CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Because Ideas Have Consequences

Jan 8, 2007

A person’s worldview is often much more than just some theoretical knowledge. Often it translates into action. And dangerous worldviews will lead to dangerous practices. Atheism and Darwinism are two worldviews that embrace similar presuppositions, and they both need to be held accountable for actions performed in their names.

As I have written before, the new atheism is not simply content to deny theism. The new militant variety is taking the offensive, claiming God, religion and faith are not only false, but nasty and dangerous as well. Dawkins’ The God Delusion is certainly a case in point.

In an interesting piece written back in November 25, 2006 for Christian Worldview Network.com, David Noebel of Summit Ministries in America offers a good take on Darwin and some of his latter day disciples and God-haters. In his article, “Dawkins, Dennett, and Darwin,” he makes it clear that those who have been disciples of Darwin have a lot to answer for.

Noebel points out that some of the earlier atheists could be pretty nasty as well. One thinks of the early Marxists for example, who did not hide their loathing of religion. “Indeed, Dawkins and Dennett remind me of V.I. Lenin, who insists that ‘every idea of God, even flirting with the idea of God, is unutterable vileness – vileness of the most dangerous kind’ (1913 letter to Maxim Gorky). Lenin also exhorts that ‘we must combat religion, that is the ABC of all materialism.’ Lenin advised his followers to distribute the atheistic literature of the French Encyclopaedists. They did, and the results can be read in Harvard University’s publication The Black Book of Communism.  Every reader toying with atheism or thinking that Dawkins and Dennett are clever and smart needs to read this 850-page book before proceeding to the abyss.”

Given how so many institutions of power and influence are controlled partially or totally by those who have no religion or resist religion, it is surprising to find faith at all in much of the West. Yet most ordinary folk in the West still cling to faith:

“The fact that over 90 percent of Americans claim some belief in God simply staggers Dawkins and Dennett, who describe this state of affairs as ‘the surrounding gloom of America’s obsession with religion.’ They wonder how so many can be so ignorant, especially when they are products of an atheistically saturated educational system, when 94 percent of the hierarchy of the National Academy of Sciences are atheists, and when even mentioning God or His creation is disallowed in professional scientific journals. As a matter of fact, when one professional journal (related to the Smithsonian) challenged Darwin’s theory of natural selection and the neo-Darwinian mutations spoof the whole roof fell in and the editor (with two PhDs in science) was dismissed posthaste. This is an example of atheistic liberalism at its darkest hour, shattering the shibboleth of tolerance, academic freedom, and fair-mindedness once and for all.”

He continues, “Both Dawkins and Dennett insist that Darwin’s theory of natural selection makes belief in God unnecessary, irrelevant, and perhaps dangerous although Dennett does admit there is some kind of relationship between religion and health (it seems that those who practice religion are healthier than those who don’t). Both see Darwinism as a firm foundation for morality. However, Dennett seems troubled knowing that Pol Pot, Mao, and Stalin (to say nothing of Hitler) believed essentially what he believes regarding God and Darwin, and they represent the moral monsters of the twentieth century.”

“While those who claim belief in God have indeed committed some horrendous acts (the St. Bartholomew massacre, for example) those who shout their disbelief in God have committed literally millions more. Jung Chang and her husband, in a recent book on Mao, estimate his tortures and killings at 70 million. And Mao believed in Darwin’s evolution and Dawkins’ atheism. Most Americans have forgotten that after the 1949 Communist takeover of China, Darwinism preceded Marx and Lenin in the classroom.”

“Let’s admit that the twentieth century was a century of putting into practice ‘atheistic, naturalistic, humanistic, evolutionistic science.’ The Communist and Nazi movements operated with such ‘science’ at the top of their ‘to do’ lists. The ‘science’ of eugenics, for example, had connections with humanism (Margaret Sanger), Nazism (Rudin), and Communism (Lewontin).  Indeed, the Journal of Eugenics became the Journal of Social Biology.”

Of course every once in a while an atheist sees the light. World famous atheist Antony Flew is a case in point. He was delivered from his atheism after studying the claims of the Intelligent Design movement.

“What intrigues me is Richard Dawkins’ ridiculing Antony Flew for relinquishing his atheism for some type of deism (a form of theism). Speaking before a body of students and faculty in Lynchburg, Virginia, (not Liberty University) Dawkins asserted that Flew was foolish to rest his deism on Darwin’s Black Box, Michael Behe’s work on the cell. Dawkins claims Flew would have been better served to rest his case for deism on the constants of nature (e.g., if the strength of gravity, the percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere, the length of the rotation of the earth, the centrifugal force of planetary movement, the charge of an electron, or the mass of a proton were the tiniest bit different, none of us would be here to discuss atheism or evolution) rather than the teleology of the cell. In truth, both sources make a powerful case for the existence of God!”

“(Incidentally, Flew says his conversion to deism from atheism resulted from reason and science, not revelation or irrationalism. It must surely strike rational human beings as rather strange that as an atheist, Flew was considered one of the brightest stars in the universe, but once he left his atheism, he suddenly became one of the dwarf stars in a far off galaxy if not in some black hole.)”

Other problems confront the disciples of Darwin. “The love fest between Dawkins and Dennett, however, may be short lived because neither they nor atheism can explain the origin of life from inorganic matter, nor can they find the fossils before the Cambrian period to prove their evolutionary scenario – something Darwin believed essential to prove that his theory was true. Nor can Dawkins and Dennett explain away the slaughter of the twentieth century (the bloodiest in all recorded human history – 170 million deaths, according to R. J. Rummel). No Christian idea was responsible for this terrible slaughter. All the ideas responsible are found in the camp of Dawkins’ and Dennett’s atheism, naturalism, humanism, socialism, and evolutionism.”

“Logic, too, counters Dawkins and Dennett, in that everything that comes into existence must have a sufficient cause. Even the skeptic David Hume says, ‘I never asserted so absurd a proposition as that anything might arise without a cause.’ Only God fills this model of cause and effect. Belief in chance or accident is simply not logical. As Paul Amos Moody explains, ‘The more I study science the more I am impressed with the thought that this world and universe have a definite design – and a design suggests a designer’.”

Noebel reminds us that ideas have consequences, and bad ideas have bad consequences. “Who in Colorado can ever forget the names Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold? They were responsible for the murders of 12 of their fellow students at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. ‘You know what I love?’ asked Harris. ‘Natural Selection. It’s the best thing that ever happened on this earth. Getting rid of all the stupid and ignorant organisms.’ On the day he killed his fellow students (deliberately seeking out Christians) and wounded 24 others, he was wearing a T-shirt bearing Darwin’s motto: ‘Natural Selection.’ Again, is there any rational human being who believes that if his T-shirt had said “Jesus Loves You” he would have committed such horrendous crimes? I don’t think so!”

The new militant atheists can rant and rave all they like about the terrible influence of religion, but until they come clean on atrocities committed by those who have embraced their worldview, it will be hard to take them seriously.

www.christianworldviewnetwork.com/article.php?&ArticleID=1293

[1354 words]

19 Responses to Because Ideas Have Consequences

  • An idea does not go far enough – I would say that for Dawkins and other Extreme Atheists – it is a belief or a conviction. No person can write with such passionate contention without the full blown belief of what they say is correct and true regardless of reality (because one’s belief is not nessesarily truth).
    If i fully believe that my leg is fully functional, i will walk normaly without fear. Although if i have any doubt in the functionality of my leg i will walk ‘gingerly’. These athiest are not only walking – they are stomping over anything that gets in their way and not stopping to consider any objections to their logic.
    *digression*
    I want Jill Singer to agree to a debate in a public forum with Bill Muelenberg. Bill challenge these people to open debate!
    Joshua Ferrara

  • Dear Bill,

    May I ask you a couple of questions?

    1) You ask how we should hold atheism accountable, but simply turning your question around, how should we hold christianity accountable for the atrocities perpetrated in its name by those claiming to be divinely empowered in their acts?

    2) Elsewhere you have defended paedophilia by christian clergymen on the basis that you cannot negate christianity because some individuals within the faith do bad (unlawful)things. Aren’t you contradictiung your own argument here by suggesting that all atheists are inherently bad people because of your claimed (extreme and unproven) examples?

    3) Do you recognise that a secular society promotes your right to practice your faith (within the confines of the law) and others to do the same for your own individual faith(s) or lack of it (also within the confines of the law)?

    4) Do you personally derive benefit from the outcomes of scientific advances that have been achieved through the application of the theory of evolution? (For example, do you ever take antibiotics? Do you understand that as bacteria develop resistance to one antibiotic (a example of an observable evolutionary process) we need to produce an alternative antibiotic? Do you eat foods produced from cultivated varieties of grain crops or insist on only eating wild emmer wheat?).

    Incidentally, you might like to access the following paper from your university library.

    Voie, 2006, “Biological function and the genetic code are interdependent” in Chaos, Solitons & Fractals (28) 1000-1004

    It proves that mention of a higher mind is allowable in peer reviewed scientific journals, but such discussion needs to follows the rules of science, which apply far stricter definitions of evidence than that of religious “proof”, which is why, ultimately, you rely on a system of belief, whilst science will continue to produce tangible outcomes (medical cures, better crops, etc) despite your ignorant denial of the very theories that deliver food into starving mouths and cures to the infirm.

    Andrew Lake

  • Thanks Andrew

    1) As I have said before, a Christian who acts in an unchristian fashion is a bad representative of Christ. While we all still blow it, we seek, with the help of God, to more and more let God, not self, run the show.

    2) I have never defended pedophilia of any kind. If a Christian lies, steals, commits murder, and so on, he acts against Christian principles. If a secularists who denies any objective moral order does these things, he is not acting against his stated principles. Thus Hitler and Stalin felt what they were doing was not only not wrong, but was right. A big difference here.

    3) I recognise that the Judeo-Christian worldview, which has been the basis of Western civilization (which is now becoming more secular) provides the framework and justification for such notions as human rights. I see no justification for human rights at all in a purely materialistic worldview.

    4) I recognise that modern science was birthed out of the Christian worldview, as Alfred North Whitehead and Robert Oppenheimer – neither of them Christian – have emphasized. Modern advancements due to science (not evolution) are certainly appreciated, all the more so knowing how many of these scientists were in fact deeply religious. For example, you speak of breakthroughs in bacteria. Louis Pasteur was of course an ardent Christian. Alexander Fleming, who discovered penicillin, was no Darwinist, and acknowledged a “superior power” in his Nobel Prize speech. And Ernst Chain, who made penicillin clinically useful, was Jewish, and said evolution was based on “flimsy assumptions” and could “hardly be called a theory. . . . I would rather believe in fairies than in such wild speculation”.

    So thanks once again for so nicely making my case.

    But even if an atheist or Darwinist helped contribute to some advancement, so what? That says nothing about the truthfulness or otherwise of their worldview. But since you are such a devotee of science, I am happy to admit to the many, many breakthroughs which were achieved by dedicated Christians. When will you acknowledge that truth? Or will your worldview not allow facts to get in the way?

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • And see Pamela Bone in today’s Australian weighing with more unsubstantiated assertions:
    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21029153-7583,00.html

    I must confess to chuckling at some of her statements, such as:
    “Yes, worldwide, religion is growing because religious people tend to have many children: children who are then indoctrinated with the beliefs of their parents (some call this child abuse). But in countries where people are encouraged to question faith, the intensity of religious belief has been waning for years. People might express an association with a particular religion, but it doesn’t affect the way they live their lives.”

    “I don’t need to talk about the harm religion does: read the books. But the fact is that the most peaceful, prosperous and healthy countries in the world, as judged by the UN’s annual Human Development Reports, are the least religious. These are countries – Australia is one of them – in which religion is not banned or suppressed, but it is also not promoted by the state.”

    Her rant ignores the reason why religion is neither banned nor promoted, which presupposes that all of life is inherently religious. The question “Is there a God?” can only have two useful answers, and both are religious.

    At least Andrew is trying to engage in serious discussion in this forum. I can only wonder at the tone in which Pamela Bone’s column appears to have been written.

    She defends Richard Dawkins in these terms:
    “Dawkins is far too sane to hate an imaginary figure (unlike the writer Kingsley Amis, who when asked if he was an atheist is reported to have replied, ‘Well, yes, but it’s more that I hate him’).”

    Does she not recognise venom in writing? . I need only point to the critique of Terry Eagleton of Manchester University, UK, Oct 19, 2006 London Review of Books, to which Bill has referred in the article Atheist Rage and Venom.

    Sorry, Pamela, but I score Atheists Nil, Believers 1.

    John Angelico

  • Andrew, if I may add to Bill’s comments:
    “1) …how should we hold christianity accountable for the atrocities perpetrated in its name by those claiming to be divinely empowered in their acts?”

    As you state in point 3), the basic legal principle in so-called Christian countries is that no-one can hide behind his religious beliefs to escape from the law. He must accept the consequences on the same footing as his non-believing neighbour.

    I would add however that Christians, as a group, tend to uphold Absolute Truth, so there is much less use of weasel-word arguments to redefine what is legal and permissible.

    Someone whose concept of law is the collective decisions of the society, open to change according to circumstances and the changing mores of the day, is more likely to push the boundaries to enhance his own self-interest, and protect his neck or wallet, than someone who believes law is given by God and has an unchanging quality.

    As a (non-tax) accountant, I am ashamed and embarrassed at what my supposedly professional colleagues have done over the past thirty years or so to redefine “tax evasion” to tax “avoidance”, “minimisation” and “planning”. This has been one manifestation of the problem of greed (which is idolatry, in Biblical terms) and selfishness.

    That was accompanied by elevating other forms including welfare cheating, business entrepreneurial rorting and employee featherbedding (collectively euphemised as “looking out for Number One”) to an art form.

    As a nation, we are now suffering from the consequences of that breakdown of the moral fibre – it’s called GST.

    “3) Do you recognise that a secular society promotes your right to practice your faith (within the confines of the law) and others to do the same for your own individual faith(s) or lack of it (also within the confines of the law)?”

    Do you recognise that recognition of the concept of freedom of religion (not freedom from religion) grew in a religious society not a secular one? And that it grew in the Christian civilization, not in a Bhuddist, Hindu or Islamic one. It most certainly did not arise in a Darwinist inspired Marxist society.

    John Angelico

  • I would like to endorse John’s last point. Freedom of religion is a Christian concept not a ‘secular’ one. What is ‘secularism’ anyway? I’ll tell you what it’s not – it’s not some realm somehow devoid of ‘religion’ where ‘reason’ alone reigns and all religions are considered to be equal. This is because all worldviews are at bottom ‘religious’, even those who claim to be based only on ‘reason’ such as the secularists or rationalists. So the correct view of ‘secularism’ is that it is simply a form of humanist religion that seeks to impose it’s own humanist ‘moral’ code upon the society. We have been seeing this happen in the examples of abortion and homosexual ‘rights’. The humanists/secularists are very intolerant of Christian morality and do everything they can, including resorting to legislation, to keep Christian influence out of politics. So much for religious freedom when the secularists are in power!

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria

  • Dear Ewan,

    My atheism/secularism, whatever you want to call it, is certainly not a religion, thank you!

    You also seem to be quite confused about freedom here. In my world view you have the freedom to follow your faith, debate its merits with others, etc. But you do not have the freedom to tell me or others how to live our lives. People have different beliefs and ideas and you do not have the right to impose your limited ideas on them.

    You seem to believe that your faith gives you the right to tell enforce your beliefs and morality on others. Sorry mate, but that’s the very attitude that will motivate people who are not like you to challenge you!

    The difference between us, in my world view, I do not tell people whether it is right or wrong to be homosexual or to have an abortion. But I do promote a society which gives the individual the choice. This means for you Ewan, that if you don’t want a partner/wife to have an abortion that is between you and her and none of my business.

    Conversely, if someone else wants to express love in a homosexual relationship, I will let them decide that for themselves.

    Andrew Lake

  • Dear Bill,

    Yes, you are right in that the history of science is inextricably linked with the Judaeo-Christian tradition. There have been other influences, notably early foundations from the greek/roman civilisations (which the early church chamipioned despite comijg from polytheistic societies) and stimulation of ideas from the middle east to help kick start the reformation.

    Did you read the summary of a recent book on the issue (ironically from Robyn Williams web site again!):

    http://www.abc.net.au/rn/ockhamsrazor/stories/2006/1735376.htm

    It appears that the relationship between scientists and church has been expressed in a number of fashions – some good and some bad!

    Yes, obviously I have met many scientists who are christians. It appear for them that the literal interpretation of the bible is far less of an issue than someone like yourself. Most, for instance, have no problem with the theory of evolution!

    Andrew Lake

  • Thanks Andrew

    But in your worldview you can’t – and shouldn’t – call anything wrong. That, after all, assumes an objective moral order that transcends the moral preferences of individuals. But as long as you are blindly wedded to your philosophical naturalism, you really have no reason to raise issues of morality.

    Theists, however, are well placed indeed to discuss such things as good and evil, because we believe in moral absolutes, and an infinite personal God who is the source of all morality.

    In the same way, you misunderstand what love is all about. Love is willing the highest good for the other person. If a person is addicted to a dangerous and destructive behaviour, then the most loving thing to do is persuade that person to forsake that lifestyle. Homosexual relationships involve inherently dangerous, unhealthy and high-risk activities.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill said:

    “But in your worldview you can’t – and shouldn’t – call anything wrong. That, after all, assumes an objective moral order that transcends the moral preferences of individuals. But as long as you are blindly wedded to your philosophical naturalism, you really have no reason to raise issues of morality.”

    An no matter how many people, in how many ways, tell you that isn’t *their* world view you just keep trotting out the same stuff. You don’t understand where morals can come from if not god. That is your problem, not ours.

    “Theists, however, are well placed indeed to discuss such things as good and evil, because we believe in moral absolutes, and an infinite personal God who is the source of all morality.”

    So am I to assume that the Bible (and/or the scriptures on which it is based) is the main source from where you get your morals? Do you believe all of the Bible to be moral? Should we be following all of its lessons and teachings, without exception? If there are exceptions which we don’t follow today, how do we decide which is the good stuff, and which is the bad?

    Chris Mayer

  • Thanks again Andrew

    But even talk about the influence of Greek thinking on science can be debated. Modern science could not have arisen without a high appreciation of nature. The ancient Greeks lacked such an appreciation. For most, the material world was viewed as disordered and evil. The Christian worldview, on the other hand, had a high view of nature. That was because they valued the material world, knowing that God had created it, and it was a good creation. So even the early church differed from its surrounding Greek culture on this issue, and later (medieval) Christianity therefore became the launching pad for modern science.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Dear Bill

    We have agreed that christianity has had a considerble influence on science. But is has also often had an uneasy relationship with it.

    This is evident even today with the exponents of so called intelligent design (creationism with a nice title pretending to be science) clashing in debate and civil court.
    Andrew Lake

  • Andrew, you are the one confused here. You are a man of faith – perhaps more faith than me because what you believe about origins flies in the face of reality. There is nothing reasonable nor rational about naturalistic myths that attempt to explain the matter and order of the cosmos and how complex and diverse life arose from non-living matter. As someone has said, such stories are “fairy tales for grownups”.

    You are also confused about the nature of ‘freedom’. When I use the term it is synonymous with ‘liberty’. Liberty is not lawlessness – that is anarchy. From your comments it seems you favour a type of lawlessness – an ‘if it feels good it should be condoned so long as no one gets immediately killed (excepting abortion)’ attitude. Maximum liberty in society is achieved with the right balance of laws limiting destructive behaviour – such as murder (which includes abortion), theft, prostitution, homosexuality, etc, etc. Letting people do what ever they feel like is tending towards anarchy and results in a society with less liberty not more.

    To borrow your words, you also “seem to believe that your faith gives you the right to enforce your beliefs and morality on others”. I would like to know what you think gives you the right to impose your humanistic version of ‘morality’ upon pre-born children? Your worldview only allows ‘freedom of religion’ so long as that religion is not allowed to intrude upon public policy (excepting your own religion of course).

    Ewan McDonald, Vicyoria

  • Dear Ewan,

    We are in agreement in that we both think that there needs to be some sort of law for there to be human society. Where we differ is that I would aim to make such law as inclusive as possible, that is, allow for a plurality of faiths, ideas, etc in so far as this is possible without lawlessness. Of course you don’t like this, the simple reason is you only accept the validity of one faith, your own, and disregard all others. You are convinced that you have found the truth and everyone else is wrong! You are also struggling to justify your faith against the overwhelming evidence presented by science that you are wrong in certain aspects of your beliefs. The only way you can do this is to put your mind into denial and cling onto the idiotic and ignorant rebuttals of basic science espoused on creationist web sites, that any halfway competent scientist could disprove in minutes. Incidentally, there is ample literature on the generation of complex molecules and life in scientific literature.

    And no, I am not inflicting my beliefs on others, if you want to belive in creation and it makes you happy, then go right ahead – but I am saying let others be! But in order to do that you have to allow other people to be different to you and make their own choices in life.

    Ewan, you have two choices – live your life in an exclusively fundamentalist christian culture (that’s not Australia since we have separation of church and state as an essential part of our civil set up and a multicultural society of diverse faiths, religions, peoples and ideas) – or work out how to get along with other human beings and accept that they have similarities and differences to you. Strangely enough, I was taught in divinity and by my christian grandmother that love and tolerance of others was a core message of Jesus.

    Remember we live in a democracy which allows for questions of law, public policy and the like to be decided through a process of governance, which is designed (albeit imperfectly) to reflect the wishes of the population it represents.

    You are entirely and demonstrably wrong in saying that I am enforcing my view of the world on unborn children. I do not regard that I have that right, unless the unborn child is my own and my direct responsibility – then the choice will be the outcome of my own sense of values, and thankfully not your faith – my child, my choice, not your business. Equally well, because I allow for others to have their own particular faith, they can make their own decisions according to their faith – not my busines.

    Ewan, your view of the world is to make your belief system part of public policy. Thus you would ban abortions, outlaw homosexuality, bring back the death penalty, stop science being taught properly in schools, and goodness knows what else sits comfortably with your perception of faith. You would not allow for a plurality of faiths! You would not leave people choice on such matters as I would.

    BUT the fact is you choose to live in a country, which for 200 years, since its inception in fact, has been built on separation of church, state and judiciary! And our society accords individuals essential rights such religous tolerance, equality, etc.

    Ironically, the last decade has seen the most right wing federal government for decades and thus the one most concordant with your faith and yet you persist in the idea that someone us atheists are out to get you. Live and let live, brother!

    Andrew Lake

  • Andrew, said

    > “You also seem to be quite confused about freedom here. In my world view you have the freedom to follow your faith, debate its merits with others, etc. But you do not have the freedom to tell me or others how to live our lives. People have different beliefs and ideas and you do not have the right to impose your limited ideas on them.”

    > “The difference between us, in my world view, I do not tell people whether it is right or wrong to be homosexual or to have an abortion. But I do promote a society which gives the individual the choice. This means for you Ewan, that if you don’t want a partner/wife to have an abortion that is between you and her and none of my business.”

    It is true that Christians and other religious folk do at times bear witness of their religion and proclaim it strongly – after all is it not fair that we proclaim what we believe (just as you do) and defend it strongly, and if we believe it to be right, try to change the world with our views? But, I must confess that when all is said and done, history does not bear out the very premise by which you and other Darwinists and athiests say you live.

    Athiests all through history and recently Darwinists have exterminated more people than any for holding beliefs other than theirs. Even today, as I type, there are many countries worldwide where religious people (mainly christians) are being imprisoned, tortured and exterminated simply for holding their beliefs, because, as Dawkins venemously states, it is a dangerous idea to believe in a God because that makes us accountable.

    Indonesia, Timor, Burma, North Korea, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, China, the list goes on an on…

    So please drop the lie that athiests purely want everyone to live and let live (the aborted baby doesn’t feel it’s getting it’s chance to live).

    Garth Penglase

  • Thanks Garth
    In fairness, in some of the countries you mention it can be religious people who are killing the Christians (e.g., Muslims in Sudan or Indonesia).
    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks Andrew (11/1)

    Actually for the first three centuries or so, modern science and Christianity got along pretty well. It is only the past century and a half or so that things became more polarized. The uneasy relationship is due, in part, to some scientists going out of their way to attack religion, and in part, by some Christians unnecessarily attacking science.

    However, Christians are often not attacking science per se, but scientism, which seeks to smuggle in materialistic presuppositions in the name of science. It is the philosophical naturalism that is embraced by faith which so many believers are really worried about, not the science itself in many cases.

    As to ID, you do not deal with its arguments, but simply call it names and think you have adequately dealt with it.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Andrew, at least you appear to have stopped trying to make the case that your worldview is one that can be held to without the need to invoke faith. You have however said that “any halfway competent scientist could disprove [creationist arguments] in minutes”. If it’s that easy, funny how neither you nor any of the other atheists contributing to this blog have managed to come up with any proof to disprove creationism.

    And on the question of freedom of religion it seems you have the cart before the horse. It is a system of governance based upon a Christian worldview that guarantees this freedom, not some secular utopia. Christianity teaches non-compulsion in matters of religious belief but it doesn’t teach religious pluralism – all religions are not equal because all ideas are not true. This is not to say as you have erroneously claimed that Christianity “would not allow for a plurality of faiths”, just that laws governing society should not be based upon concepts that are false such as your relativistic concept of ‘inclusiveness’.

    You seem to think that the rights and freedoms enjoyed by Australians for the past 200 years is a product of secular humanism and that the “fundamentalist Christian right” now threatens those freedoms. The exact opposite is the case. It was Christianity that gave us the doctrine of the separation of church and state, and of the division of powers that you refer. Like many humanists you think that separation of church and state is meant to keep religion out of politics but since all worldviews are religious this is an impossibility. Separation of church and state is meant to keep the state out of the church.

    You complain that I want to make my “belief system part of public policy”. And why shouldn’t I? After all, this is exactly what you are trying to do. To the degree that you wish to have your understanding of reality reflected in the laws of the state (and you do), you most certainly are “inflicting [your] beliefs on others”. The mess that you and other secular humanists will create (and are creating) if you succeed in removing all traces of Christian belief from the public square (government) and replace it with humanism, is one in which we would all have to suffer. The greatest punishment God could give the humanist in this life is if He were to give him his wish of a world system governed by purely humanistic ideals.

    On abortion you are wrong again. Did it occur to you that the argument you have used above to justify abortion on demand would equally justify infanticide – that is the killing of unwanted dependent children (you have used the term “unborn child” so you can’t now use the argument that the fetus is not human)? After all, you have said we shouldn’t be “enforcing [our] view of the world” upon anyone else. Does this mean you would also allow female circumcision?

    To borrow you own words, it seems to me that you are also “convinced that you have found the truth and everyone else is wrong!”

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria

  • You are quite correct Bill, in regards to the fact that in these countries much of the slaughter is from extremist religious factions, and I was incorrect in using them as examples – what I should have used is the staples of Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin, Hitler etc.

    However the point stands that atheists propagate this incorrect concept that to be atheist is to live and let live, to allow others to live in their beliefs and in this Andrew is no exception. yet history tells us, and actions and arguments from atheists tell us, that this is not the case; atheists hate the concept of God and wish to eradicate it, and often go to extreme lengths to do so. In this way, many atheists are no better than religious extremists who force their beliefs onto others.
    Garth Penglase

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