Sunday, September 17, 2017

Gushee says farewell to RNS

David Gushee's farewell blog post, "After 30 years, a farewell column", is an interesting though inadvertent admission of the innate divisiveness of religion. Part of him still seems to want to latch on to the false premise that it is the specific individuals involved that create the conflicts rather than the ideas being grossly flawed and untenable. His most honest moment in the whole column probably comes in the fourth paragraph where he states:
"After all, there are only so many interesting ways to say what we all know — American Christians are as hopelessly divided as the rest of American culture..."

Sorry David, your frustration and disallusionment was the natural and inevitable outcome of honestly trying to understand religion. 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

I can't count the number of times of seen a variation of the meme below:

Even setting aside that the basic premise is an affront to one of the founding principles of our nation, Separation of Church and State, this is an incredibly self serving and idiotic view. All it really does is confirm that many Christians are willfully ignorant and/or self deluded. Christ, and therefore Christianity, is not a good source of comparison. At least not for for any self-respecting decent human being. If you have doubts about this characterization you really need to read/reread the Gospels and pay attention to what's actually there.

For example:

In Matthew 10:22-28 Jesus is a complete asshole to the non-Jews around him which he follows up latter in the same chapter 10:34-35 with an outright endorsement of divisiveness and intolerance.

Then there are some cute passages in Mark where he does in fact make a statement that I fail to see any other interpretation other than a big-ol Fuck-the Poor (Mark 14:3-7) which he also follows up with yet another endorsement of hate (Mark 14:26).

This, of course, pales in comparison to his Luke 19:27 command to his followers to round up all non-followers and commit mass murder.

Basically, criticizing Republicans on the gounds of not being "true" Christians is utter bullshit. Depending on your preferred interpretation you could argue that they are being good Christians by being utter bastards. Then again, if you need a horrendous work of fiction like the Bible to guide your behavior I have to assume you are a completely unethical moron.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Connor gets "Secularism" wrong

Once again Connor Wood demonstrates his lack of critical thinking and poor understanding of science. Right from the start of "Is a secular America a worse America?" he makes a number of idiotic conflations. He writes as if there is only one possible definition of secularism. Wrong. In the context of political science secularism has far more to do with the system of governance than the individual preferences of the citizens under that government. Generally, the two are fairly closely aligned but do not have to be. For a government to be "secular" it must make an effort to separate religion from government. Historically speaking, a non-secular America would not be America at all. Separation of Church and State is a basic principle of our Constitution. Anyone who tries debating that is a wilfully ignorant fool.

Connor also conflates organized religion with religion in general. This is equally foolish and ignorant.  Not belonging to an identifiable religious group does not make an individual non-religious. The more individuals move away from organized religions the more, not less, important secularism becomes. In theory, if a religious group is large enough or influential enough it can provide a certain level of protection to its members in the form of social or economic power. If the group is small or there are many different groups (like in our country) this is not effective. Having codified protections from government has been the best and most effective way to ensure everyone can worship or not how they see fit. Basically, regardless of an individuals religious preference the only way to ensure religious freedom/freedom of conscience is through secularism, through Separation of Church and State.

Not surprisingly,Wood shows once again how much of a misnomer his blog's title is. This piece is just another example of his writing from an entirely religious perspective with religious motives and predetermined conclusions. It is the antithesis of science.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

PR Pope admits divisiveness and contradictions (inadvertantly)

It has been roughly a week and a half since I read the Catholic News Agency piece "Let go of 'false lights' that lead down the wrong path, Pope says." No one seems to have followed up or comment on it that I can find. This is interesting since if you think about its contents critically for more than a few minutes it reveals that the Pope inadvertently admitted that Christianity is divisive and that the Pope routinely conveys contradictory messages. Consider:
“If now I were to ask you, do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Do you believe that he can change your heart? Do you think you can see reality as he sees it, not as we do? Do you believe that he is light, that he gives us the true light?...abandoning false lights...cold and fatuous light of prejudice against others, because prejudice distorts reality and builds hate against those who we judge without mercy and condemn without an appeal.”
If Jesus is the "true light" doesn't that at least imply that all other religions and beliefs are "false lights"? How is this compatible with previous appeals to treating all faiths equally? How does this not contradict to some degree the last part of the quotation. If you are compelled by faith to assume all other religions and beliefs are false how can you not become prejudiced against them? Logically, this notion seems to lead to and even demand prejudice and divisiveness.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Is that the right question?

In his recent piece, "Are colleges too liberal?" Connor Wood remains true to his tendency to make assumptions seem far more notable than they are. Even if you assume the basic premise is correct it begs a number of other questions and issues that never seem to cross his mind. He also never notices the contradictions he himself references. For instance, he gives verified numbers of the ratios for liberal to conservative professors that do not match the ones in the conservative hack-job that originally inspired his own piece. He also never bothers to question in any significant way whether the personal views of the individual professors translate in any way into the instruction the professors provide their students. I'd be willing to bet there are studies showing that conservative professors get caught trying indoctrinate classes far more often than liberal ones. (I'll have to look into that)

So, is the original question the only one let alone a meritable one? NO. Why not follow it up with other questions? Is higher education "liberal" by its nature. I don't suppose he's ever noticed that the liberal mind-set tends to be more inquisitive or at least less likely to oppose inquiry. That seems like a very important aspect of education. Or, perhaps he should ask why conservatives are asking about the political/ideological leaning of education but not other fields. Is business too conservative? Doesn't the economy favor the wealthy and powerful? Aren't they more able to afford the cost of higher education. And, wouldn't this contradict them on their devotion to markets? If student still pay for Higher education would that, by their own thinking, imply it isn't "too" anything, ideological or what not.

Though he provides a number of references to validate various other points he attempts to make they are very little value. Most of the sources he relies on have a track record of not being fact based. Quite a few are sources I often agree with but am frustrated by. As often as not I think they do reach the right conclusion on a given issue, or are at least in the right area. However, they do little to back themselves up. It is a bit ironic that Wood makes use of them since they general do not fit his favorite pre-determined notions. I have previously pointed out that his blog is mislabeled. "Science on Religion" should be reversed since he almost always views science through the tainted lens of religion.