World and worldview

I’m going to skip ahead just a bit in my outline of the evidence against Christianity and give a brief overview of the matter of world versus worldview, relative to the Myth Hypothesis versus the Gospel Hypothesis. One of the consequences of the Myth Hypothesis is that, since God does not exist in the real world, He is restricted to “existing” within a particular worldview—that is, within a particular individual’s subjective perception and interpretation of reality. This in turn produces a number of related consequences, because of the inevitable conflict between the believer’s worldview, in which God does exist, and the real world, in which He does not.

One of those consequences is the perpetual friction between world and worldview. Believers will feel pressure on their worldview because their dealings with reality will continually confront them with facts that are inconsistent with their beliefs, producing friction and even erosion of the Christian worldview. This in turn will produce the need to find some way to counteract the erosive effects of contact with the world and reinforce the worldview. Believers will experience a need to take their faith in for frequent “scheduled maintenance” by meeting together to encourage one another in the faith, and to exhort and admonish one another. Unmaintained faith will tend to weaken over time, and produce backsliding.

They will also need to actively defend their worldview in the broader arena of cultural perception. And once again, the Myth Hypothesis imposes distinctive restrictions on the form this defense will be able to take. They won’t be able to reinforce their worldview by pointing to how God Himself shows up in the real world, because His non-existence will prevent Him from showing up. They won’t be able to provide verifiable, objective, real-world evidence consistent with their worldview, because the chief difference between world and worldview will be the fact that God only exists in the latter. Consequently, their worldview defense will need to resort to techniques that have less to do with science, and more to do with politics and indoctrination in the beliefs and worldviews of men.

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Posted in Evidence Against Christianity, Society, Unapologetics. 2 Comments »

Praying for the deaths of innocent children

Pardon the brief hiatus from our usual discussion, but this just has to be seen, or heard rather, to be believed:

“Let us pray. Almighty God, today we pray imprecatory prayers from Psalm 109 against the enemies of religious liberty, including Barry Lynn and Mikey Weinstein, who recently issued a press release attacking me personally. God, do not remain silent, for wicked men surround me and tell lies about me. We bless them, but they curse us. Therefore find them guilty, not me. Let their days be few, and replace them with Godly people. Plunder their fields, and seize their assets. Cut off their descendants, and remember their sins, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

That’s ex-chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt, solemnly and piously asking God to please kill Mikey Weinstein and Barry Lynn and their children (if any), and send them all to hell, unforgiven, for the offense of having published a press release critical of Klingenschmitt.

Yes, that’s right. Daring to criticize Klingenschmitt, and voicing opinions he does not agree with, makes them ENEMIES OF RELIGIOUS LIBERTY!!!1!one!

My first thought was that this was an Onion-esque spoof of a self-righteous blowhard, but no, it’s hosted on Klingenschmitt’s own sanctuary of spiritual narcissism, prayinjesusname.org.

Hat tip to Dispatches from the Culture Wars—be sure and scroll down to read the comment from Klingenschmitt’s former supervisor about what it was like working with this guy.

 
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Unintended Consequences

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral, thus launching the Protestant Reformation. Originally intended to provoke improvements within the Catholic Church, this movement had unexpected consequences: a whole new form of Christianity, and a whole new basis for Christian doctrinal authority. The Protestants broke away from the Catholics, and declared that Scripture, and not any man or institution, was the sole authority for Christian faith and practice.

This, too, had unintended consequences. Because sola scriptura effectively isolated the interpretation of the Bible from the centuries of Church Tradition that had previously dictated the intended meaning of the Gospel, Protestants ended up practicing, not just the priesthood of all believers, but the virtual papacy of each individual believer. Any man could tell you that you were wrong, based on his own understanding of the Bible, but as a believer in sola scriptura, you need not listen to him. Your own understanding of God’s Word took precedence, because after all, which are you going to believe: what man tells you, or what God tells you? And this, too, had unintended consequences.

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Nazis in Kentucky?

The Associated Press is reporting that the creationist museum is at least partially admitting that Darwin was right:

A new exhibit at the Answers in Genesis Creation Museum argues that natural selection — Darwin’s explanation for how species develop new traits over time — can coexist with the creationist assertion that all living things were created by God just a few thousand years ago.

“We wanted to show people that creationists believe in natural selection,” said Ken Ham, founder of the Christian ministry Answers in Genesis and frequent Darwin critic.

What makes this story particularly interesting is the fact that natural selection, popularly known as “survival of the fittest,” was featured as the centerpiece of Ben Stein’s argument blaming Darwin for the Holocaust. According to Stein, Hitler’s justification for trying to wipe out the Jews was that nature itself allegedly teaches us that weaker kinds don’t deserve to survive. Evolutionists (aka “Darwinists”) obviously disagree with this particular interpretation of natural selection, but Stein sided with Hitler. According to Stein, natural selection implies a justification for genocide, and therefore anyone who says natural selection is true is supporting genocide.

And now the Creation Museum is saying natural selection is compatible with creationism. Fun times, eh?

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Happy MLK Day

If you don’t already read Pharyngula, drop by and read his post on Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Then reflect, for a minute, that American gays still have a dream, and only a dream, about a nation where they, too, will be free to marry, and to walk down the street without being ambushed and beaten, and/or raped, if they’re women, just for being what they are. We’ve come a long way, and today and tomorrow mark major milestones in American history. But we’ve still got a ways to go.

 
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Postmodern Christians

One of the biggest challenges facing rational people today is the rise of a peculiar form of self-imposed ignorance known as “post-modernism,” the notion that there is no such thing as truth, and that everyone lives in a kind of mutual solipsism where reality is whatever you think is true. It’s a philosophy rooted in certain “softer” sciences like literary criticism and philosophy, and a certain number of Christians are rather fond of decrying the liberalism and relativism it seems to project.

The irony is that Christians themselves are among the leading proponents of postmodernism. For example, PZ Myers had a post a while back in which this illustration appeared, copied from the Answers in Genesis web site.

The illustration’s intent is to show that the Christian and the scientist live in two different worlds, despite observing the same facts. This is postmodernism: facts are not the truth, because “truth” is something you create for yourself based on how you choose to interpret the facts. AiG would like to be able to prove that Darwin was factually wrong, but failing that, they at least want to sell you the alternate reality of the Christian “worldview.”

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Guilty and unrepentant

You know, there are some folks as would stab you in the back, and then complain that you got blood all over their nice clean knife. Here‘s Chuck Colson, weeks after Christians used Proposition 8 to violate the civil rights of gays, complaining about the same few, isolated incidents that their villainy provoked:

It began with shouts—foul and violent verbal attacks. Then the assaults became physical. Rioters threw hot coffee on people and began shoving them. One thug yanked a cross out of a woman’s arms and stomped on it. Another grabbed a woman’s Bible, struck her on the head with it, knocked her to the ground, and kicked her. Others engaged in sexual exhibitionism.

This was the vicious aftermath of the passage of California’s Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex “marriage.” The attacks were perpetrated by homosexuals angry that voters had passed the measure. They directed the worst of their venom at Mormons, who played an active role in passing the law. It was thug politics at its worst—and believe me, I’ve seen the worst.

The nearest antecedent for the pronoun “it” is “the law,” i.e. Proposition 8, and I would have to agree that it is indeed thug politics at its worst—a bunch of Christians ganging up on an unpopular minority to impose cruel and inhuman punishments on them just because they don’t like them. But Chuck isn’t telling the whole story about the “attacks” this bigoted injustice provoked.

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TIA Tuesday: The Disingenuous Vox Day

Vox Day has assembled Chapter 14 of TIA out of a long series of  inadequate and poorly-reasoned drive-by pot shots at atheists, under the rubric of “Occam’s Chainsaw.” Their sole redeeming feature thus far has been that at least they were short. Today, however, we get to a section that is substantially longer, but without (alas) contributing anything of substance. It’s a rehash of the same tired rant Vox has been using all along: that because he (Vox) does not understand the material and secular basis of morality, it therefore does not exist, and atheists have no rational reason to behave morally. Hence the section title: “The Irrationality of Atheism.”

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Colson gets one right, sorta.

I do tend to pick on Chuck Colson, but every now and then he gets one right—or at least, sorta right.

[W]hile the world becomes increasingly scrupulous to all sorts of rights, including the “rights” of animals and even plants (I’m not kidding), it largely ignores the ongoing assault on the most fundamental human right: religious freedom, freedom of conscience.

So while commentators were consumed with the results of California’s Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage, they missed what was going at a special assembly of the UN. There, Islamic nations led by Saudi Arabia made progress toward criminalizing blasphemy.

Bit of unconscious irony there: being “consumed” with the results of Proposition Hate is hardly the best example one could find for a world “ignoring the ongoing assault on freedom of conscience.” But he is right to be alarmed by the UN Resolution condemning free speech about religion.

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Poll: Calif. gay marriage ban driven by religion

In a poll that will surprise probably no one, the Public Policy Institute of California
reports that Christian convictions were one of two factors strongly linked to the success of California’s Proposition Hate—er, sorry, Proposition 8.

Voters’ economic status and religious convictions played a greater role than race and age in determining whether they supported the Nov. 4 ballot measure outlawing same-sex marriage in California, a new poll shows.

The ban drew its strongest support from both evangelical Christians and voters who didn’t attend college, according to results released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California.

I’m a bit pressed for time today, so I’ll just mention this in passing, but it does confirm what people have been saying all along: Christianity is leading the oppression of gays. It’s not just a harmless, personal belief. It causes people to inflict deep and enduring suffering on others, just to satisfy their own selfish bigotry.

 
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