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Intellectual Honesty - Atheists vs Christians


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#21 Ken Gilmore

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 03:57 AM

If I'd said something like that I'd get slapped down faster than you can say 'creation museum'.


Not here you wouldn't. I'd be slightly disappointed, but I'd understand your rationale. Intellectual dishonesty is rife amongst lay Christians.

:popcorn:

Sadly true. Admittedly, I have a somewhat jaundiced view of lay Christianity by virtue of my interest in US domestic politics and the culture wars. From Terri Schiavo to Ted Haggard to the Tea Party, it's hard not to feel that intellectual dishonesty is the norm rather than the exception among fundamentalist Christianity. Even among evangelical Christians, fundamentalism, particularly the IFB variant is regarded with no little unease.
“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” - Galileo Galilei

#22 Fortigurn

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 04:09 AM

Even among evangelical Christians, fundamentalism, particularly the IFB variant is regarded with no little unease.


And that's just it. Firstly they're a tiny minority of the Christian community, and secondly they get almighty stick from virtually all other Christians.

Edited by Fortigurn, 31 May 2011 - 04:09 AM.


#23 Richard

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 06:07 AM


I am not worried about the atheist Jonno. I am simply wondering why we're not batting an eyelid when someone suggests it's all false. That's all. Sorry for asking the question. Just ignore.


I already explained why, twice. Now you're contradicting yourself. Either you're 'not worried about the atheist', or you're batting an eyelid at him saying that vast swathes of the gospels can be proved false. Which is it?

Both. Anyway, I said to ignore.

#24 Mercia2

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 12:38 PM


No they could not say that about Christians if they have not done what the Bible tells you to do and "ask" for the Holy Spirit (read Luke 11:13) in which personal proof is given on the level of microcosm, as to not affect free will. Watch and learn...

My link

My link

Furthermore, you are not in a position either to make any absolutist statement unless you have done it (Luke 11:13). For your comparison with Christians to be valid, you would have to at least make me aware of some secret knowlege or rite in which absolute proof on a personal level was manifest that their is no God, and no such parallel exists. There is no equivalent atheistic spiritual experience or even a eureka moment so no parallel as you claim exists and you cannot judge on your own experience unless you have done all the Bible tells you to do (Luke:13).


You're proving my point.


.. you are guessing, which is what our atheist friend is doing.

Is their a parallel in which atheists repent of their sins and ask for the Holy Spirit and receive absolute proof on a personal level? If their was and I had not tried it then I would also be a guesser, but their is no such parallel (even claimed).

For those of us who have been brave enough to do what the Bible says, that is repented of our sins alone before God and then, (undefiled from the teachings of organised religion), especially Christadelphianism on this point - actually did what the Bible tells us to do (Luke 11:13), then there is no guessing any more. You can believe this or not but you will only find out all I have ever said on this matter was so.

But do not "ask" if you do not really want to know. Do not think I am sitting here all smug that I have done this and I know for an absolute fact of the truth of our faith, because absolute proof on a personal level carries a very heavy burden if you still like sin, as we all do. You Christadelphians still have the luxury of not knowing for sure because of your get out clause in which you claim witnessing gifts ceasing means the Holy Spirit ceasing and so you can all basically ignore Luke 11:13 - well I didnt.

There is no parity between the atheist position and mine. None whatsoever. Atheism is blind faith, a wild guess in which they manage to get the most important guess of all time completely wrong. Not very impressive.
"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” = "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" = "Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who maketh His angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire" Psalms (104:1) = "They saw what seemed to be flames of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them." Acts 2 - the secret is over, your ministering angel you need to be saved is the Holy Spirit.

Who Is the Holy Spirit?
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/20950-holy-spirit-mercia/

Mark Of The Beast - his Name is the charachter/image of the medievil popes (now modern man)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/4997-mark-of-the-beast/page__pid__439951__st__120#entry439951

Historicists - Dual Fulfillment (seven thunders = more literal warning)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/14248-historicists-revelation-has-a-dual-fulfillment/

#25 Jeppo

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 02:53 PM

There are even atheists complaining about the anti-intellectualism which plagues public atheism. Try reading 'The secular Bible: why nonbelievers must take religion seriously' by atheist scholar Jacques Berlinerblau. He's French, so he's coming from a lengthy tradition of highly intellectual atheism, unlike the intellectually impotent version which dominates the US and which is expressed commonly in the UK.


You could probably count the number of intellectually honest atheist scholars on one hand.


So would atheist scholar Jacques Berlinerblau count as one of your five intellectually honest atheist scholars on the planet? Or are there not that many? (I've taken the liberty of using up the full allocation of digits 'on one hand'. I hope you don't mind).

#26 Chris

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 07:56 PM

There is no parity between the atheist position and mine. None whatsoever.


If you say so.

#27 Fortigurn

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 08:05 PM

So would atheist scholar Jacques Berlinerblau count as one of your five intellectually honest atheist scholars on the planet? Or are there not that many? (I've taken the liberty of using up the full allocation of digits 'on one hand'. I hope you don't mind).


Berlinerblau isn't always right, but he's certainly intellectually honest. I'd love to see your list.

#28 Jeppo

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 09:42 AM

So would atheist scholar Jacques Berlinerblau count as one of your five intellectually honest atheist scholars on the planet? Or are there not that many? (I've taken the liberty of using up the full allocation of digits 'on one hand'. I hope you don't mind).


Berlinerblau isn't always right, but he's certainly intellectually honest. I'd love to see your list.


Thanks for the invitation, but I wasn’t the one putting out claims about numbers.

Would you like to tell us who the other four ‘intellectually honest’ atheist scholars are? I’m curious. I’ve started to read Berlinblau (very good recommendation, by the way), so I can assure you your efforts won’t be wasted :)

#29 Fortigurn

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 09:48 AM

Thanks for the invitation, but I wasn’t the one putting out claims about numbers.


Regardless, I'm still interested to know.

Would you like to tell us who the other four ‘intellectually honest’ atheist scholars are? I’m curious.


I'm curious as to why that you thought I had a literal list. The word 'probably' and the proverbial reference to being able to count on 'one hand' should have tipped you off.

I’ve started to read Berlinblau (very good recommendation, by the way), so I can assure you your efforts won’t be wasted :)


Excellent, I hope you enjoy him as much as I did. :coffee:

#30 Mercia2

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 12:46 PM

Berlinerblau isn't always right, but he's certainly intellectually honest.



I do not accept these claiming to be atheist are anything other than agnostics leaning toward atheism. When you look at the maths on the chances of life/cosmology outright atheism is such an irrational leap of faith I could not begin to refer to them as 'intellectually honest'. Agnosticism is intellectually honest.

Even Hitchins says things like 'if in the unlikely event when I die I find myself before God then I will blame Him for my unbelief', which will be an interesting conversation to watch as like almost everyone else he refused to follow the instructions and repent of his sins and then ask for the Holy Spirit, yet blames God. My point being that the language most self proclaimed atheists I have ever debated with, and I have debated with many, their language proves them agnostics with a bias towards atheism. They only label themselves atheist as they are trying to make a point - and because of emotional reasons. Just watch Dawkins face next time he on TV talking about God, he desperately tries to hide it but is racked with emotion.

I was an atheist, I used to pity Christians and tell them they were wrong. One time my girlfriend who was a nurse and also an atheist (actually an agnostic when pushed), came home one night and something was really troubling her. She had been nursing a cancer patient, who just before they died had asked her if she had found Jesus, this dying persons faith in the moment of death had shocked her and something that they said to her. That night she asked me if I thought Christianity was true, or if God existed and I immediately replied 'nahh I doubt it' then, struck by the potential gravity of the question I said, 'the honest answer is I do not know'. That is why I said I do not believe those claiming to be outright atheists are anything other than agnostics with a bias toward atheism. Jeppo, if he is to be intellectually honest is the same, or what is he hanging around here for? He is a political atheist, an atheist to make a point, like Hitchins. No one but a fool is an outright atheist and the Bible calls them so, Psalm 14.1 "the fool has said in their heart their is no God" = emotional not intellectual decision.

Only agnosticism is intellectually honest.

.

Edited by Mercia2, 01 June 2011 - 03:12 PM.

"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” = "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" = "Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who maketh His angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire" Psalms (104:1) = "They saw what seemed to be flames of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them." Acts 2 - the secret is over, your ministering angel you need to be saved is the Holy Spirit.

Who Is the Holy Spirit?
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/20950-holy-spirit-mercia/

Mark Of The Beast - his Name is the charachter/image of the medievil popes (now modern man)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/4997-mark-of-the-beast/page__pid__439951__st__120#entry439951

Historicists - Dual Fulfillment (seven thunders = more literal warning)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/14248-historicists-revelation-has-a-dual-fulfillment/

#31 Mercia2

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 06:46 PM

There is no atheist smoking gun, evolution certainly isnt it. Suffering in the world is the closest to it. When I was agnostic/atheist I reasoned there could be no God, or atleast not a God I wanted to know because of all the suffering in the world, I remember buying Depeche Modes, blasphemous rumours and feeling guilty but defiantly singing it in protest.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDlQKhdo2eQ

I assumed too much, I was ignorant. The actual proper video is horrific, it shows a child slashing her wrists and committing suicide. This is intellectually honest, this is the reality we should all face. This and worse goes on in the world. If any mature theist has not wrestled at first with this seeming paradox and defeated it, or at least found an explanation for it then I don't know why they follow God at all.

One thing I'd like to point out is that while I'd describe my position as atheist (largely for the sake of convenience) I certainly wouldn't put myself in the Dawkins, Myers, Hitchens camp etc. While I sometimes find their views entertaining, these guys go beyond run of the mill atheism & are really better described as anti-theists. The distinction is worth noting.


Yes, they have an emotional hatred, perhaps slightly too strong a word, for the Christian God. Hitchens is not extreme he is as I have described, reasons exactly as I once did, he could become a theist, his words betray his agnosticism. Darwkins no chance he has too much pride at stake.

.

Edited by Mercia2, 01 June 2011 - 06:58 PM.

"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” = "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" = "Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who maketh His angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire" Psalms (104:1) = "They saw what seemed to be flames of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them." Acts 2 - the secret is over, your ministering angel you need to be saved is the Holy Spirit.

Who Is the Holy Spirit?
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/20950-holy-spirit-mercia/

Mark Of The Beast - his Name is the charachter/image of the medievil popes (now modern man)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/4997-mark-of-the-beast/page__pid__439951__st__120#entry439951

Historicists - Dual Fulfillment (seven thunders = more literal warning)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/14248-historicists-revelation-has-a-dual-fulfillment/

#32 Jeppo

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 07:10 PM

No one but a fool is an outright atheist and the Bible calls them so, Psalm 14.1 "the fool has said in their heart their is no God" = emotional not intellectual decision.

Only agnosticism is intellectually honest.


Oh no, Not Psalm 14.1 Posted Image

Mercia, I wouldn’t get too hung up on the atheism/agnostic thing. I call myself an atheist because I’m someone who doesn’t have any belief in god/s. That’s all there is to it. Theists believe in god/s; atheists don’t.

I might qualify that by saying I’m an agnostic atheist, because although I don’t believe in the existence of god/s my position isn’t one based on absolute knowledge. It can’t be. You will rarely come across atheists who claim to know for certain there is no God. Even Richard Dawkins – who you seem to think has something to hide – rates himself as a 6 ‘leaning towards 7’ on the 1 – 7 belief scale.

If I may make some liberties here (and I’ll apologise in advance to anyone I may be representing), I’d describe many of the Christians on this forum as being agnostic theists. They believe in God but – when pushed – they wouldn’t claim the certainty of absolute knowledge about this. YMMV.

#33 Jeppo

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 08:11 PM

Would you like to tell us who the other four ‘intellectually honest’ atheist scholars are? I’m curious.


I'm curious as to why that you thought I had a literal list. The word 'probably' and the proverbial reference to being able to count on 'one hand' should have tipped you off.


I didn't expect you to have a literal list of five scholars, but I thought you might be able to put some flesh on the hyperbole. Never mind, I've gone way past the finishing post with this one, but at least I've had the pleasure of reading some Jacques Berlinerblau!

Incidentally I've just discovered that Richard Dawkins is a fan too. In the God Delusion (p.121) he describes The Secular Bible: Why Non-believers Must Take The Bible Seriously as a 'refreshingly iconoclastic book of biblical criticism'. Having read quite a bit of it I'm starting to be slightly puzzled about what qualities you consider Berlinerblau to have that makes him 'intellectually honest'. Some of his statements made me laugh out loud & I'm not surprised Dawkins likes him:

"As for divine origins, well let's just say that it might be an act of grace to not ascribe various books of the Hebrew Bible to God or the Holy Spirit. For if those texts were indeed written, dictated, or inspired by a heavenly author, then His literary competence, not to mention His sanity, would frequently be questioned." (p.30)

"...the Hebrew Bible is not easy to understand. This is so because composition by aggregate has spawned a chaotic, sprawling, disjointed anthology, over-flowing with meanings and meaninglessness, blinking neon light contradictions, ambiguities, ellipses, and numbing repetition." (p.62)


I might lend a copy to Mark Taunton. Interesting stuff... :jeppo:

#34 Fortigurn

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 10:15 PM

Incidentally I've just discovered that Richard Dawkins is a fan too. In the God Delusion (p.121) he describes The Secular Bible: Why Non-believers Must Take The Bible Seriously as a 'refreshingly iconoclastic book of biblical criticism'.


That's amazing coming from Dawkins, who has consistently derided Biblical scholarship and claimed that it's equivalent to arguing about the tooth fairy.

Having read quite a bit of it I'm starting to be slightly puzzled about what qualities you consider Berlinerblau to have that makes him 'intellectually honest'.


Unlike Dawkins, he recognizes that to understand the Bible you have to actually study it; Dawkins thinks that you can just say whatever you like about it because there's nothing you can actually study. Unlike Dawkins, he recognizes that there's an entire body of professional scholarship on the subject which must be consulted if we are to make accurate statements on the Bible; Dawkins dismisses the idea that any real body of scholarship exists on the subject. Unlike Dawkins, he actually consults that body of scholarship; Dawkins just makes it up as he goes along.

Look at this from Berlinerblau.

In all but exceptional cases, today’s secularists are biblically illiterate. Truth be told, their repertoire of knowledge about religion in general leaves much to be desired. It might consist of prurient jokes about the clergy, the citation (or miscitation) of a few noxious verses from Scripture, and maybe a Bertrand Russell quote thrown in for good measure.

Secularists are free, of course, to disregard issues pertaining to religious belief. They do not need to pay attention to the actual words of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament or to those of the New Testament and the Qur’¯an.Nor do they need to think about the countless ways in which such words have been interpreted. These interpretations, incidentally, inspire those manifestations of piety that so puzzle nonbelievers: the fasting and the frenzy; the pilgrims on bloodied knees; the athletic feats of sexual repression; the acts of utterly selfless grace, and the wearing of turbans, Yarmulkes, veils, and other forms of sacred headgear, to name but a few. Secularists are free to remain oblivious to all this.

But perhaps now is not the best time to exercise this freedom.


Contrary to what so many nineteenth- and twentieth-century social theorists believed (and hoped for), the species has not abandoned its faith in the divine. Karl Marx’s optimism about the impending abolishment of religion was unfounded. The masses have not turned away from their beliefs“with the fatal inevitability of a process of growth,” as Sigmund Freud predicted. And no, the gods are not “growing old or dying to invoke E´mile Durkheim’s famous words.


This books starts from the premise that indifference to all things religious is no longer a viable option for secularists.


For when a fundamentalist leader makes yet another aneuerism-inducing statement about “ho-mo-sexuals, his or her most credible and vehement opposition comes not from secularists, but from other Christians.

These would be the very same Christians who know Scripture inside out, appreciate the subtleties and complexities of its language, and understand the polysemous nature of its contents. In other words, these Christians know how to counterexegete. In terms of convincing others of the truth of his/God’s message, who should Jerry Falwell fear more? Dissenting coreligionists who speak to the Christian mainstream and can persuasively challenge his readings, or biblically illiterate secularists making snarky asides about religious hypocrisy?


You don't see that from Dawkins. That's the sort of talk which makes Dawkins foam at the mouth.

Some of his statements made me laugh out loud & I'm not surprised Dawkins likes him:


Well of course! I would expect someone like Dawkins to skip the intellectual stuff and snigger over the polemic. It's a demonstration of why Dawkins isn't intellectually honest. I've read many reviews by atheists who rage against Berlinerblau claiming that he's an apologist for religion and complaining that he doesn't give any reason why atheists should take religion seriously. Here's an example.

There have been some excellent books recently on the subject of religion by the great evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, the brilliant philosopher Daniel Dennett, the writer/journalist Christopher Hitchens and Neuroscientist Sam Harris. This book is not in that class. The author arrogantly asserts that Non-believers MUST take religion seriously, without ever explaining why.

Well, sorry. Religion is a vestige of humanity's primitive past which we would be much better without. If religion is allowed to hold sway, we may not make it out of the 21st century, as the religions nutcases will blow us all to smithereens.

Furthermore, the author displays his bias when he says that he prefers that secularism always remain the minority view. Of course, this is likely, considering the preponderence of idiots on the planet, but we can hope that the mass of humanity can be enlightened through education.


Like Dawkins, they have completely missed the point of what Berlinerblau is arguing. I hope you don't make the same mistake. This is from someone who actually understands Berlinerblau.

In The Secular Bible: Why Nonbelievers Must Take Religion Seriously, Jacques Berlinerblau suggests that atheists and agnostics must take stock of that which they so adamantly oppose. Defiantly maintaining a shallow understanding of religion, he argues, is not a politically prudent strategy in this day and age. But this book is no less critical of many believers, who Berlinerblau contends need to emancipate themselves from ways of thinking about their faith that are dangerously simplistic, irrational, and outdated.


That's an even handed, intellectually honest approach.

I might lend a copy to Mark Taunton. Interesting stuff... :jeppo:


These are certainly challenges to verbal plenary inspiration. Not to me. :D

Edited by Fortigurn, 01 June 2011 - 10:34 PM.


#35 Ken Gilmore

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 01:21 AM

I might lend a copy to Mark Taunton. Interesting stuff... :jeppo:

Are you serious? :) I've got the book, and I am finding it excellent reading. Mark on the other hand may have - issues - with it.

Edited by Ken Gilmore, 02 June 2011 - 01:21 AM.

“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” - Galileo Galilei

#36 Jeppo

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 01:50 AM


I might lend a copy to Mark Taunton. Interesting stuff... :jeppo:

Are you serious? :) I've got the book, and I am finding it excellent reading. Mark on the other hand may have - issues - with it.


Not serious, just a bit of light-hearted jesting!

#37 Jeppo

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 04:00 AM

[quote name='Fortigurn' timestamp='1306988104' post='432602']
[quote name='Jeppo' timestamp='1306980688' post='432601']Incidentally I've just discovered that Richard Dawkins is a fan too. In the God Delusion (p.121) he describes The Secular Bible: Why Non-believers Must Take The Bible Seriously as a 'refreshingly iconoclastic book of biblical criticism'.[/quote]

That's amazing coming from Dawkins, who has consistently derided Biblical scholarship and claimed that it's equivalent to arguing about the tooth fairy.
[/quote]

It's not amazing at all. Dawkins does not consistently deride 'Biblical scholarship' as you claim. He certainly does deride Theology - as it pertains to the nature of deities - but this kind of theology is only one aspect of biblical scholarship. But you knew that already.

[quotename='Richard Dawkins"]That is not to say that every professor of theology, every lecturer in a theology department, is useless, or studying nothing. Theology departments house real scholars, linguistic experts doing fascinating work on ancient manuscripts, scrolls or tablets, translating the Dead Sea Scrolls, for example. But those scholars are studying history, or literature or linguistics, not theology.[/quote]

#38 Fortigurn

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 04:18 AM

[quote name='Jeppo' timestamp='1307008816' post='432608']It's not amazing at all. Dawkins does not consistently deride 'Biblical scholarship' as you claim. He certainly does deride Theology - as it pertains to the nature of deities - but this kind of theology is only one aspect of biblical scholarship. But you knew that already.[/quote]

Oh no, he does deride Biblical scholarship. Look at the quote you cited.

[quotename='Richard Dawkins"]That is not to say that every professor of theology, every lecturer in a theology department, is useless, or studying nothing. Theology departments house real scholars, linguistic experts doing fascinating work on ancient manuscripts, scrolls or tablets, translating the Dead Sea Scrolls, for example. But those scholars are studying history, or literature or linguistics, not theology.[/quote]

See? Not a word about interpretation, which is distinct from theology in real life (as opposed to the Dawkins fantasy universe). It's typical of his ignorance that he fails to differentiate interpretation from theology. For him, the only 'real scholars' are those doing something with history, literature, linguistics. Yet even these are bulldozed aside when he needs to ignore them; look at his flirtation with the non-historicity of Jesus, or his dismissal of various interpretations of Scripture based firmly on history, literature, and linguistics.

#39 Jeppo

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 04:37 AM

Like Dawkins, they have completely missed the point of what Berlinerblau is arguing. I hope you don't make the same mistake.


All Dawkins does is refer to Berlinerblau as 'iconoclastic' in his biblical criticism. That's not something I find myself disagreeing with. As for Berlinblau's case that secularists are ignorant of biblical scholarship, well that's certainly true (though you might say the same thing about the majority of lay Christians) & I agree that it might be a good idea to at least find out more before engaging in criticism. But that ultimately depends on what you see as the 'problem' & what you think the best strategy might be to deal with it. Berlinerblau clearly sees that religion is here to say (I completely agree with him) and we'd better start to understand it if we are going to deal with it. No quibbles so far.

I'll comment more, hopefully, when I've finished the book.

#40 Evangelion

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 04:43 AM

As for Berlinblau's case that secularists are ignorant of biblical scholarship, well that's certainly true (though you might say the same thing about the majority of lay Christians) & I agree that it might be a good idea to at least find out more before engaging in criticism.


We can certainly say the same thing about the majority of Christians, but surely the bigger issue here is: shouldn't the atheists be demonstrating a higher level of intellectual rigour? After all, they're the ones who constantly tell us their position is rationally superior. It doesn't say much for them when they can't even rise above the fundamentalist mentality.
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.




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