On the way to the airport in Atlanta last week, I stumbled upon a radio debate between Michael Medved and Christopher Hitchens on the topic of Hitchens’ latest book – namely, whether or not religion poisons everything. It’s obvious that Hitchens is guilty of a vast overreach with that contention; at the very least, any fair minded person must acknowledge the great contributions of Jewish and Christian religious thought to the foundations of Western society, and one could spend a lot of time listing names of individuals and groups who – motivated by religious conviction – have changed the world for the better. And that doesn’t even begin to touch upon the major contributions religion has made to the world of art and culture.

That being said, one can’t dismiss Hitchens or the other atheist voices that have gained a following in our current cultural marketplace. And so it was refreshing to read this response to Hitchens and his allies by Peter Berkowitz in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal:

Like philosophy, religion, rightly understood, has a beginning in wonder. The most wonderful of creatures are human beings themselves. Of all the Bible’s sublime and sustaining teachings, none is more so than the teaching that explains that humanity is set apart because all human beings–woman as well as man the Bible emphasizes–are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).

That a teaching is sublime and sustaining does not make it true. But that, along with its service in laying the moral foundations in the Western world for the belief in the dignity of all men and women–a belief that our new new atheists take for granted and for which they provide no compelling alternative foundation–is reason enough to give the variety of religions a fair hearing. And it is reason enough to respect believers as decent human beings struggling to make sense of a mysterious world.


  • Jeff Fyke

    I long to find a critic of Hitchens’ book that appears to have read it. One of Hitchens’ main points of contention with religion is that it is absurd to believe that morality was invented by the authors of the Bible, or as Berkowitz puts it: “laying the moral foundations.” As if, until Moses unveiled the Ten Commandments, everyone assumed killing and stealing was alright.

    And besides these obvious guidelines, which had been taboo before their inclusion in the Good Book, to what other “sublime and sustaining” teachings does Berkowitz refer? The banning of mentruating women from churches? The hatred of same-sexuality?

    To say that Religion poisons everything is, perhaps, and overstatement. As Hitchens has admitted himself, the King James Bible is a work of art and is an indespensible key to Western Literature. However, overstatement is welcome in a society that ignores the destructive forces of religion within that deny us medical advances like stem cell research, and the parties of god abroad who threaten our very lives.

  • Marc Vander Maas

    [url=http://hughhewitt.townhall.com/Transcript_Page.aspx?ContentGuid=2fbc257d-4761-43ff-adfd-279a3e01f69b]Here you go[/url].

    As for your claim about stem cell research: I, for one, do not oppose stem cell research, nor do many religious believers. I do, however, oppose the destruction of human life in order to obtain those cells – especially in light of the fact that embryonic stem cell research is much less promising and poses many more problems (even outside of the major ethical dilemmas that it raises) for researchers than, say, adult stem cell research. I refer you to [url=http://www.nationalreview.com/interrogatory/george200506290814.asp]Robert George[/url] for more on that subject.

  • http://www.ryanlanham.wordpress.com Ryan Lanham

    I agree almost totally with Mr. Fyke.

    It is also worth noting that virtually all cultures have underpinnings in arts and culture that express timeless human longings.

    The flaw in the Acton position is that there is a “West” that can be defined and refined and followed.

    Religion is a vital part of human history. But it is increasingly a past part of it for those who dare to reason and question liberally. For the people who seek religion’s recovery, they appear more and more pitiful rather than compelling as “classic conservatives.” Liberty and faith are mutually exclusive.

  • http://blog.acton.org/ Jordan

    Sounds to me like you have a great deal of faith [i]in[/i] liberty.

  • Marc Vander Maas

    “Liberty and faith are mutually exclusive.”

    You can’t be serious.

  • http://www.ryanlanham.wordpress.com Ryan Lanham

    Totally. Liberty demands that we not subscribe to dictatorship–celestial or otherwise. No one can say with any amount of seriousness that they are a contemporary thinking libertarian and devotee of a dictatorial faith with being risible.

  • http://blog.acton.org/ Jordan

    Don’t you mean “without” being risible?

    Only someone who submits to the tyranny of libertarianism as a [i]Weltanschauung[/i] could say such a thing.

  • http://www.ryanlanham.wordpress.com Ryan Lanham

    There are some foursquare questions it seems to me that Christians (or any religious persons) need to answer to engage in a reasonable dialogue.

    1. Do they believe in the supremacy of evidential science? If so, I think it nearly impossible to accept “faith” as a meaningful proposition. Few serious scientists (and almost no leading ones) are believers. If necessary, I’ll again dig up the surveys, but it isn’t close.

    2. If one chooses not to believe in the supremacy of evidential science, why not?

    3. If one holds that religion is central to their world view, what interpretations of this faith do they take as essential and impossible to contradict? And what of when these contradict with other “true believers?”

    I care little if you have “faith.” It’s just a silly thing in my view given the evidence. Just as I could not take presidential candidates as not silly when they said they believe in creationism. It just isn’t a plausible position for an informed person, in my view. I prefer my presidents to be somewhat informed.

    It is equally silly to me to say one believes in liberty but submits to an unknown celestial power with murky communiques issued through smallish tribes in a remote rocky desert or from a German living in Rome in a medieval palace.

    It’s just odd for someone to claim to be thoughtful and to be a believer in such chicanery as religion clearly offers. To hold that it is consistent with liberty is, well, risible.

  • Marc Vander Maas

    Wow. To be able to claim with a straight face that faith and liberty are mutually exclusive – in the face of the 231 year history of the American experiment, not to mention the role that Christianity played in the development of European culture that was instrumental in giving rise to the freedom and wealth that we now enjoy – that’s really something.

  • http://blog.acton.org/ Jordan

    Maybe you could type that up into some kind of form and have people sign it before you have a “reasonable dialogue” with them. Think of it as a sort of pre-dialogue agreement.

  • http://www.ryanlanham.wordpress.com Ryan Lanham

    I don’t think it is unreasonable to ask the basis of someone’s method of evaluating information at the outset of a discussion meant to be reasonable.

    My method is straightforward if not simple: I believe the best evidence and heavily weight my belief toward those who are critical of evidence and who attempt to ascertain the best possible evidentially based truth in all matters of their thinking and beliefs.

    In short, there are no higher truths. Liberty is, in large part, the right to assess information how one wishes without fear of retribution.

    I cannot square that with “faith.” If you can, then I suppose you are, in your own mind, reasonable. In my mind, you are a slave. I think the bible says the truth shall set you free.

  • Marc Vander Maas

    I don’t really feel like responding to your questions, but I will point out that evidential science doesn’t have that much to say about ethical questions like, say, whether or not it’s ok to simply copy an entire blog post from one site onto another with no comment or attribution…

  • Marc Vander Maas

    “there are no higher truths”? Do you even think about what you’re saying? What about when you said earlier that “virtually all cultures have underpinnings in arts and culture that express timeless human longings.” That seems to indicate some belief in a universal, “higher” truth.

    How about this: do you believe that murder is wrong? If so, what do you base that belief on? Or is it not a “higher truth,” and rather just something that you feel?

    Honestly, I don’t even know why I’m responding here. It’s pretty clear that you don’t respect people of faith; your comments drip with arrogance and disdain. You’re clearly a troll; but what the heck, I’ve got a bit of time to kill.

  • http://blog.acton.org/ Jordan

    The Bible does say that about the truth, but right after that it also tells us Who the Truth is.

    Incidentally, that first passage is one of the favorite ones quoted by the reformer Wolfgang Musculus in his exposition of the doctrine of free choice ([i]liberum arbitrium[/i]).

    I appreciate but do not share your confidence in “evidential science.”

    That is, I believe empirical truths are truths, but not the only sort of truths. There are other means and faculties by which we know things other than the scientific method.

    If you really want to engage these points in a reasonable way, I recommend the work of [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alvin_Plantinga]Alvin Plantinga[/url], especially his three volume work on warrant and Christian belief:

    [url=http://www.amazon.com/Warrant-Current-Debate-Alvin-Plantinga/dp/0195078624/][i]Warrant: the Current Debate[/i][/url]

    [url=http://www.amazon.com/Warrant-Proper-Function-Alvin-Plantinga/dp/0195078640][i]Warrant and Proper Function[/i][/url]

    [url=http://www.amazon.com/Warranted-Christian-Belief-Alvin-Plantinga/dp/0195131932][i]Warranted Christian Belief[/i][/url]

    You may also be interested in his [url=http://www.christianitytoday.com/bc/2007/002/1.21.html]review of Dawkins’ book[/url], which is more directly relevant to this particular blog post.

    Maybe having people sign a form like the one mentioned above would be more conducive to a reasonable conversation than coming to a religious blog and trashing religion. Just a thought.

  • Catherine Snow

    As a believer, I never assumed people considered murder and stealing right before Moses got the tablets. They knew it (right from wrong) in their hearts because truth is knowable. And, it is knowable because God put it there in each of us.
    I find most non-believers are moral relativists, because they deny the existence of truth. If you ask them, “so then there is no absolute truth?” they answer “yes. There is no absolute truth.” “Is that true?” we ask them. “Yes, that’s true.” “So then there is a truth,” etc. These circular arguments always end up at the same place. Truth exists. It’s knowable in the hearts of men because God made us in his own image. We are free and have human dignity because of Him. That’s the argument.

  • http://blog.acton.org/ Jordan

    Catherine,

    I’m not sure where the assertions about the Decalogue “creating” absolute values come from. Clearly Hitchens is deplorably ignorant about the claims of the Bible and the theological tradition.

    The standard Reformed line is that the Decalogue is a recapitulation or reaffirmation of the natural law. It would be difficult to read Paul in Romans 1 and 2 in any other way, I think.

  • Catherine Snow

    As a Catholic, I believe in “natural law.” The part of the human heart that understands the need for moral and spiritual structure in our lives is implanted in our hearts by God.

    The idea of Liberty is found in other cultures, because truth is universal. But the Jewish and Christian traditions provides our understanding of it in terms of the inherent dignity of the human person. The integrity and legitimacy of private property, of the duties and limitations of the state.

    Once you take away human dignity and truth, “might makes right” takes over. And then any totalitarian dictator can make his will the way. He feels justified in killing to secure his position. Just as Stalin, Marx, Hitler and all the others did. They deplored religion because it tells men they are free.

  • http://www.ryanlanham.wordpress.com Ryan Lanham

    OK. Let’s say you are right…there are multiple types of truth. Is Islam a truth for the Muslim? Is Mormonism a truth? Is the Pope right that Christian churches of the Reformation and after are defective? Is that “respect” or is it “truth?”

    Better still, what isn’t a truth? What is an out and out falsehood? If I claim something is a truth for me, does that make it a truth? What matters of faith are open to general investigation and rebuttal? Are there any?

    Either one believes in the supremacy of evidential facts, or one doesn’t. If you don’t so believe, then I think it is utterly reasonable to ask why you think some things warrant a higher belief than what can be freely and openly accepted by careful investigation from independent thinkers–in your own straightforward words. Not multi-volume apologies, but in a straightforward comprehensible argument that explains why some things are “higher” regardless of point of view.

    No Christian can do that because their beliefs are false in the way Greek mythology or Norse mythologies are false. They refer to non-real things that don’t exist and that didn’t happen as essential truths.

    Do I respect this or those that believe in it? Odd question. At least I find it strange.

    I respect human beliefs as human and try to tolerate them, but I do not respect them as reasonable or thoughtful in a contemporary sense given the available evidence.

    In short, no person who seriously investigates Christianity and science is likely to emerge a believer in my view. Same Islam. Same Mormonism. Same Sikhism. Same Judaism.

    One is highly unlikely to discover a widely read and respected scientist convert to a faith who didn’t get youthful indoctrination or faced some other cultural draw. It just doesn’t happen.

  • Marc Vander Maas

    No one is arguing that there are multiple types of truth. The Truth is the Truth. I think that what you refuse to acknowledge is that the evidential science that you hold in such high regard is incapable of revealing [i]the whole[/i] truth. As I mentioned earlier, you cannot run a test in a lab to find out if it was right or wrong of you to copy my entire post to your blog without proper attribution. That is a moral or ethical question. There is a right answer to that question (and I don’t claim to know exactly what it is, by the way), but science is incapable of finding that truth.

    Same thing with murder. Murder is clearly wrong. You know it, I know it. But you and I can’t go into a laboratory and conduct an experiment to determine [i]why[/i] murder is wrong. Those are questions that must be addressed by something like – wait for it – [i]religion[/i] or ethics or philosophy.

    Science has the capability to reveal truth. But science can’t reveal the whole truth. Pretty simple concept.

  • http://www.ryanlanham.wordpress.com Ryan Lanham

    Whole truth? How about whole whole truth? Or double secret whole truth? Or private whole truth? This is doublespeak and parries at strawmen…just diversions.

    Truth (whole or part) is clearly perspective-based and to defend otherwise puts you at odds with the bulk of modern philosophy. That may be fine for you, but it is suspect to this poor soul who has no benefit of higher knowledge.

    The question remains, what parts of Christianity are absolutely true and which are open to interpretation?

    You cannot answer this because it leads immediately to split ontologies–exactly what I suspect you hope to avoid.

    I do not attack ethics, and you create strawmen by linking ethics and other red herring with what I say.

    I am more than happy to remove your post at request, but it is within the copyright law to have it there. And it is attributed and linked. Acton lists the copyright. Regardless, copyright is about property value, not authorization, as it always has been and as it has been interpreted by the courts since the laws began–and especially since the major revision in 1976.

  • Dan VandeBunte

    “One of Hitchens’ main points of contention with religion is that it is absurd to believe that morality was invented by the authors of the Bible”.

    Who are you trying to argue against here? What Christian believes that there was no moral law or that no one knew the moral law or had even a general idea of what the moral law included until it was written on stone tablets by Moses? Seriously. What point are you trying to make by taking Hitchens’ side here?

  • Dan VandeBunte

    “Liberty and faith are mutually exclusive.”

    We are creatures of God. We are only free when we are in our proper relation to our Creator. As such, liberty and faith (in God) are not mutually exclusive. They are, in fact, the same. If you reject God, you are not free by any means. You are capitive to sin. Maybe sins of the flesh, maybe sins of the intellect. But make no mistake about it, apart from God you are enslaved.

  • Dan VandeBunte

    Oxy moron of the day: “Liberty demands”.

    It would seem to me that liberty cannot demand anything. If I choose to subscribe to a dictatorship, celestial or otherwise, I am in fact exercising my liberty by doing so. For liberty to demand that I not do so is contradictory to the nature of liberty. Liberty, by definition, allows for the possibility of choosing to give it up. Much like I would be free to do whatever I wish with my lotto winnings, including giving it all to charity. However, if I were to do that I would no longer be free to do whatever I wish with my lotto winnings because the money would no longer be mine. That’s liberty. Liberty allows for sacrifice.

    I think your biggest problem is that you assume liberty is something that you can attain apart from faith in God. But really you are saying 1 of 2 things; either that God does not exist (which you could not possibly know, making you, at worst, an agnostic), or that you are God’s equal (which is absurd, since your arguments would be better if you were God’s equal).

  • Dan VandeBunte

    “There are some foursquare questions it seems to me that Christians (or any religious persons) need to answer to engage in a reasonable dialogue.

    1. Do they believe in the supremacy of evidential science? If so, I think it nearly impossible to accept “faith” as a meaningful proposition. Few serious scientists (and almost no leading ones) are believers. If necessary, I’ll again dig up the surveys, but it isn’t close.”

    No. Science is limited by the unshakable human element. The “evidence” you seem to deify (but really you’re using it as a smokescreen to deify humanity) is limited by our understanding of nature, by the instruments we build, by our ability to accurately record data, etc.

    “2. If one chooses not to believe in the supremacy of evidential science, why not?”

    See above.

    “3. If one holds that religion is central to their world view, what interpretations of this faith do they take as essential and impossible to contradict? And what of when these contradict with other “true believers?””

    There is a God. I am not it.

    “I care little if you have “faith.” It’s just a silly thing in my view given the evidence.”

    What evidence? All that limited-by-human-understanding evidence?

    “Just as I could not take presidential candidates as not silly when they said they believe in creationism. It just isn’t a plausible position for an informed person, in my view.”

    Why did you include, “in my view”? Are you open to the posibility that other reasonable people could believe in creationism? If you are not, then why include the qualifier? If it is not possible for an informed person to believe in creationism at all, then you are making a universal declaration; making “in my view” pointless. Do you allow for the different versions of creationism? Or do you lump all creationists into the “6-day” camp?

    “I prefer my presidents to be somewhat informed”.

    FACT: George Bush had better grades in political science classes at Yale than John Kerry. Apparently, being a creationist does not affect one’s ability to be a political leader. In fact, the EVIDENCE (I know how you like evidence so much) seems to indicate that being a creationist makes you better able to be a political leader.

    “It is equally silly to me to say one believes in liberty but submits to an unknown celestial power with murky communiques issued through smallish tribes in a remote rocky desert or from a German living in Rome in a medieval palace.”

    Again, liberty allows for one to believe such things.

    “It’s just odd for someone to claim to be thoughtful and to be a believer in such chicanery as religion clearly offers. To hold that it is consistent with liberty is, well, risible.”

    Again, liberty allows for one to believe such things. Not that I agree with your characterization of religion. But even if you were correct, liberty would still allow for one to believe such things.

  • http://blog.acton.org/ Jordan

    “…it is suspect to this poor soul who has no benefit of higher knowledge.”

    Spare me. Your perceptions of your own enlightenment are obvious. You side with your enlightened few (apparently any serious scientist) against the hoi polloi, the rest of the humans throughout history who have by a dominant supermajority held explicit religious beliefs.

    I saw “explicit” because your scientism has its own [url=http://blog.acton.org/index.html?/archives/568-The-Priestly-Voice-of-Science.html]“priestly voice.”[/url]

  • http://www.ryanlanham.wordpress.com Ryan Lanham

    Really, I side with what makes good sense to people I think are sound and open-minded.

    I don’t hate religion or hold the religious in disdain. I also don’t hold tribes in New Guinea is disdain, but I recognize they don’t share our species’ best and most vetted ideas. I look upon the religious in a similar way. It is a sort of cultural bias from my perspective. You might find that insulting, and so would tribal people in New Guinea in all likelihood.

    But I do think some ideas do have more merit than others, and religion just doesn’t have much merit in my view as truth. Clearly a few billion people differ with me on that in one way or another. So long as their views are not destructive or repressive, that’s fine with me. Too often they have been so.

  • http://blog.acton.org/ Jordan

    Well, then we agree. I, too, think that your beliefs are silly and laughable, but do not hold science or you in disdain.

  • Marc Vander Maas

    Strawmen? To say that Truth is Truth, and that science is a way to discern a [i]part[/i] of the Truth, but cannot expose the [i]whole[/i] of the truth? Ridiculous, unless you truly believe that science is the answer to [i]every single dilemma or question[/i] that confronts humanity. Which you might, based on your refusal to acknowledge a seemingly obvious point.

    Re: copying the entire post – in my experience in blogging, generally it is frowned upon to simply copy an entire post from one blog into another without adding some sort of original comment of one’s own. It’s not so much an issue of copyright law as it is of general blog etiquette. Perhaps this is the general way you do business on your blog; in my experience, that’s not the way things usually work. I don’t think I ever accused you of violating copyright law. The fact that you added some text of your own makes me much more comfortable with it; it doesn’t simply copy my post with “by Ryan Lanham” under the headline. Regardless, I still think it’s odd that you copy entire posts.

    Oh, and as for the non-negotiables about Christianity? Here’s a very brief thumbnail sketch: I’m a sinner; totally corrupt in all that I do. That’s a condition common to all mankind, even you. God, in His mercy, sent His son Jesus Christ to die for my sins in order that I can be made right with Him and have eternal life. The only way to obtain eternal life? Through faith in Jesus Christ. And yeah, I believe that also applies to you, whether you believe it or not.

    I know you think I’m nuts. That’s been clear since your first comment. (And hey, the Bible does say that God’s wisdom is foolishness to those who don’t know Him.) And that doesn’t bother me one bit. I guess I just see a part of the truth that you haven’t discovered yet. I sincerely hope that someday you do, but in the end, that’s not up to me.

  • http://www.ryanlanham.wordpress.com Ryan Lanham

    Many of my ideas are laughable. Some I have noted are silly. I try to change those when it becomes clear to me.

    I find that a healthy democracy is built on diversity and disagreement–even within one’s self.

    Not sure that is true about healthy religions, but that’s another article.

    Thank you to Acton and Mr. Vander Maas for openly tolerating ideas and comments they clearly do not share. For what it is worth, I try to do the same on my blog.

  • Marc Vander Maas

    You’re very welcome.

  • http://alex.caro.us/ Alex Caro

    So what if there are religious people who do and have done good things? That doesn’t mean religion isn’t poisonous.
    Steven Weinberg said it best, “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

    Also, I live in Acton. ;)

  • Marc Vander Maas

    It also doesn’t mean religion is poisonous.

  • Neal Lang

    “As if, until Moses unveiled the Ten Commandments, everyone assumed killing and stealing was alright.”

    You and Hitchens seem to enjoy similar “strawmen.” Please point to one theologian that defend your strawman proposition that: “until Moses unveiled the Ten Commandments, everyone assumed killing and stealing was alright.”

  • Neal Lang

    “However, overstatement is welcome in a society that ignores the destructive forces of religion within that deny us medical advances like stem cell research, and the parties of god abroad who threaten our very lives.”

    Please point a single religion that “deny us medical advances like stem cell research!” What religions deny us is the right to take one human life solely to benefit another. The vast majority of the World’s religions support the only stem cell research that so far proven to actually benefit the sick. For a religion to caution against human cloning solely for research would seem the moral thing to do. The lack of religious morality in medical research leads to the abominations of atheistic scientific research programs like those of the Germans, and Japanese during WWII, and the Soviets afterwards. Morality must be based in a respect for ALL HUMAN LIFE because ALL HUMAN LIFE is endowed by its Creator with certain unalienable rights. Atheism does not recognize the Creator, hence, it does not recognize that the rights of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness are, in fact, unalienable. An atheistic World is a dark, violent World, with no hope and very little charity, except perhaps in self indulgence.

  • Neal Lang

    “Liberty and faith are mutually exclusive.”

    Where did you ever get such a warped notion? Obviously from Jacobins, Marx and their disciples because the “Classical Liberals” that founded our Nation on the best of Judeo-Christian Western thought and philosophy went to great lengths to inform you and the rest of posterity that Liberty with Religion (Morality, Ethics, and Virtue) was quite impossible. The first of the modern examples of this truth followed so after our Nations founding and it was know as the “French Revolution.” Every Nation that has ignored this sage truth ends up becoming a “Culture of Death.” The secularization of America is leading us down the same evil path.

  • Neal Lang

    “Totally. Liberty demands that we not subscribe to dictatorship–celestial or otherwise. No one can say with any amount of seriousness that they are a contemporary thinking libertarian and devotee of a dictatorial faith with being risible.”

    Liberty without morality is nothing more than license. The libertine society is ruled by the cruelist dictatorship of all the unbridal, licentious man. Men come together out “nature” to form societies and than governments to defend the weak against the wild animals and libertine barbarian man. Your “Brave New World” would offer all man, unsaddled by informed conscience to do everything and anything they want. The result would be chaos, a fact you obviously are to immature to recognize.

    It is apparent that you are totally dissatified with the America founded in “Self Evident Truth.” That being the case you are well to travel to any other land, founded in your godless philosophy and be happy. Else, you could travel to a barren, lawless wilderness some on Earth and make a life for yourself and your family in unrestricted “nature.”

  • Neal Lang

    “OK. Let’s say you are right…there are multiple types of truth. Is Islam a truth for the Muslim? Is Mormonism a truth? Is the Pope right that Christian churches of the Reformation and after are defective? Is that ‘respect’ or is it ‘truth?’

    “Better still, what isn’t a truth? What is an out and out falsehood? If I claim something is a truth for me, does that make it a truth? What matters of faith are open to general investigation and rebuttal? Are there any?”

    Ah, that explains then, doesn’t it. You live a your own little mental self-created World where everything is true, despite being contradictory. I beleive George Orwell defined this as “double think” or:

    “The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed. To deny objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies.”

    Truly amazing feat!

  • Neal Lang

    “and the parties of god abroad who threaten our very lives.”

    As compared to what? The parties of the “godless” aboard who threatened our lives with nuclear destruction, or the parties of the “godless” at home who snuffed out nearly 50 million human lives since 1973 here at home?

  • Neal Lang

    “1. Do they believe in the supremacy of evidential science? If so, I think it nearly impossible to accept ‘faith’ as a meaningful proposition. Few serious scientists (and almost no leading ones) are believers. If necessary, I’ll again dig up the surveys, but it isn’t close.”

    Really? Beyond faith in Darwin, just what “scientific proof” exists that man evolved from the apes? What “scientic proof” do you have that all matter and energy were spontaneously “evolved” from “nothing?” In other words, that matter and energy are infinite!

    Interestingly the “leading” scientist on the “human gnome” project is a “believer.” Even Einstein was a “believer” in his own way. I believe is you check ALL the TRULY GREAT SCIENTISTS throughout history were “believers!”

  • Neal Lang

    “2. If one chooses not to believe in the supremacy of evidential science, why not?”

    Because it yet been able to explain the existence of life.

  • Neal Lang

    “3. If one holds that religion is central to their world view, what interpretations of this faith do they take as essential and impossible to contradict? And what of when these contradict with other ‘true believers’?”

    Because man was created by God in His own image and likeness he great worth beyond of bodily material components and therefor that “All men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, amongst these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

    What is your “World view” and just what is it based on. Obviously, if you reject this “Self evident truth” and see man as merely the sum of body’s material components.

  • Neal Lang

    “I care little if you have ‘faith.’ It’s just a silly thing in my view given the evidence. Just as I could not take presidential candidates as not silly when they said they believe in creationism. It just isn’t a plausible position for an informed person, in my view. I prefer my presidents to be somewhat informed.”

    Really? And beyond your “faith” in godless men’s un-sciencifically proven supposition that life was spontaneously created and that all life forms are therefor the same, making man no better than the animals that we kill and eat, just where do you differ from those whose “faith” in a Creator God hold man to a higher position than beasts of burden?

  • Neal Lang

    “It is equally silly to me to say one believes in liberty but submits to an unknown celestial power with murky communiques issued through smallish tribes in a remote rocky desert or from a German living in Rome in a medieval palace.”

    You obviously have no concept, what-so-ever, of liberty. You believe that man can be “free” and still be the slave to his body’s most prurient whims. If that is “your” liberty, you are welcome to it. But I cannot let you force me to accept your twisted concept of liberty on me. BTW, it was those “smallish tribes in a remote rocky desert” that gave you a Nation and a podium to spout your inane nonsense. You tear that Nation’s moral core down at your own peril, however, you are obviously to oblivious to appreciate your own self-destruction. Freeman and liberty are only fit for a people that is moral and religious – else you have the “Terror” of the French Revolultion.

  • Neal Lang

    “It’s just odd for someone to claim to be thoughtful and to be a believer in such chicanery as religion clearly offers. To hold that it is consistent with liberty is, well, risible.”

    Gee, how than do you explain the Founding Fathers of this Nation say as opposed to Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, and Mao? The greatest tyranny known to man – Marxist-Leninist Communism was founded SOLEY on YOUR BELIEF that “religion is the opiate of the masses,” and set about to destroy ALL RELIGIOUS FAITH in order to further their revolutions. If that is the World you prefer, you are more than welcome to it!

  • Neal Lang

    “So what if there are religious people who do and have done good things? That doesn’t mean religion isn’t poisonous.”

    As compare to what? The absense of all religion? Atheism requires much more “religious faith” than does the belief in a Creator God. Much more evil have been caused by atheism than ever was caused by any other religious faith. By twisting “religion” in order to satisfy one’s personal “selfish desires” is always poisonous – whether one calls their particular brand of “religious” Islam, Christianity or Atheism.

    Unlike most religions, however, atheism starts and ends on selfishness so it lack every other “redeeming” virtue.

  • Neal Lang

    “I find that a healthy democracy is built on diversity and disagreement–even within one’s self.”

    Too much internal disagreement leads inevitably to insanity. BTW, “a healthy democracy” is not possible if its principles are based solely on a “gut feel” rather than “Self evident truths!” Human rights fall victim to democracy much quicker than they do to depotism.