CADRE Comments

A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

Atheists often demonstrate more zeal for their lack of faith than many Christians do for their faith. Why is that? When I was balancing belief and non-belief, it seemed to me that the choice was between something that offered meaning and Nihilism. It never occurred to me to believe so there would be meaning or to disbelief to escape the burdens of belief. That was simply the choice.

The human yearning for meaning, however, appears to transcend the logical extension of disbelief. This explains why atheist regimes have much more blood on their hands in the last few hundred years than Christians have compiled in its lengthier track record. (For a breakdown of the numbers, check out Richard Deem's article on the topic). It is hard to imagine an atheist believing in something so strongly that they would be willing to die for it, much less kill for it. But millions of victims of atheist states of the 20th Century bear witness to the contrary. Despite arguing that there is no transcendent being or meaning, atheists have again and again found sufficient meaning to kill and oppress. And too often, as with Christians who have done the same, the killing and oppressing was done in the name of what is otherwise a worthy cause. For atheist communists, meaning was attached to the State above all else. For the secularists of the French Revolution, reason and liberty were the values that lead to slaughter on a grand scale. As one victim of the Reign of Terror remarked on her way to be beheaded, "Liberty, what crimes are committed in your name."



New Atheist arguments seeking to pin atrocities on Christianity have force because atrocities have been committed in the name of Christ. The atrocities stand out all the more, however, because they can be criticized on the purported basis upon which they were committed. The same cannot be said for the crimes of atheism. Moreover, great good has been done because of the values of Christianity (such as the abolition of slavery, the Civil Rights Movement, stigmatizing and criminalizing infanticide, and promoting charity). Atheism lacks a comparable track record of benevolence, nor is there any reason to suppose it would produce one. Nor are there any countervailing beliefs within atheism to mitigate against descents into extremism.

16 comments:

Oh goody; let's play "Body Count" the last resort of the intellectually bankrupt in which we count up every death which ever occurred under any nominally secular regime for any reason and attribute it to atheism (ignoring the political, economic, ethnic and even religious motivations ) while ignoring similar numbers for nominally Christian regimes (like the 15 million who died in the Congo under the rule of the good Christian King Leopold II of Belgium, for example) because they weren't "real" Christians...

What a contemptible, childish, simple-minded tactic.

On what basis do you assume I only refer to "nominally secular" regimes? I refer to regimes in which a fundamental governing philosophy was atheism. It was not simply window dressing.

Do you think it is "contemptible, childish, simple-minded" when atheists raise the evil done by religion when challenging Christianity? Or is this a one-way street?

My point still stands. There is an apparent need for transcendent Moreover, even atheists feel it so strongly that they have committed horrible atrocities in pursuit of higher purposes. My concern is that atheism doesn't provide any checks on the pursuit of these values and does not promote benevolence pursuits in the same way or on the same scale as Christianity has.

Wait- you can criticize the crimes commited in the name of Christianity? How? Is was under the impression that Christians believe that only believers go to heaven- making things like the Inquisition and the hunting down of heretics justified. After all, if they don't follow the true faith, they will burn.

By contrast, Robspierre's "Republic of Virtue" was of its rocker and, of course, communism doesn't work so well.

Slavery was abolished in the 8th century by the church. However, they soon realized how profitable it was and reinstated it in the 11th century. I wouldn't call that a win.

The civil rights movement was packed with socialists.

The last two are things Islam has done as well- in fact, the prophet managed to codify them to a fuller extent and so Islam does those two better than Christianity.

Atheism is a lack of belief. Atheism has nothing to do with morality, nor does theism or any religion for that matter. Christianities idea of morality is "obey or be punished" or the more nuanced "God is super special awesome- do you want to disappoint him?".

As for atheists doing good-
Voltaire, Einstein, Issac Asimov, the Red Army (yes, they were commies- but unlike the Nazi's they didn't exterminate who populations)... you can actually use wiki if you are truely curious.

Wait- you can criticize the crimes commited in the name of Christianity? How? Is was under the impression that Christians believe that only believers go to heaven- making things like the Inquisition and the hunting down of heretics justified. After all, if they don't follow the true faith, they will burn.


typical sort of disinformation and misconception of Christianity that the atheist world purposely tries to circulate.

(1) Plenty of Christians believe that one need not be a conscious ostensible church going Christian to be with God; C.S. Lewis for one did not believe that.

(2) Even for those who do believe that, none of them every said that anyone using the lable "Chrsitian" is automatically right about everything.

(3) of course we still believe that even well meaning "true" Christians make mistakes.

(4) the question of the inquisition is bad things done in the name of Christ, that has nothing to do with understanding who is saved. anyone can screw up.


By contrast, Robspierre's "Republic of Virtue" was of its rocker and, of course, communism doesn't work so well.

ridiculous blanket statement. It work well in places (Cuba, Nicaragua, Yugoslavia (under Tito)

Slavery was abolished in the 8th century by the church. However, they soon realized how profitable it was and reinstated it in the 11th century. I wouldn't call that a win.


then the Quakers and the radical wing of the reformation,Methodists and some presbyterian and baptists fought it and outlawed it in 1820. They outlawed the trade.

The civil rights movement was packed with socialists.


so? does that it mean the Christians in it didn't run it? like the tiny hand full of snip people get all the credit and MLK did nothing right. such a jaundiced view clearly self serving.

The last two are things Islam has done as well- in fact, the prophet managed to codify them to a fuller extent and so Islam does those two better than Christianity.

that's horse manure.

Atheism is a lack of belief. Atheism has nothing to do with morality, nor does theism or any religion for that matter.

how long are you going to be hood winked by this useless bullshit? that's so obviously juat a propaganda line. there is no logic to the idea that a mere lack of belief can motivate a whole group of people to see things the same way make the same arguments all the time and feed each other mututal hatred.

It's an ideology. It doesn't have to have a unified philosophical set of precepts to have an ideology and a propaganda network..



Christianities idea of morality is "obey or be punished" or the more nuanced "God is super special awesome- do you want to disappoint him?".


I don't think you know from shiolla about Christian morality.

As for atheists doing good-
Voltaire, Einstein, Issac Asimov, the Red Army (yes, they were commies- but unlike the Nazi's they didn't exterminate who populations)... you can actually use wiki if you are truely curious.


that has nothing to do with anything. There are atheists who do some good things, no ever said there wasn't. you are the guys that stereotype and feed hatred of a whole group, a diverse group. we don't do that. that's your game.

Oh goody; let's play "Body Count" the last resort of the intellectually bankrupt in which we count up every death which ever occurred under any nominally secular regime for any reason and attribute it to atheism (ignoring the political, economic, ethnic and even religious motivations ) while ignoring similar numbers for nominally Christian regimes (like the 15 million who died in the Congo under the rule of the good Christian King Leopold II of Belgium, for example) because they weren't "real" Christians...


any time a Christian says "Christians have done some thing" atheist start throwing tantrums. O anti it aweful. these evil scum bags, the ememy of humanity, the worst people ever in the world.

but we are not hateful now. we are not a hate group. we just hate their guts to hell and want to destroy every vestigate of Christianity ever in the world, but if you ponit this out then you are being hateful to use poor little abused mistreated athiods.

you can criticize the crimes commited in the name of Christianity? How? Is was under the impression that Christians believe that only believers go to heaven- making things like the Inquisition and the hunting down of heretics justified. After all, if they don't follow the true faith, they will burn.

I suppose you can offer a few examples of Jesus or his Disciples teaching that forced conversions are justified?

By contrast, Robspierre's "Republic of Virtue" was of its rocker and, of course, communism doesn't work so well.

Not sure how you think this helps your point.

Slavery was abolished in the 8th century by the church. However, they soon realized how profitable it was and reinstated it in the 11th century. I wouldn't call that a win.

I am sorry. Are you denying that evangelical Christianity played a central role in abolishing slavery? Apparently, not.

The civil rights movement was packed with socialists.

Perhaps. But how does this refute my point? Plenty of socialists have been Christians.


The last two are things Islam has done as well- in fact, the prophet managed to codify them to a fuller extent and so Islam does those two better than Christianity.


I will defer to my colleagues response on this. BS. In any event, Christianity banned infanticide and introduced a new ethic of charity into the West hundreds of years before Islam even came into existence.

Of course, Islam deserves credit for introducing some of these ideas into pagan cultures as well. I don't see that as a "win" for atheists.

Atheism is a lack of belief.

It is a great discredit to atheism that so many of its adherent parrot this phrase.

Atheism has nothing to do with morality, nor does theism or any religion for that matter.

Baseless assertion.

Christianities idea of morality is "obey or be punished" or the more nuanced "God is super special awesome- do you want to disappoint him?"

This contradicts your point above. How can Christianity have nothing to do with morality if it promotes morality by these two means?

As for atheists doing good-

I did not deny that atheists have done good.

Voltaire, Einstein, Issac Asimov, the Red Army (yes, they were commies- but unlike the Nazi's they didn't exterminate who populations)...

Stalin, with the backing of the Red Army, murdered and enslaved more people that Hitler had the opportunity to murder and enslave. Not to mention the unparalleled level of rape that the Red Army inflicted on Eastern Europe and Germany.

you can actually use wiki if you are truely curious.

I love it. Someone actually suggesting I should use wikipedia to become truly educated.

So basically your answer to my objection is... some Christians don't believe that. Well you know what? They are heretics.

Your defense is useless if you can't say why it shouldn't apply to all Christians. After all, you can't critice these people- all you have said is that most Christians don't do that.

And they weren't force converting people- they where killing heretics. Because heretics don't go to heaven and so you have to stop the heresy from spreading.

I'm saying that I can criticize communism on economic grounds and "The Republic of Virtue" on psychology grounds. And no, communist countries did not work very well- if you take a look at their goods, they were substandard, there were occasional shortages (when is the last time we have had bread lines in the US) and, of course, if you lived under the dictator version life sucked hard. Some were more beneficicent than others, but only the ones that where party ruled were decent places to live. And, of course, given the fact people died attempting to leave them means they had some problems...

Not quite. In the US the slave trade was outlawed in 1808 by a provision to the constitution. Slavery was outlawed in the South in 1863 and the country by 1866. The first case was deists, atheists and believers and the second case was a deist backed by believers and atheists.

In England the antislave trade movement was church born.

In France slavery was banned by Robbspierre, a deist and utopian. It was later reinstated by theists.

The last country to ban slavery in the Western Hemisphere would be Cuba and Brazil, freeing their slaves in 1886 and 1888 respectively. Interesting both of the countries were devoutly Catholic.

MLK was a socialist. He also was a Christian, but many of his allies weren't. And of course, SNCC wasn't a religious organization.

Islam has a requirement that people give ten percent of their wealth to charity and that infanticide of infants is wrong. It also states so unequivocally. The Koran is ALOT harder to pick and choose from than the bible. Not to mention the fact Muslims actually followed these rules.

Antitheism is an ideology. Antitheism is the belief that religion is harmful. As for the rest... The reason we have the same arguments is because we are responding to the same arguments. The reason we are motivated is we live in reality, where YOUR beliefs affect the rest of US. Honor killing and the other madness you are familiar with on the Muslim side- how about the nuttiness Christians have here in the states? Do you think anyone likes that? Do you think I like having my nation hobbled, made a mockery on the world stage and bleeding out because of the insanity of the religious right? We have a president who believe God SPEAKS TO HIM!

Actually I do. I was arguing against someone and pointed out with an afterlife killing is okay and his responce was "but than you'll be punished on judgement day".

You said atheism doesn't provide checks or encourage benevolant persuits.
Aside from being a fallacy of arguing from consequences (typical tactic- you unconciously realize God doesn't exist but in order to avoid making that admission you concentrate on morality).

For those who don't know, atheism has nothing to do with morality. Morality is concerned under the subject known as "morality". Freaky ain't it?

So far, no atheist I ave seen wants to kill you guys- while quite a few theists want to kill atheists. Not real Christians, right?

The reason atheists get pissed when you mention Stalin is.. well, there are alot of reasons. Main one is "fallacy of appeal to consequences"
http://www.logicalfallacies.info/appealtoconsequences.html

Not to mention it is false analogy. Atheism isn't an ideology. Antitheism is, but Stalin wasn't an antitheist! Heck, neither was Mao. The dictator of Albania was- that is the worst you can through at us.

Christianity didn't ban infanticide. It occured often during the middle ages. Heck, abortion was legal until the 19th century.

Please, explain and show how atheism is a belief. I bet my bottom dollar all the examples while belong to antitheism, materialism, rationalism, empiricalism or their ilk.

Atheism means a lack of belief in dieties. To put this in perspective so you can understand, scientologists, randites, commies, Raelians are all atheists. The only reason they seem so similar to you is you have only been dealing with their absence of belief (note the listed atheists are nuts- you can figure that out yourself I suppose).

No, it isn't a baseless accusation. Morality is about what is right and wrong and being moral is doing the right thing no matter what. Christianity declared that it has a monopoly on morality and that all good flows from God, but if you look at Plato 2500 years ago, he proves religion is irrelevant to morality.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euthyphro_dilemma

Basic philosophy and logic really.

Ah yes, the communists. For those who don't know Stalin was a pretty big tyrannt. And the red army did loot and rape Germany- although "enslave Europe" is an exageration- discounting the puppet states (which the US also did) the Soviet Union was not a distopian hell whole. It got alot after Stalin died to the point where things like this occured.
http://bbs.stardestroyer.net/viewtopic.php?t=122510

As to the good/evil of the red army... well, Hitler's mobile extermination squads killed so many people that they had to count the death rate in murders per minute in some locations. It got so bad that Ukraine, which greeted the Germans as liberators, became a hot bed of partisan activity.

There is a tendancy to make moral equivocations of the allied powers to the Axis, which the Soviets being favored, but US and Britian also getting the brush stoke. Some of it is fair, but most of it isn't.

So while the red guard was not as white as fallen snow, they saved millions of people from being butchered. The differance between the commies and the facists is the communists would shot you for dissent- the facists would kill you simply for the color of your skin.

So they WHERE good guys compared to the Nazi's. Honestly you have to be killing people randomly for no reason to compete with the Nazi's.

Using wilkapedia to find a list of people who have been atheists isn't so far out there.

So basically your answer to my objection is... some Christians don't believe that. Well you know what? They are heretics.

Your defense is useless if you can't say why it shouldn't apply to all Christians. After all, you can't critice these people- all you have said is that most Christians don't do that.


Not sure who you are responding to here, but it doesn't appear to be me. I did criticize these peope.

And they weren't force converting people- they where killing heretics. Because heretics don't go to heaven and so you have to stop the heresy from spreading.

Who are heretics? Do you know what a heretic is? Muslims and pagans are not heretics.

In any event, what is your scriptural basis for claiming that Christians have an obligation to kill heretics?

I'm saying that I can criticize communism on economic grounds and "The Republic of Virtue" on psychology grounds. And no, communist countries did not work very well- if you take a look at their goods, they were substandard, there were occasional shortages (when is the last time we have had bread lines in the US) and, of course, if you lived under the dictator version life sucked hard. Some were more beneficicent than others, but only the ones that where party ruled were decent places to live. And, of course, given the fact people died attempting to leave them means they had some problems...

I agree that these atheist states were dysfunctional. Hinman is more sympathetic to that doctrine than I am.

Not quite. In the US the slave trade was outlawed in 1808 by a provision to the constitution. Slavery was outlawed in the South in 1863 and the country by 1866. The first case was deists, atheists and believers and the second case was a deist backed by believers and atheists.

Some sources would be nice.

MLK was a socialist. He also was a Christian, but many of his allies weren't. And of course, SNCC wasn't a religious organization.

How about the Southern Christian Leadership Conference?

Islam has a requirement that people give ten percent of their wealth to charity and that infanticide of infants is wrong. It also states so unequivocally. The Koran is ALOT harder to pick and choose from than the bible. Not to mention the fact Muslims actually followed these rules.

Sources please.

You said atheism doesn't provide checks or encourage benevolant persuits.
Aside from being a fallacy of arguing from consequences (typical tactic- you unconciously realize God doesn't exist but in order to avoid making that admission you concentrate on morality).


It is not a fallacy, its a truism if anything. And it is not an argument from consequences. I did not say that therefore atheism is wrong. In fact, I quite clearly said that the consequences of either belief system was of little concern for me when I was choosing between them.

For those who don't know, atheism has nothing to do with morality. Morality is concerned under the subject known as "morality". Freaky ain't it?

Argumentum ad repeatum.

So far, no atheist I ave seen wants to kill you guys- while quite a few theists want to kill atheists. Not real Christians, right?

Well, obviously not all theists are Christians. And you shifted your burden in the middle there, rather conveniently. How many Christians have you met who want to kill atheists? I've met none and I am will to bet quite a bit of money that I have met a lot more Christians than you have atheists.

The reason atheists get pissed when you mention Stalin is.. well, there are alot of reasons. Main one is "fallacy of appeal to consequences"
http://www.logicalfallacies.info/appealtoconsequences.html


I didn't say that the millions murdered by atheists proved atheism wrong or Christianity right.

Not to mention it is false analogy. Atheism isn't an ideology. Antitheism is, but Stalin wasn't an antitheist! Heck, neither was Mao. The dictator of Albania was- that is the worst you can through at us.

Stalin and Mao were atheists intent on promoting atheism. Whatever other labels you can pin on them is not very relevant to the point. I can pin labels on Christians who have committed atrocities in the past (monarchist, imperialists, Catholic, Lutheran, etc.) as well, but I still seem to get tagged with their atrocities.

Christianity didn't ban infanticide. It occured often during the middle ages. Heck, abortion was legal until the 19th century.

Sources please?

Emperor Valentinian outlawed infanticide in the fourth century AD.

Please, explain and show how atheism is a belief. I bet my bottom dollar all the examples while belong to antitheism, materialism, rationalism, empiricalism or their ilk.

Atheism means a lack of belief in dieties. To put this in perspective so you can understand, scientologists, randites, commies, Raelians are all atheists. The only reason they seem so similar to you is you have only been dealing with their absence of belief (note the listed atheists are nuts- you can figure that out yourself I suppose).


Atheism is that the affirmative belief that God and supernatural beings do not exist.

Yes, commies are atheists but that is because an important part of communism is the affirmation that God does not exist.

No, it isn't a baseless accusation. Morality is about what is right and wrong and being moral is doing the right thing no matter what. Christianity declared that it has a monopoly on morality and that all good flows from God, but if you look at Plato 2500 years ago, he proves religion is irrelevant to morality.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euthyphro_dilemma


Argumentum ad wikipedian doesn't really carry the day here. You yourself admitted that Christianity speaks to morality and encourages it in two ways.

Ah yes, the communists. For those who don't know Stalin was a pretty big tyrannt. And the red army did loot and rape Germany- although "enslave Europe" is an exageration- discounting the puppet states (which the US also did) the Soviet Union was not a distopian hell whole. It got alot after Stalin died to the point where things like this occured.
http://bbs.stardestroyer.net/viewtopic.php?t=122510


Puppet states like Italy, Belgium, France, West Germany, and Greece? Versus Poland, Eastern Germany, Romania? I'll take that deal.

As to the good/evil of the red army... well, Hitler's mobile extermination squads killed so many people that they had to count the death rate in murders per minute in some locations. It got so bad that Ukraine, which greeted the Germans as liberators, became a hot bed of partisan activity.

I didn't deny the crimes of Hitler as you are doing the crimes of Stalin. Obviously Stalin had more time to commit his atrocities and, sadly, more acquiescence from the rest of the world.

There is a tendancy to make moral equivocations of the allied powers to the Axis, which the Soviets being favored, but US and Britian also getting the brush stoke. Some of it is fair, but most of it isn't.

Not sure what your point is here.

So while the red guard was not as white as fallen snow, they saved millions of people from being butchered. The differance between the commies and the facists is the communists would shot you for dissent- the facists would kill you simply for the color of your skin.
You are much too kind to the Red Army. They massacred Poles for being Poles, raped millions of women for being Poles, Ukranians, and -- especially Germans.

Remember, you are claiming they were good guys and should count towards positive atheistic contributions.

Using wilkapedia to find a list of people who have been atheists isn't so far out there.

You have used it for much more than that. But I know there have been wonderful atheists who do wonderful things. I was speaking of atheism itself.

"Stalin and Mao were atheists intent on promoting atheism."

Not quite. They were Communists who were intent on promoting their personal brand of Communism. Their atheism is incidental, and that's the heart of this slanderous post. It's a cheap, and not very well informed, attempt to saddle all of atheism with responsibility for the crimes a few people who happened to be atheist.

If I were to point out that Rwanda used to be known as "the most Christian country in Africa" and that many of those convicted of participating in the genocide there were officials in the Church (including nuns and at least one Bishop) and use that to argue that Christianity is responsible there woukld be loud objuections from the Christian crowd (and rightly so.)

This is just a childish finger pointing exercise; It's dishonest, ignorant and disgraceful.

this game really stop. special pleading is still a fallacy. To say "well Christians are responsible for any bad act any Christian has ever done, but the communists weren't really atheists, they don't because they were communist--as though 'communist" is some special essence fo evil that changes everything.

that is nothing more than special pleading. I can criticize for you for anything anyone who holds belief similar to yours has done, but you can't do that to me because I'm me and I'm special.

If the abuses some Christians have committed is indicative of all Christian beliefs, communism is indicative of all atheism. period. anything else is obviously a special pleading.

'The atrocities stand out all the more, however, because they can be criticized on the purported basis upon which they were committed.'

Sadly, Christians refuse to criticise the killings in the Bible.

Leviticus 10
1 Aaron's sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, contrary to his command. 2 So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.

Killed because they used the wrong kind of fire.

Just like Stalin killed people because they aroused his paranoia.

What is the difference between the allged god of the Christians and Stalin?

None. Atheists criticise them both.

Revelation 2

20Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. 21I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 22So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. 23I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.

Jesus response is to threaten to kill people , simply so that people will learn who the boss is.

But, of course, Layman claims Christians criticise such attitudes...

Samuel Skinner
Gah- the net shut down on my as I was writing! Anyway, looking it up, infanticide may have been exagerated- abortion wasn't.

Aside from that I managed to get links for the rest- I'll do so soon.

"If the abuses some Christians have committed is indicative of all Christian beliefs, communism is indicative of all atheism. period. anything else is obviously a special pleading.

Was this for me?

If so, did you read my post? `Cause this is exactly what I'm saying; using the crimes of some atheists to smear all of atheism is just as unreasonable as using the crimes of some Christians to smear all of Christianity...

Unless the crimes are based on christianity. For example, a corrupt cop who is Christian doesn't count- George Bush invading another country because God told him to does.

Samuel Skinner wrote: "No, it isn't a baseless accusation. Morality is about what is right and wrong and being moral is doing the right thing no matter what. Christianity declared that it has a monopoly on morality and that all good flows from God, but if you look at Plato 2500 years ago, he proves religion is irrelevant to morality."

You'll forgive me for ignoring the Wikipedia link, but then, I have read the actual dialogue. More than once. In fact, I coincidentally revisited it within the past few weeks, so I am familiar with what Plato actually says in Euthyphro, and nowhere does he prove that religion is irrelevant to morality. He doesn't even claim to prove such a thing, a conclusion with which Plato and Socrates would have been uncomfortable at any rate. If the Wikipedia article suggests otherwise, then it is in urgent need of some editing.

The dialogue does raise some interesting questions about the nature and foundation of morality and its relation to theology, and ends up demonstrating the limitations in the somewhat simplistic conception of morality held by many people of the time — and indeed, by many people of today who haven't thought the matter through. Judaic thought, on the other hand, provides a much more subtle and thorough explanation of how morality can be grounded in theology, and naturally Christian philosophers have developed sophisticated moral theories out of this that fully answer the questions that Euthyphro couldn't. Indeed, the ability of Judeo-Christian theology to explain this issue is no small reason why so many people today are Christians (or Jews, or Muslims) instead of followers of Zeus or Apollo.

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