Sunday, July 17, 2016

Conflation. That's why

Simon Davis asks "Why do many ‘nones’ believe in life after death?" In his July 15th Religious News Service blog post. He makes it clear from the start that not only does he not have any sense of who the "none" label encompass or how to apply critical thinking or fact checking. The "nones" actually do include believers. The label is short hand for all those who do not have a specific affiliation with organized religion. It does not mean that the individual(s) in question are actually atheist. Davis also doesn't seem to understand that even though many religious concepts and beliefs relate to one another they are separate ideas. It is possible for a theist to accept one supernatural belief while rejecting another. In fact, theists are quite good at doing just that. He also seems to be stuck on the idea that the "God" concept is completely universal and self-contained. There are multiple versions of God. Not everyone is talking about the same thing when they use that term. It is not unusual to find someone claiming they do not believe in God when in fact they do. They don't accept a specific version of God and insist their preferred version is really something else altogether. Buddhists are a good example. Orthodox Buddhism does not believe in a personal God but if you examine Buddhist doctrines, especially those related to Nirvana and Karma, you can easily argue that they accept a more abstract version of divinity.

Basically, Davis' piece is just a rambling of myths, stereotypes, willful ignorance and all manner of logical fallacies cobbled together. It is interesting to read since he does pull some factual tidbits. It's also fascinating to see how one person can produce such a short piece that is so disjointed. At times he does seem to realize some of the problems with his own thinking.

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