This is a blog to discuss philosophy, chess, politics,
C. S. Lewis, or whatever it is that I'm in the mood to discuss.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
An exchange about humanism on Debunking Christianity
Rudy R: Again, since you don't think only humans can solve human problems, what problems have been solved only by your god that humans can't solve?
Evidently, you don't have a very high regard for human nature and a human's potential for making things better without a god. That, in a nutshell, probably separates us both the most.
Can you logically discount humanism as a rational way to solving human problems? Just so we are clear on definitions, what I mean by logical is to use empiricism instead of faith as an epistemological method and what I mean by faith is belief without evidence or pretending to know what you don't know.
Can you mathematically show why it's more probable that having faith that a god can make the world a better place than humanism? If not mathematically, can you list all the pros and cons, and show there are more pros and less cons than humanism? I'd like to see how humanism "requires us to make gigantic leaps over the probabilities."
VR: Maybe I can start with a famous quote from G. K. Chesterton:
Modern masters of science are much impressed with the need of beginning all inquiry with a fact. The ancient masters of religion were quite equally impressed with that necessity. They began with the fact of sin—a fact as practical as potatoes. Whether or no man could be washed in miraculous waters, there was no doubt at any rate that he wanted washing. But certain religious leaders in London, not mere materialists, have begun in our day not to deny the highly disputable water, but to deny the indisputable dirt. Certain new theologians dispute original sin, which is the only part of Christian theology which can really be proved. Some followers of the Reverend R. J. Campbell, in their almost too fastidious spirituality, admit divine sinlessness, which they cannot see even in their dreams. But they essentially deny human sin, which they can see in the street. The strongest saints and the strongest sceptics alike took positive evil as the starting-point of their argument. If it be true (as it certainly is) that a man can feel exquisite happiness in skinning a cat, then the religious philosopher can only draw one of two deductions. He must either deny the existence of God, as all atheists do; or he must deny the present union between God and man, as all Christians do. The new theologians seem to think it a highly rationalistic solution to deny the cat.
Atheists like to point out "holy horrors" like the Inquisition, the Crusades, the Wars of Religion, and the Salem Witch Trials. But doesn't this pale in comparison to the crimes committed by communist governments, such as the party purges?
Those who insist we are morally advancing as a species are deluding themselves. There is little in science or history to support this idea. Human individuals can make moral advances, as can human societies, but they also make moral reverses… We alternate between periods of light and periods of darkness. We can move forward materially, but we do not move forward morally. The belief in collective moral advancement ignores the inherent flaws in human nature as well as the tragic reality of human history… All utopian schemes of impossible advances and glorious conclusions end in squalor and fanaticism. (p.10-11)