J Walking

J Walking


“The Opiate of the Morally Corrupt”

posted by David Kuo

Bestselling author Dinesh D’Souza has a new book out – What’s So Great About Christianity. It has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with defending the Christian faith against the recent attacks of men like Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens.
Here is an original essay from Dinesh:

To listen to prominent atheists, you get the idea that their sole cause for rejecting God is that He does not meet the requirements of reason. Philosopher Bertrand Russell was once asked what he would say if he discovered, after death, that there is an afterlife. Russell pompously said he would tell God, “Sir, you did not give me enough evidence.” Yet unbelief, especially when it comes in the belligerent tone of a Russell, Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens, is not merely a function of following the evidence where it leads. Rather, unbelief of this sort requires a fuller psychological explanation.
Let’s remember that atheists frequently attempt to give psychological reasons for the religious commitment of believers. In his commentary on the works of Hegel, Karl Marx famously said that religion is the “opium of the people,” meaning that religion is a kind of escapism or wish fulfillment. Along the same lines, Sigmund Freud saw religion as providing a cowardly refuge from the harsh realities of life and the inevitability of death.
I’m not convinced by any of these explanations. The God of the three Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity and Islam—is a pretty exacting fellow. Wish fulfillment would most likely give rise to a very different God than the one described in the Bible. Wish fulfillment can explain heaven, but it cannot explain hell. Even so, my purpose here is not to dispute the atheist explanation for the appeal of religion. I intend to turn things around and instead pose the issue of the appeal of atheism. Who benefits from it? Why do so many influential people in the West today find it attractive? If Christianity is so great, why aren’t more people rushing to embrace it?
Some atheists even acknowledge that they would prefer a universe in which there were no God, no immortal soul, and no afterlife. In God: The Failed Hypothesis, physicist Victor Stenger confesses that not only does he disbelieve in God, he doesn’t like the Christian God: “If he does exist, I personally want nothing to do with him.” And philosopher Thomas Nagel recently confessed, “I want atheism to be true….It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God….I don’t want there to be a God. I don’t want the universe to be like that.”
The aversion to religion and the embrace of atheism becomes especially baffling when you consider that, on the face of it, atheism is a dismal ideology. Many atheists like End of Faith author Sam Harris and The God Delusion author Richard seem serene and almost gleeful about living in a world whose defining feature seems to be nature red in tooth and claw. This is an odd reaction, because as a number of evolutionary biologists like George Williams have admitted, Darwinism would seem to be a repulsive doctrine. Williams expresses open disgust at the ethical implications of a system that assigns no higher purpose to life than selfish bargains and conspiracies to propagate one’s genes into future generations. According to Williams, a moral person can respond to this only with condemnation! Yet Dawkins and others embrace Darwinism with genuine enthusiasm. Why are they drawn to such a philosophy and where, in its grim hallways, do they find room for such evident good cheer?

Biologist Stephen Jay Gould provides a clue. Pondering the meaning of life, Gould concludes that “we may yearn for a higher answer—but none exists.” Then he says something very revealing. “This explanation, though superficially troubling if not terrifying, is ultimately liberating and exhilarating.” In other words, the bad news is good news. Doctrines that might ordinarily seem to be horrifying—death is the end, there is no cosmic purpose or divine justice, free will is an illusion—can from another vantage point be viewed as an emancipation.
Emancipation from what? We have to probe deeper, and one way to do it is to go
back in history, all the way back to the ancient philosophers Epicurus, Democritus, and Lucretius. Epicurus is mainly known today as a hedonist, and he was. But like Lucretius and Democritus, he was also a materialist. All three of these pre-Socratic thinkers believed that material reality is all there is. Lucretius and Democritus even suggested that man is made up wholly of atoms, an uncanny foreshadowing of modern physics. At the time that the pre-Socratics wrote, however, there was no scientific evidence to back up any of their mechanistic claims about the natural world. Why then were they so attracted to teachings that were completely without empirical basis?
Epicurus confesses that his goal is to get rid of the gods. He also wants to eliminate the idea of immortal souls and to “remove the longing for immortality.” Lucretius too writes of the heavy yoke of religion, imposing on man such burdens as that of duty and responsibility. The problem with gods, Epicurus says, is that they seek to enforce their rules and thereby create “anxiety” in human beings. They threaten to punish us for our misdeeds, both in this life and in the next. The problem with immortality, according to Epicurus, is that there may be suffering in the afterlife. By positing a purely material reality, he hopes to free man from such worries and allow him to focus on the pleasures of this life.
Not that Epicurus was a hedonist in our modern sense. He counseled that people control their sexual impulses and subsist on barley cakes and water. He was less concerned with wild pleasure than with minimizing suffering, what he termed “freedom from disturbance.” Even death, he said, is a kind of relief, because our atoms dissipate and there is no soul to experience the lack of life or to endure the consequences of a life to come. In sum, Epicurus advocated a philosophy and a cosmology that was purely naturalistic in order to liberate man from the tyranny of the gods. And so did Lucretius, who sought through his philosophy to “unloose the soul from the tight knot of religion.” For these men, their physics was the ground of their ethics. As Ben Wiker puts it, “A materialist cosmos must necessarily yield a materialistic morality.”
Here is a clue to the moral attractiveness of Darwinism. Darwin himself wrote that “he who understands baboon would do more towards metaphysics than Locke.” He was implying that a better understanding of our animal nature might radically change the way we view morality. So the appeal of Darwinism for many is that it eliminates the concept of a “higher” human nature and places man on a continuum with the animals. The distinctive feature of animals, of course, is that they have no developed sense of morality. A gorilla cannot be expected to distinguish between what is and what ought to be. Consequently Darwinism becomes a way to break free of the confines of traditional morality. We can set aside the old restraints and simply act in the way that comes naturally.
From Darwin’s own day, many people were drawn to his ideas not merely because they were well supported but also because they could be interpreted to undermine the traditional understanding of God. As biologist Julian Huxley, the grandson of Darwin’s friend and ally Thomas Henry Huxley, put it, “The sense of spiritual relief which comes from rejecting the idea of God as a supernatural being is enormous.”
And from Julian’s brother Aldous Huxley, also a noted atheist, we have this revealing admission: “I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently I assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption…For myself, as no doubt for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was…liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom.”
As the statements of the two Huxleys suggest, the reason many atheists are drawn to deny God, and especially the Christian God, is to avoid having to answer in the next life for their lack of moral restraint in this one. The Huxleys know that Christianity places human action under the shadow of divine scrutiny and accountability. Christianity is a religion of love and forgiveness, but this love and forgiveness are temporal and, in a sense, conditional. Christian forgiveness stops at the gates of hell, and hell is an essential part of the Christian scheme. The point here is not that atheists do more evil than others, but rather that atheism provides a hiding place for those who do not want to acknowledge and repent of their sins.
In a powerful essay, “The Discreet Charm of Nihilism,” Nobel laureate Czeslaw Milosz argues that in order to escape from an eternal fate in which our sins are punished, man seeks to free himself from religion. “A true opium of the people is a belief in nothingness after death—the huge solace of thinking that for our betrayals, greed, cowardice, murders, we are not going to be judged.” So the Marxist doctrine needs to be revised. It is not religion that is the opiate of the people, but atheism that is the opiate of the morally corrupt.
If you want to live a degenerate life, God is your mortal enemy. He represents a lethal danger to your selfishness, greed, lechery and hatred. It is in your interest to despise Him and do whatever you can to rid the universe of His presence. So there are powerful attractions to life in a God-free world. In such a world we can all model our lives on one of the junior devils in Milton’s Paradise Lost, Belial, who was “to vice industrious, but to nobler deeds timorous and slothful.” If God does not exist, the seven deadly sins are not terrors to be overcome but temptations to be enjoyed. Death, previously the justification for morality, now becomes a justification for immorality.
The philosopher who best understood this “liberation” was Nietzsche. Contrary to modern atheists who assure us that the death of God need not mean an end to morality, Nietzsche insisted that it did. As God is the source of the moral law, His death means that the ground has been swept out from under us. We have become, in a sense, ethically groundless, and there is no more refuge to be taken in appeals to dignity and equality and compassion and all the rest. What confronts us, if we are honest, is the abyss.
Yet unlike Matthew Arnold, who saw the faith of the age retreating like an ocean current and was terrified by it, Nietzsche in a sense welcomes the abyss. He is, as he puts it, an “immoralist.” In his view, the abyss enables us for the first time to escape guilt. It vanquishes the dragon of obligation. It enables us to live “beyond good and evil.” Morality is no longer given to us from above; it now becomes something that we devise for ourselves. Morality requires a comprehensive remaking, what Nietzsche terms a “transvaluation.” The old codes of “thou shalt not” are now replaced by “I will.”
My conclusion is that contrary to popular belief, atheism is not primarily an intellectual revolt, it is a moral revolt. Atheists don’t find God invisible so much as objectionable. This is something that we can all identify with. It is a temptation even for believers. We want to be saved as long as we are not saved from our sins. We are quite willing to be saved from a whole host of social evils, from poverty to disease to war. But we want to leave untouched the personal evils, such as selfishness and lechery and pride. We need spiritual healing, but we do not want it. Like a supervisory teenage parent, God gets in our way. This is the perennial appeal of atheism: it gets rid of the stern fellow with the long beard and liberates us for the pleasures of sin and depravity. The atheist seeks to get rid of moral judgment by getting rid of the judge.



Advertisement
Comments read comments(71)
post a comment
Doug

posted October 24, 2007 at 3:17 pm


I have to admit I find D’souza and Hitchens equally annoying, rhetorical and self-righteous and neither very compelling, but I did read that whole post which is further than I ever got with Hitchens. Both prove their case by dismissing the counter argument. I just love Jesus. If there’s more to it than that, I’d rather watch a ball game.



report abuse
 

canucklehead

posted October 24, 2007 at 3:23 pm


Ball game? Oh yeah, tonight it’s back to reality and thanks, David, for publishing this lengthy excerpt. Would you mind putting the whole book up as I’m running out of dough trying to stay on top of Harris, Hitchens, Dawkins, et al – and that’s not to mention Jenkins and LaHayHay.



report abuse
 

David Kuo

posted October 24, 2007 at 3:27 pm


LOL – this isn’t even in the book. It is a juicy extra from Dinesh. And yes, it is a looooonnnngggg post. But worth reading.



report abuse
 

Lj

posted October 24, 2007 at 3:59 pm


The natural mind of man can not understand or control God,so it tries to relate to things it can agree,and relate to. Rhetoric will alway be a friend to the natural mind. Tedious talks is the opposite of spiritual understanding.



report abuse
 

Lj

posted October 24, 2007 at 4:01 pm


A great story. I agre with her.



report abuse
 

SkipChurch

posted October 24, 2007 at 4:21 pm


What’s most striking about D’Souza is that he doesn’t argue that (for instance) Epicurus and Lucretius were WRONG in their atomist intuitions, which were indeed astonishingly prescient. He merely asserts that their motives were bad, that they “advocated a philosophy and a cosmology that was purely naturalistic in order to liberate man from the tyranny of the gods.” Well. Let’s give the pre-Socratic materialists a little more credit. They believed in a purely naturalistic universe, and disbelieved in the Olympian gods, because they thought that was the correct view– the truth. To have D’Souza faulting Epicurus for believing in atomism, which D’Souza himself believes in, and for not believung in the Olympian gods, which D’Souza doesn’t believe in either, is a very peculiar line of argument.
He does the same thing with evolution. He doesn’t say it isn’t so (in the piece posted). He simply objects to what he believes are the moral and social implications.
Basically D’Souza thinks religion in general and Christianity in particular has done so much that is good, that it ought to be believed in. You can here him argue this at length in a debate with Michael Shermer, which I’m sure you’ll find by searching for “michael shermer debates dinesh dsouza”.



report abuse
 

Jillian

posted October 24, 2007 at 6:42 pm


Sheesh. Robert Ingersoll disposed of of those fallacies a dozen times over long ago. To even take them seriously is to be conned.
Slightly more interesting to me is the technique. D’Souza is doing what a lot of the right wing “writers” do, which is to flee forward. They “turn around” the criticism of what they’re claiming to defend, and apply it to their opponent’s position. Intellectually it’s the equivalent of an O.J. Simpson defense and relies on a friendly jury that will go along with the, well, bad faith argument.
D’Souza, amid a slew of distracting lesser fallacies and misrepresentations, asserts that atheism is fatally compromised by its being essentially or corrupted with
– a failed theist religion
– materialism/paganism
– occultism/immoralism
– immaturity, illiteracy, and ignorance
which are the standard critiques of “conservative” Christianity of the people he’s attacking. That last bit, where D’Souza basically convicts atheists of antinomianism as a flourish that completes his rhetorical victory, had me laughing out loud.
D’Souza’s family is Christian and iirc from Goa, the once Portuguese-held Christian enclave of India. He is married to a white woman and presently lives out on the eastern edges of San Diego, in one of those outlier McMansion developments now probably under threat or already hit by wildfires.



report abuse
 

Larry Parker

posted October 24, 2007 at 7:06 pm


SkipChurch:
DEAD ON with Epicurus. Wish I was smart enough to make that argument.
But in general, my question is this: Why the binary opposition?
Russell, for example, was pompous, yes, but I don’t think his question of G-d was pompous. It was incomplete, though — I would ask, why is there both not enough evidence of G-d (the horrors of the world that ever have been and always will be — famine, pestilence, natural disasters, war, some of which CANNOT be traced to man’s sinfulness through free will) and simultaneously TOO MUCH evidence of G-d (the well-developed and very different traditions and scriptures of so many different religions — not only the three Abrahamic religions and their various sects, but the Eastern traditions of Buddhism, Hinduism, and to some extent Confucianism, Taoism and Shintoism as well — confusing us hopelessly as to which one is actually right, so most just follow our family’s cultural tradition).
My own theory is that the popularity of Harris, Dawkins, Hitchens et al. today has little to do with hedonism. (In America — Europe has a far more secular culture.) Lots of churchgoing Christians of all denominations party Monday through Saturday, ask forgiveness Sunday, and then do it all over again. (And this heterodoxical poster is a non-dating teetotaler.)
Nor is it that atheists present an attractive worldview — I actually agree with D’Souza that it is abhorrent. (So, I might add, is Pascal’s wager of gambling on G-d’s existence — no better than the Old Testament tale of G-d and Satan gambling on Job’s fate.) And I certainly don’t think G-d is wish fulfillment — as D’Souza says, he fulfills our wishes neither by His strict rules nor (I would add) by the awful state of the world.
And therein lies what, at Georgetown, we called “The Problem of G-d.” (The actual title of Theology 101 at America’s oldest Catholic university.) What if one’s hopes for a benevolent G-d who loves and cares about us are equally matched by one’s fears of no G-d (or worse, a malevolent G-d who hates us and despises us)? I would be horrified if Harris and Hitchens were right, but barring a faith so unshakable that it is almost Kool-Aidish in nature, doubt inevitably creeps into our minds.
It is worth noting in this context that, morally, the world really isn’t any worse (or better, of course) than it was 2,000 years ago. What is indisputable, however, is that for the early Christians trying to avoid being thrown to the lions, the message of the Apostles that attracted believers was necessarily an apocalyptic one — that literally, the end of the world would deliver them from the evil of the Romans to another world, Heaven with Jesus. Of course, that didn’t happen (except, by inference one supposes, to the Empire’s many martyrs). Does that mean the Apostles were wrong? I don’t know.
Today’s apocalyptic visions are far different — when Tim LaHaye actively hopes for nuclear war in the Middle East, he is doing so as much in the hope G-d’s enemies (in his mind) will be punished as in the hope His followers (very few in LaHaye’s mind) will go the Kingdom of Heaven. If it were to actually happen, I doubt many people besides Left Behind addicts would think the hand of G-d was behind Armageddon as they perish. But would that mean the idea of a benevolent G-d was automatically wrong? I don’t know.
The “I don’t knows,” when you ask such questions (was G-d really punishing New Orleans for its sin with Katrina? where was G-d during the tsunami? where is G-d when a Darfuri woman is raped — again — by the Janjaweed?) add up. (Which make Hitchens and Harris, insufferable though they are personally, tempting nonetheless.) Until you get to a point that — and here may be what Greg Boyd was getting at — to believe that the Cross is Good News, you must believe that up is down, that right is left, and that round is square, and this is what G-d commands us, no matter how bizarre.
My mind is too logical; it’s difficult to get my head (let alone my heart) around that.
Mind you, of course I know the conventional Christian answer to suffering — G-d cannot prevent evil acts of free will against another (thus the haplessness of the Darfuri refugee), but He can be there to comfort the afflicted. This used to be persuasive to me. It isn’t any longer. Among other things, what “evil act of free will” did (most, LOL) residents of New Orleans and Biloxi, and the residents of the Indian Ocean basin, commit besides living close to the water?
Besides, if G-d is only concerned with our souls and not with our bodies, why do so many things happen in the world that are not only body-destroying but soul-destroying? You can name your litany of diseases (Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, persistent vegetative state, severe depression, substance abuse) along with sudden displacement, the sudden loss of one’s family, and so many more situations.
And yes, I know the conventional Christian answer to this, too: You don’t have enough faith. So start prayin’ and confessin’ those sins. When Harris and Hitchens say that’s blaming the victim, well, they seem to have a logical point. (Unless, again, logic has no place in this world, as Boyd seems to believe.)
I guess you’d have to say I’m still a theist, and more of a lapsed Catholic/Christian than an agnostic or atheist, simply because 1. I do care, badly, whether there is a G-d and 2. I believe there is a soul, whether it is destroyed on earth or preserved and elevated to heaven. And some theologians would say that the very fact that one doubts means that one admits there is a possibility of G-d; therefore, look at the positive — one actually has faith.
OK. But it’s an awfully weak one right now.



report abuse
 

Gussie

posted October 24, 2007 at 7:34 pm


I think that the problem with what D’Souza writes is that he’s conflating anti-theism with atheism. Yes, there are some people who actively hate the idea of a deity, but I would argue that they are a distinct minority. I am an atheist – I don’t hate God (or Zeus or Ganesha or unicorns); I simply don’t believe that such a being exists, and I never have. Having serious problems with religion and the way that the idea of God is used by man is a separate issue.



report abuse
 

Zero-Equals-Infinity

posted October 24, 2007 at 9:18 pm


One of the big difficulties of religion is the tendency to want to place a theology within the mystery, to somehow de-mystify God and make it comprehensible to people.
If God exists, (rather than some anthropomorphic projection), it is so beyond our ken as to not be reducible to a form, a belief, or any finite frame. When religion attempts to frame God, the frame becomes the basis for idolatry, the substitution of a finite form for what is boundless and eternal in itself.
This is not easy, and God, if God, is wholly compatible with what is, including science. We like to create frames to make God less terrifying, less alien, and less immediate. When we allow ourselves the freedom to experience without a frame, it is like being in perfect love, or eating the most divine chocolate, or even racing towards the ground without a parachute. It is immediate, irreducible and potent.
Religions exist because the rational mind has a need to understand and de-mystify, even at the expense of distorting and killing the very mystery and impulse that it attempts to qualify and contain. When a person can let go of all those outer garments, and simply be without qualification, to stand empty of all those layers that surround the ego, the atheist and theist disappear. There is only presence and a unity that comes from stripping away the layers of delusion.



report abuse
 

Donny

posted October 24, 2007 at 9:33 pm


“Karl Marx famously said that religion is the “opium of the people,”
In reality, you know “the real world” opium is actually the opiate of the people.
Especially the Marxist/Godless people.
Marx was an idiot.



report abuse
 

MH

posted October 25, 2007 at 8:52 am


This argument is essentially an old ad hominem argument raised against atheism for years. There’s nothing new here.
The core problem is that thist is the same as the anti-evolution argument. You can’t prove your point by attacking the other side in this manner, you must prove your point by supporting your side of the argument. Anything else makes you look weak.
Personally I agree with the claim that theists and atheist have essentially nothing to say to one another. One side says they won’t believe unless evidence is offered. The other side claims that you’re supposed to have faith, not evidence. The world views are too different for the sides to have any dialog.



report abuse
 

Elvis Elvisberg

posted October 25, 2007 at 8:53 am


D’Souza is not as overheated as Hitchens is, but this grab bag of anecdotes from across the millennia aims only to cast aspersions.
So, now we know from Hitchens and D’Souza that believers are weak-minded followers eager to judge others, and that atheists simply want to murder with impunity. Terrific.
Somehow, though, that armchair ad hominem psychoanalysis gave rise to a very thoughtful thread.



report abuse
 

Swift

posted October 25, 2007 at 9:11 am


“Religions exist because the rational mind has a need to understand and de-mystify” — I should think it quite opposite. Religion seems more an expression that certain things are not “demystifiable.” Religion sanctions mystery. Science seeks its unveiling.
“When a person can let go of all those outer garments, and simply be without qualification, to stand empty of all those layers that surround the ego…” — The thoughts on “frames” were potent, but I differ in that “frames” can be cast off or “let go of.” When something real imposes upon the senses, frames will always be erected. Even in “let[ting] go of outer garments,” individuals must build a truth-framework in which this takes place. We are bound to these frameworks and must operate THROUGH, not indepenently of, them.



report abuse
 

Charles Cosimano

posted October 25, 2007 at 11:08 am


Not only is Hitchens the better writer, but his vision of the world would be a lot more fun than the self-righteous bores and petty tyrants who worship the god of the D’Souzas. This article is probably one of the best cases for atheism to come out.



report abuse
 

John E.

posted October 25, 2007 at 2:03 pm


I’ll just comment on this:
>>Wish fulfillment can explain heaven, but it cannot explain hell.
Sure it can – hell is the wishfullment that people who do things that one does not approve of be punished.



report abuse
 

Doug

posted October 25, 2007 at 6:46 pm


Actually, John, neighbors in general. Dinesh D’Souza leaves no room in his argument for the possibility that people can be jerks, even as he calls people scoundrels which is ironic and hypocritical.



report abuse
 

Donny

posted October 26, 2007 at 12:01 am


“Personally I agree with the claim that theists and atheist have essentially nothing to say to one another. One side says they won’t believe unless evidence is offered. The other side claims that you’re supposed to have faith, not evidence. The world views are too different for the sides to have any dialog.
Posted by: MH”
This is simply wrong on the most important aspect. Jesus is presented as a reality, a fact, from birth to death to resurrection.
From John to Thomas to Jude and revelation, guesswork and hoping against hope doesn’t exist in the Christian treatise on why we are here and for what purpose.
The true part is that Christians should stop talking to anti-Godians. They are just to dense to waste time on. Just pat ‘em on the head and walk on to helping people worth the time.
“Faith,” as it is used by Christ Jesus and the Apostles, is more accurately “trust.” There is great comfort in facts. It is the atheist position that bases all of its faith-based angry little tirades on the hope that 0 x 0 can equal anything.



report abuse
 

Larry Parker

posted October 26, 2007 at 4:17 pm


Donny:
Are you saying that all faith is like Thomas’, guaranteed because he saw living proof of Jesus’ resurrection from crucifixion?
If so, I’d like to know how you found this proof. Thomas, as far as I know, is the only man in Scripture to touch Jesus’ wounds. And even the Messiah said, “Blessed are those who do not see but still believe.”



report abuse
 

MH

posted October 26, 2007 at 5:10 pm


Donny, well at least you read my post.
Larry, That’s a good quote which illustrates my point exactly.



report abuse
 

aquaman

posted October 29, 2007 at 4:02 pm


Donny,
“Belief cannot argue with unbelief, it can only preach to it.”
— Karl Barth
I think Barth was right. Yet, Jesus died for Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, just as surely as He died for you and me. Therefore, we must not “stop talking to [them],” on the grounds they are “too dense to waste time on.” Instead, we must preach, and pray that the Holy Spirit might change their hearts.
Remember, our efforts never bring people to Jesus anyway. At best, we serve as a receptacle for God’s grace. “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor 12:3).
Peace.



report abuse
 

Brad

posted October 29, 2007 at 4:28 pm


Well said aquaman,
We can’t change anyone’s mind, and there are a lot of people who just are not prepared to hear the good news and accept it yet, but we must not ever give up hope for them, which is the same hope we hold ourselves. it may not be the right time for that person yet. and we probably will never know the right time, but all we can do is pray that the Holy Spirit would lead us to those that are ready to recieve and let us show them the true grace & love that they deserve because it was first shown to us.
“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for.” Charles Spurgeon



report abuse
 

Larry Parker

posted October 29, 2007 at 5:58 pm


Was there a reason this got recycled, David? (Not that it’s not a good post and all …)



report abuse
 

Henrietta22

posted October 29, 2007 at 7:09 pm


From people I’ve met on belief.net who say they reject religion, most have been hurt in some way in their childhood, or later by their Christian families, and the Churches. Unfortunately they walked away from God because the organized religion and the hypocrisies became too much for them. The feeling of freedom from Doctrine that many times is mans interpretation and not Gods-meaning felt good, so they stopped seeking the mysteries of God and instead looked for provable truths. There may be people who choose to live degenerate lives, but they don’t necessarily have to reject God to do this. Christian people live this way, and cause heartache to their families and society. When they go too far and are arrested for wrong doing, they yell loud and long for God to help them and claim they’ve found God again! So believing in God does not make a person more moral than an Atheist, in many cases. A persons actions show if they are truly moral. I don’t think God gets in “anyones” way. People get in their own way with selfishness, lechery and pride, and you don’t have to be an Atheist to have these traits. (I’m commenting on the article not anyones posting here.)



report abuse
 

bristlecone77

posted October 29, 2007 at 7:34 pm


And what do you gain by pointing a finger at atheists? Does the fact that many of them point a finger at you say it’s all right to point back?
Righteousness, whether by the existence of God or the lack thereof, speaks for itself. Do not make excuses for it. Only live it to the best of your ability.
Is an atheist any less your brother for not believing as you do? If you feel they are going to Hell then have compassion for them. There’s is not an easy path. Did your god grant you superiority to them? Did your god grant you the authority to judge them? If you are morally superior, then prove it.
Shekah



report abuse
 

bristlecone77

posted October 29, 2007 at 7:36 pm


BTW: The above comment is aimed at the article by Mr. D’Souza, not at the above poster.



report abuse
 

Donny

posted October 29, 2007 at 8:52 pm


0 x 0 = atheism. Even in their own lab experiments.
Yup, it just doesn’t make anything productive.



report abuse
 

A. Rosenberg

posted October 29, 2007 at 10:12 pm


Funny, I never heard Russell, Harris, Dawkins, or Hitchens advocate social Darwinism as a moral standard. That idea seems largely to have died out about a hundred years ago, and good riddance. Maybe some of Ann Coulter’s tendency to fibb by setting up straw men rubbed off on D’Souza.
In the Book of Judges, God delivered the Israelites into slavery six times because he didn’t like who they were worshipping. The first two times, he sold them into slavery; after God delivered the Hebrews into freedom the first couple of times, the Caananites et al. seem to have wizened up and stopped paying. Believe it or not, there are some folks in this world who think that selling someone into slavery over a matter of conscience is just plain wrong, even if the slavemaster did create a universe or two. That’s the kind of thing that Dawkins’ crowd rail against when told that morality can only be grounded in a particular religion. For the record, Darwin was anti-slavery at a time when many Christians were not.



report abuse
 

Brian Horan

posted October 29, 2007 at 11:14 pm


From the C.S. Lewis book “Mere Christianity: Book IV, 1. Making and Begetting”. (very 1st page of the chapter in most editions)
“‘In a way I quite understand why some people are put off by Theology. I remember once when I had been giving a talk to the R.A.F.,an old, hard-bitten officer got up and said, “I’ve no use for all that stuff. But, mind you, I’m a religious man too. I know there’s a God. I’ve felt Him: out alone in the desert at night: the tremendous mystery. And that’s just why I don’t believe all your neat little dogmas and formulas about Him. To anyone who’s met the real thing they all seem so petty and pedantic and unreal!’
Now in a sense I quite agreed with that man. I think he had probably had a real experience of God in the desert. And when he turned from that experience to the Christian creeds, I think he really was turning form something real to something less real.”
Atheism can set people free to live in the mystery of life rather than in illusory preconceptions. (*Mind you, I’m not an atheist)
I grew up Evangelical and started noticing in my university years in the 90s that most Evangelicals (in the sample populations of Colorado & Nebraska + the activities of Dobson & the Christian Coalition) have no humility at all.
Really, it seemed to me that there was no mystery to God in this tradition. These people apparently have salvation down to such a formula, that ‘Jesus’ is like a password that gets you into heaven if you subscribe to their morality.
By the way, Evangelicals cherry pick scripture just as they condemn others for the same thing. According to the Apostle Paul, women should not be seen or heard in church. There was no end-of-the world theology for our age – Revelations relates to the Roman empire. And I have yet to meet an Evangelical who keeps a kosher diet (Jesus said that he didn’t come to abolish the law) etc.
I’ve read many passages like “The Opiate of the Morally Corrupt”. There’s not enough humility there. I don’t think we can claim to know the recesses of other souls. I’ll grant Evangelicals the right to believe how they do.
We live in a society with a government that enforces laws, some of which fall into the sphere of morality.
The odd thing is that Evangelicals support, according to polls, some of the worst elected officials not to mention church officials (e.g., George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Ralph Reed, Larry Craig, Ted Haggard, etc.)



report abuse
 

Zero-Equals-Infinity

posted October 29, 2007 at 11:48 pm


Any person who has read Aldous Huxley’s “The Perennial Philosophy” could not possibly hold the view that he was an atheist. D’Souza has either not read Aldous Huxley, and especially his later books, or is wilfully misrepresenting him. If D’Souza is by some miracle reading this, I suggest that he read “The Perennial Philosophy”.



report abuse
 

LetYourLifeSpeak

posted October 30, 2007 at 12:00 am


Same old fundamentalist religious bash-&-rehash. The names have been changed but the arguments (& errors of fact & logic) are all the same. The fact is that atheists have the same moral compass that every other human being is born with. It is demonstrable that even a 1 year old has a grasp of compassion and empathy before even fully grasping language. Religious dogma does not teach one how to be good, it only supports and guides what we already know. Why do atheists feel the need to write books decrying God and religion? Because all too often, dogmatic (& vocal) religious zealots behave as if religion must supplant the natural moral compass that all humans have–despite the barbaric history of what happens when religions do just that. Religion can serve humanity. Humanity should never serve religion. Atheists are not afraid of any god, so they can tell it like it is, like it or not.
What are atheists free from? Simple answer: Fear. Atheists are free from the fear of living that plagues those who are too preoccupied with what happens after death. I know. My most fundamentalist family members are also the most anxiety-ridden, especially about dying. Which is very ironic, since they are convinced that Jesus has “saved” them and Heaven awaits. And when they are not anxiety-ridden about themselves, they claim to be anxiety-ridden about my afterlife. Which is again, ironic. If there is a god, and he is as good as I’m told, why would he allow any average decent person to burn? He wouldn’t, if he’s as loving as they say. So why worry? Life’s too short for that.
Once you accept that death is final and what comes after doesn’t really matter (any more than what came before you were born), you can move on with enjoying THIS life and making the world a better place NOW. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if more people were preoccupied with life? WWJD?
Blessings



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted October 30, 2007 at 12:17 am


This is what D’Souza’s argument comes down to:
“As the statements of the two Huxleys suggest, the reason many atheists are drawn to deny God, and especially the Christian God, is to avoid having to answer in the next life for their lack of moral restraint in this one.”
This is what is called an “ad hominem attack” or an “ad hominem argument.” D’Souza’s best response is to attack the character of atheists, whose real motivation is “to avoid having to answer in the next life for their lack of moral restraint in this one.”
This, of course, assumes that atheists have a “lack of moral restraint.” In fact, it not only assumes as much, it exploits the presumption, the prejudice, the stereotypical public conception, that to question religion is to lack character.
If that is the best argument you have for God, at least admit that you’re out of ammo. You’re just using rhetoric, innuendo and advanced smear tactics to discredit someone you couldn’t discredit with reason. It’s like entering a boxing ring and pulling a knife, because you know you can’t go the distance on merit alone.
It’s not that some atheists didn’t have it coming.
When atheists assert that “God is the opiate of the masses,” as Karl Marx famously quipped, they’re engaging in the same kind of ad hominem attacks D’Souza uses here. Stated another way, D’Souza is adopting the same methodology – if you can dignify it as such. While wearing the hat of a Christian, D’Souza is giving an eye for an eye. If they fight dirty, he’ll fight dirty. They can trade dirt. But if that’s the case, how can D’Souza assume the high moral ground? If that’s what Christianity was all about, shouldn’t Jesus have encouraged Peter to slice off another ear, rather than put away the sword?
D’Souza’s brand of rhetoric is short on reason, but even shorter on Christian example.
Not that it’s wrong to conclude that “Religion is the opiate of the masses.” But a conclusion is not an assumption. If your premise is that religion is wrong because believers are delusional, you’re just begging the question. If, on the other hand, you’ve gone through the litany of religious arguments and found so much of it held together with Scotch tape and bailing wire, it’s fairly easy to come to the CONCLUSION that religion is, in fact, a delusion adopted for obvious reasons.
I’ve met plenty of atheistic bigots, just as I’ve met plenty of Christian bigots, Jewish bigots, Muslim bigots and the like. When someone adopts a frame of reference, assumes its truth, then uses the indisputability of that frame of reference as a basis for dismissing everything else, logic and dialogue have nothing to do with it. They’re simply using rhetoric to tune out anything that might change their mind.
True to form, D’Souza not only slurs atheists and atheism, he goes out of his way to sound authoritative while misrepresenting the ideas and motives of atheists. Karl Marx, for example, was an atheist but no one reads him to discuss his arguments regarding the existence of God. Marx’s dismissal of religion as “the opiate of the people,” was a quip reflecting his dismissal of religion, not an actual argument. Marx’s field was economics. That’s where he devoted the bulk of his intellectual resources.
D’Souza refers to “the God of the three Abrahamic religions” as “a pretty exacting fellow,” not the kind of God who would arise from “wish fulfillment.” He concedes that “wish fulfillment can explain heaven,” but argues that “it cannot explain hell.” But don’t people, at least quietly, wish the demise of their enemies? And isn’t Hell as lavish a fantasy as Heaven? What part of fantasy wish-fulfillment isn’t served by the belief that one is going to endless joy while one’s enemies are going to endless sorrow?
Nor does D’Souza show much accuracy in his claim that the religion of these three religion is “a pretty exacting fellow.” While all three religions posit a God who is omnipotent and perfectly just, that’s only half the story. Christianity casts Judaism as a religion full of impossible demands, but that’s hardly the way Judaism sees itself. In fact, though the New Testament has Jesus attacked by Pharisees, a number of Jewish sources say that the real Pharisees – as carriers of Rabbinic Judaism – were much more like Jesus, who not only sounds like a typical Pharisee but is found cribbing Rabbi Hillel.
It’s Jesus, much more than Moses, who imagines a God who is practically implacable. Moses said not to kill, but Jesus condemns anyone who hurls a slur. Moses condemned adultery; Jesus condemns anyone who oggles. Moses limited retaliation to “an eye for an eye.” Jesus told his hearers they had to “turn the other cheek,” pray for their enemies, “go the extra mile,” and respond to every lawsuit by settling for more than was demanded. Judaism prohibits the taking of another person’s property. Christianity says to give no thought to food, clothig or shelter.
But even Christianity, for its “higher law,” holds it over a trap door. While the God of Judaism is presented as impossibly demanding, his son, Jesus, is so good and so loving that his suffering and death are irrestible. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Apparently, for a “pretty demanding guy,” the God of Christianity is quite a pushoever. What is this great thing you have to do to merit eternal life? Believe the Christian message? Wow.
Maybe that’s why, for all D’Souza’s talk of Christians as being so morally superior to atheists, we keep hearing of fingering fathers, of Joseph Smith’s teen brides, of Jerry Falwell and the hooker, of Jim Bakker and the church secretary, of scheming Popes, of Oral Robert’s claim of divine blackmail if he didn’t meet his fundraising mark and of Ernest Angeley as his stained-glass key, just ask for item #72372.
Not that atheists can’t do their share of harm when the chips are down. Stalin fronted an officially atheistic communist regime that killed millions, and Pol Pott left the forest full of skulls in Cambodia. But Hitler considered himself a Catholic – and he killed six million Jews, bringing to climax two millennia of Christian persecution of Jews. Was it an act of morality for Pope Urban II to call for the Crusades? Was it a reflection of superior morality when Popes gave the nod to the Inquisition or sanctioned both the Spanish Conquest and the Atlantic Slave Trade. Where was the Pope during The Holocaust? Was his silence in any way affected by a concern that Italy, in allying with Germany, could have scooped up the Vicar of Christ, the way the French did in setting up the Avignon Papacy?
Where is this superior morality? I see a religion forced down the throats of whole societies while its embrace is little more than good PR by politicians who left their Christianity at the door, both in their treatment of rivals as well as “heretics.” If, to be “saved” as John put it, is for “whosoever believeth on him,” the difference between Christianity and atheism is not one of morality but of belief. Christians believe that by believing in Jesus, their sins are immediately and automatically forgiven. Atheists may question whether there’s any absolute or objective truth value to “sin” but they don’t think a dead-beat dad is suddenly anything but a dead-beat dad, simply because he said he was sorry – or declared his belief in Jesus.
It’s precisely when you quit basing morality on supernatural claims that you end up with something approaching moral clarity. For the atheist, right and wrong are not based upon burning bushes, clay tablets, angels, Popes or the stations of the cross. They’re not based on whether you’ve picked the proper group to worship with, or whether your baptism was by dipping or sprinkling. They’re not based on whether you pray the right way, pay the right amount of tithing, eat or drink the right foods or give to God the proper name.
Atheistic morality is based on purely natural considerations. In one’s own private life, where no one else is involved, there’s no need for discussion of morality. It’s when people have to live together and get along that they develop rules, rules they hope to apply to each other. As the English would say, “Good hedges make good neighbors.” In fact, as seen from this perspective, The Ten Commandments are simply a projection of the same concerns that drove the creation of the U.S. Constitution and the American Bill of Rights. Where Jews and Christians imagine God as telling people not to steal, kill, falsely accuse one another or intrude upon their intimate relationships (adultery), this is hardly a hardship. People expect as much from each other. In fact, who would want to live in a society where other people felt free to steal their property, falsely accuse them, sleep with their lover or kill them?
Way to go, God! God just happened to reveal to mankind what mankind already wanted. How convenient! And how redundant, since so many societies – apart from the Abrahamic tradition – have adopted similar rules, without the benefit or need of a burning bush!
D’Souza has come up with nothing to further the necessity, or desirability, of Christianity. He has simply accused atheists of rejecting his God out of a desire to live immoral lives, but what kind of argument is that? And where is the proof that Christians enjoy a superior morality by virtue of their acceptance of Jesus? The only way Christians can claim greater virtue is by imagining that God purges them of sin, as a reward for accepting the Jesus story. But if that’s the basis of their claim to moral superiority, it’s a claim as questionable as the virgin birth, Jesus dancing on the waves or water-into-wine.
The Christians say you can’t be moral unless you accept Jesus, not because those who accept Jesus automatically behave any differently but because they imagine Jesus cleaning up after them – as a reward for their belief in him. So, in their own minds, Christians are morally superior. It is certainly not an objective fact. Where atheists would measure a person’s behavior, the Christians would simply imagine a divine eraser at work. “Forgiven” by Jesus, their misdeeds simply don’t matter. They disappear from the Christian mind.
Maybe that’s why so many people find Jesus behind bars, especially between their conviction and sentencing. But to accuse atheists of choosing atheism, simply to avoid moral responsibility – particularly from a group whose hallmark is to shift responsibility for their misdeeds to “Jesus” (who is only available for those who click their heels and say they believe) – is the pot caling the kettle black.
Opiate of the masses, indeed!



report abuse
 

Brian Horan

posted October 30, 2007 at 12:25 am


Zero-Equals-Infinity is right. The scholarship is extremely sloppy. “The Perennial Philosophy” by Aldous Huxley is not something a materialist/atheist would write.



report abuse
 

Boony25801

posted October 30, 2007 at 1:19 am


Not that Ive done a lot of in deph thinking about this conflict but having just thought about it, I wonder why (1) There has to be any conflict or debate at all ? I mean, wouldnt the best solution all around be to live and let live ?
(2) I have to wonder if it aint so much the christian religions themselves that atheists object to so much as the proseltising conduct by the members of the various christian religions that they would object to, assuming that they really thought about it.
Im wiccan and have been for over 10 years. I have no problem with someone being a christian, atheist or whatever as long as they dont push their beliefs on me.
Now, again, if we could all hold such an attitude then it would seem to me that a major cause of all of our wars and lesser conflicts would become an issue of the past.
Wouldnt that be better for all ?



report abuse
 

Jillian

posted October 30, 2007 at 7:49 am


[i]“It is the atheist position that bases all of its faith-based angry little tirades on the hope that 0 x 0 can equal anything.” “0 x 0 = atheism. Even in their own lab experiments. Yup, it just doesn’t make anything productive.”
“This is simply wrong on the most important aspect. Jesus is presented as a reality, a fact, from birth to death to resurrection. From John to Thomas to Jude and (R)evelation, guesswork and hoping against hope doesn’t exist in the Christian treatise on why we are here and for what purpose.”[/i]
Donny, I look at your statements and, well, you’re missing the point.
Atheists have read the Bible, and many have done so more so than you, and they are not convinced. Take for example Robert M. Price, who describes his journey from fundamentalism as a teenager, to Ph.D. in Theology and pastor of a liberal church, to humanism. (It is described in an essay by him on infidels dot org, amid a variety of his writings mostly anti-fundamentalist.)
Muslims, Jews, Hindus, the mythical believers in Darwin, indeed educated followers of all serious religions find sufficient answers and reasons for hope in their teachings, books, and the tradition of their community. This may surprise you, but it is true.
The motivation for a person’s belief in the Bible and the choice of how to interpret it very much lies in the person’s life and experience outside the Bible. Maybe that’s where to focus our thinking, Donny- what the essential element or experience in human life, not in the Bible, is that leads to proper faith.



report abuse
 

sagenav

posted October 30, 2007 at 11:21 am


Well, thank goodness I’m not a Fundamentalist Christian or an Atheist. Each side insists on its own righteousness and constantly berates the other, and neither philosphy is at all appealing.



report abuse
 

Cathy

posted October 30, 2007 at 11:26 am


Christmas is coming and I want to sayt that -Atheists should allow Christians to have their prayers and bible readings and Christmas celebrations without comment. Christians don’t make a big deal about whether or not you bow your head and pray with them, or whether you say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays.
The problem with atheism seems then to be intolerance.
Here is the BIG question. If you live like there is a God and find out in the end that there isn’t – what does it hurt? BUT if you live like there is no God and don’t accept the gift of salvation, and then you die and find out there is a God – what then? Maybe then God will say ” Hey, you didn’t want anything to do with me, so I reject you also” and off you go to the fires of hell where “the worm never dies” and there is “wailing and gnashing of teeth”. Personally, I’d rather not take my chances. Besides, true believers have evidence of God, in answered prayers, in peace and joy thru the trials of life, in nature and in many other ways. Blessed are those who have not seen, but have believed.



report abuse
 

nin Privitera

posted October 30, 2007 at 11:27 am


This argument will never come to a conclusion so it comes down to this for me. Am I going to believe Jesus of Nazareth who said that there is a God and a life after death or am I going to believe Christopher Hitchens? With all due respect to Christopher, I am going to believe Jesus whether or not, as he may argue, scripture is something that can’t be trusted. It’s good enough for me. I choose to live with the hope that there is a God who created me as a unique being rather than being the result of a random collection of atoms and molecules. Nin



report abuse
 

sagenav

posted October 30, 2007 at 11:39 am


No matter how much my son or daughter rejected me I would never reject them and would always love them. I guess that’s the problem I have with your version of Christianity Cathy. Any fatherly God that would “lovingly” cast His “children” into eternal hell and damnation is not a God that I’ll embrace.



report abuse
 

SkipChurch

posted October 30, 2007 at 1:10 pm


Nin, it’s all about Jesus of Nazareth vs Christopher Hitchens. Don’t try to think for yourself, just pick one of those two.
Sounds like a plan!!



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted October 30, 2007 at 3:17 pm


Unfortunately, I find that both big wigs on the sides of theology and atheism all too often preach to the choir, as the expression goes.



report abuse
 

Bubba

posted October 30, 2007 at 3:21 pm


I am teetering on the precarious ledge between belief and atheism.
Like many Christians, I struggle with the focus on believing certain things as a pre-requisite for being a Christian. Many of the ideas, concepts, and doctrine that more conservative Christians believe are viewed, rightly or wrongly, as quite absurd by the secular world, and as well by more liberal Christians. Noah’s ark, the garden of Eden, dinosaurs on the ark, a 6000 year old earth, all strain credibility when viewed through a secular, scientific worldview.
The belief centered paradigm of Christianity creats a religion of requirements. Seems illogical to me.
A person cannot will themselves to believe, in their heart, in a concept that their intellect rejects. I wonder if a belief centered worldview reduces Christianity to a set of requirements (with the ultimate goal being eternal salvation), when it may actually be a way of living, thinking, reflecting, and working through Christ and God to transform our lives in the way Christ and God intended.
It often boils down to how one views the Bible.
Fundamentalist Christians (FCs) have a curious notion that they can use the Bible to defend the views contained within the Bible. They assert that no other source can supersede what is stated in Biblical text (“the Bible is the word of God because it says it is the word of God’). FCs reject any science that contradicts these texts, and further justifies this rejection with arguments based on these very same Biblical scripture. I would challenge FCs to ask themselves, honestly, is there any science that would be acceptable if it did contradict Scripture? Can FCs even accept that the possibility of science ever trumping Scripture?
Regarding hell, and the book of Revelations, I reject these outright. Again, why would a loving God, with all his power, grace, and capacity for reason, create a world where the majority, as non-Christians, are going to hell, and which will all end in some catastrophic, violent, Armageddon?
What do I struggle with? The concept of substitutionary atonement. Did Jesus die for our sins, or did he die because of the sins of the world? Why would a sovereign and powerful God need to sacrifice his son for the purpose of saving a minority of humanity?
Bubba



report abuse
 

Writer93

posted October 30, 2007 at 3:38 pm


Exactly. What better reason to reject God, or any truth, for that matter, than it interferes with your style?
At some point, we have to come to terms that there is an Absolute Truth, there is Right and Wrong, even if it’s uncomfortable. As I’ve been told since I was a child, the world doesn’t revolve around me!



report abuse
 

jtbodhisattva

posted October 30, 2007 at 3:44 pm


humanity is irrational by nature. atheists want us to believe in nothing, which is quite irrational. it’s impossible to believe in nothing. and the religious want us to believe in what we can only see in our heads, another irrational approach to rationality. each individual must choose which road to take, neither of which have a road map and both of which require faith in one form or another.



report abuse
 

nHISgrace

posted October 30, 2007 at 4:01 pm


Deception… if you believe or disbelieve the question for each of us is ‘are we being deceived or deceiving our selves’. I would assume that there is a truth out there, one truth to our lives. ‘Reality’ one reality no matter how we are deceiving or being deceived, no matter the ‘truth’ we believe, there is only one of these as well. I am a Christian, it is my ‘faith’; it is my ‘truth’, my ‘reality’ if you will, knowing this I can understand the essay that I’m commenting on. For any perspective, no matter the side you find yourself on, to be intellectually honest with the situation between any faith and unbelief, we fall into that which suites our needs or our desires.
As a Christian I can argue to some here and I may convince some that I’m nuts (just saying I’m a Christian does the trick sometimes), or that I’m reasonable at the very least, or by some wonder (I’d give credit to God for) I may convince you that God is real… but the convincing would come by a need for you somewhere deep inside, an emptiness or a conviction of knowing your life is one of sinfulness, needing a moral compass or forgiveness. What ever the reasoning, the point being the essay is right in that to rid oneself of God is to rid oneself of a guilty conscious while still living for ones owns purpose; at the same point I would also point out is that to have God (Jesus) is to also rid oneself of a guilty conscious, if only to turn from that which you were to live for a different purpose.
Remember those who have an issue with Hell, or Substitutionary atonement. God is a loving God… but he is also a Just God, a Rightoues judge, a judge baised upon His Laws. Atonement was made with Jesus, it was within Gods Laws to do this, to accept it or reject it is a choice God does not force anyone into. What is your need with in the confines of your ‘reality’ or ‘truth’… to trust is to have faith in what ever your trusting in… all else is deceiving.



report abuse
 

Samuelbb7

posted October 30, 2007 at 4:23 pm


I was never a true atheist. But I was definityl an agnostic.
I believe in the Bible above the theory of Evolution because I find major problems with the Theory. These objections are glossed over by the proponets of the Theory. A lot like a lawyer who tells the truth but neglects to tell both sides.
Could a Science fact show the bible is false to me. Yes. But I have not meet one so far. Like the age of the Earth. I do believe it is possible for the earth and the Galaxy to be much older then 6,000 years. But I still see Creation as a six literal day event.
On hell. I belong to a Church where we teach conditionalism. That those who do not follow GOD will be punished exactly as much as they deserve then cease to exist.
I liked the article.



report abuse
 

SquirleyWurley

posted October 30, 2007 at 5:04 pm


I don’t have an issue with the attempt to look at psychological motives for atheism, or to see how atheism can serve ulterior purposes — especially when the target is Marxism (which railed against religion as an opiate while then manipulating people with political ideology and propaganda which became the new opiate), but when the target is the general concept “atheist” that’s a large target, and painting with too broad a brush will ignore the diversity among atheists.
It is a fact that I deny the Hell doctrine and that this is a very important part of my lack of belief in the Abrahamic god(s). But I am not escaping responsibility or judgment.
If it is said that I am morally corrupt because of being gay, because of refusing to trust in a holy book or holy men or holy institutions, if it is said that I am morally corrupt for some scandalous viewpoints about religion — it can ALSO be said that I’ve been conscientious about being CONSISTENTLY against torture and rape, civil and human rights, and fairness towards other human beings.
That many Christians who believe that I in fact deserve torture (and that this is a ‘good’ judgment of a ‘good’ god), and made more of a fuss over gay marriage than over charges of torture and rape by US soldiers at military prisons in Iraq — would consider ME morally corrupt and ‘hiding’ from responsibility by not believing in Hell (that is, by not believing that I deserve infinite, eternal punishment for rejecting their religion) — is BEYOND CONTEMPTIBLE.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted October 30, 2007 at 6:14 pm


Like C.S. Lewis before him, D’Souza offers the aroma of critical thinking but it’s just rhetoric in a shiny package.
To say that atheists are just atheists because they don’t want to be held accountable for their misdeeds is to perpetuate a stereotype about atheists – that those who disbelieve in supernatural claims are less virtuous than those who do.
I find that kind of thinking offensive and silly. It’s just an ad hominem attack disguised as an argument. To say, “My opponent is wrong because he’s morally defective” is to employ classic misdirection.
I’ve known lot of atheists and I’ve known lots of believers. I never saw much difference in character or behavior. Atheists aren’t scumbags, nor are many scumbags atheists. Atheists don’t believe in God. That doesn’t mean they believe in, say, sleeping with the church secretary (Jim Bakker), picking up hookers (Jimmy Swaggart), threatening their death if others don’t support their favorite charity (Oral Roberts), backing slanderous videos against a sitting president and a teletubbie (Jerry Falwell), or advocating the deaths of Supreme Court Justices and world leaders we don’t like (Pat Robertson).
When I practiced criminal defense, I met a lot of scummy people, but the vast majority of them claimed to be Christians. Most atheists I’ve known were good people who had to watch their back. They were people who had to endure the taunting and harassment of those who would use their beliefs to assail their honesty and character.
D’Souza is simply a new face playing the same old song.



report abuse
 

GodisLove

posted October 31, 2007 at 12:28 am


This is a totally bogus argument because it’s based on assumptions made by the author about the morality of those who do not believe in the existence of “god”.
It is hard for most fundamental believers to accept that those who don’t believe in their version of “god” can also be morally and ethically upstanding in their communities. They believe that morality and ethics stem only from religious beliefs concerning “god” who demands a certain set of such beliefs. That without them, no one can live a good life, a family-oriented life, a life filled with both personal accomplishments that benefit the community and accomplishments that are personally beneficial.
The trouble with that argument is that people who do not accept the existence of “god” are as morally upstanding, if not more so than some believers. Secular humanists are exactly what Christians strive to be. But for the most part, Christians must overcome their “sinful nature” in order to follow the moral code of their religion, while atheists simply adhere to the moral code of the society in which they reside. They have no “god” standing over them with the threat of punishment if they fail. No reward is their incentive to do what is right, and yet they are vilified for not accepting a “god” who does demand obedience to a moral code outlined in a sacred scripture, which I might add was written by men and which contains a moral code that existed long before it was adapted for that book.
Christian fear rejection of their belief system because it makes it seem as though they may not be on the right track and so they must vilify everyone who challenges their beliefs. It has been going on, within Christianity, since the day it officially became a religion, and the scripture was codified (by another set of men). Challengers in the past met a simple fate–death. Today they are accused of moral fraud and everyone who fears their challenge falls in line to add to the vilification of the challenger.
Would that all Christians followed the teachings OF Jesus (not the teachings ABOUT him), then they would simply fall in line with the secular humanists already on the front line of helping people and doing good in every community. Are you there already, then maybe you are already working side by side with someone who does not accept your story about “god”. Perhaps you should try a new tact, one that is less fearful of what people say about your “god” and one that stresses the innate goodness of all people to reach out to one another.
Karl Marx’s comment put into it’s correct context:
“Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.
The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.”
Religion’s opium keeps people from seeing what is true and good about their condition and keeps people from moving forward to change those things which they could change if they were not blinded by the illusions. This illusion that atheists are the problem in our society is clearly something that Christians cannot get past. As a former Christian, I challenge those who believe as this man to try to accept all people, including those who do not accept your understanding of the universe as your brothers and sisters and move forward.



report abuse
 

GodisLove

posted October 31, 2007 at 11:13 am


One final comment about “intolerance”. If you take a good look at history, especially the history of Christianity, you will see that it is the Christian movement which is the definition of INTOLERANCE.
Even now, there is little tolerance going on between Christian denominations and the Christian majority of this country wants to claim that they are being persecuted by all the minorities who are ganging up on them and not “allowing” them to do their thing (which means crossing the wall set up by the Constitution between Church and state). A majority religion must never be allowed to cross that wall as Christianity has already done because we are a country built on the ideals of many different peoples who have the right to express their belief or non-belief in “god” any way in which they choose. It is this Christian majority which goes about being totally intolerant of every other religious believer during it’s holy days, demanding that their holy days be counted while others are ignored.
The wall has been breached but it can be put back together by either removing the National Holiday status applied to the Christian holy days or making every religion’s high holy days, National holidays. I’m in favor of the latter. Intolerance is not so much something that is happening “to” Christians as it is an effective tool which Christians have perfected over the last 1700 years in order to feel sorry for themselves while they claim to be the persecuted!



report abuse
 

Alicia

posted October 31, 2007 at 1:06 pm


One of the most ethical individuals I have met was raised entirely without religion. I don’t think religion is necessary to provide a moral foundation for behavior. However, I do think understanding religion and the religious is an important part of every thinking person’s education, and I don’t mean understanding in a dismissive way.
The problem, as I see it, with the evangelical atheists like Christopher Hitchens, is that they don’t appear to have sufficient respect for what the phenomenon they are attempting to debunk. By the same token, I think D’Souza shows insufficient respect for atheists and atheism.



report abuse
 

methodistsearching

posted October 31, 2007 at 2:24 pm


Dinesh D’Souza’s article is an example of the kind of meaningless drivel that constantly makes me say to my fellow churchgoers “No wonder Atheists laugh at us!”.
He starts with an offensive remark that “their sole cause for rejecting God is that He does not meet the requirements of reason.”
Why do I find this offensive? If you preach that God ‘s will and actions don’t always have to make sense, then you lay the foundation of an organization (Like most Church Hierarchies) that portend to “know the answer”, somehow making them better than your average church parishoner. This idea, followed by preaching that either eternal damnation or heavenly bliss await people depending on whether or not you follow the Church’s teachings puts people in a position of dependence on them as all-knowing counselors. If you throw in the exhortations to pledge ten percent of your income as a requirement to get to heaven, well now you can see why I find this offensive.
Do God’s ways and Jesus’s teachings run counter to conventional wisdom? You bet. But when you really dissect them, do they make sense? Absolutely.
We are charged by God to FIND the reason in his actions. Whether or not you think the bible was written by men or by God, if you really read it and search for REASON, then it truly becomes an eternal guide to a good life here on earth. And, like many things, when you pursue actions that individually make you feel good (helping the sick and poor, taking care of the planet, NOT making war, etc), you end up achieving strategic goals along the way: A life free from stress and guilt, healthier existence, and most likely greater longevity.
As far as an afterlife goes, if you concentrate on the sense of self that could be considered a “soul”, then you have the beginning of a reasonable idea of what happens when you die. At least have the thought!
There is no sin in considering religion a Philosphy of Life. Making it a requirement to belong to the right “club” is obscene, offensive, and elitist. Quite the opposite of Jesus.
In another metter, I saw the full text of Karl Marx’s quote listed before. Again, this is an area where D’Souza does his religious brethren no favor. To paraphrase, Karl Marx actually read the teachings of Jesus more accurately than many non-atheists. He understood Jesus admonition to the poor not to take up arms and fight the rich and powerful in some war for equality. Jesus advocated non-violence and assured the poor that in heaven, all would be equal and material things would not matter. (Jesus also railed against the rich about the evils of gluttony and oppression, but he tailored his address to his audience). If you consider the basic tenets of Socialism and Communism, which advocate worldwide revolution against the rich, you can see the problem. Marx felt the church was just one more organization keeping poor people in their place. He was right, of course, about the organization. Hopefully we all agree he was wrong on advocating violent revolution and killing rich people.
We can do without the writings of people like D’Souza, although he has a right to publish them. As many atheists like to say, he is advocating the worship of the latest group of characters descended down from Zeus, Apollo, Aphrodite, etc. And his only supporting argument is that we got it right this time.
No wonder Atheists laugh at us.



report abuse
 

Tony

posted October 31, 2007 at 5:05 pm


D’Souza’s essay is right on the money. His analysis fits perfectly the mindset of every atheist I know. Most of them have even admitted it.



report abuse
 

DiscipleofChrist

posted October 31, 2007 at 6:13 pm


D’Souza’s essay does what good arguments do not: analysis in terms of the person making/holding the argument, and not with respect to the arguments themselves. Atheism(s), whatever the motivation, is acceptable/rejectable based on its merits/claims. “Christians” have a wide variety of motivations for accepting/believing/living out their faith. The intellectual framework which situates that faith is one which should be addressed on its own grounds. Psychological analysis of groups of people advancing an argument is speculation. There are undoubtedly many atheists who reluctantly accept atheism on its own grounds, finding it the most convincing set of beliefs even though a neat and tidy theological system would be easier. There are others who simply want ANY system, theistic or otherwise, which will allow their selfishness/egoism to run rampant.
Broad generalizations which seek to situate arguments in a psychological framework are worthwhile for certain purposes, but they cannot be the explanatory factor in accepting/rejecting an argument. Most importantly, all D’Souza can claim is that some may accept atheism in terms of moral revolt, but moral revolt is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for such acceptance.



report abuse
 

michael

posted November 1, 2007 at 3:48 am


I agree overall with DS’s evaluation of contemporary atheistic arguments. They do all tend to hit that one note of “not enough reason”, all the old arguments long since counter-argued.
What Marx and Nietzsche did for “the masses” was to get their noses out of this whole “I’ll just keep my head in the sand until I die then heaven will all be peaches and cream” submissive, passive mindset and got people to focus on their lives, here and now. If you had to live your life over and over again and there was no release, would you be happy? If not, what good does religion serve? This is Nietzsche’s question of eternal recurrence. The point of such an exercise is actually a liberating innovation — freeing the mind from constraints of thinking of heaven and hell. Yet another example of intellectual freedom. And it’s hardly depressing to think about. And that’s as far as I agree with Marx on just about any other issue.
As for Nietzsche and the abyss — one man’s trash is another’s treasure. That’s the singular important concept to come from N’s (and others’) relativism. I can’t get along with some notion of a universal fixed, one-size-fits all heaven or a one-torture-fits-all hell (all fire! all the time! — hey that’s fine I’m warm blooded). My heaven is full of Junior Kimbrough songs on an infinite Wurlitzer in the smokiest, drinkingest Memphis chickenshack in the world. When freed from a fixed notion of heaven, which is much like freeing science from “the ether” in N’s pov, we can focus our senses on that which makes a heaven and hell of this life. THIS life. We form friendships and societies and campuses based on these joys and the dissemination of them, the debate of them.
Where Nietzsche and Marx do indeed fail most profoundly and sadly is in the area of law. In all this relativism where do we get along without killing each other just for the thrill-kill sensation of it? Nietzsche’s rather idealistic answer is, much like Buddhas, that we will be so busy exploring all the good our newly liberated-from-heaven-and-hell senses afford us we won’t have time nor inclination for “behaviors that don’t suit us” Idealistic and to be hoped for? Yup. Practical? About as practical as a wheel made out of shoelaces.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted November 1, 2007 at 1:00 pm


What comes to my mind in this debate is the amazing appreciation of the very nature of “belief” — IOW the very “concept” of “belief” itself. (I do realize this is Beliefnet). I think individuals generally have a grip on their personal beliefs, however difficult to articulate; and I do believe that the semantics, although necessary, may at times hamper our exchange in this discussion. (Great thread by the way.)
But why do we even care about someone else’s beliefs? When did mankind start to wake up to focus on belief, individual or collective? And Why?
Because even though beliefs are intangible, we apparently need so much validation about them to the point of adorning them with as much materialism as the materialists demand. They have caused conflict, schism, and chaos while also having unified, structured and socialized.
They are not a building or currency, but seem to have much value. Are they merely thought? So why do they give rise to whole systems? Some revelation? A truth? Then why would they ever change at all, and why do they demand “faith?” (See the examples cited, such as, Zeus as opposed to the G-d of Abraham.) And how do they change on a collective level? Or even an individual one?
And as I have extricated from more than one debate on this site and this subject, some place the value not so much on the belief itself or the truth thereof, rather the consistency and ability of folks to adhere and accept the belief, and conduct themselves accordingly; thus, giving rise to more antagonism with respect to the atheists and/or non-believers and vice versa.
Heifer



report abuse
 

Richard W. Chadburn

posted November 1, 2007 at 1:38 pm


Reason is a candle in a darkness of religious bigotry.



report abuse
 

LJ

posted November 1, 2007 at 3:28 pm


“Leave my sins alone” is the cry of atheists. Well written with Godly wisdom. D’Souza is a blessing to the christian faith. He said ” one way to get away from judgment,is to get rid of the Judge”. All Atheist arguments are hollow,and without any true meaning or creditable foundation. All mankind was born with a measure of faith,so there are no born atheist. Like any sin,atheistism is a choice. Atheists are following the “Tower of babel” syndrom,and that is, “I want to do things my way,without any stipilations”.



report abuse
 

Michael Aprile

posted November 1, 2007 at 3:32 pm


Oh, yes. I have chosen to be Christian because I love being humiliated, socially persecuted, hated, despised, labeled, cursed at, laughed at, and a list of other things that the worldly like to offer. The issue has never been whether or not following Christ and believing His Word is the best or only choice available, but rather, what would I have to change about the manner in which I choose to live, if I did. Christians, who are actually living a Christian walk, have realized that being a Christian involves sacrifice — just as He sacrificed. They do not consider it strange when unbelievers say and do all manner of things against what they do and believe. They realize that this activity is normal and expected. Christ said, “They hate you because they hated me first.” Real Christians escape nothing, but instead, they face it straight on in the light of Christ. They encounter everything that the Atheist, or any one else, does in this daily life. They struggle the same. However, they have the grace to bear up under it much better. This is where the “sacrifice” comes in. Sacrifice, to a real Christian, is dying each day to those selfish motives and reactions that is found in the “self” as they are encountered. Instead of believing they have the right to be ugly or irate, real Christians are called to be Christ-like and take it to the Cross. Like Jesus, they are called to return good for evil, and when they see inappropriate behavior, to respond by looking at the people who react in this manner as people who have an underlying reason for behaving the way they do. Christians are called to try to meet the needs of those who suffer afflictions and help those in need. None of this is easy, yet, Christians have been given an example of one Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. No, this was not pleasant, but necessary. Most atheist do not understand this way of life, to their detriment. What is even sadder is that those who do, actually believe that there is another way to peace. What they have is temporal, deceptive satiation, as opposed to what they could have, which is everlasting joy.



report abuse
 

daniel mccormack

posted November 1, 2007 at 3:39 pm


bottom line love is the answer mr.danimccr@aol.com



report abuse
 

Karen

posted November 1, 2007 at 9:27 pm


Because (as many of the posts above clearly demonstrate), atheists never get humiliated, socially persecuted, hated, despised, labeled, cursed at, laughed at, and a list of other things that the worldly like to offer.
And because it happens so often to a group that is, after all, over 80 percent of our population. The majority so often gets persecuted and tormented by the other..mm.. less than 20 percent of the population. (And no, being disagreed with on an internet board does NOT count as being persecuted.)



report abuse
 

Paul

posted November 2, 2007 at 1:19 pm


Yet again the argument is made that atheists are simply immoral, or that they do not want to be judged. And, yet again, it is a generalization that is completely incorrect.
I am not an atheist so that I can be liberated to do evil things. I am an atheist because I simply do not and cannot believe. I have tried many different spiritual traditions and none have felt as right for me as atheism.
Please, stop saying that all atheists are immoral or like stubborn, rebellious children. I admit that many of the attacks made by atheists against Christianity and other religions are inaccurate and unscrupulous. But if you wish to work together to build a better society, or even convert an atheist to Christianity, the first thing you have to do is stop attacking people.



report abuse
 

Chance

posted November 2, 2007 at 3:13 pm


The religious right has nothing to brag about when it comes to morality. They claim to be pro-life, but they are also pro-death penalty and pro-war. Scarily enough, these are people willing to use nuclear weapons, when that is clearly murder of the highest degree. They claim to follow the bible which clearly talks more about helping the outcasts of society more than any other religious obligations, yet their policies constantly side with the rich and leave the poor out. They are often intolerant and bigoted when clearly Jesus said, “Do to other’s as you would have them do to you.”
They believe in personal responsibility when they end up blaming everything that is wrong with the world on everyone else.
If you want to talk to me about who is immoral, I wouldn’t turn first to the Atheist but those people claiming to be religious.



report abuse
 

BELOVEDWUAN

posted November 3, 2007 at 12:35 am


Lamb of GOD, take away the sins of us, Have mercy on us.
Lamb of GOD, take away the sins of us, Have mercy on us.
Lamb of GOD, take away the sins of us, Grant us peace.
MAY THE PEACE OF THE LORD BE WITH YOU ALWAYS!!!!!!!!!!!



report abuse
 

Holly in San Diego

posted November 3, 2007 at 6:00 pm


To say that all atheists are atheists for the reasons you have given is as disingenuous as saying that all Christians are Christians because they are comforted by the fantasy of having an all powerful father (God) to protect and care for them.
You have also misrepresented Sam Harris, author of “The End of Faith.” He is an agnostic not an atheist. You would know this if you had read his book.
You did not mention what Emmanual Kant wrote about morality and belief in God, even though you included less relevant material by less well known “philosophers.” Kant argued that it is morally superior to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do, than it is to do the right thing because one is afraid that one will be punished (sent to hell) if one does wrong.
I’m glad that people who will only refrain from harming others if they are afraid that they will be punished for doing so, are afraid that they will be punished.
However I agree with Kant that it is better to do the right thing for other reasons – such as genuinely caring about other human beings.
What you wrote suggests that this is not possible. I couldn’t disagree more strongly!!! Surely you must be capable of acknowledging that agnostics and even atheists often behave morally, kindly and even selflessly. In San Diego last week I saw THOUSANDS of people who are not Born Again Christians eagerly volunteering to help others. Born Again Churches were EXTREMELY helpful and so were more traditional Christian churches, but they were definitely not the only source of aid to people who were ordered to evacuate or people who lost their homes.



report abuse
 

Thelemite

posted November 5, 2007 at 12:27 pm


I detest arguments that reach a conclusion based on telling the opposition what they believe!
It always comes off the same: “Well, obviously you know very well the evidence proves God exists, so logically you must be an atheist because then you can sin all you want.”
As for people (like the author) who can’t fathom how morality could exist if a god didn’t lay down the system himself: ten commandments or no ten commandments, people still decide for themselves what is right or wrong. Regardless of who wrote them, you still have to make a personal decision to agree with them or not, and that decision is dependant on your upbringing, education, geographic location, economic status, etc. – the same criteria that would dictate one’s morality in a naturalistic scenario.
I find it a little disturbing that Christians like this author seem to be the only ones who think that without god watching us it would be perfectly acceptable to rape, steal and kill all you want. Perhaps it’s best they don’t become atheists…..



report abuse
 

Autumn1016

posted November 6, 2007 at 6:03 pm


What about the moral corruption that goes on within the churches? The sex abuse in Catholic, Baptist, Jesuits, Mormans, and Jehovah’s Witnesses just to name a few? What about the rape of young Morman women in forced marriages? What about the mass killings and abuses in the name of Allah? What about the moral corruption going on at the Westboro church where they picket young soldiers funerals & shamelessly abuse the families? What about the Branch Davidians, the Waco destruction and Jim Jones mass suicide all in God’s name?
The list of abuses could go on for pages!
And you want to call atheists morally corrupt?



report abuse
 

Donny

posted November 6, 2007 at 9:55 pm


What about the moral corruption that goes on within the churches? The sex abuse in Catholic, Baptist, Jesuits, Mormans, and Jehovah’s Witnesses just to name a few? What about the rape of young Morman women in forced marriages? What about the mass killings and abuses in the name of Allah? What about the moral corruption going on at the Westboro church where they picket young soldiers funerals & shamelessly abuse the families? What about the Branch Davidians, the Waco destruction and Jim Jones mass suicide all in God’s name?
The list of abuses could go on for pages!
And you want to call atheists morally corrupt?
Posted by: Autumn1016
///
And yet, atheists in the nameless name of atheism, killed hundreds of millions of people in a few short years of godless communism taking root in just a few countries.



report abuse
 

Karen

posted November 7, 2007 at 1:11 am


Nope. Last I checked, that wasn’t ‘in the name of atheism’. That was ‘in the name of communism’.
Unless you’re willing to have Christianity take on the death toll of any country that also happens to have a Christian majority or a primarily Christian government. With no more ‘they did that for political/social/cultural’ reasons.’
Last I heard, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and others killed those they viewed as political threats to their regimes.
China has a ‘State Church’. Stalin re-instituted, and, indeed, encouraged attendance during WWII. Hardly the acts of states with the primary goal of doing things for ‘atheism’. They do what is good for THEMSELVES, not atheism.
Would you imagine a Muslim theocracy ever, even when it is in their best interests, encouraging Christian church attendance, etc?



report abuse
 

ragnarok_13

posted November 8, 2007 at 1:40 am


Exactly right, rarely does anyone kill in the name of atheism. I don’t believe that organized religion is the number one killer but I think it seems to damage so many, even with the amount of people it has helped taken into account. How many times have you heard of an atheist running around killing people because their victims believed in god. No it’s the religious killing the other religious who don’t believe the right thing. I think it can damage people for its propensity to cultivate minds that believe without evidence, where faith is more important than reason, near blind obedience to authority figures is encouraged and so is the feeling that other people are somehow lowly or less enlightened. Not every religious person is like this but it’s fertile soil for fanatics of every stripe.



report abuse
 

Cathy

posted May 27, 2008 at 4:49 pm


To Sagenav,
I have not been on this blog since the first time so I just today read your response to what I had to say in Oct of last year….
Let me just say this: I love my kids, but I taught them right from wrong and punishment was applied when they did wrong – because I loved them – I disciplined them. Now as adults I can not control what they do but still when they do wrong there are laws that govern punishment of certain offenses. And it would do them no good for me to help them get off the hook easily and not suffer the consequences of their actions.
Hell is the same, it breaks God’s heart to lose us to the pits, but if we live a life away from Jesus and continue to sin, the consequence to our actions awaits.
I am probably not expressing this in a way that will get thru to you.
I just wonder sometimes what it is that happened in the life of someone like you to make your heart so hard against God?
And Why is it that we don’t go around stuffing God down the throats of others while atheists and the like are allowed to silence us when we do speak?
What makes atheists so much better – what happened to my free speach, & my freedom to worship?
I’m not college educated and I don’t argue as eloquently as some on this blog, but I have a heart and have experienced first hand what God can do in a messed up life if it is turned over to Him.
That’s all I have to say – besides the fact that I truly feel sorry for those who don’t know God. What do you even get up for each day?



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting J Walking . This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here is another blog you may also enjoy: Inspiration Report Happy Reading!!!

posted 9:36:25am Jul. 06, 2012 | read full post »

Dancing... or drinking through life
I am not even sure that I know how to do a link anymore. I'm giving it a shot though so, three readers, please forgive me if I mess this up. So Rod Dreher's sister is battling cancer. It is nasty. Their faith is extraordinary. Here's his latest post (I think) There are 8 comments on it. As I scrolle

posted 3:05:22pm Mar. 02, 2010 | read full post »

Back...
I'm back here at JWalking after a bit of time because I just want someplace to record thoughts from time to time. I doubt that many of the thoughts will be political - there are plenty upon plenty of people offering their opinions on everything political and I doubt that I have much to add that will

posted 10:44:56pm Mar. 01, 2010 | read full post »

Learning to tell a story
For the last ten months or so I've been engaged in a completely different world - the world of screenwriting. It began as a writing project - probably the 21st Century version of a yen to write the great American novel - a shot at a screenplay. I knew that I knew nothing about the art but was inspir

posted 8:01:41pm Feb. 28, 2010 | read full post »

And just one more
I have, I think, just one more round of chemo left. When I go through my pill popping regimen tomorrow morning it will be the last time for this particular round of drugs. Twenty-three rounds, it seems, is enough. What comes next? We'll go back to what we did after the surgery. We'll watch and measu

posted 11:38:45pm Nov. 18, 2008 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.