Sunday, March 16, 2014

Correction for Jeff Lowder, and John Loftus

Jeff is quite right that I made it sound as if Loftus was suggesting that in some cases we should put religious believers in insane asylums. He was against doing this. His "exceptions" refer to believers doing what they want to do. But what I was doing here was not even an attempt to criticize Loftus. I think he makes an important point when he says that if an atheist embraces democratic political institutions, this kind of out and out persecution is unacceptable, because democratic political institutions and religious freedom go hand in hand.

That said, I don't think John's disclaimer is as reassuring as he hopes it will be, for reasons I will explain in another post, although they are implied by some other comments I have made.


Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

Thanks, Victor.

John W. Loftus said...

I suppose Vic, you'll say atheists have no objective basis for reason or morality, and most importantly in this context, for embracing democratic freedom. So you'll claim there is nothing prohibiting atheists like Lowder or me from putting you away in an asylum if we had the power to do so.

Well, let me answer this right here right now. We wouldn't because atheists, like most everyone, have learned the lessons of history. We cannot turn back the hands of time. We must move forward. And democracy works. When people vote with their feet, irrespective of their religion or non-religion, they prefer some kind of democratic freedom, so long they don't embrace a religiously justified theocracy (which isn't our problem as atheists).

In fact, it's this kind of democratic freedom which is the undoing of your faith. For without state sponsored censorship or social pressures against minority viewpoints the believing majority cannot stay uniformed about the evidence against their faith. We know atheism will win in the marketplace of ideas, and if not, we know that only with these freedoms can we ever know the truth. So it stands to reason we would want to grant everyone these rights in a democracy.

planks length said...

"For without state sponsored censorship ... We know atheism will win in the marketplace of ideas"

That's quite a statement, John, considering that in Russia, once "state sponsored censorship" was lifted after the collapse of the USSR, the newly-freed people fled 70 years of coerced atheism like there was no tomorrow. Once the "marketplace of ideas" was opened up, the Orthodox Church won out over atheism hands down.

So I say bring it on. In any level playing field, I'll wager my faith against your atheism any day.

im-skeptical said...


Russia still practices state-sponsored censorship (and more things that make freedom-lovers cringe). And Russia is a Christian nation, under the Orthodox Church that won out over atheism.

planks length said...

"And Russia is a Christian nation"

Like I said. Give 'em a level playing field, and Christianity will win every time. Why do you think that, since the outcome was not the way you'd wish, that it means the contest wasn't fair?