Skip to content

48 Comments

  1. Stephen Ferguson
    08 November 2012 @ 4:12 pm

    Dawkins and his ilk, in defence of atheism, often make statements to the effect that communist and fascist socieities, or perhaps to take deist French and American revolutionary ideologies, were not really atheist but established cults of personality, or that if they were atheistic that have no correlation to the attrocities that occured.  One only has to see the personality cults that were established around Hitler, Stalin, Mao and the various North Korean leaders to recognise that they are very religious societies – not atheistic at all – and in fact have much in common with the Emperor cults of the NT period.

    So the question I had after reading this chapter in Dr Wilbur's book is whilst there have from time-to-time been non-religious individuals, has there ever truly been an atheistic society? Is it impossible to create a truly atheistic society, and if so, why?  

    If religious and supernatural belief is a God Delusion or disease – is it a genetic one – something hard wired into us?  Or is it merely a product of our cultural upbringing, which is why Dawkins believes the notion of religious schools is nothing less than child abuse?

  2. Stephen Ferguson
    08 November 2012 @ 4:13 pm

    There other interesting thought I had when reading this chapter originally was the notion of prayer and magic.  Are they the same thing or is there a difference?  

  3. Darrel Lindensmith
    08 November 2012 @ 7:47 pm

    "an idea in a human mind seems to be little related to its ontological truth."  Finally someone agrees with me.  Given Naturalism this is exactly right!  Finally!!

  4. Elaine Nelson
    08 November 2012 @ 9:26 pm

    If we disagree with the writer, he's got it all wrong 😉

    I agree with everything Erv has written–must be something wrong with us, Darrel?

  5. cb25
    08 November 2012 @ 10:02 pm

    Darrel,

    The sentence after your one liner had this to say:

    "Religious beliefs are probably seldom selected on the basis of a rational analysis.  Instead they are supported by an emotional response that is at least partly related to our acculturation"

    The entire thrust of the blog/book is religion/religious ideas. While the principles he is suggesting can carry over and apply elsewhere, surely you are reading in your own biases (enculturation) to jump in with "naturalism". Naturalism seems to be a position reached by most of it proponents by a process of analysis, deduction, research etc. Therefore, it would seem that such an idea is the exception, the "seldom" in the quote above. It represents selection of a view on the basis of rational analysis!!

    The opposite of your claim. Naturalism is the more likely to be related to its ontological truth.

  6. Darrel Lindensmith
    08 November 2012 @ 10:13 pm

    Tongue and cheek Chris; tongue and cheek.

  7. avenger
    09 November 2012 @ 11:48 pm

    Think of the blogosphere as a place of fertile random mutation and recombination of ontological genes.  That is why Adventism is rapidly evolving and adapting before your cyber eyes. That is why the conservatives are so scared and threaten end times, it is their last, desperate resort.

  8. Ella M
    10 November 2012 @ 2:13 am

     Religious beliefs are probably seldom selected on the basis of a rational analysis. Instead they are supported by an emotional response that is at least partly related to our acculturation. This positive emotional response confirms the “truth” of the belief. 
        This has long been my belief about all our "truths" whether they are scientific, religious, political, philosophical.  No matter how much "analysis, deduction, research etc" one does, they cannot escape themselves and their previous ideas, upbringing, choices, experiences, education, etc. (including the author).  It is impossible to be objective.
        I do believe in a Holy Spirit who has access to our thinking if allowed.  This influence appeals to the spiritual nature that has the capacity to love God and other humans.  It is often at odds with our subjective mind that includes all the above.  As I have learned it, the executive (prefrontal lobe) of the brain is at odds with the subjective part of the brain which is based on experience and even subject to addictions of all types (including ideas?). 

  9. jeff
    11 November 2012 @ 9:45 am

    The usefulness of religious beliefs in molding our social reality is at least partly related to the power these beliefs wield in a majority of human minds. 

    unless religion fully and wholly occupied an individuals whole being it will never achieve its intended effects, ths ws why christianity failed in Africa was its failure to occupy in totality thr whole being.

  10. Darrel Lindensmith
    11 November 2012 @ 4:35 pm

    "Naturalism is the more likely to be related to its ontological truth." Since everyone missed my very funny joke earlier, :'(  I will attempt to address the egregious breach of logic in the statement above.    
    The very thing used to make the above statement and the thing I am using now to write this, are the product of meaningless forces which luckily mutated its way to the human brain.   
    Under Naturalism, ontological truth is inaccessible.  
     
    But if our thoughts are merely accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true? I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give me a correct account of all the other accidents. It’s like expecting that the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milkjug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset.’
    C.S. Lewis (1898–1963), The Business of Heaven, Fount Paperbacks, U.K., p. 97, 1984.
    Darwin said the very same thing, but not as well as Lewis: Letter to William Graham, Down, July 3rd, 1881. In The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin Including an Autobiographical Chapter, ed. Francis Darwin   D Appleton and Co.  1887), vol 1  Pg. 255
    Richard Rorty says it best I believe.  Why is it so painful for most Naturalist to admit that materialist doctrine destroys all epistemology.   We who believe in God are scolded for “choosing what comforts us,” while naturalists try to have it both ways.  Let Rorty’s logic sink in:
    “The idea that one species of organism is, unlike all the others, oriented not just toward its own  prosperity but toward Truth, is as un-Darwinian as the idea that every human being has a built-in moral compass—a conscience that swings free of both social history and individual luck.”    ”Untruth and Consequences,” The New Republic, July 31, 1995, pp. 32-36.
    Please think through what Shaw says.  Humanist religion destroys the very things that make us human.
    “Darwinism seems simple, because you do not at first realize all that it involves.  But when its whole significance dawns on you, your heart sinks into a heap of sand within you.  
    There is a hideous fatalism about it, a damnable reduction of beauty and intelligence, of strength and purpose, of honor and aspiration.”   
     George Bernard Shaw   Back to Methuselah   1921

  11. cb25
    11 November 2012 @ 7:51 pm

    Darrel,

    First, let me correct what I think is a miss understanding of what I wrote. I was not saying whether the "belief" of naturalism was or was not "true", or "correct".

    The "idea" under discussion was religion, not naturalism. It is primarily this idea that Wilbur is suggesting is seldom related to its ontological truth. It is a default position: one gained be enculturation not analysis.

    My point in reply to your observation was to suggest that a person who comes to believe in naturalism is more likely to have come to that belief through a deliberate process of reseach, thinking etc. Thus, I was comparing two "ideas" or "beliefs" and how they were arrived at.

    Thus: as a belief, naturalism (of the two) is the more likely to be related to its ontological truth.

    That is not to say it is "the truth", or the ultimate truth or anything else about truth.

    So….your latest comment above seems to be chasing a straw man, by twisting what I did say and mean. However, if I get time I'll make comment on the actual content of your last point.

  12. cb25
    11 November 2012 @ 8:09 pm

    Darrel,

    Can you please provide me short, tidy definitions of 5 key terms used in your comment above?

    I don't want quote/s by some author about these. I mean dictionary style Definitions. After we have done this, I would like to analyse how they have been used in your comment, but let's get common understanding first!

    Naturalism

    Naturalist

    Materialism

    Materialist doctrine

    Humanist religion

  13. earl calahan
    11 November 2012 @ 8:57 pm

    Dr Wilbur covers all the bases of why a person chooses a belief in a Creator god. Yet gives the rationale that without a empiracal study of science there is no proof for these Creator beliefs. This removes, in his intellect, the possibility of a dimension of spiritual power emanating from the Godhead. "The heavens declare the glory of God".  That, and complexity of life is proof for my faith, which empiracal study of matter cannot deny. Whether their is restoration of the Spiritural dimension after death is not a neccessity for my belief.

  14. Darrel Lindensmith
    11 November 2012 @ 10:13 pm

    Naturalism – all phenomena must be and are explained by natural (goalless) causes

     
    Naturalist – one who believes in the above principle
     
    Materialism – the opinion that material matter is the only reality, including thought, feeling, mind and will, are all explained completely by physical laws. 
     
    Materialist doctrine – the above
     
     
    Humanist religion-  In context of what I stated:  a faith in the absolute reduction of all to the material (natural), to the exclusion of all qualia or mind.   
     
    I should have used the term 'secular' instead of humanist.  Jesus himself was a true humanist due to that He viewed mankind as a being with great value and dignity, created spiritually in the image of the Creator.   Which is the only foundation for qualia or mind.
     
    This last my definition, the other is from some guy named Webster. 

  15. cb25
    11 November 2012 @ 10:31 pm

    Darrel,

    Clarification: Do yo agree with this slightly expanded view of naturalism?

    "a theory that physical matter is the only or fundamental reality and that all being and processes and phenomena can be explained as manifestations or results of matter."

    Why did you insert (goalless) before the word "causes"?

  16. cb25
    11 November 2012 @ 10:54 pm

    Sorry…that clarification/expansion was for materialism.

    "a theory that physical matter is the only or fundamental reality and that all being and processes and phenomena can be explained as manifestations or results of matter."

    Here's the one for naturalism:

    "a theory denying that an event or object has a supernatural significance; specifically : the doctrine that scientific laws are adequate to account for all phenomen".

    Do you agree with these? And, why the word "goalless" in your definition of naturalism?

  17. cb25
    11 November 2012 @ 11:22 pm

    Darrell,

     

    Using a combination of your definitions and mine, I have, as best I can, extracted from your comment about naturalism and ontological truth some of the points you were making. I have expanded them, with the definitions installed, to see if they make sense and to get you to explain them. Here they are:


    Under (Naturalism) the belief that scientific laws are adequate to account for all phenomena ontological truth is inaccessible.

     

    Why?


    Also, You ask:

     

    Why is it so painful for a naturalist who believes that scientific laws are adequate to account for all phenomena to admit that the theory (now on materialism) that physical matter is the only or fundamental reality and that all being and processes and phenomena can be explained as manifestations or results of matter destroys all epistemology.

    (notice the conflation of naturalism and materialism?)

     

    Anyway: Why and how do these two beliefs or theories destroy all epistemology?


    How does  Humanist/secular? religion destroy the very things that make us human?
     

  18. Darrel Lindensmith
    12 November 2012 @ 1:30 am

    Thank you Chris

     
    "Under (Naturalism), the belief that scientific laws account for all phenomena,  ontological truth is inaccessible.   Why? " 
     
    Because Under (Naturalism), mindless forces / laws account for all phenomena.  This includes our brains.
     
     
     
    Also, You ask:
     
    Why is it so painful for a naturalist who believes that mindless forces /  laws are the only fundamental reality?
     
    In reality this could only be painful if these things were NOT true.   For existential pain can only be possible if true mind exists. 
     
    Epistemology is only possible if true mind exists.    In the materialist view our brains are untrustworthy to know or discover truth.  please see Rorty above.
     
     

  19. cb25
    12 November 2012 @ 2:15 am

    Cool…now I get it!!

    It is so simple. My mind is the result of Mind. Really! ?

    Is that not Just another form of the first cause argument!?

    I stubbed my toe this morning and it hurt…Of course, you are suggesting, that is evidence true mind exists. Proof  I am! (existential pain = true mind exists) An absolute truth. Really?!

    The philosophical statement "I think therefore I am", may have some problems, but sure is less of a leap than your implied "effect – cause" logic: "I hurt – therefore there is true mind". 

    I wonder if God ever wonders where his mind came from? I wonder if last time God hurt he looked back before himself for the true mind of which it was proof – oops…no: There was nothing before "his" mind; there is no other "true mind". He is the Mind.

    My mind tells me that the desire to search  backwards from effect to cause is a human, natural desire. The end product of many people's reasoning as they try to do this, and to determine cause (God) from effect (we are/brains/mind) may be the reality or the imaginative creation of of the human mind.

    When all is said and done we probably should assert no more than: I think because I have a brain. I hurt because I have nerves. I can discover meaning because I live in a concrete world, with a rational mind that can study, learn and weigh evidence. (and please don't confuse those last statements with the "materialism" as the term may have been understood in Lewis's day)

  20. Darrel Lindensmith
    12 November 2012 @ 2:35 am

    This is helpful.

    I have a 1936 edition of Aldous Huxley's masterpiece 'End and Means'    The last two chapters are the best I think.   Consider these thoughts from pgs 256-7
     

    "Some scientific investigators insist that mind merely an epiphenomenon of matter; that the brain secretes thought as the liver secretes bile; that the very notion of consciousness can be discarded, with all mental activity can be explained in terms of conditioned reflexes;  the mind itself nothing but an instrument, forged during the course of evolution, for securing food, sexual satisfaction and the conditions of survival.

     
    Others, on the other hand, believe that mind is a fundamental reality in the universe and we are consequently able to pass valid judgements about the natural world."
     
    "If mind is an epiphenomenon of matter, consciousness is completely determined by phyical motions and if the intellect is a machine then there is no reason for supposing that any theory produced by this instrument can have universal validity.. . . .  All who advance theories regarding the mind containing the words, 'nothing but,' tend to involve themselves in this kind of contradiction."
     

  21. earl calahan
    12 November 2012 @ 2:43 am

    Ahhh, Chris. It seems the majority in the world (according to speculation) are not satisfied with the 
    concrete world.Their rational minds demand a god figure. All through known history, with the possible exception of the antedeluvians of Noah's day, this has been the case, at least biblically.
    i have requested several times why the construct of a "spiritual dimension" which interacts with mankind, has no consideration? God is Spirit. Concrete is hard, incommunicative, unresponsive,cold.

    • cb25
      12 November 2012 @ 2:51 am

      Earl,

      re your first question: why a spiritual dimension construct. Wilbur's book gives some good insights into that. You should read it.

      Re your last sentence: May I twist it around?

      Spirit is like fog to the trajectory of a steel coated bullet. The universe for all intents and purposes is cold, hard, incommunicative, unresponsive…

      …the only exceptions to that, to date, are subjectively determined or claimed.

    • Tim
      12 November 2012 @ 10:09 am

      i have requested several times why the construct of a "spiritual dimension" which interacts with mankind, has no consideration?

      Uhhhh, because there's literally NO evidence of such a thing? Why not consider the construct of a "lentil soup dimension," where countless magical lentils are sentient and subtly interact with mankind?

      Or how about a "cotton candy dimension," which provides the underlying framework for spacetime?

      It's fun to imagine and speculate — I used to play Dungeons and Dragons when I was a kid (much to the consternation of my very Adventist parents) and imagining and playing out stories with friends as a fantastic time. But we're adults now, and as adults, it's generally prudent to draw a line between reality and fantasy. One of the ways we do that is through the use of a small but important thing called "evidence," for which there is precisely NONE suggesting any sort of magical spirit dimension filled with magical space creatures who have superpowers.

      Frankly, it's a bit depressing that these are even matters of debate in 2012. Should any evidence pop up through experimentation anywhere, I'll be the first to read about it and post the link here. Until that time, some of us prefer a more reality-based approach to the world we live in.

  22. cb25
    12 November 2012 @ 7:25 am

    Earl,

    I was just reading through "The Demon Haunted World.." between jobs and came across this quote. I thought of your point above and thought is was relevant:

    "Fear of things invisible is the natural seed of that which every one in himself calleth religion.

    Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (1651)"

    Darrel,

    I had not noticed your follow up point above till just now…  I happen to believe we can make valid judgements about the natural world regardless of what you believe the source of "mind" is. The "cause" of intelligence/mind does not have to be God to give intelligence credibility and value. It is what it is and we do not have to regress into speculation about its cause to understand that we understand.

    Having said that, I don't think we are as free from the unconscious level of our being as you like to think.

  23. Darrel Lindensmith
    12 November 2012 @ 3:27 pm

    Yes, I understand where you are coming from Chris, but most naturalists accept that it naturally follows that mind and free will are probably Illusions.  No?

  24. Darrel Lindensmith
    12 November 2012 @ 3:52 pm

    Sam Harris's Free Will is the most recent example of what I am talking about.  His argument against free will is fueled by assertions –that simply assume what he is trying to prove, and trying to prove with enough bravado to overcome the weakness of his logic.
    "There is," he says, "simply no intellectually respectable position from which to deny this." (no free will) "There is no question that (most, if not all) mental events are the product of physical events."   "My mental life is simply given to me by the cosmos."   J
    He argues that we are not aware of the neurological events that produce our thoughts, moods, perceptions, and behavior, and that, since we are not aware of them, they must produce our thoughts.  Not only does this not logically follow, it simply assumes that these things are "produced" by neurological events, when this is the very point at issue.  Yeeeh!   PMHO—this is a new texting word I made up = ‘I am pulling my hair out.’
    He is impressed by the “evidence” from a neurological study—neurological events seem to precede the thoughts they "produce":
    “The physiologist Benjamin Libet famously used EEG to show that activity in the brain's motor cortex can be detected some 300 milliseconds before a person feels that he has decided to move … More recently, direct recordings from the cortex showed that the activity of merely 256 neurons was sufficient to predict that 80 percent accuracy a person's decision to move 700 milliseconds before he became aware of it.”  
    These pseudo-neuological “studies” are the moderns’ high tech phrenology.
    "These findings," he adds, "are difficult to reconcile with the sense that we are the conscious authors of our actions." Why? He argues that this shows that "some moments before you are aware of what you will do next, your brain has already determined what you will do." But before we can decide what we can infer from the evidence, we have to ask exactly what the evidence is.
    He appears to be saying that there are two chemical events being detected by scientific instruments: one that is the physical event that causes the decision, and one that is the physical event that constitutes our awareness that we are making the decision.
    One commentator asked a great question : “By what reasoning does he say that the first chemical event is pre-determinative and the second what is pre-determined? Why couldn't the first event be the decision and the second the awareness that we have made the decision? Given Harris's penchant for making assumptions he has not justified, it seems we are justified in being suspicious.
    He has not considered any alternative interpretation than the one that favors his case.  And he seems to trust the brain that he used to access this, when his argument is that all mental events are materially determined.  PMHO    How can we adjudicate anything given this assumption??

  25. Joe Erwin
    12 November 2012 @ 5:18 pm

    Saying that something is "like phrenology" is usually good for a laugh, but using this to ridicule modern neuroscience is neither valid nor acceptable. Is Darrel really claiming that "mind" is a spiritual phenomenon, rather than being a consequence of natural physical processes?

  26. cb25
    12 November 2012 @ 8:19 pm

    Darrel,

    I go with Joe on linking phrenology with anything Sam says. Now that would be a good joke! He has some quality material that most would do well to try to understand.

    May I remind you, that at the end of my comment I said this:

    "I don't think we are as free from the unconscious level of our being as you like to think."

    I have not read the full context of what you quoted Sam saying, but would hazard a guess he has a solid argument. I have read a lot of Sam's other materials, and also a lot about the brain, cognitive function etc. Hence my caveat above.

    I also think Joe may have picked up on something I was missing. Are you really saying mind is a spiritual phenomenon? If so, just consider for a moment what happens if someone were to undergo incremental brain injury. There would be a precisely correlated decrease in brain function. Their mind would decrease experience and scope. The end result? The process could continue into non existence. Death.

    If you say the mind is a spiritual phenomenon: what that it would still be existing? Take that far enough and you will be believing in a soul hovering over the person's head and flitting off as the last bit of mind goes; suddenly fully conscious and aware – freed  from the broken mind!?

  27. earl calahan
    12 November 2012 @ 9:49 pm

    With no research in brain analysis, it is perhaps foolish for me to even conjecture input here, right Tim, lol. i've always been challenged when others speak of absolutes. So often the "so called experts" in all intellectual thought, in all areas where expertise is desirable, have been proven wrong. Look @ the current dogs breakfast the global  expert economists have presented, as example.
    Most all know there is no way to measure a spiritual dimension. That is not evidence it doesn't exist. It is not ethical to dismiss it out of hand, & deride those who have that belief. Study of the concious & unconcious states of brain action in individuals, to attempt how to treat those who have mental illness, is most appreciated. However to use brain research for empiracal evidence to deny there is no spiritual dimension, connection between a creator and the creature, to my thinking, a most arrogant concept of elitism. In as much as most here are or were former SDA, if you seriously question a creator of complexity for earth, why do you linger here, unless you have doubts? Chris, i believe in the spiritual phenomenon  in mankind. And the reason historically, mankind has been god seeking. Some can speak of personal evidence of things not seen, but are a reality to some of  us. Our faith.
     

  28. Darrel Lindensmith
    12 November 2012 @ 10:48 pm

    "Free will is an illusion. Our wills are simply not of our own making. Thoughts and intentions emerge from background causes of which we are unaware and over which we exert no conscious control. We do not have the freedom we think we have."  Sam Harris

    Premise 1: "Free will is an illusion. Our wills are simply not of our own making." Does anyone not see that this belief does not rest on the following science???? "Our thoughts and intentions emerge from background causes of which we are unaware and over which we exert no conscious control. We do not have the freedom we think we have." 

    Of course there is a great deal of truth in the latter.  One is influenced by the subconscious but this does not support the mechanistic view of mind and free will, because then the things we are discussing here are pointless and simply the profuces of chemistry. 

    Yes, well, the mind as spiritual.  my view is that mind is so dependent on the the mechanics of the brain that the mind is  comparable to a higher quantum state, a transcending of the sum of neural connections. A true quantum computer if you will.  

  29. cb25
    12 November 2012 @ 11:05 pm

    What following science?

  30. cb25
    12 November 2012 @ 11:46 pm

    Earl,

    You said you "…believe in the spiritual phenomenon  in mankind. And [it is] the reason historically, mankind has been god seeking. Some can speak of personal evidence of things not seen, but are a reality to some of  us. Our faith."

    "Our faith". The evidence of things not seen. This is like a "trump card" that we are not supposed to be able to argue against I guess.

    It reminds me of a point Stephen Ferguson made the other day about being happy to be happy with a God delusion, if it is such. The question was raised what is wrong with that kind of position?

    Let me address "your faith" and Stephen's question.

    IF your faith or a "god delusion" makes you a kind, caring, non judgemental, respectful person, you are welcome to it as a harmless personal belief. EXCEPT for one problem!

    Here's the problem. Another person's "faith", or "god delusion" may make him or her into pure evil.

    Let me give you just two examples, from the vast possibilities. Last year, a Muslim man and women were accused of adultery. He was stoned to death. She was pregnant. The baby was judged innocent. So, the woman was held until the baby was born, then stoned to death.

    How, in God's name can that happen in this world today? "faith" and "God delusion". Or, at least a delusion about what their supposed God has said. And I challenge any reader to explain it any other way.

    Let's go back in history. in the 1400's Pope Innocent issued a Papal bull about witches. The outcome of this was the "Malleus Malefi- carum," perpaps one of the most terrifying documents in human history. The outcome was the murder by burning perhaps hundreds of thousands of people. Mostly women and girls. The number could go into the millions. No one knows. One region had a "bounty" for reporting witches. One man alone handed in 220 women for 20 shillings each!

    The deaths many of these people died makes one's gut wrench. These deaths were because "faith" in the invisible convinced these murderous, religious people, that demons were at work in others. The slightest provocation, or excuse would have you flung on a fire. With one woman, as her dress caught fire and burnt it away, they doused the flames so the crowd could see her final moments of agony in nakedness and shame.

    I ask the question again. How can this stuff happen? "faith", or "God delusion". Being convinced by faith of what is not seen can take any shape allowed by the enculturation of its owner.

    So, what is wrong with a "personal faith", or personal "God delusion"? The evil to which another person may put their version of "faith into practice makes it encumbent on EVERYBODY to be subject to reason and reality.

    As Sam Harris would suggest. If you are teaching that 2 + 3 = 9. I am at liberty to suggest you learn math. If someone is teaching BS based on their "faith", we should have just as much right and responsiblity to point it out to them as if their math was BS.

    If you are not prepared to submit your own faith to reason, don't get upset if some radical turns up on your door to blow your brains out. He is just exercising the same freedom and denial of reason as you have.

    • Elaine Nelson
      13 November 2012 @ 3:57 am

      Chris:

       

      All your examples above are not arguable; they are evidenced by history:  the extreme danger of a very subjective faith that becomes evil incarnate. 

      I will await possible rebuttals on evidence.

  31. avenger
    13 November 2012 @ 1:15 am

    Re cb's comments on the dangers of religion

    Moreover, to have to abandon Reason for Faith, makes Reason a inferior cousin to its mystical, whimsical, arrogant kinsman. Let's all remember what the church tried did to Galileo. Repression of Reason always has dire consequences for Mankind.

    What will relgions look like in a 1000 years? Far different and evolved. What will Reason look like? I doubt rational cause and effect analyses will have fundamentally changed at all. If anything, the continued study of science coupled with advanced technology, will continue to prove what reality is  vs. what god(s) are not. In a universe about 13.5 billion years old, a couple of thousand years of scientific inquiry is not a long period of time. Look at what we have learned in the last 200. Think exponentially about the next 50. Stick around as long a you can, it is, and will be, an interesting ride.

  32. Darrel Lindensmith
    13 November 2012 @ 3:57 am

    Earlier I meant 'sentence.'   So all the slaughter of millions in the name of
    Atheism is proof there is a God??

  33. Darrel Lindensmith
    13 November 2012 @ 4:00 am

    Neither the Atheists nor the religionists had free will when they did there deeds, so what's the huff about??

  34. earl calahan
    13 November 2012 @ 4:52 am

    Lol, i feel a little akin to Daniel here, about to enter the den. There have been millions annihlilated all
    throughout history. Some according to the biblical record. Others by "natural" disasters? Others within
    the memories of the people here, by wars in the 20th century, and the tsunamies of the past 15 years in Asia. And then those of which Chris spoke of. It seems we have more angst of the one or few victims, who have names, than when multitudes perish. The only arguement i offer is that the gods of people who murder are not the God i honor. My God is on record stating "thou shall not kill", as well as advising us to love our neighbor, and not to covet our neighbor. This was the standard given to Moses, and i believe it applies to the "new covenant" also. There are many false god's & false prophets who will lead those inclined to do evil, even the elect will be sorely tempted. But my God says "thou shall not kill, the life, or the Spirit. i seek to unite in love, not tear asunder.

  35. cb25
    13 November 2012 @ 5:21 am

    Earl,

    I'll try not to pounce on you too hard:)

    Your arguement that the gods of people who murder are not the God you honor, nor the God who is on record stating "thou shall not kill", may not stand up. 

    From page 113 of "The Demon Haunted Word…":

    "The Pope appointed Kramer and Sprenger to write a comprehensive analysis, using the full academic armoury of the late fifteenth century. With exhaustive citations of scripture and of ancient and modern scholars, they produced the Malleus Malefi- carum, the 'Hammer of Witches', aptly described as one of the most terrifying documents in human history."

    Notice the bold, exhaustive citations... I would suggest these people were sincere. They believed they were following God's word. Remember, the same God who said "don't kill", also sent Israel out to kill man, woman, child and animal in his name. Defending "truth" over rides the commandments.

    As for angst over few vs multitudes. All should cause angst. I mention the few in this context as examples of what we are discussing.

    As a spin of from my current research I had a read of wikipedia of the forms of capital punishment. Words cannot describe the hell this world has been to millions of people. Obviously, not all in the name of religion. Take a look at Scaphism if you want a chilling read, and a reminder you live in a good world and era.

    Darrel, your point about deaths in the name of atheism proves nothing. I was not using the horrors of religiously motivated slaughter to prove there was no God, but to demonstrate that whether it is an illusion or not, placing "faith" or one's understanding of that God and his requests above reason is indefensible.

    Please offer us some examples of slaughter of millions in the name of atheism.
     

  36. Darrel Lindensmith
    13 November 2012 @ 2:18 pm

    "Please offer us some examples of slaughter of millions in the name of atheism."  Is this a joke.?

    Regarding "placing "faith" or one's understanding of that God and his requests above reason is indefensible," "an illusion,"  I completely agree with you Chris.   

    So you agree that 'everything' is not an illusion.   Trying to find the baseline here. Thank you.

     
        

  37. cb25
    13 November 2012 @ 7:37 pm

    Darrel, no that question is not a joke. Show me examples where the slaughter was done in the name of atheism. ie, I take that to mean that it (atheism)  is the underlying, supporting, ideology which drives the policies and actions undertaken.

    (is communist China atheist?)

    re illusion.. Here's my answer…read and think about it carefully:

  38. Darrel Lindensmith
    13 November 2012 @ 11:19 pm

    Chris, I have pulled two books off my self from the history section,  one is a historical study, the other is a historical memoir– The Plot to Kill God: The Soviet Experiment in Secularization, written by Paul Froese professor of history at University of California and punted by the same.

     
    He said the this was "humanity's most-murderous and destructive epoch."
     
    The other book, The Gulag Archipelago by Solzhenitsyn, I trust you are familiar with.  
     
    Michael Burleigh'  "Sacred Causes"
    is also an excellent study.

  39. cb25
    13 November 2012 @ 11:46 pm

    Darrel,

    The "Soviet Union tried by brutal repression to eliminate religion but failed completely to destroy belief in the supernatural, even though it greatly weakened church institutions. Perhaps even more telling, the attempt to replace religion with official Marxist-Leninist faith was drastically unsuccessful. "

    Again: What was the underlying ideology? Was it purely atheism? The above would suggest it was not that simple.

    To the degree atheism was championed in their cause I suggest it was not the prime mover. You only need to look today at Russia, and the blantant use the state is now making of the church to give force and appeal to its continued agenda of power over the people. All they have learned is that it is better to use appealing or existing vehicles which have more depth within the community to aid your own power and control.

    I question the "most murderous and destructive epoch". Read a little wider. I also await your evidence that atheism was the prime mover and ideology. It seems to me it was a vehicle for an equal or greater ideology.

    I have read the Gulag A.

  40. Darrel Lindensmith
    14 November 2012 @ 12:02 am

    I openly admit the sins of religion, this is not going to kill you Chris.  Let's be fair with the facts.

  41. cb25
    14 November 2012 @ 12:20 am

    ? I am trying to be fair with the facts.

    I just do not think it would be a fair statement to say the slaughter in Communist Russia was purely and simply in "the name of atheism." You simply cannot state that the purpose of what they did was to install "atheism" as the ideology and motivator of policy and action. It was a vehicle. What they did do was try to replace religion with the Marxist-Leninist faith, and to do that they believed they needed to destroy religion.

    Today, it would seem they have realized it is sometimes "better" to "use" religion as your vehicle if you can. Church leaders have long ago realized this is a great vehicle to power!

  42. Darrel Lindensmith
    14 November 2012 @ 12:44 am

    Ddd

    "Was it purely atheism?"  

    Nothing is every, 'purely' anything.
    "Was Atheism the prime driving force behind the Soviet and Maoist crimes against humanity?"  Without question!!!!!   
     
    Lenin explained very openly after his Feb. 1918 'decree against religion' that "after the separation of state and school , from church and faith, it is essential to strive for the separation of people from religion and church."   From "Religion in the USSR: Militant Atheism Becomes a Mass Movement-1933" at The Communist Conspiracy-rational revolution.net
     
    A contemporary of Marx, Arnold Ruge wrote,  "Marx has raised the flag of Atheism,  and human morality, God, religion are deposed and a plilophical republic proclaimed."  
    Cited in Walter sens, Karl Marx : Seine irreligious Entwicklung und antichristliche Einstellung (Halle: Akademischer Verlag, 1935), 38

  43. Darrel Lindensmith
    14 November 2012 @ 1:59 am

    N
    N

    The Plot to Kill God. Historian Paul Froese. Univ. of California 

     
     
    Page one. "For the first time in history rulers of a modern state hoped to expunge not only religion, but the expression of spirituality and, most dauntingly, belief in a supernatural realm.  Never before had political authorities attempted to justify their rule and motivate through an appeal to Atheism."
     
     
    Page five. "The early 1920s marked the beginning of a campaign to lure individuals to atheism.  Through educational programs, atheist propaganda campaigns.  The League of Militant Atheists sponsored by the regime spread the message the "Scientific Atheism"
     

  44. cb25
    14 November 2012 @ 3:57 am

    Darrel,

    If you take your quotes at face value one can see a lean towards your assertions. However, I do not think they represent the full picture. For starters, most, if not all the authors you have quoted appear to have an underlying polemic against atheism, which in turn gives them reason to overly associate and conflate the impact, role and function of atheism with, and within, communism.

    Sorry, but I am yet to see where millions have been slaughtered in the "name of atheism". I think such a conclusion is too simplistic and perhaps demonstrates a way in which one can view history if they hold both and anti communist and anti atheist bias. Such a conflation is convenient.

  45. Darrel Lindensmith
    14 November 2012 @ 4:37 am

    Well, that's your choice Chris!  Or is it? 🙂