Posts Tagged “apologetics”

In the wake of the manner in which Christians — such as Marion “Pat” Robertson — have used the Haiti earthquake to advance their own agendas, scientist and outspoken critic of religion Richard Dawkins is using the comments of Christians — both Robertson’s, and those who try to distance themselves from him — to expose the reality of the religion they worship. In the Washington Post On Faith blog, he wrote (WebCite cached article):

Needless to say, milder-mannered faith-heads are falling over themselves to disown Pat Robertson, just as they disowned those other pastors, evangelists, missionaries and mullahs at the time of the earlier disasters.

What hypocrisy.

Loathsome as Robertson’s views undoubtedly are, he is the Christian who stands squarely in the Christian tradition. The agonized theodiceans who see suffering as an intractable ‘mystery’, or who ‘see God’ in the help, money and goodwill that is now flooding into Haiti , or (most nauseating of all) who claim to see God ‘suffering on the cross’ in the ruins of Port-au-Prince, those faux-anguished hypocrites are denying the centrepiece of their own theology. It is the obnoxious Pat Robertson who is the true Christian here.

Where was God in Noah’s flood? He was systematically drowning the entire world, animal as well as human, as punishment for ‘sin’. Where was God when Sodom and Gomorrah were consumed with fire and brimstone? He was deliberately barbecuing the citizenry, lock stock and barrel, as punishment for ‘sin’. Dear modern, enlightened, theologically sophisticated Christian, your entire religion is founded on an obsession with ‘sin’, with punishment and with atonement. Where do you find the effrontery to condemn Pat Robertson, you who have signed up to the obnoxious doctrine that the central purpose of Jesus’ incarnation was to have himself tortured as a scapegoat for the ‘sins’ of all mankind, past, present and future, beginning with the ‘sin’ of Adam, who (as any modern theologian well knows) never even existed?

The reality of Christianity is that sin, suffering, and retribution are central to everything about it, and Dawkins delivers this philosophical hammer-blow to Christians who would try to disavow Robertson:

Educated apologist, how dare you weep Christian tears, when your entire theology is one long celebration of suffering: suffering as payback for ‘sin’ – or suffering as ‘atonement’ for it? You may weep for Haiti where Pat Robertson does not, but at least, in his hick, sub-Palinesque ignorance, he holds up an honest mirror to the ugliness of Christian theology. You are nothing but a whited sepulchre.

Dawkins will, no doubt, be condemned for this confrontational piece, which is one of the harshest things I’ve read about Christianity, in the mass media, in a long time. (People seem to think that atheists like Dawkins are supposed to be meek, humble milquetoasts who cannot say anything even remotely mean about any religion … even though they, themselves, think nothing of deriding atheism, secularism, and other forms of non-belief.) But whatever the merits of Dawkins writing this confrontational piece may be, the fact remains that he is correct: Christian theology is predicated on viciousness and suffering, and revels in it. I have long argued that the God of all the Abrahamic faiths (i.e. Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition) can — logically — only be a malevolent being. It is not possible for him to be benevolent, as JCI worshippers assume him to be, nor is it possible even for him to be ambivalent or neutral. It’s heartening to see a public figure delivering a similar message.

Hat tip: Unreasonable Faith and the Friendly Atheist blogs.

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Brit Hume of Fox News offered some unsolicited advice to the beleaguered Tiger Woods … and in the process, revealed his ignorance of religion. The (NY) Daily News reports on his stupid comments:

Fox News’ Brit Hume irks Buddhists by wishing Tiger Woods convert to Christianity — for forgiveness

Fox newsman Brit Hume is evangelizing to Tiger Woods — and upsetting some peaceful Buddhists along the way.

Hume, speaking on Fox News Sunday, said he wants the beleaguered golfer to convert to Christianity because he believes Buddhism leaves no place for the “redemption” Tiger needs.

“Whether he can recover as a person I think is a very open question, and it’s a tragic situation with him,” Hume said.

“The extent to which he can recover seems to me depends on his faith,” Hume continued. “He is said to be a Buddhist. I don’t think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith.”

Hume said his message to Tiger would be, “Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.'”

Like most Christians, especially of the Religious Right sort, Hume has no clue how any religion other than his own works. I’m not a Buddhist myself, but even I know that the reality of Buddhism is that it has a great deal to say about both forgiveness and redemption. “Forgiveness” figures prominently in Buddhism, especially in that it helps ameliorate attachments. Here, for example, is a Buddhist meditation on it. As for “redemption” in Buddhism, that is integral to one of the core principles of Buddhism, Nirvana.

As is typical of Christians, Hume assumes Christianity to be utterly unique … so much so that no principle it deals with can possibly be found in any other religion. Unfortunately this is erroneous.

I’m fairly sure that Buddhism can find a better way to deal with the sin of adultery, in any event, than Christianity can. After all, the faithful Christian, Gov Mark Sanford of South Carolina suggested that, if adultery was good enough for King David, it’s good enough for him.

Finally, Hume’s claim that Buddhism offers no forgiveness or redemption, and only Christianity does, places him in my lying liars for Jesus club.

Update: Courtesy of Religion Dispatches, here is a Youtube video of Brit Hume revealing his brazen ignorance — and as RD suggested it might be called, “Christian chauvinism” — to the planet:

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A hat-tip to the Friendly Atheist blog, which comments on megapastor Rick Warren’s latest effort to rehabilitate himself after his previous excursion into stupidity, which as it turns out, became yet another example of exactly the same phenomenon. This time he spewed his drivel on Hugh Hewitt’s show (as related by the Friendly Atheist based on transcripts):

Watch how Warren explains New Atheism: …

HH: What do you make of the new atheism, whether it’s Lobdell or Hitchens or Richard Dawkins, and all the attention they’re getting?

RW: Well, first place, they’re making a ton of money, okay?

The implication is that making money reduces one’s credibility. People can make money publishing the truth, however, so Warren’s implication is false. Not only that … the last I know, Warren’s “Purpose-Driven” publishing franchise is a multi-million-dollar-a-year operation! So who the hell does Warren think he is to whine about someone else making money on books?

Fucking hypocrite.*

As usual, Warren veers into two very old, tired, and thoroughly invalid apologetic whines about atheists:

I’ve debated Hitchens and I debates [sic] Sam Harris, and I told Sam, I said Sam, to be honest with you, I have never known an atheist who wasn’t mad, who wasn’t angry. And he got angry about it. But the truth is, every one of them have a thorn.

This is the old “discredit atheists by labeling them as ‘angry'” tactic. Unfortunately, like his “they’re making money” remark, this too is fallacious. Not only can he not demonstrate these guys are “angry” (at least, no more or less than any other human being, Warren included), even if they were, their anger does not make them wrong. Angry people can be, and sometimes are, correct. The second old apologetic whine Warren tries is:

I could have gone up, stood up and said the fact of life, and for instance, far more people were killed in the 20th Century by atheist regimes than all of the people ever killed in religious regimes put together in history. When you take Mao, Stalin and Hitler, there’s no comparison the genocides that have been caused by atheists.

The Friendly Atheist reveals this complaint as bogus:

The whole argument about Mao and Stalin has been debunked repeatedly. While they may have been atheists, they didn’t kill in the “name of atheism.” Hitler was a Christian.

Having spewed these trite — and invalid — apologetic whines about atheists, he proceeds to regale Hewitt with a third one, which is new to me, if no less asinine:

Paul Vitz, who is an author with New York University, wrote a very fascinating book called Faith Of The Fathers, in which he went and studied the 72 most well-known atheists in history, the Bertrand Russells, the Voltaires, the Freuds, and the only thing he could find in common with every one of them is they all hated their dads. Every one of them. They had distant dad, demeaning dad, a dead dad, they had no relationships with their fathers.

So atheists are atheists because they had problems with their fathers, if we take Warren at his word. This is even more laughable than dismissing atheists as “angry.” What’s more, Warren knows he cannot prove that all atheists had problems with their fathers … so when he offers this theory, he is lying. Yet another lying liar for Jesus.

Not to mention, even if these people’s opinions were flavored by (bad) relationships with their fathers, that still does not mean they must be wrong. Even people with bad parental relationships, can be and often are correct about things.

I wonder when the rational Christians out there are finally going to summon the courage to do what they know ought to be done, and come up with some way to quiet Warren down, or else, drown out his crap somehow? (Answer: It will never happen. Christians do not criticize each other publicly. Ever.)

* Note that Warren — like virtually all other Christians who have ever lived — forgets that Jesus Christ himself explicitly, clearly, and unambiguously forbid his followers ever to be hypocritical. But that’s an old story.

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I almost cannot believe this one, but here it is. The folks at Answers In Genesis, a fundamentalist Christian apologetics outfit, have decided they know what’s wrong with America’s youth. They know why some of them go on shooting sprees and others don’t. The shooters, you see, are all atheists, according to a video they released. And these wicked atheists shoot people because they don’t believe in God, so why shouldn’t they just kill everyone they ever come across?

The logic here is bizarre enough that I wondered if this video wasn’t a joke or a hoax being played on them by someone else. But I went to their Web site and saw this video referenced there, so it’s not some sort of “Internet set-up.” This is real, and it’s a video they produced and have released on the Internet. Here it is, from YouTube:

The words of the narrator are as ominous as the boy pointing the gun straight at the viewer: “If you don’t matter to God, you don’t matter to anyone.”

This is chilling, folks. Do they truly, honestly think all atheist youth are violent, murderous sociopaths? I almost feel like asking if these people are for real … but they are, since they really did create this.

It’s all part of the religionist mantra that humans somehow “needs God” in order to get along with others. That there are millions of atheists in the country, but only a handful of murderous rampages of the sort alluded to in the video each year, should automatically make one wonder if there could be a one-to-one association between atheism and violent, murderous sociopathy. But little things like “numbers” don’t mean anything to fanatical religionists … so that never occurred to them.

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