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Old 07-17-2005, 08:24 AM   #91
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Originally posted by BonosSaint



While there is danger (even evil) in the misuse or malevolent interpretation of scripture or other religious text, I can see no harm in 80's beliefs in him personally. From reading his posts over the months, I do not see him calling for a ban on teaching evolution in schools. I hear some support for civil unions for gays (if not religious marriage) (I support both). I see consistency in his being prolife and anti death penalty (even if it is not philosophical, but practical being that state screws up voluntarily or involuntarily so often). I see a person defending his beliefs, but I don't see him as a person dangerous to secular society. I have many disagreements with his beliefs, which I have voiced often enough. But I see no reason for him to come under personal attack. And if it is not meant that way, it appears that way. From all I can see, he does not appear to be a member of a church that is spewing hatefilled dogma from the pulpit. He does not appear to be a member of the POLITICAL religious right, which is dangerous.


what 80s has refused to acknowledge is that i don't think he's dangerous -- i've said, several times, that i don't think he's a fundamentalist, even by the terms of the definition that he himself laid out.

what i am talking about is know-nothing fundamentalism.

still, it's much easier for 80s to feel outrage to personalize the argument and then through anecdotal and personal testimony try and shoot it down. by refusing to keep things in the speculative, abstract, and theoretical, he personalizes it so that he can say, essentially, "well, i'm a fundamentalist and i'm not dangerous." and he's right. but that's also a great way to avoid the discussion and make an emotional point that's rather irrelevant for discussion.

i'll reiterate my main point again: when people take a book like The Bible, the Koran, or anything else, and view it as the primary source through which to understand the world -- from basic morality to hard science -- and refuse to mediate, to think critically, to even question what is written (even though it's a translated text written by men 2,000 years ago ... and, again, the idea that "god will get his message undersood" is bogus), then that is a DANGEROUS thing, and it is a danger that only religion can produce.

there are many people on this board who believe the Bible to be "true" (as opposed to factual ... while much of the Bible is, i understand, factually accurate, certainly not all of it is) who also don't view it as incompatible with modern knowledge or science. in fact, one should compliment the other in a sort of Jesuit ideal. what i do think we have, in all religions, and in the US it is most visible with elements of Christianity, is a willingness to return to the Middle Ages.

other than that, GREAT post. i generally agree with every word. i probably should have dropped this long ago, from the second 80s internalized the argument being put forward. but i suppose i do feel it is worthwhile to point out to the devout the potential for danger and destruction within any belief system rooted in absolutes.
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Old 07-17-2005, 08:27 AM   #92
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What evidence is there that ANY of this happened by chance? Can you give me one shred of evidence? It's not just humans that I consider complex creatures. I consider every living creature a complex creature. How could everything necessary for this type of life to start and sustain be the result of pure chance? Where is evidence to support "pure chance"? There is none.

i think this is a misformulation.

in the face of mountains of scientific evidence, the burden of proof is on you to prove that it wasn't by chance.
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Old 07-17-2005, 08:41 AM   #93
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We are different. You believe that man's wisdom and intellect are the utmost. You believe that man is the god of all he surveys. I believe that God is much wiser and smarter than man, and that God is the god of all of this. You put your trust in man's science. You say that where there appears to be contradiction between Christianity and man's science, that man's science should be trusted. I say that God's word should be trusted.


you've set up an either/or situation, and i think that's another misformulation.

i do agree that all of us can agree on only the secular -- so, therefore, all we can trust in courts of law, in laboratories, is the knowledge that man has created for himself through centuries of philosophy and scientific method (and myriad other academic endeavors). i don't think these are, by definition, exclusive of God, and i don't think you do either, but the strand of though i've been repeatedly trying to get at (and that you've been repeatedly trying to prevent me from doing through taking my arguments and applying them to yourself in order to make this some kind of personal attack when it is not), is that there are people out there who embrace a Know-Nothing worldview (and, to be fair, i'm' sure there are scentists and secularists who are just as close-minded in their rejection of any notion of God ... which is why i, on a personal note, remain passionately agnostic) where all science and philosphy and codes of conduct and morality must be made compatible with selective Biblical understandings not shared by all those who believe the Bible to be "true." i think "intelligent design" is an example of this -- essentially, the creationists have lost the scientific argument, so this is creationism by another name. it's an attempt to graft religiosity onto the science that A_W and anitram have eloquently explicated and to then demand, "oh yeah, prove we're wrong!" when the burden of proof should be on those who espouse ID to prove that they're right.

to me, this is dangerous. it is dangerous when parents demand that evolution be shackled with disclaimers. it is dangerous when students are refused basic information on contraception on the basis of a particular view of the purposes of human sexualilty. it is dangerous when people of any religion do not themselves feel a part of the earth, that secular laws and rules do not apply to them and that they answer only to the rules and laws of the Bible (rules and laws, of course, that can be shaped by the interpreter into any self-serving wordview). it is this worldview that is adopted both by people who shoot doctors and people who blow up subway cars in London. religion can provide a way to be in the earth and society, but not of it, and if you're not of it, then it's not such a bad thing when you destroy it when God asks you do to so.

80s: this is not about YOU. it never has been. this is a much broader point that can really only be discussed without the use of the word "I."
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Old 07-17-2005, 09:36 AM   #94
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Thank you, Irvine. Great posts. I think it is dangerous when neither side can see the other's point of view--as you said when a situation is made an either-or when it rarely is. I'm looking forward (naively, probably) to the day when we can get past all this on the board and actually have discussions, genuine give and take.
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Old 07-17-2005, 01:19 PM   #95
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Originally posted by BonosSaint

There you go, 80's. A secularist defending a Christian.
Thank you very much, Saint. I appreciate the defense.
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Old 07-17-2005, 01:26 PM   #96
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
80s: this is not about YOU. it never has been. this is a much broader point that can really only be discussed without the use of the word "I."
Irvine, personally, I don't care if it's about me or not. What bothers me is the stereotypes with which you continuously paint conservative Christians.

It's also the fact that when you say that people who believe in every word of the Bible are "dangerous", you are automatically assuming that the beliefs you hold to and the knowledge you think is correct are so superior intellectually to the poor idiots who actually believe that the Bible is the Word of God. That's a very condescending attitude and that's what bothers me. I NEVER make any claims or even imply that non-believers are intellectually inferior to Christians. Never. But those implications are consistently present in your arguments.
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Old 07-17-2005, 01:40 PM   #97
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Originally posted by 80sU2isBest
It's also the fact that when you say that people who believe in every word of the Bible are "dangerous", you are automatically assuming that the beliefs you hold to and the knowledge you think is correct are so superior intellectually to the poor idiots who actually believe that the Bible is the Word of God. That's a very condescending attitude and that's what bothers me. I NEVER make any claims or even imply that non-believers are intellectually inferior to Christians. Never. But those implications are consistently present in your arguments.


firstly, i have never, ever made any claims that Christians are intellectually inferior. there are some very, very smart Christians on this board who i respect remendously. i try, with all my might and repetoir of adjectives, to narrow down exactly who i am talking about, and you always, always think i'm talking about all Christians, or about you. this is rarely the case. and, again, after spending several posts explicating the difference between truth vs. fact in the bible, you've returned to your original assumption about what it is you think i'm thinking. that's dangerous territory, my friend, this whole "i think that you think that ..."

but, yes, i do think that people who believe the world to be 4,000 years old, instead of 4.5 billion years old, are being willfully intellectually inferior. i don't think they're cognative abilities are inferior, i think they are willfully believing bullshit, which is almost worse. i think that people who refuse to study and understand evolution are being willfully ignorant. i think that people who view themselves as not of the earth but merely in it and are then not subject to the rules and laws of man are both self-aggrandizing and willfully ignorant, and utterly dangerous.

this has nothing to do with intelligence, it has everything to do with willful self-deception.

let me tell you something:

i am currently helping to produce a series of educational DVDs about math. the company i work for believes that a big potential market for this particular education product will be home-schoolers. the business assumption -- which comes from research -- is that the majority of home schoolers in the US are of a fundamentalist Christian stripe and will not purchase anything that goes against a specific worldview. and we know what the specifics are, because marketing and research has laid it all out for us. we cannot have any of the following things in our programs:

-- no tattoos
-- no mention of "evolution"
-- no mention of "contraversial" science, i.e., the age of the earth, when the dinosaurs lived, etc.
-- some claims must always be prefaced by, "Some scientists believe that ..."
-- no card games
-- no billards
-- no horse racing

and that's just for starters. i didn't make any of this up, and these rules weren't drawn simply from stereotypes -- they were created via research and marketing and product testing.

this is the Know-Nothingism of which i speak, and it terrifies me that, through my work, i am acquiescing and therefore economically legitimizing a segment of American society that ultimately seeks my social death as a gay person.

and, gosh, if these people knew just how many homos, jews, unwed mothers, divorced people, and childless married people who worked on these products ...
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Old 07-17-2005, 02:50 PM   #98
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Thank you very much, Saint. I appreciate the defense.
My pleasure.
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