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Old 02-16-2001, 10:25 AM   #21
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Do you really want to try and defend the silly notion that Christianity and Islam are "entirely" harmful? We'll have to have this one out later, but for now I'll repeat this post:

"As for Christianity "on the other hand." I readily admit that Christianity has encouraged many behaviours and caused much change in the world that atheism never could. For examples, the Red Cross, the YMCA, the works of the Rev. Martin Luther King, the works of the Rev. William Lloyd Garrison, the founding of the thousands of Hospitals in this country (Baptist Hospital, St. Luke's Presbyterian, Holy Cross Hospital, St. Mary's, etc., etc.), the criminalization of infanticide and establishment of charities in the Roman empire, and the Salvation Army.

Oh, and the encouragement of a multitude of social good. A study of identical twins by Dr. Kenneth Kendler, a psychiatric geneticist, indicated that religious belief reduces stress levels,protects against drug, alcohol, and tobacco abuse (and in the case of users, helps reduce use), and is a defense against many forms of mental illness. American Journal of Psychiatry, March 1997."

Of course. If you believe that the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Rev. Garrison, the Rev. King, reduced amounts of stress, etc. are "entirely" harmful, then I don't think we'll have a serious discussion.

[This message has been edited by Layman (edited February 16, 2001).]
 
Old 02-16-2001, 11:13 AM   #22
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Zoroaster:
Man, if tektonics is one of the "better" sites, I'd hate to see what one of the "worst" ones looks like.

I have to say that Holding is an idiot. And that is my completely unbiased, objective opinion.

If you want to see what passes for apologetics from Holding, go to www.cygnus-study.com , look up the "convert me" subsection of the "bible" section. There is a questionairre in there of some 150 odd questions. Holding attempted to "answer" them, but made an exceedingly pathetic effort, brushing off most of them without even really trying. He then claimed on his website that he had "refuted" all the questions in the questionairre.

Go there for yourself and see what a good job he did.
</font>
So you think Holding is an idiot and you use CYGNUS to back that up? If you're referring to Cygnus' article "Released from the Holding Cell," (at http://www.cygnus-study.com/holding.shtml) where Holding "cowardly" refuses to debate Cygnus, I refer to the other side of the story at http://www.tektonics.org/JPH_SMSWSG.html. It is also at this page that Holding refutes Cygnus' rebuttal concerning the Jesus Seminar at http://www.cygnus-study.com/writings/jesusseminar.shtml.

About Holding's response to the 154 questions (on the same Tekton page as the rest of his dealings with Cygnus), he himself said he wasn't really trying to answer them all. He just shows the questions to be a waste of time and in a few places even refers the reader to links where the particular question IS thoroughly answered. Holding doesn't even attempt to devote much attention to answering these because he knows it doesn't go anywhere. Where do you get off saying that Holding claimed to "refute" all of them?

But let us go back to Cygnus' treatment of Holding in his article on him. If anyone on here wants the real scoop on Cygnus' tendency to burst into insults and avoid issues when confronted with things he cannot answer, simply e-mail me at rew4gzus96@juno.com or post a reply to this, and I will send you a most interesting e-mail conversation I had with Mr. Sam Gibson (Cygnus).

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">

Bede, on the other hand, is quite intelligent. I have found him to be by far the most reasonable apologist I have run across on the net. Even though I disagree with him on almost every issue, he writes well, and doesn't commit most of the common apologist fallacies. If you are looking for good apologetics, his site is a good starting point.

</font>
This I can agree with. Bede's a great, sensible, and critical guy. (But note that Bede also agrees that Holding and Miller are not idiots but rather "first class intellects." Check out Bede's review of Tektonics at http://www.bede.org.uk/biblelinks.htm#harding.)

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">

As a matter of fact, Bede and Cygnus just finished an on-line debate on Cygnus forum. There is a section of the forum devoted to this debate.
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I know. I read the full debate. Bede won.

Rew

[This message has been edited by Rew (edited February 16, 2001).]
 
Old 02-16-2001, 01:55 PM   #23
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Of course. If you believe that the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Rev. Garrison, the Rev. King, reduced amounts of stress, etc. are "entirely" harmful, then I don't think we'll have a serious discussion.

Sure, I agree it was a good thing to have 17 centuries of religious warfare in Europe, so that we could get the Salvation Army to sell me used clothing. For every MLKing, there are 10 Farrakhans, Paisleys, etc. And King was attacking bigotry that the Bible helped foster. You can't win, Layman.

Oh, I'll admit to minor positives. You can get the same without religion. As for the Salvation Army and other religious orgs, can you really tell me that it is as useful as welfare, foreign aid programs, Peace Corps, etc, in reducing poverty and disease? I saw many religious missions in Africa. Usually evangelicals came in and out as fast as possible, with as big a wad of cash they could carry. The Catholics founded long-term instutions, at the price of control over locals. The high school I taught at was the subject of a squabble between Methodists and the RCC. Since the RCs controlled the water supply (the only private district system in Kenya) they turned it off from time to time, just to make problems for us. To be fair, the mainstream Protestant groups were the best, offering services without demanding cash and power.

Further, if you want to play that game, absurd religious beliefs are one of the major factors in continuing poverty. Atheists do not consider rats sacred, though some Hindus do. The subjugation of women in the name of religion is a major problem preventing social progress. Can you name similar atheist practices?

Well, Ok, nobody's been THAT successful in eradicating poverty :-).

I suppose we could start a new thread to discuss the usefulness of Xtianity, but I see you and I are still embroiled in debate on the issue of the usefulness of early dating of the NT. So I'll post a listing of questions for you in a week or two, after that thread dies out.

Michael
 
Old 02-16-2001, 02:11 PM   #24
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Spare me the "You can't win" rhetoric and try and build a better case.

First, you mischaracterize history by simply, without explanation, blaming 17 centuries of war in Europe on religion. It would be more accurate to say that we have 100 centuries of human warfare period.

Moreover, the "17 centuries" of religious war in Europe didn't kill nearly as many people as the 100 year reign of secularism in this century. Nationalism, communism, and capitalism have claimed millions more lives in a fraction of the time. WW I, WWII, the Cold War, the commie purges, Vietnam, etc. amply demonstrate that the human proclivity to war is not based on religion, but based on humanity. All you have done is throw out your own ingrained rejection of ANY good coming from religion with some unsubstantiated historical lingo.

Your 10 to 1 ration is likewise unsubstantiated nonsense. And I don't consider Rev. King, the abolotinist movement, the Red Cross, etc. to be only "minor positives." And I'll put up the Red Cross's track record against the Peace Corp.'s anyday. Moreover, this is not a matter of Red Cross = Christian and Peace Corp. = atheist. At best, the Peace Corp. is a secular organization whose members consist of religious and nonreligious peoples.

And the mere fact that there exist some questionably effective secular counterparts does not diminish the good that has come from religiously motivated endeavors, such as the thousands of charity hospitals in this country alone.

And I wasn't defending "absurd" religious beliefs (althought I suspect you would consider all religious belief to be absured), I specifically mentioned Islam and Christianity. But, because of my limited knowledge, I am willing to limit the discussion to Christianity.
 
Old 02-16-2001, 02:17 PM   #25
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Rew:
bout Holding's response to the 154 questions (on the same Tekton page as the rest of his dealings with Cygnus), he himself said he wasn't really trying to answer them all. He just shows the questions to be a waste of time and in a few places even refers the reader to links where the particular question IS thoroughly answered. Holding doesn't even attempt to devote much attention to answering these because he knows it doesn't go anywhere. Where do you get off saying that Holding claimed to "refute" all of them?</font>
Allow me to translate the preceeding paragraph:

"Holding" realized that the questions are unanswerable. Or at the very least, the answers lead to a rejection of xianity. Therefore "Holding" denigrated the questions, pretended they had already been answered (they hadn't), and downplayed their importance.

Of course, if he really had answers to the questions, you can bet your ass he'd post them loudly and clearly on his website for all to see. The fact is that he doesn't. And neither do you, Rew.


Also, I am not going to defend Cygnus, or hold him up as an icon of atheism. He is just another fellow atheist, in no way a "spokesman" for atheists. His site, I think, is quite well done, and does its job of debunking the bible.


So let's here some more, Rew, about how the questions on Cygnus' site have been answered, or how they aren't that important.

Bring it on!

 
Old 02-19-2001, 12:22 PM   #26
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
Sobel makes it clear that he is a pastor of a large community church in the description of the author. He was an award winning journalist prior to his career change, and decided to use that stylistic technique for his book. He wasn't trying to deceive anyone. </font>
If he used journalist style techniques in his book, should it not contain equal time for both sides of the argument?

 
Old 02-19-2001, 03:31 PM   #27
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Layman:
Spare me the "You can't win" rhetoric and try and build a better case.

First, you mischaracterize history by simply, without explanation, blaming 17 centuries of war in Europe on religion. It would be more accurate to say that we have 100 centuries of human warfare period.


I am always vastly amused by people who cannot read a simple statement accusing me of mischaracterizing. I said "Seventeen centuries of religious warfare in Europe" not "seventeen centuries of warfare in Europe all caused by religion." I don't know what caused your misreading, perhaps you secretly feel guilty for the manifold and ongoing crimes of your belief system.

Moreover, the "17 centuries" of religious war in Europe didn't kill nearly as many people as the 100 year reign of secularism in this century. Nationalism, communism, and capitalism have claimed millions more lives in a fraction of the time. WW I, WWII, the Cold War, the commie purges, Vietnam, etc. amply demonstrate that the human proclivity to war is not based on religion, but based on humanity. All you have done is throw out your own ingrained rejection of ANY good coming from religion with some unsubstantiated historical lingo.

Ah, if only that were true. Let me first say this: Communism, Christianity, Islam, Facism, Nationalism, are all one and the same thing, elements of the same problems, authoritarian belief systems. I look forward to the day when everyone gives up the idea of salvation
through belief, and instead looks toward reason and the authority of his or her own mind, and compassion for fellow beings. All "belief" systems based on authority are absurd, Layman, whether religious or "secular, and they are all evil. As for religion, it is culpable in all the crimes of the secular states, for all those statesmen were raised religious, and the churches cooperated enthusiastically with many, such as Mussolini, who gave them subsidies, and Hitler, who instituted prayer in the schools.
Who do you think taught them to hate, to think in apocalyptic terms, to divide "sheep" from "goats," and so forth? The Churches in the US did not oppose the US invasion of the Philippines in '98, did not oppose our brutality in Korea, woke up a little in Vietnam, did not oppose our colonialism in the Caribbean and S. America in the '20s and 30s, etc, etc, etc. Amerinds were condemned to death in 19th century pulpits. The Catholics made a deal with Hitler, laundered money from Balkan genocide, passed Nazi war criminals through the Vatican, and gave Franco a medal for his contributions to civilization. The Methodists kissed Chiang Kai-shek's butt while he butchered tens of thousands. Evangelicals are silent on oppression in Africa, while they fleece the locals. Are Mormons opposed to anything, anywhere? I have never heard it.

Your defense that religion hasn't killed as many as Nationalism, etc, is absurd in any case. It's like defending Ted Bundy by pointing out that he didn't kill as many as Henry Lee Lucas. The point is to get rid of all evils, of which religion is most certainly one, and Communism and Nationalism are others.

Religionists themselves realize this point. Why do you think mainstream churches have basically tossed the OT, Revelations, and the other parts of the Bible that concentrate on authority and reward and punishment, and focus on the message of love contained in certain parts of the Gospels? They are in fact separated from us atheists by the thinnest of margins. When Christians act decent, it is because of what they learned from the freethinking Enlightenment and because they deny what the Bible clearly teaches about killing. They are decent, compassionate and generous in spite of their Christianity, because they have given up the authority of gods and instead concentrated on love.

I do not say all evil comes from religion, but rather, religion is almost all evil.

We're damned far off topic. Let me start off the attack on religion with a new post in the
"existence of god" forum. I'll title it:
"Questions on the Evils of Religion."

Michael


 
 

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