's using the Bible to guide his behavior the less sure I am I can predict his behavior.


"And Marx didn't 'dabble' in religion - his views about God and nature were central to the values of his project."

How many pages did he devote to religion? Do you know of some secret text?


"Ideologies are notorious for that, not religion alone.

Exactly, which is why I see little if any difference between dogmatic ideology and dogmatic theology.

Crude said...

DJ,

Then we probably disagree on what it means to be fervent. I know the Randists are fervent. But their talk is nothing compared to those men and women who spend every waking hour and every cent they have to build a business. I'll put my money on the doer rather than the talker any day.

That's getting into a whole other discussion. But the philosophy is what it is, and has the focus that it does, regardless of the faults of particular adherents.

We can't probe people and find out what their core values are. I doubt half of the professing Christians in leadership positions believe a word of that stuff. Behavior is all we can see. Communism as implemented by professing Christians has very poor results.

I didn't deny that communism implemented by Christians would be a really great system - I'm sure it would be rotten. I also don't care to engage in armchair psychology here - it's not necessary, and opens a whole other slew of issues that are unrelated here. But the fact remains that if you're going to make some kind of 'Christian communism', you're going to - if the Christianity is sincere - end up with a different beast. The very fact that Marx has a value system that places something other than 'God' and one's relationship with God as a top-tier concern illustrates that.

To say that it's de-Christianizing the whole process means nothing to me. How are we supposed to know until it's too late? If we're to know Christians by their fruit then why bother to listen to their words?

Because what one writes or communicates is fruit as well. If man X writes about how he wants to hang every black man he comes across, you're dealing with 'fruits'. The whole line about "judge by their fruits" deals with sincerity of words - but if the words are rotten to begin with, you've already got an obvious problem.

How many pages did he devote to religion? Do you know of some secret text?

What words he wrote conveyed his meaning enough, and powerfully enough. It was not a throwaway emphasis with Marx himself or the Marxists who followed him.

why I see little if any difference between dogmatic ideology and dogmatic theology.

Which is yet another reason why the Cult of Gnu's failings are pretty ironic.

B. Prokop said...

Jindra is missing the point with his emphasis on "Marxism", full stop. You'll note that in my original posting, I carefully used the more relevant term "Marxism-Leninism".

There you'll find mega-pages on anti-religion!

In any case, Lenin has long been infinitely more important to Communism than Marx.

Victor Reppert said...

In fact, Leninism, and, in particular Stalinism, is antithetical to Marx's theory. Marx NEVER wanted an omnipotent state to have that kind of control. But, faced with the problem of how to keep people productive without the profit motive, one idea he developed was the idea of a vanguard of the proletariat who would set up a temporary dictatorship in order to get people through the transition period from captialism to true communism. Lenin jumped on that and said "That's us. We're the Vanguard of the Proletariat, the Communist Party." Of course, the Vanguard was, according to Marx's theory, supposed to relinquish power voluntarily so that we could achieve the classless and stateless society. Of course, the Soviet leadership left that part out, and for some reason forgot to relinquish power.

No, the Soviet Union was not what Marx had in mind. (He wasn't even thinking of agrarian Russia, he was thinking of industrialized England or Germany). But, I suppose, it's what he should have expected, given the state of human nature. He would have had to have a vanguard free from greed and the lust for power, in order for that to work, capable of resisting the temptations offered them by political power.

Papalinton said...

Victor
Now that's a very good précis you have presented. As you say it, is as I recall the historical context of the onset of communism in the early decades of the 1900s.

Thanks.

B. Prokop said...

"Pure" Marxism belongs to the same fantasy universe as all the other impossible-to-realize utopian dreams of Mankind. Leninism is the Real World embodiment of the ideal.

Victor is right. Human Beings are flawed (see: The Fall of Man), and the only way such dreams ever work out (see: monasteries) is to confine your community to a select group. Even then, they seldom work out over the long haul (see: Dante's condemnation of the corruption of the monastic orders of his time).

Papalinton said...

Bob
"Human Beings are flawed (see: The Fall of Man), and the only way such dreams ever work out (see: monasteries) is to confine your community to a select group. Even then, they seldom work out over the long haul (see: Dante's condemnation of the corruption of the monastic orders of his time)."

Such pessimism. Such gloom. Even I get a little depressed reading your commentaries on occasion.

The form of religious [catholic] perspective above was one of the principle factors that focussed my turning from the faith. To perpetually pound and assail the soft and malleable psyche of the young, to assault the deep emotional well of one's character, to condition oneself to admit to being a deeply flawed person, simply by accident of being born, seemed to me to be entirely wrong and utterly counterproductive. How had humanity come to this stage? Why was destroying one's own worth, one's own value, one's own person, a necessary condition? Such psychological self-abasement, is the essence of self-harm. It seemed unnecessary, indeed morally reprehensible, to subscribe to a belief system, christian theism, with its precepts based on an utterly fallacious and fabricated dichotomy. To make the distinction between the true self [or the 'Witness' or the 'Observing Self'] and the false self [the ego, or the 'learned, superficial self of mind and body', an egoic creation], and to see the false self negatively, distorted through sin: 'The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?' (Jeremiah 17:9), simply goes against all that we know that contributes to the wholesome and genuine practice of altruism seeking the well-being of others.

I could only conclude that the fundamental conception of christian theism perpetuated self-antipathy, and deep-seated loathing of oneself and to convince oneself of not having the personal capacity or capability to grow and overcome this inherent evilness. And by extension to imagine every one else as a flawed, unworthy and distrusted entity, with no hope of redemption, unless they accept ............

Wrong, wrong, wrong.
That is not a formula for personal growth and development, to build strength of character to develop self-worth.

B. Prokop said...

"Such pessimism. Such gloom."

Papalinton! Every now and then you still manage to surprise me! That was a very thoughtful and heartfelt comment. I appreciate your sentiments (whilst disagreeing with them).

But "total depravity" is not an orthodox doctrine of Christianity. It is inextricably linked to the Calvinist heresy, and to that particular sect's (mis)take about predestination. Mankind is not "totally depraved", but he is most certainly sinful.

But the reason I highlighted that particular quote at the top of this posting, is because I wished to remind you of your own words elsewhere. My observations were neither pessimism nor gloom. They were simply a dispassionate recognition of objective, observable reality. I thought that's what you atheists claimed to be all about. But here you go, proclaiming what you wish to be true as Truth, and what you can actually see with your own two eyes be damned.

But more importantly, they are neither pessimism nor gloom, because (brace yourself - here it comes) we have a Redeemer, Who has done the Hard Work for us and relieved us of that terrible burden.

It really is True, Papalinton. The choice is yours: a vain and ultimately hopeless wish to lift yourself up by one's own bootstraps out of the pit, or to reach out your hand to Him that offers you a hand out. (Here endeth the first lesson.)

Johnny Boy said...

Papalinton says:

"I could only conclude that the fundamental conception of christian theism perpetuated self-antipathy, and deep-seated loathing of oneself and to convince oneself of not having the personal capacity or capability to grow and overcome this inherent evilness."

On the contrary, it's because of Christianity that we believe man, having been fashioned in the image of God, has intrinsic self-worth. You can't get that from atheism, you toolbox.

Wasn't it Dawkins --your idol-- who said something like "DNA is all there is and we dance to its music..I'm a bunghole" or something like that. Start being consistent with your worldview and get over it.

B. Prokop said...

Uncalled for, "Johnny Boy". Papalinton for once makes an honest, from the heart (albeit wrongheaded) comment, utterly devoid of Wikipedia quotations and faux scholarship, and you call him a "toolbox". Note the title of this thread. It's all about civility.

I think the Christian-atheist dialog can do with a lot more comments like Paplinton's last one. In this case at least, although I utterly disagree with what he said, I can at least see where he's coming from.

Crude said...

Bob,

Uncalled for, "Johnny Boy". Papalinton for once makes an honest, from the heart (albeit wrongheaded) comment, utterly devoid of Wikipedia quotations and faux scholarship, and you call him a "toolbox". Note the title of this thread. It's all about civility.

With respect, I disagree.

This isn't about getting an individual or group to, in addition to all their virulent anti-theism, hatemongering, bigotry and Klan-behavior, utter something vaguely in the direction of civil so that we can, then and there, have civil dialogue with them. The prerequisite for a klansman showing up asking for a conversation is not "Behave for 5 minutes". It's "renounce your past views and behavior". Linton hasn't done that, and chances are, he never will. The hate runs too deep.

Now, if Linton renounced that behavior and those views, that would be another matter. If a Klansman shows up at the door and sincerely (as near as I can tell) says, 'I was wrong about what I said about minorities and Catholics. I was wrong to endorse what I endorsed regarding them. Forgive me. But I'd still like to talk.', that's the time when respect starts to come back.

And frankly, Johnny Boy makes a fair point. Not only is Linton's characterization of Christianity wildly off the mark, but insofar as it's a legitimate concern, it's one for atheist materialism. But that's precisely why it's not a concern for Linton: because the goal is to swing at all-things-religious and defend all-things-atheist/materialist. Even if he can't freaking understand what he's saying.

Finally,

Jindra is missing the point with his emphasis on "Marxism", full stop. You'll note that in my original posting, I carefully used the more relevant term "Marxism-Leninism".

Then clearly I made a mistake here as well. Pardon me - I forgot to take into account Lenin appropriately. But I still maintain that atheism was central to Marx, and that the entire project goes off in a different intellectual direction the moment atheism is denied.

Don Jindra said...

B. Prokop,

"Jindra is missing the point with his emphasis on 'Marxism', full stop. You'll note that in my original posting, I carefully used the more relevant term 'Marxism-Leninism'."

I didn't miss that point. In fact I mentioned that if a full qualifier is used I wouldn't complain. A Marxist-Leninist atheist is a person to reject. I reject such a person. Those people were murderers. But to me it's obvious that the atheist is a small portion of that mix. The biggest portion is communism (or anti-individualism), next Marxism, next Leninism -- both of which are communistic in nature. Lastly is atheism which is not communistic in nature. So if we're to count bodies we can't blame atheism per se.

Ephram said...

Would someone mind explaining to me why Mr. Linton, who unfortunately appears to be a Gnu Atheist and a troll par excellence, is actively and continuously encouraged by the rest of you into submitting posts, when all of you know full well that you'll only ever get pixelated strings of Gnu Atheist piffle crapping up the combox in return?

Don Jindra said...

Crude,

"But the fact remains that if you're going to make some kind of 'Christian communism', you're going to - if the Christianity is sincere - end up with a different beast."

And I could make the same claim. If you're going to create a Marxist communism -- if you're going to be faithful to Marx -- you're not going to end with Stalin. We can even throw in Lenin's platitudes to freedom and democracy. How sincere was that? Words are cheap -- especially words about utopian dreams, secular or sectarian.

"The very fact that Marx has a value system that places something other than 'God' and one's relationship with God as a top-tier concern illustrates that."

IMO, if the state kills you it doesn't much matter why they say they're doing it. The effect is equally traumatic.

Don Jindra said...

Johnny Boy,

"On the contrary, it's because of Christianity that we believe man, having been fashioned in the image of God, has intrinsic self-worth. You can't get that from atheism, you toolbox."

Of course atheism can get that from his toolbox. I say Christians get it from the same toolbox. Nobody gets a sense of self-worth by reading they're supposed to have it.

Crude said...

DJ,

And I could make the same claim. If you're going to create a Marxist communism -- if you're going to be faithful to Marx -- you're not going to end with Stalin.

Except that even with Marx, atheism is included as central to the idea. Marx saw theism and theistic belief as necessarily opposed to the project he was envisioning, and I've given one reason why that's a logical outcome: because if God exists or a religion is true, then the entire project he calls for (and even sees as inevitable) is itself called into question.

I think you're going to have one hell of a time giving this claim - which cashes out to "Marx would never approve of violently suppressing religion or religious belief!" - a real defense.

IMO, if the state kills you it doesn't much matter why they say they're doing it. The effect is equally traumatic.

It matters if you want to know why the state is doing it, what led to the state's collective mindset, and how to avoid and recognize that mindset in the future. The end result of a purely accidental fall off a high cliff and being hit by a drunk driver at 100mph is the same: death. When you're trying to prevent it from happening again, the "why" and "how" becomes very important.

Johnny Boy said...

Don Jindra says:

"Of course atheism can get that from his toolbox. I say Christians get it from the same toolbox. Nobody gets a sense of self-worth by reading they're supposed to have it."

That's because you think we have the same "toolbox" --but that begs the very question. We all have a sense of self-worth. The difference is that yours is illusory, and, to be consistent, you should recognize it as such (most of you don't, which is laughable really), while mine isn't --except maybe to the likes of you.

BenYachov said...

Sister Margaret Farley the fruitbat "nun" Paps brought up earlier the one who advocates Gay marriage and abortion.

Can Paps explain to us why he want to exalt a woman whose intellectual hero is a pedophile and a gay rappist?

see here:
http://www.catholicleague.org/farley-foucault-and-maureen/

You are a real piece of work Paps.

Papalinton said...

Bob
"I thought that's what you atheists claimed to be all about. But here you go, proclaiming what you wish to be true as Truth, ...."

Everyone dreams, even atheists, about what they would wish were true, Bob. But atheists try not to compound that emotional yearning by appending it on another dream about what they wish were true. No matter how many times one tries to convince oneself that a deity is watching over and guiding, there is simply no evidence for it, whatsoever. Granted catholicism has a long tradition but it is not a testament for the truth of the existence of any gods. Just as the Roman pantheon, the Greek gods and Egyptian theism, were understood by christians to be nothing other than fiction about gods, so too is the bible absolutely no source for the truth or otherwise for their existence.

It is however, as with any record of human activity, be they the stories of Mesopotamia or The Iliad, it is a narrative of human thought, of human ritual and ceremony, and social governance, at a time when superstition, magic and supernaturalism were as readily accepted as factual truth, just another domain of 'reality'.

Humans are good at dreaming up gods. Indeed they are good at dreaming.

Don Jindra said...

Johnny Boy,

"The difference is that yours is illusory,"

If I'm begging the question, that begs the question as well. Tell me how my sense of self-worth is illusory and yours is not. Tell me how theology is going to give you the real thing. Tell me what the source of the Bible is if not humans.

I'll tell you what I think of some Christian models of self-worth. Many humans like to eat meat. So we value cows. Should cattle develop a keen sense of self-worth because we love them so?

While you're at it, tell me what you make of Romans 7:18 and self-worth.

Don Jindra said...

Crude,

"Except that even with Marx, atheism is included as central to the idea."

It does seem to be central to your idea of Marxism.


"Marx saw theism and theistic belief as necessarily opposed to the project he was envisioning, and I've given one reason why that's a logical outcome: because if God exists or a religion is true, then the entire project he calls for (and even sees as inevitable) is itself called into question."

I don't think Marxism (or theology) is logical from the start. Why would I try to force logical flow into it at some arbitrary point?

The fact is, there were and are Christian Marxists. You can't simply side-step this with presumed logical proof that it couldn't be so. This simply shows us that this logic is inept.


"It matters if you want to know why the state is doing it, what led to the state's collective mindset,"

I'd say the lesson is that we must be wary of intolerant authoritarians who see dissent as a clear and present danger. It doesn't much matter what their ideology is. Any ideology can result in atrocities when ends are all that matter.

Johnny Boy said...

Don Jindra says:

"If I'm begging the question, that begs the question as well."

It shouldn't. You should know that on naturalism morality is an illusion --a socio biological spin-off. Unless you're not a naturalist?

"Tell me how my sense of self-worth is illusory and yours is not."

Because yours has no ontological base and mine has, maybe?

"Tell me how theology is going to give you the real thing. Tell me what the source of the Bible is if not humans."

I don't think I've ever argued anything to that effect, so let's move on.

"I'll tell you what I think of some Christian models of self-worth. Many humans like to eat meat. So we value cows. Should cattle develop a keen sense of self-worth because we love them so?"

Ah, levity.

"While you're at it, tell me what you make of Romans 7:18 and self-worth."

Tell me first what this has to do with anything.

B. Prokop said...

""While you're at it, tell me what you make of Romans 7:18 and self-worth.""

What I make of it is that it means nothing unless you're a "proof-texter". Proof texters are amongst the world's most boring people. They fail to realize that regardless of whether you are speaking of science, art, or revelation, nothing is valid without context.

It is a fool's game to go down the rabbit hole of trying to pin too much on a single verse.

Don Jindra said...

B. Prokop,

"It is a fool's game to go down the rabbit hole of trying to pin too much on a single verse."

That's an evasion. We could talk about the related "original sin" too.

Don Jindra said...

Johnny Boy,

"You should know that on naturalism morality is an illusion --a socio biological spin-off. "

Biology is a fantasy? Culture is a fantasy? How so?


"Because yours has no ontological base and mine has, maybe?"

Now that's begging the question!

In what sense does biology have no being?


"Ah, levity."

Sometimes I do try to avoid boredom. I feel very under-appreciated in that regard, probably for good reason.

B. Prokop said...

"We could talk about the related "original sin" too."

Indeed we could. I've many, many times pointed out that original sin is perhaps the only doctrine of the Church that can be proven by nothing more than just looking around.

Zach said...

Johnny Boy:
You should know that on naturalism morality is an illusion --a socio biological spin-off.

They might not say it is an illusion, but it sure doesn't have a grounding in anything but biology (that doesn't make it an illusion, necessarily, but it makes it less than objective).

Don Jindra said...

Zach,

"that doesn't make it an illusion, necessarily, but it makes it less than objective"

Can we objectively observe it's a norm that humans have ten fingers? Can we objectively observe norms in ant behavior? It's true humans are a lot more complicated but I think the case for finding objective biological reasons for our behavior is not hopeless. Once found the question becomes, Why should we follow our biology? But (probably) even our will cannot be separated from our biology.