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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Philosophy leads to the Cross

This erstwhile atheist's intellectual path may explain why the leading atheists are, to a man, so philosophically incompetent:
I was ready to admit that there were parts of Christianity and Catholicism that seemed like a pretty good match for the bits of my moral system that I was most sure of, while meanwhile my own philosophy was pretty kludged together and not particularly satisfactory. But I couldn’t pick consistency over my construction project as long as I didn’t believe it was true.

While I kept working, I tried to keep my eyes open for ways I could test which world I was in, but a lot of the evidence for Christianity was only compelling to me if I at least presupposed Deism. Meanwhile, on the other side, I kept running into moral philosophers who seemed really helpful, until I discovered that their study of virtue ethics has led them to take a tumble into the Tiber. (I’m looking at you, MacIntyre!).

Then, the night before Palm Sunday (I have excellent liturgical timing), I was up at my alma mater for an alumni debate. I had another round of translating a lot of principles out of Catholic in order to use them in my speech, which prompted the now traditional heckling from my friends. After the debate, I buttonholed a Christian friend for another argument. During the discussion, he prodded me on where I thought moral law came from in my metaphysics. I talked about morality as though it were some kind of Platonic form, remote from the plane that humans existed on. He wanted to know where the connection was.

I could hypothesize how a Forms-material world link would work in the case of mathematics (a little long and off topic for this post, but pretty much the canonical idea of recognizing Two-ness as the quality that’s shared by two chairs and two houses, etc. Once you get the natural numbers, the rest of mathematics is in your grasp). But I didn’t have an analogue for how humans got bootstrap up to get even a partial understanding of objective moral law.

I’ve heard some explanations that try to bake morality into the natural world by reaching for evolutionary psychology. They argue that moral dispositions are evolutionarily triumphant over selfishness, or they talk about group selection, or something else. Usually, these proposed solutions radically misunderstand a) evolution b) moral philosophy or c) both. I didn’t think the answer was there. My friend pressed me to stop beating up on other people’s explanations and offer one of my own.... It turns out I did.

I believed that the Moral Law wasn’t just a Platonic truth, abstract and distant. It turns out I actually believed it was some kind of Person, as well as Truth. And there was one religion that seemed like the most promising way to reach back to that living Truth.
It is both interesting and informative to once more note that whereas the religious-to-atheist transformation is closely associated with adolescence and reactive intellectual immaturity, the converse one is much more often the product of emotional maturity and intellectual exploration. And, as I've noted before, a higher percentage of children raised atheist convert to Christianity than children raised Christian convert to atheism, as was apparently the case here.

But those are merely observations. My main purpose was simply to share her testimony and wish her well in her ongoing walk with God.

Labels: ,

165 Comments:

Anonymous vandelay June 19, 2012 12:40 PM  

It's also informative that the best response the collective atheist community has had thus far is that she must have had a stroke.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 June 19, 2012 12:42 PM  

...And pour contempt on all my pride...

Anonymous Jimmy June 19, 2012 12:45 PM  

The discussion got stuck on hell.

Anonymous jay c June 19, 2012 12:53 PM  

Good stuff. I'm not sure that Catholicism is the best choice for a recovering atheist, it is very far from the worst. A good start.

Anonymous DW June 19, 2012 12:56 PM  

God bless her on her walk with the Lord.

Anonymous Stickwick June 19, 2012 1:04 PM  

Excellent. This sort of thing is very encouraging.

I just hope she avoids the anti-Protestant, over-the-top, wannabe-martyr expression of Catholicism that is not entirely atypical of adult converts (see: Ann Barnhardt).

Anonymous PC Geek June 19, 2012 1:07 PM  

A question for the Ilk, if I may. (This is relevant to the topic at hand so hopefully no one will mind.)

I was talking with an atheist and he had claimed that atheists don't make assumptions/have axioms (aka atheism is neutral and does not make claims), and while I know that is false, I have never been good at really expressing this.

(As per my username I do far better with computers than people and simply do not have the confidence and assertiveness that some of you, especially Vox, have.)

I am genuiniely struggling with either explaining why atheism is not a 'neutral' position sans axioms, [more than just bringing up that it asserts a universal negative] or at lesat finding a good source that could explain it.

I notice that one of the most common atheist tactics is to present themsevles as the neutral starting point and thus lay all burden of proof upon the Christian. This idiocy frustrates the hell out of me but I am just not able to counter it well.

Of course, when you bring up the powerful historical evidence for Christianity (among other solid apologetics) they tend to simpy remain silent and disengage...but that is another topic entirely.)

I think this is relevant but if it judged not to be the case and it is deleted I will try to not cry (well at least not much. :-) )

Anonymous James Dixon June 19, 2012 1:08 PM  

I wish her the best in her search for truth. And I'm not the least surprised that when followed honestly that path led her to Christ.

Anonymous jerry June 19, 2012 1:09 PM  

From what I gather, it was not just philosophy which led her to Christ - it was her commitment to intellectual honesty.

Blogger Markku June 19, 2012 1:09 PM  

I was talking with an atheist and he had claimed that atheists don't make assumptions/have axioms (aka atheism is neutral and does not make claims), and while I know that is false, I have never been good at really expressing this.

The world and life exists, so any world view must have some kind of explanation for how it came to be. That is a positive claim right there.

Anonymous James Dixon June 19, 2012 1:10 PM  

> I was talking with an atheist and he had claimed that atheists don't make assumptions/have axioms (aka atheism is neutral and does not make claims)

Agnotics are neutral and don't make claims. Atheists do make a claim: That God does not exist. If he's not making that claim then he's not an atheist.

Blogger Dan Hewitt June 19, 2012 1:13 PM  

PC Geek,

Good post, you may want to try to turn the table, i.e. "why are you an athiest and not an agnostic?" That seems to be a logical starting point.

Blogger Markku June 19, 2012 1:14 PM  

If anyone wants to claim that atheism is more probable than theism, they need to have an argument for why abiogenesis is more probable than creation. Keep pressing them on abiogenesis. Do not let them change the subject.

Anonymous jerry June 19, 2012 1:15 PM  

PC Geek: Agnosticism is a neutral position, not atheism.

Blogger Vox June 19, 2012 1:18 PM  

I am genuiniely struggling with either explaining why atheism is not a 'neutral' position sans axioms, [more than just bringing up that it asserts a universal negative] or at lesat finding a good source that could explain it.

Ask him why he believes that it is a neutral position. Does he believe that "Jews do not exist" is a neutral position? Does he believe that "NFL football does not exist" is a neutral position? His position isn't even remotely defensible.

Blogger Heuristics June 19, 2012 1:29 PM  

PC Geek:

Pick up a dictionary and show him the definition of atheism.
For example: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/atheism?s=t

A neutral view would be something like "the absence of belief regarding the existence of God", this is sometimes called weak atheism but that way of using the word has not reached the larger population and it is missleading to use the word in that way when talking in general.

As for weak atheism being the starting point, according to sociology of religion/developmental cognition science this is wrong (as is pretty much every assumption the atheists and feminists make about children).

http://www.bu.edu/childcognition/publications/Intuitive%20Theist.pdf

Anonymous PC Geek June 19, 2012 1:34 PM  

Thanks for all of your responses - I am writing this in a hurry since my lunch time is over and I have to get back to coding but I really appreciate the responses to my post - as soon as I get the chance I will go back and respond to the atheist in question...of course, based on my observations of atheists both here and in the wild I wonder what my odds are of even getting a response...as soon as you really hit them with a solid response they tend to clam up and disappear...

One of the reasons I read this blog is that the commenters here are in a category all their own (in a good way!).

Back to the coding grind and sorry for the hastily written post above!

Anonymous Earl June 19, 2012 1:36 PM  

PC Geek, i usually just get them on record over thngs they do believe. I might ask if they believe in ghosts, morality, aliens, free will, human rights, etc.

Almost every atheist youll run into believes in a great many secular mythologies and borrowed religious concepts. There are a few nihilists out there though. The honest nihilsts might make for good Calvinists. The dishonest nihilists make for good fertilizer.

Anonymous Daniel June 19, 2012 1:36 PM  

PC Geek -

Note that you answered your own question:

I was talking with an atheist and he had claimed that atheists don't make assumptions/have axioms.

"An atheist doesn't make assumptions/have axioms," is both an assumption and an axiom. It assumes that atheists are unified in their failure to utilize assumptions and is a very basic axiom.

Therefore, any atheist who makes such a claim has contradicted themselves outright. Just point that out, get them to restate their real assumptions and faith axioms, and go from there.

If you start off by playing in their absurd god-free fairyland of metaphysics-free metaphysics, you end up either defending or denying charicatures of a faith, or discrediting an atheism that no one really believes in anyway. Get off on the right foot: expose their axioms, challenge their assumptions, and try to help them develop tools to fix the broken thinking.

Just ask them this instead:

"So, tell me about your assumptions regarding the existence of gods."

Anonymous Daniel June 19, 2012 1:49 PM  

Jerry
Agnosticism is a neutral position, not atheism.

That's closer, I suppose, but not true. While agnosticism assumes that there may or may not be a god, it effectively biases toward behavior that there is, in fact not one worthy of worship.

After all, a true neutral agnostic would very likely behave as if there was a God, and do everything he could to live as if Christ (the object of the narrowest religion) had risen from the dead and revealed himself as mankind's savior...just in case. He would even say, "I'm not convinced that he rose from the dead, but since believing such is a requirement of that brand of salvation, and does not rob me of other possible forms of eternal life, if such a thing is possible, then, I'll do the smart thing, and hedge my bets."

In other words, if I was uncertain whether crossing a road would end safely or not for me, when there is a bridge close at hand, would I feel like a fool crossing the bridge only to notice that no cars came along during my journey? Of course not.

The true neutral agnostic will act as if at least one of the gods is worthy of worship...just in case.

All other agnostics are biased, either toward the existence of gods (but they don't know what ones to worship) or away from the existence.

And I've never met the neutral version.

Anonymous physphilmusic June 19, 2012 1:53 PM  

And, as I've noted before, a higher percentage of children raised atheist convert to Christianity than children raised Christian convert to atheism, as was apparently the case here.

Do you have any link to any statistics about this Vox? That would really be interesting news.

Anonymous Claymore June 19, 2012 1:57 PM  

Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Daniel 12:2

Looks like one for the life roster!

Blogger IncorrectlyRight June 19, 2012 2:06 PM  

Here's what the 'The Thinking Atheist' had to say about the blog post...

"I have no ill will toward Leah, nor do I hold her in disdain for leaving the ranks of the non-religious. Her reasons for embracing Catholicism (mostly, the Absolute Morality thing) may not jive with you or me, but the choice is hers to make.

I wish her the best. I also hope she (puh-leeze, girl!) doesn't rely on the Catholic church for moral, historical or scientific truth. Mostly, I hope this weird, wild journey she's on ultimately leads to answers found in reason, science, conscience and the real world.

In the meantime, expect the religious community to parade her out like a shiny new trophy."

Hope she doesn't rely on the Catholic church for moral, historical or scientific truth? Does he know what truth means at all?

Blogger LP 999/Eliza June 19, 2012 2:07 PM  

Awesome. Like many things baby steps are good.

+I pray, may the Lord Jesus become more real to her everyday.May those of us who do believe continue to walk with Him in His Light all the days of our lives.+

OT: Good prayer report, mom just has gallstones. We are taking her to the Dr's today and this week to attempt to solve this situation in between moving to another state.

Anonymous Credo in Unum Deum June 19, 2012 2:13 PM  

Halleluja!

Luke 15:10 "...λέγω ὑμῖν, γίνεται χαρὰ ἐνώπιον τῶν ἀγγέλων τοῦ θεοῦ ἐπὶ ἑνὶ ἁμαρτωλῷ μετανοοῦντι."

"...dico vobis, gaudium erit coram angelis Dei super uno peccatore pœnitentiam agente."

Her open mind has led her to the Church!

The Ark that St. Jerome wrote of has another passenger!

Someone who can think for themselves is always welcome within the home of Sts. Augustine, Pope Leo the Great, Jerome, Ambrose, Basil, Aquinas, et multis aliis.

The 2000 year old institution that built up Western Civilization, and created Western Philosophical-thought out of the ashes of the Roman Empire, (And will most likely do so again out of the ashes of the modern secular western world in the years to come) can never have too many critical thinkers within Her ranks.

I and the Blessed Virgin Mother are still praying for our remaining separated Protestant brothers and sisters in Christ who have yet to come home.

Anonymous Angel June 19, 2012 2:15 PM  

PRAISE THE LORD!
It is the one of the two biggest blocks when witnessing to anyone, that we are truly depraved. They all talk about how good they are. I keep pointing out according to who? And show them we always have to point to someone we consider more evil then ourselves to look good. You know the "I am the good Nazi" thing. I might do this, but I don't do THAT and all that.
But where did they idea of good come from? And if there is no God, then who are you to tell me what good is? Sometimes it wakes them up, usually they just get pissed.
The other is they don't like final authority. They want me to tolerate everyone's belief. Everything is ok. They don't want to accept that they are not the final authority.

This gives me hope! Thanks for sharing. I will leave her a comment and pray for her. God Bless the Christian friend who didn't give up. More family to meet one day.

Anonymous Angel June 19, 2012 2:18 PM  

"I and the Blessed Virgin Mother are still praying for our remaining separated Protestant brothers and sisters in Christ who have yet to come home."

That is who you think you are praying with. But it isn't.

Jesus said His Kingdom is not of this world, and I am His. He is my Home. I am praying for you.

Anonymous Angel June 19, 2012 2:19 PM  

OT: Good prayer report, mom just has gallstones. We are taking her to the Dr's today and this week to attempt to solve this situation in between moving to another state.

Wonderful. I have a family member that suffers from that and I read that staying away from grapefruit juice helps alot (it is not what you are usually told about staying away from soft drinks and alcohol, etc).

Blogger JD Curtis June 19, 2012 2:20 PM  

From Fr Dwight Longenecker's blog today...

"The arguments for or against the existence of God need to be rational, philosophical arguments. Can God exist? The philosopher would have to conclude that the existence of an omnipotent personality separate from the physical world is a possibility. The possibility of God’s existence, however, does not demand God’s existence. God may exist, but we still have to ask, “Does God exist?” I believe the philosophical and experiential arguments–made in many different ways–point us to the probability that God exists. However, I can understand that others are not convinced–and those atheists who hold their position from a rational, philosophical viewpoint may do so with integrity." Link to article

Blogger Aeoli Pera June 19, 2012 2:25 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Aeoli Pera June 19, 2012 2:27 PM  

I can see a potential utilitarian case for using negative statements (X does not exist) as a default position. They are easier to examine according to evidence than the reverse (X does exist, because you can see/touch/hear it). But this road always seems to wind its way into the gates of nonsense:

"X does not exist."
"X does exist. Here it is."
"That's not X, that's Y. X has x1 and x2 and x3."
"We'll need a proper definition of X."
"Fap fap fap..."
"Fap fap fap..."

(I kid, I kid. Philosophy isn't my game, so I'm just making light of the way it looks from the outside.)

Despite my Christianity, agnosticism is my default intellectual position of choice (like Jerry). I can't render a reason for that choice; it just feels right.

Blogger Aeoli Pera June 19, 2012 2:27 PM  

Daniel,

The problem with hedging our bets is that we (humans) are bad at thinking about low probability, highly catastrophic events. This weakness is easily manipulated

E.g.
"Give me half your money to fight terrorism. It probably won't happen to you, but why risk it?"

Contrast this with:

"Give me 10% of your money to touch this relic or maybe you'll go to worst place of which your imagination can conceive."

It gets worse when you have alternatives:

"Give me 50% of your money or catastrophic event A will happen."
"Give me 60% of your money or catastrophic event B will happen."
"Give me 20% of your money or catastrophic event C will happen."
Et cetera...

It doesn't add up.

Anonymous Orion June 19, 2012 2:34 PM  

As one grows older, if you try to at least honestly look at the world with fresh eyes once in awhile the concept of existence being a big coincidence seems rather foolish. The sheer complexity of creation and the low probability for life tend to argue against it.

Anonymous Daniel June 19, 2012 2:36 PM  

physphilmusic, for what it is worth, here's your link link to atheist defection from childhood.

I put more faith in what is readily observable anecdotally: most published adult converts are converts away from atheism, all atheists I have ever met had their "epiphany" before they turned 20, and they mistook themselves for a prodigy, and atheism is not, at its core, convert-seeking.

It is a lot like nudism: it ebbs and flows with the economy and cultural tides for a tiny proportion of the population, but, even in fad stage, doesn't have a tenth of the reach of even minor religious efforts. And at least 50% of the kids raised in that environment are freaking weirded out by it for one obvious reason or another.

Anonymous Anonymous June 19, 2012 2:44 PM  

SHOCK REPORT: ... 100% of BORN-AGAIN Christians were not previously Christian. ...

Anonymous Daniel June 19, 2012 2:55 PM  

After all, if I convert to Jehovah's Witness, Mormonism, Scientology, or one of those religions with a lot of consonants in it, I know that there is a building I can go to, and people who can help me grow in my understanding of the religion.

If I "convert" to atheism, I've got no clue where I would go - GameStop?

Where does the fresh atheist convert even go for fellowship and instruction? A college club where everyone talks about how many gods they didn't worship or believe in that week?

Atheism is like M theory. It's not even wrong. People are free to believe in it, of course, but if they choose to waste their time and mine, literally defending nothing, it is going to end in a way they do not anticipate. Not even the atheist expects the Spanish Inquisition.

Anonymous darrenl June 19, 2012 3:05 PM  

Well...she came to Catholicism honestly and through the intellect.

...this is surprising, why?

Blogger Aeoli Pera June 19, 2012 3:18 PM  

"It is a lot like nudism..."

Take a bow, sir.

Blogger AndrewV June 19, 2012 3:23 PM  

@Daniel
atheism is not, at its core, convert-seeking

In my case correct.

I am a "natural", as my lack of belief is not a intellectual position. I have never believed, despite being raised as a Catholic, not even on the day of my first holy communion at age seven.

However, I did not deprive my children of, and they never objected to religious instruction.

Now this may strike some of you as odd to say the least, that an Atheist would allow his children to be raised as Anglicans, but my reasoning among other things include the suspicion, that belief or the lack of it is genetically related, and extend to the position that you can not teach tolerance by being intolerant yourself.

Make of it what you will, but I do not feel the need for others to share my lack of belief.

Anonymous Anonymous June 19, 2012 3:32 PM  

belief != religion

Blogger AndrewV June 19, 2012 3:33 PM  

@Daniel

If I "convert" to atheism, I've got no clue where I would go - GameStop?

There are groups that meet regularly, online blogs like this one etc. with annual conferences and so on.

They exist, but you do have to go looking for them. I am not going to recommend one having never felt the need to join one myself.

Actually, if you asked me I can think of a couple of suggestions, but you would also get the reverse, places to stay away from because I consider the members bat shit crazy.

Blogger Vox June 19, 2012 3:34 PM  

Do you have any link to any statistics about this Vox? That would really be interesting news.

It's in the Pew Report on religion. Download the report from their site.

Anonymous jerry June 19, 2012 3:35 PM  

Daniel: That's closer, I suppose, but not true. While agnosticism assumes that there may or may not be a god, it effectively biases toward behavior that there is, in fact not one worthy of worship.

Agnostic means "without knowledge". There is no "effective bias". There isn't even an "affective bias".

Blogger AndrewV June 19, 2012 3:36 PM  

@Anonymous

belief != religion

Truth! But in my case it is a distinction without a difference.

Anonymous Scintan June 19, 2012 3:58 PM  

OT: Vox, I think it would be interesting to read your take on Scalia's forthcoming book in regards to the Wickard case and its progeny.

Anonymous Joe June 19, 2012 4:12 PM  

"Now this may strike some of you as odd to say the least, that an Atheist would allow his children to be raised as Anglicans"

Not really, knowing Anglicans. Or Methodists or any other mainline denomination.

Now, if you had sent your kids to a evangelical baptist church, with people jumping up and down for Jesus, with alter calls and such, that's be saying something.

But sending your kids to a dying "church" run by pagans. Not that impressed.

Anonymous James Dixon June 19, 2012 4:23 PM  

> Not really, knowing Anglicans. ... But sending your kids to a dying "church" run by pagans.

Your confusing the generic with the specific. Yes, some branches of the Anglican church (notably the Episcopal Church and the Church of England) seem to be dying, but the Anglican faith itself isn't.

Anonymous Cardinal Neuman June 19, 2012 4:39 PM  

Where does the fresh atheist convert even go for fellowship and instruction?

I think somebody's missing the point.

Blogger Robert Pearson June 19, 2012 5:16 PM  

I went from child Mormon to teenage atheist to 50-year-old Roman Catholic--just baptized a month ago. My conversion was a good deal like Leah's, based on intellect and reason rather than "blind" faith. A note too all the good Protestants here: You're missing out on the Real Presence, believe me. Why settle for just bread?

Anonymous jerry June 19, 2012 5:25 PM  

A note too all the good Protestants here: You're missing out on the Real Presence, believe me. Why settle for just bread?

Shut up. You are but a suckling baby.

Blogger Dominic Saltarelli June 19, 2012 6:05 PM  

I'm starting to think the only reason I qualify as atheist simply because I believe in things far more insane and mind bending than gods.

Anonymous darrenl June 19, 2012 6:08 PM  

Robert Pearson: "I went from child Mormon to teenage atheist to 50-year-old Roman Catholic--just baptized a month ago."

...welcome home!!

Anonymous Holla June 19, 2012 6:42 PM  

"And, as I've noted before, a higher percentage of children raised atheist convert to Christianity than children raised Christian convert to atheism, as was apparently the case here."

And the more intelligent / philosophically serious converts trend toward Catholicism.

Anonymous Stickwick June 19, 2012 6:52 PM  

I'm starting to think the only reason I qualify as atheist [is] simply because I believe in things far more insane and mind bending than gods.

Dominic, if you ever end up a famous man, that's going to be the quote for which you are most remembered.

Anonymous Allabaster June 19, 2012 7:27 PM  

In your case Dom....maybe you should start calling yourself a hypertheist or metatheist.
Maybe even an ultrametaphysician with cheese.
You are above that typical atheist rabble and you know it.

Anonymous Anonymous June 19, 2012 7:37 PM  

atheism requires fewer assumptions than theism.

Anonymous Jdub June 19, 2012 7:52 PM  

"where does the fresh atheist convert even go for fellowship and instruction?"

Fellowship and instruction in what?

Anonymous Mr. Tzu June 19, 2012 7:55 PM  

Reading the excerpt I was mildly curious to see if Kelly, from the RSS, had finally come around to completing TIA. Apparently this was not the case. May God continue to bless this convert just the same.

Anonymous SouthTX June 19, 2012 8:02 PM  

Yes it does. going down a dark path would have meant bad things.

Anonymous Scintan June 19, 2012 8:14 PM  

atheism requires fewer assumptions than theism.

Other than "God(s) exist(s)", what assumptions do you think theism requires?

Blogger Syllabus June 19, 2012 8:24 PM  

"atheism requires fewer assumptions than theism."

Even if that were true, at least the assumptions made by theism don't rest upon and result in massive metaphysical absurdities.

Anonymous zen0 June 19, 2012 8:34 PM  

Stickwick June 19, 2012 6:52 PM

I'm starting to think the only reason I qualify as atheist [is] simply because I believe in things far more insane and mind bending than gods.

Dominic, if you ever end up a famous man, that's going to be the quote for which you are most remembered.


Seems to me more like an admission to a lack of imagination, especially when the insane things are not actually listed.

Anonymous PC Geek June 19, 2012 8:41 PM  

Even if that were true, at least the assumptions made by theism don't rest upon and result in massive metaphysical absurdities.


As a Christian myself, I think I know what you may be getting at, but for my own edification (and that of the others on this blog) could you please elaborate?

Blogger Syllabus June 19, 2012 9:23 PM  

"As a Christian myself, I think I know what you may be getting at, but for my own edification (and that of the others on this blog) could you please elaborate?"

What I mean is that we don't have a worldview that rests upon extremely shaky philosophical foundations. To take one example, we don't have to give causal explanations that, at bottom, boil down to, "contingent beings come from non-being, uncaused."

That being said, not all atheisms are equal. The atheism of, say, a Hitchens is far less robust and coherent than that of, say, a Quentin Smith or a J. L. Mackie. The latter deserve to be taken seriously; the former doesn't, really.

Anonymous Other Josh June 19, 2012 9:39 PM  

Amen to that! Thanks for sharing this, Vox. Good stuff.

Anonymous zen0 June 19, 2012 9:49 PM  

@ Holla June 19, 2012 6:42 PM

And the more intelligent (sic) / philosophically serious converts trend toward Catholicism.

That's because it is pagan friendly.

Anonymous Holla June 19, 2012 10:09 PM  

Sic is used when a word is misspelled.

As for "pagan," there is nothing more pagan than the materialism of Protestantism.

Blogger Syllabus June 19, 2012 10:11 PM  

"As for "pagan," there is nothing more pagan than the materialism of Protestantism."

Materialism? In what sense of the word?

Blogger Dominic Saltarelli June 19, 2012 10:38 PM  

zen0 June 19, 2012 8:34 PM
Seems to me more like an admission to a lack of imagination, especially when the insane things are not actually listed.

*ahem*

Anonymous zen0 June 19, 2012 10:38 PM  

Holla June 19, 2012 10:09 PM

Sic is used when a word is misspelled.

As for "pagan," there is nothing more pagan than the materialism of Protestantism.


The Latin adverb sic ("thus"; in full: sic erat scriptum, "thus was it written") added immediately after a quoted word or phrase (or a longer piece of text), indicates that the quoted words have been transcribed exactly as spelled or presented in the original source, complete with any erroneous spelling or other presentation

I defy you to present a supposed Christian religion that consciously incorporated more pagan symbols into its icons than Catholicism.

Anonymous zen0 June 19, 2012 11:13 PM  

@ Dominic Saltarelli 10:38

*ahem*


I read the whole thing and didn't read your conclusions, just that you had more questions. You don't take a stand other than wonderment.

I have a question. When will you present some conclusions?

PS Have you ever successfully operated a Ouija board?
If not, I would advise against it.
If so, who do you think you were communicating with?

Blogger RCR_Chris June 19, 2012 11:26 PM  

Lol

"... any Protestant (and, yes, self-styled "Bible Christians" are Protestants, since they reject the only Christian Church that existed for the first 15 centuries after Christ) who calls the Catholic Church "pagan" needs to look in mirror, for by any rational measure you and your religion are jus as "pagan"."


http://www.pocm.info/getting_started_pocm.html

http://www.seiyaku.com/customs/pagan-symbols.html

http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jcpa1.htm


From www.catholicthinker.net/catholicism-and-paganism/

Anonymous SouthTX June 19, 2012 11:36 PM  

I and my wife are just glad that all the kid's embrace the Cross. I know I am fallen. They thought it through They were smart enough to want Grace.

Blogger RCR_Chris June 19, 2012 11:46 PM  

[b]I and my wife are just glad that all the kid's embrace the Cross. I know I am fallen. They thought it through They were smart enough to want Grace.[/b]

Indeed... :)

Anonymous Anonymous June 20, 2012 12:23 AM  

Let's try a scientific experiment on religion. We start with a proposition: "the precepts of God Constitute the best means for the maintenance of order in the world and the preservation of its peoples."

Next, we place an atheist in charge of a nation and a Christian in charge of another (or the same one). We have enough examples to generalize from. My prediction is that the atheist results will be uniform (disaster), but the Christian results will vary. this is because the precepts of God are difficult to follow. The Christian that follows the precepts best will have the best results.

Anonymous Beau June 20, 2012 12:40 AM  

Robert Pearson: A note too all the good Protestants here: You're missing out on the Real Presence, believe me. Why settle for just bread?

Martin Luther recovered the gospel from a cesspool of corrupt aggrandizement. He found forgiveness in the real presence, believe me. Why settle for just religion?

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes; first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed - a righteousness that by faith from first to last, just as it is written; "The righteous will live by faith." Romans 1:16-18

By the way, regarding communion, the doctrine of the Real Presence is a Lutheran teaching.

Anonymous Beau June 20, 2012 12:48 AM  

RCR_Chris: "... any Protestant (and, yes, self-styled "Bible Christians" are Protestants, since they reject the only Christian Church that existed for the first 15 centuries after Christ)

All those Orthodox churches filled with believers since Paul's First Missionary Journey have never existed - right.

Anonymous p-dawg June 20, 2012 12:55 AM  

@Darrenl:

It's surprising to me because of the high number of contradictions between Scripture and Catholic doctrine. You'd think someone with intelligence would try to find a religion that was consistent with its own source material. That's just me, though.

Anonymous Toby Temple June 20, 2012 1:02 AM  

Holla June 19, 2012 6:42 PM

And the more intelligent / philosophically serious converts trend toward Catholicism.


Holla, you are living proof that that statement of yours is false.

Anonymous SouthTX June 20, 2012 1:24 AM  

I don't argue branches. I have friends from all. But I still am glad I saw the cross.

Anonymous III June 20, 2012 1:35 AM  

Awwwww... the catholic church brings out the romantics. And then there is everything else. Anyhow, was it Paul... James... who warned us of the many doctrines and then warned us to stay in the faith of the gospel as they presented it by the power of the holy ghost?

Look! A Methodist! A Lutheran! A Catholic! A Baptist! A Nazarene! Etc. Look! It's the Body of Christ!

Blogger Dominic Saltarelli June 20, 2012 1:40 AM  

zen0 June 19, 2012 11:13 PM

PS Have you ever successfully operated a Ouija board?
If not, I would advise against it.
If so, who do you think you were communicating with?


Nope, all attempts have resulted in nothing but the word "penis".

Anonymous SouthTX June 20, 2012 1:42 AM  

I'll take grace anytime. Lord know's I need it.

Anonymous T14 June 20, 2012 4:03 AM  

As to the Ouija board, I've been meaning to get one. I can see it being used for a drinking game. But buying a Hasbro-brand board just seem a little inauthentic. As the "Buffy the Vampire-Slayer" brand board. Where is a man to find a real true-blue demon-summoning board?

Blogger RCR_Chris June 20, 2012 4:14 AM  

Beau:
By the way, regarding communion, the doctrine of the Real Presence is a Lutheran teaching.


Interesting. I knew the Lutheran Church holds several similar beliefs to the Catholic Church, albeit usually with a twist, but I wasn't aware this was another one of them.

I did know that Martin Luther held to the doctrine of the Real Presence. Even though he was a Catholic who left the church for the abuses of it's members and over his belief that his personal interpretation of some parts of scripture was right and the Church's was wrong, he still held to many of the same doctrines.

The doctrine of the Real Presence can be easily traced all the way back to Christ (John 6:32-71 and the last supper narratives.) It was also reiterated by Paul in 1 Corinthians, chapters 10 & 11, and also held to and described in writing by many early church fathers, including Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, etc...

Anonymous Daniel June 20, 2012 4:24 AM  

AndrewV, you live the example of the honest atheist. It only makes sense to me that a rational person would neither seek nor need fellowship around a shared non-belief in something. It is evangelical atheism that lacks intellectual standards. If faith is akin to a belief in Santa Claus, after all, what sort of ridiculous "threat" or "problem" could that provide.

I even understand an atheist who would be mildly distressed that his child would convert to a perceived fairy tale (i.e. a non-dangerous cult) - not for any harm it would cause them, but for the loss of connection. In that case, the beloved child would be devoted to something I could not possibly share, or even want to share. Most atheists I know who have no problem with their kid's faith have something more important than their own views, though: at a minimum, their kid's happiness.

I am the only former natural (i.e. like you, from birth, as far as I can tell) atheist who is also a natural (i.e. non-intellectual, non-evangelized) convert to Christ that I have met so far - actually, both without any intellectual or social underpinnings. The underpinnings came later - although, in all honesty, my atheist underpinnings were intentionally to justify my belief, and I would have admitted as much at the time, and my Christian ones are to better understand the object of my belief. I was probably a dishonest atheist but an honest Christian, so it isn't fair to judge atheism on my experience as one and I try not to make that my main guide.

Went from born atheist to born again Christian while crossing a street one day.

Or maybe it was just a seizure that's persisted for two decades.

Anonymous FrankNorman June 20, 2012 5:29 AM  

Sad that the Roman Catholics posting here want to turn this into a RCC-vs-Protestant fight, (with the Orthodox sitting on one side saying "hey, don't forget about us!" and the Papists shouting back "shut up! you don't exist!")

Is Thomistic philosophy necessarily Roman Catholic?

Anonymous Toby Temple June 20, 2012 6:14 AM  

They are taking the chance to go offensive early on much like what typical militant atheists do.

Anonymous DrTorch June 20, 2012 6:47 AM  

Nice.

Anonymous Beau June 20, 2012 7:41 AM  

Is Thomistic philosophy necessarily Roman Catholic?

It is normative Roman Catholicism.

Anonymous Holla June 20, 2012 7:50 AM  

Zeno:
I defy you to present a supposed Christian religion that consciously incorporated more pagan symbols into its icons than Catholicism.

1. You're argument is trash from the get go, but:

Ahem. Mormonism.

Anonymous Harry Suit June 20, 2012 7:50 AM  

I enjoy your blog for your economic and cultural insights, and I understand that it is important for the masses to believe in a God, in order to maintain social order (the vast majority cannot handle reality in its complete indifference to human life). But you are a very intelligent man, you don't *really* believe in God - or even worse, buy into the dogma of an established religion, do you? You honestly think Jesus rose from the dead? Is the Earth less than 10,000 years old? Do you at least separate the moral/spiritual components of the religion from claims that fall into the scientific realm? Doesn't the existence of DNA, shared by all macroscopic living things, negate any 'created in His image' nonsense?

It's one thing to support a meme that tends to foster a society that benefits you. It's another to buy into the meme yourself. You are better than that.

Anonymous Holla June 20, 2012 7:52 AM  

Martin Luther recovered the gospel from a cesspool of corrupt aggrandizement. He found forgiveness in the real presence, believe me. Why settle for just religion?

Appropriate, since he did all his writing while demon possessed on a commode.

Anonymous Holla June 20, 2012 7:53 AM  

"Sad that the Roman Catholics posting here want to turn this into a RCC-vs-Protestant fight, (with the Orthodox sitting on one side saying "hey, don't forget about us!" and the Papists shouting back "shut up! you don't exist!")"

Hey buddy, the Protestants literally started it first.

"jay c June 19, 2012 12:53 PM

Good stuff. I'm not sure that Catholicism is the best choice for a recovering atheist, it is very far from the worst. A good start."

Blogger Spacebunny June 20, 2012 8:05 AM  

So, Holla (our queen of naked assertions) has to name another (meaning not Catholic) sect that is based on loads of, how should I put this...extra-biblical tradition.... to support his claim that "As for "pagan," there is nothing more pagan than the materialism of Protestantism."

I don't quite know how to break this to you Holla dear, but Mormons don't consider themselves Protestant by the common usage of the word, nor do Protestants consider Mormons to be Protestant, but I'm sure you'll jump in and make some lame attempt to justify your grouping them in with Protestants.

Now, I can certainly think of a few non-demoninational protestant churches that might fit your description, but not as a whole and for a Roman Catholic to claim that Protestants are materialistic and pagan is laughable to say the least. One only has to travel throughout Europe and visit the various Catholic churches and compare them to the Protestant ones - the difference is striking to say the least.... But all of that money wasted on beautiful buildings is for the glory of God, right?

Anonymous FrankNorman June 20, 2012 8:19 AM  

Beau June 20, 2012 7:41 AM

Is Thomistic philosophy necessarily Roman Catholic?

It is normative Roman Catholicism.


They've pretty much "canonized" Aristotle then?

What I mean is, Aquineas' "Natural Theology" is good for proving the existence of God from philosophical premises, and they do a lot of thinking about moral issues, but no matter how hard you shake Aristotle, he's not going to cough up a doctrine of Papal Supremacy for you.

Anonymous physics geek June 20, 2012 8:20 AM  


It's one thing to support a meme that tends to foster a society that benefits you. It's another to buy into the meme yourself. You are better than that.


You really don't understand Vox at all, do you?

Anonymous rubbermallet June 20, 2012 8:26 AM  

seems to me he thinks he already understands everything.

Blogger Markku June 20, 2012 8:31 AM  

Is Thomistic philosophy necessarily Roman Catholic?

It is normative Roman Catholicism.


It would seem to me that these two are completely different things. The first one means that if you believe in Thomistic philosophy, you must be Catholic in order to be consistent. The second means that if you are a Catholic, you must believe in Thomistic philosophy.

Anonymous Wayne June 20, 2012 8:33 AM  

"A little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion." --Sir Francis Bacon

Blogger Markku June 20, 2012 8:38 AM  

An example of the former class of doctrines would be that of Papal infallibility. You cannot believe it in isolation, it necessarily leads to the whole system.

Anonymous PTR June 20, 2012 8:39 AM  

Space Bunny wrote:
I don't quite know how to break this to you Holla dear, but Mormons don't consider themselves Protestant by the common usage of the word, nor do Protestants consider Mormons to be Protestant, but I'm sure you'll jump in and make some lame attempt to justify your grouping them in with Protestants.


Let's be fair; the challenge set by Zeno said nothing about Protestantism, she said "supposed Christian religion" which arguably describes Mormonism to perfection.

Blogger Markku June 20, 2012 8:40 AM  

[Zeno] said "supposed Christian religion"

And he would say the same thing about all Protestants.

Anonymous Holla June 20, 2012 8:54 AM  

Spacebunny:

The challenge from Zeno was:

"Zeno: I defy you to present a supposed Christian religion that consciously incorporated more pagan symbols into its icons than Catholicism."

He said nothing about "protestants."

You really have a reading comprehension problem, don't you?

As for "materialism," perhaps you're unaware of the common tactic of replacing the sacramental order of history with an alchemical one?

This is the hallmark of protestant occultism / paganism, which manifests itself perfectly in the Mormon Nationalism of the Glenn Beck / Romney ilk.

Anonymous FrankNorman June 20, 2012 9:07 AM  

As for "materialism," perhaps you're unaware of the common tactic of replacing the sacramental order of history with an alchemical one?

Could you explain what you mean by that?

Anonymous Holla June 20, 2012 9:14 AM  

BTW Spacebunny -

You seem to imply that the Catholic church is a "sect."

"So, Holla (our queen of naked assertions) has to name another (meaning not Catholic) sect that is based on loads of, how should I put this..."

sect |sekt|
noun
a group of people with somewhat different religious beliefs (typically regarded as heretical) from those of a larger group to which they belong.

Seeing as that there are many more Catholics than Protestants, or any other Christian group, it hardly fits to call Catholicism a "sect."

These 2.3 billion Christians can be divided into six “ecclesiastical megablocks”: 1,160,880,000 Catholics; 426,450,000 Protestants; 271,316,000 Orthodox; 87,520,000 Anglicans; 378,281,000 “Independents” (i.e., those separated from or unaffiliated with historic denominational Christianity); and 35,539,000 “marginal Christians” (i.e., those professing off-brand Trinitarian theology, dubious Christology, or a supplementary written revelation beyond the Bible).

In fact, you and your hubby weird theology are much closer to the intent of the word sect, or I'd even go as far as to say "cult" than the ubiquitous and eternal Catholic Church.

The more you know.

Anonymous Bill June 20, 2012 9:15 AM  

So we've established that the Church of Rome and Mormons are the two Christian-derived religion which consciously incorporated the most pagan symbols into its icons.

So which is the MOST pagan of the two? HOlla? Spacebunny? Zeno?

Anonymous FrankNorman June 20, 2012 9:20 AM  

Holla, a big sect is still a sect. And there is nothing perjorative about the world.

Anonymous PC Geek June 20, 2012 9:21 AM  

It's one thing to support a meme that tends to foster a society that benefits you. It's another to buy into the meme yourself. You are better than that.


Before you spoout off your tired, hackneyed atheist cliches, try reading some of the past posts of atheism first and then come back if you actually have good arguments as opposed to rank assertions sans proof.

Anonymous Harry Suit June 20, 2012 9:25 AM  

PC Geek,

What arguments? Do I need to prove the Easter Bunny does not exist? I am merely expressing surprise that someone as intelligent as Vox would mainline the opium of the masses.

Anonymous Anonymous June 20, 2012 9:32 AM  

"Do I need to prove the Easter Bunny does not exist?"

Remember how people show up every Sunday to worship the Easter Bunny??? How people devote their lives to the Easter Bunny??? How brave of you to disbelieve a fictional character that everyone over the age of 6 knows is a fictional character...

Anonymous PC Geek June 20, 2012 9:36 AM  

In addition to what anonynous said, I might add that apparently you didn't bothe reading some of the toher theology/religion posts on this blog...heck this very post (closer to the top of the comments) puts the lie to the crap your spewing.

Anyway I have to get to work - if you *actually* have arguments instead of juvenile lists of simple assertions than go ahead and bring them out (of course read first on this blog to see if we have already addreesed your argument).

If you are just going to keep making statements without proof then just go away.

Anonymous Viking June 20, 2012 10:28 AM  

It hurts my heart every time this topic is brought up. Nothing splits this community like Catholicism vs Protestantism. And when you compare us all to either the secularism of the world or the liberal wacky portions of all our faiths, Orthodox "conservative" Catholic Christians and Evangelical "conservative" Christians mostly believe in the same thing. We "do" things different but we mostly believe the same. What we do believe differently mostly has to do with why we do what we do more than what we believe.

But while we argue about pagan symbolism our secular gov't works feverishly to bankrupt and force out of business all of our ministries to a poor broken world. Soup kitchens, hospitals, shelters, universities, orphanages.

Blogger Markku June 20, 2012 10:28 AM  

Easter Bunny is almost completely superfluous to your model of reality. Take him away, and the only thing you have to explain is how the eggs appear in the yard, which is easily done.

But take away the Creator, and now you have to do the same to the origin of life (not just the species, but the first life form), using only the natural laws for the explanation.

Blogger Spacebunny June 20, 2012 10:30 AM  

The challenge from Zeno was:

"Zeno: I defy you to present a supposed Christian religion that consciously incorporated more pagan symbols into its icons than Catholicism."

He said nothing about "protestants


I am aware of the challenge from Zeno was, unfortunately for you, I'm also aware of what your original assertion, and therefore the context of the question was - protestantism (I actually quoted you directly in my previous comment on the subject), that you are dishonest enough to attempt to change the clear context is not in the least bit surprising.

You seem to imply that the Catholic church is a "sect."


That you think I "seemed to imply" it only demonstrates that it is you have the problem with reading comprehension, dear. For amusement, and to further outline your stupidity and/or dishonesty, I note that you cited the definition and then went on to try to explain why the RCC couldn't possibly be a sect. Well, to help you out I'll cite your definition again -


sect |sekt|
noun
a group of people with somewhat different religious beliefs from those of a larger group to which they belong.


Now, you natter on about how the RRC is the largest Christian denomination in the world. No argument according to your numbers and others I've seen, they are the biggest sect, unfortunately for you, that is irrelevant as they are, by definition (now pay attention here dear, this is the important bit you don't get), part of the larger group. You know, that silly group called Christians.

Anonymous Daniel June 20, 2012 10:30 AM  

Harry Suit
What arguments? Do I need to prove the Easter Bunny does not exist?

Actually, yes. Please do so. It should be a simple exercise, after all. Based on your previous post, it is pretty obvious that you haven't got the intellectual rigor to do it successfully.

After all, if you can't scientifically disprove the existence of the Easter bunny, you've got no business trying to take on the existence of gods.

Blogger IM2L844 June 20, 2012 10:40 AM  

"Do I need to prove the Easter Bunny does not exist?"

Clever! That one just never gets old. Pffft.

I don't know of anyone who has ever claimed that there is any viable circumstantial or anecdotal evidence supporting the actual existence of the Easter Bunny, pink unicorns, flying spaghetti monsters or an "invisible man in the sky" for that matter.

Come on. At least be an honest simpleton and admit that you're not really trying to make a point. You are just regurgitating a lame attempt at disparaging snarkiness that you've learned from someone else.

Blogger Spacebunny June 20, 2012 10:45 AM  

In fact, you and your hubby weird theology are much closer to the intent of the word sect, or I'd even go as far as to say "cult" than the ubiquitous and eternal Catholic Church.


I almost missed this little gem from Holla. My weird theology? And what theology would that be dear? Please be specific, but I have talked so seldom about my personal theological beliefs on this forum that I would be fascinated to know what they are and how they are weird.

Anonymous Daniel June 20, 2012 11:09 AM  

IM2L844
At least be an honest simpleton and admit that you're not really trying to make a point. You are just regurgitating a lame attempt at disparaging snarkiness that you've learned from someone else.

Oh, come on, stop ruining the fun. Make him prove the Easter Bunny doesn't exist. You realize he's not capable, right?

Come on Harry. Tell me about the rabbits.

Anonymous James Dixon June 20, 2012 11:17 AM  

Speaking for myself only, not Vox:

> But you are a very intelligent man, you don't *really* believe in God..

Yes.

> - or even worse, buy into the dogma of an established religion...

Depends on the exact dogma in question.

> You honestly think Jesus rose from the dead?

Yes.

> Is the Earth less than 10,000 years old?

That's not a teaching of Christianity.

> Do you at least separate the moral/spiritual components of the religion from claims that fall into the scientific realm?

Not in the way you mean. Science supplements my understanding. It doesn't replace it.

> Doesn't the existence of DNA, shared by all macroscopic living things, negate any 'created in His image' nonsense?

No, it doesn't.

> Do I need to prove the Easter Bunny does not exist?

If you're making that as a claim, yes.

Anonymous Joe June 20, 2012 11:38 AM  

"Doesn't the existence of DNA, shared by all macroscopic living things, negate any 'created in His image' nonsense?"

What if "image" doesn't mean what YOU think it does? What if "image" means MIND? What if "image" means sentience? What if you actually took the time to THINK - on your own - about what God's Word might mean, instead of letting Sunday School picture-books dictate your understanding? That's be some serious "freethinking" my friend...

Anonymous PC Geek June 20, 2012 12:17 PM  

It is a simple aphorism but nonetheless true - "freethinkers" are anything but.

Anonymous Anonymous June 20, 2012 12:59 PM  

"I just hope she avoids the anti-Protestant, over-the-top, wannabe-martyr expression of Catholicism that is not entirely atypical of adult converts (see: Ann Barnhardt)."

I doubt it.

Why not be the same anti-Protestant, over-the-top, wannabe-martyr you previously were as an atheist, but also be Christian. You can still hang out with your atheist buddies and joke about the "Bible thumpin fundies" -- best of both worlds.

Anonymous Anonymous June 20, 2012 1:09 PM  

SCIENCE SPEAKS -- you listen!


Bible-era earthquake reveals year of Jesus' crucifixion
http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/05/24/bible-era-earthquake-reveals-year-jesus-crucifixion

Anonymous Holla June 20, 2012 1:14 PM  

Spacebunny -

1. You dimwit - I answered Zeno's question directly. Your attempt to find context where there is none is simply you grabbing at straws.

2. You dimwit. I don't claim that Catholics belong to the fake group of goofy heretics known as "Christian" at all - that study I cited does, but I do not. I reject the appellation "Christian" just as I would Islamist or any other heresy. To be more to the point - I don't regard Protestantism, Islam, or Mormonism as anything more or less than heresies of the True Faith. And even if I did, Catholics would still be the majority of that group - and the others the offshoots or branches.

3. Vox denies the Trinity, for starters. Do you agree with or refute that nuttery?

Anonymous Kaeleb June 20, 2012 1:59 PM  

Is it any wonder that those who would strike down Christianity have made such inroads?

Blogger Spacebunny June 20, 2012 2:30 PM  

1. You dimwit - I answered Zeno's question directly. Your attempt to find context where there is none is simply you grabbing at straws.


No context existed? Seriously?! Wow, you just took dishonesty to an entirely new level for you - bravo!

I don't claim that Catholics belong to the fake group of goofy heretics known as "Christian" at all - that study I cited does, but I do not. I reject the appellation "Christian" just as I would Islamist or any other heresy. To be more to the point - I don't regard Protestantism, Islam, or Mormonism as anything more or less than heresies of the True Faith. And even if I did, Catholics would still be the majority of that group - and the others the offshoots or branches.

Holla dear, we are all well aware of your irrationality and stupidity, so I know that this will probably come as a bit of a shock to you, but words mean things and nobody really cares that you personally want to change the meaning to fit your inane attempts at rationalizing away your demonstrable stupidity.


3. Vox denies the Trinity, for starters. Do you agree with or refute that nuttery?

Sorry dear, but you made an assertion about my "weird theology" implying that you already know what it is. I asked you to prove that and attempting to figure out what it is now after having been called on it isn't going to fly. Now, you've been around here long enough to know what your options are and if not, I refer you to the sidebar where a link to the rules of the blog can be found.

Anonymous Daniel June 20, 2012 2:42 PM  

Holla
I don't claim that Catholics belong to the fake group of goofy heretics known as "Christian" at all - that study I cited does, but I do not.

The study and the pope, that is. Pope Benedict would kick your spiritual ass in prayer:

"That the different Christian confessions, aware of the need for a new evangelisation in this period of profound transformations, may be committed to announcing the Good News and moving towards the full unity of all Christians in order to offer a more credible testimony of the Gospel."

St. Nicholas, were he alive, might kick your physical one for heresy. Roman Catholic non-Christians are not exactly...um...kosher?

Anonymous James Dixon June 20, 2012 3:43 PM  

>> These 2.3 billion Christians can be divided into six “ecclesiastical megablocks”: 1,160,880,000 Catholics; 426,450,000 Protestants; 271,316,000 Orthodox; 87,520,000 Anglicans; 378,281,000 “Independents” (i.e., those separated from or unaffiliated with historic denominational Christianity); and 35,539,000 “marginal Christians”

> And even if I did, Catholics would still be the majority of that group - and the others the offshoots or branches.

35.539+378.281+87.520+271.326+426.450=1199.096

1199.096 > 1160.880

By those figures, Roman Catholics are not the majority, only the largest group.

Anonymous Holla June 20, 2012 4:28 PM  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Anonymous Holla June 20, 2012 4:49 PM  

Haha.

Here you go, Spacebunny.

I apologize for assuming that you agree with your husband's insane theology.

Blogger Markku June 20, 2012 5:44 PM  

I apologize for assuming that you agree with your husband's insane theology.

Simply retracting the claim would have been enough.

Anonymous bw June 20, 2012 6:05 PM  

@ Beau

All those Orthodox churches filled with believers since Paul's First Missionary Journey have never existed - right

If you're still reading this thread, could you point me to some reading/study on this history and in this direction pls? Thanks in advance brother. (anyone else as well)

Anonymous FrankNorman June 20, 2012 6:33 PM  

The Book of Acts?

Anonymous Harry Suit June 20, 2012 6:59 PM  

"But take away the Creator, and now you have to do the same to the origin of life (not just the species, but the first life form), using only the natural laws for the explanation."

I do? Why isn't "I don't know" a valid answer? Is the existence of some questions that cannot currently (or perhaps, ever) be answered by science, somehow magically justifying "God did it"?

Humans are finite, less than a speck of dust in the near infinity of the universe. It's amazing we've amassed the knowledge we have, using rational scientific means. That we don't seem to have a verifiable answer to everything doesn't mean we have to run to a God of the Gaps, does it?

Blogger Markku June 20, 2012 7:03 PM  

I do? Why isn't "I don't know" a valid answer?

Because that is agnosticism, not atheism.

Blogger RCR_Chris June 20, 2012 7:51 PM  

Harry Suit
"Is the existence of some questions that cannot currently (or perhaps, ever) be answered by science, somehow magically justifying 'God did it'?"

No, but the fact that they cannot be answered by science does not mean that only a scientific explanation is allowable.

Anonymous p-dawg June 20, 2012 7:55 PM  

Watching Catholics and Protestants argue about who's the most pagan is painful. "Oh, we're slightly less pagan than you!" "No, we're slightly less pagan than you!" Do you do what the Scripture says or what your admittedly pagan church says? That's the true test. Not which 501(c)3 corporation you're a member of. Also, Harry, how long is it going to take for you to post your proof of the nonexistence of the Easter Bunny? I'm waiting with bated breath.

Anonymous Harry Suit June 20, 2012 8:15 PM  

"No, but the fact that they cannot be answered by science does not mean that only a scientific explanation is allowable."

Certainly if the answer cannot be found by empirical means, then almost anything (that cannot be disproved) is allowable. But I'm not sure I'd hang my hat on any of those unfounded 'explanations'.

I understand the emotional desire most people have to believe in a creator who will love them and make sure they never really die. What I don't understand is how an intelligent person capable of self-awareness (including introspection of emotional states) would bother to maintain a real belief in God. It doesn't exactly bother me; I'll still read the blog for all the non-religious posts, because when it comes to human action Vox has a lot of good things to say.

Anonymous bw June 20, 2012 8:24 PM  

Spot on, p-dawg.
His Church is spiritual - it is not a man-made Institution.
The phony Churchianity was more than glad to hand over its birthright to TheState.

Blogger RCR_Chris June 20, 2012 8:25 PM  

Certainly if the answer cannot be found by empirical means, then almost anything (that cannot be disproved) is allowable. But I'm not sure I'd hang my hat on any of those unfounded 'explanations'.

Quite the self-contradiction.

If empiricism can't provide answers, anything not disprovable is allowed.

Except for the idea of God....

Well, OK.

Anonymous Harry Suit June 20, 2012 8:31 PM  

No, RCR, God is allowed too - He's just not any more special than any other unfounded belief that can be shoe-horned into answering a question that science cannot touch.

Blogger Markku June 20, 2012 8:40 PM  

HS: It's funny that you say "It's another to buy into the meme yourself. You are better than that." when it is your own world view that suffers the problem of containing no explanatory tools for the origin of life.

Sure, there are other models that are on the same level as Vox's, as far as this particular problem is concerned. They would require further debate. But the one that definitely cannot afford to be patronizing is you.

Anonymous Toby Temple June 20, 2012 9:45 PM  

I think it is about time that posts like that of Harry Suit should just be ignored until he/she/it wonders why they are getting ignored.

It's nothing more than an attempt to get attention.

Anonymous Harry Suit June 20, 2012 10:07 PM  

"...your own world view that suffers the problem of containing no explanatory tools for the origin of life."

Why is that a problem? I believe it is silly to have a world view that makes up an unprovable explanatory tool for the origin of life, just because it fills in the gap. One has to pretend to have an answer for everything, in order to have an answer for something?

And Toby, if you are uncomfortable, feel free to ignore.

Blogger Markku June 20, 2012 10:12 PM  

Why is that a problem?

Because you try to be patronizing towards a world view that does have it. Otherwise you would have no obligation to explain yourself.

Anonymous Harry Suit June 20, 2012 10:26 PM  

Markku,

I think you need to rethink that, since your statement doesn't make sense. One unprovable 'explanation' is as good as any other; being able to patch in all the gaps doesn't make your world view better. Human knowledge is what it is - anything beyond that is irrelevant, and would only matter to someone with a non-rational investment in having all the answers or needing to justify an answer already in mind. Is it just a coincidence that the belief system most commonly used to answer the origin of life just so happens to also promise eternal life? Funny how the package deal aligns with base human desires.

Blogger Syllabus June 20, 2012 10:50 PM  

"Is it just a coincidence that the belief system most commonly used to answer the origin of life just so happens to also promise eternal life? "

In Judeo-Christian tradition, that wasn't true until hundreds of years after the bulk of the Old Testament was written. For many deists, like the late Antony Flew, that wasn't and isn't a consideration at all. And even if it were, that wouldn't prove anything either way. It sounds a lot like a dressed up genetic fallacy.

Anonymous 5stng June 20, 2012 11:00 PM  

Pdawg

nobody has admitted their church is pagan. Your invisible spirit church is your own personal poison distilled from the non biblical principle of sola scrptura

Anonymous physphilmusic June 20, 2012 11:17 PM  

"Is it just a coincidence that the belief system most commonly used to answer the origin of life just so happens to also promise eternal life? Funny how the package deal aligns with base human desires."

It's also quite funny how the belief system prohibits all forms of extramarital sex, obliges you to spend your Sundays in a church, and gives threats of hellfire for not believing. The Christian religion aligns with some "basic desires", but not others. While you can probably make up some just-so, naturalistic explanation for most of its features, that has little bearing on assessing its truth.

Anonymous physphilmusic June 20, 2012 11:24 PM  

What arguments? Do I need to prove the Easter Bunny does not exist? I am merely expressing surprise that someone as intelligent as Vox would mainline the opium of the masses.

If Paul Myers' daily online preachings and papal bulls and gnu Atheism in general aren't also a form of "opium of the masses", I don't know what is.

Certainly if the answer cannot be found by empirical means, then almost anything (that cannot be disproved) is allowable.

Do you believe that in the cases of non-empirical matters and discourse, there is no way of determining whether a certain explanation is more probable or preferable to others?

If you do, then your thought is not much different than thinly-disguised scientism. And posing that scientism is an obvious truth for all "intelligent" people doesn't changed the fact that it was given a try in the 20th century, found wanting, and almost universally abandoned by professional philosophers.

Anonymous Toby Temple June 20, 2012 11:45 PM  

Holla
And even if I did, Catholics would still be the majority of that group - and the others the offshoots or branches.

James Dixon
35.539+378.281+87.520+271.326+426.450=1199.096

1199.096 > 1160.880

By those figures, Roman Catholics are not the majority, only the largest group.


It seems that for Holla, addition is hard.

Blogger IM2L844 June 21, 2012 12:15 AM  

What I don't understand is how an intelligent person capable of self-awareness (including introspection of emotional states) would bother to maintain a real belief in God.

It's really, really simple. I'll bet even you understand it, but I seriously doubt you are honest enough to concede the point. The only thing you really seem to be interested in is playing the nettlesome eristic.

It's because it is the most plausible and rational conclusion that can be drawn from the overwhelming amount of circumstantial and anecdotal evidence that is available.

Courts throughout the world regularly accept the validity of circumstantial and anecdotal evidence in order to determine the truth concerning matters of grave importance.

What is so surprising about intelligent individuals using the same methodology to determine what they should consider to be the truth concerning matters of great personal importance?

Anonymous Gx1080 June 21, 2012 2:07 AM  

Man, I LOVE how some atheists cut the pretenses and try to get her to convert to ANY religion besides Christianity.

Also I don't believe that most atheists actually give a fuck about the people who were "hurt by the evil Church" and are just searching a reason to hate people who oppose the technocratic, multiculturalist utopia.

Anonymous bw June 21, 2012 4:05 AM  

are just searching a reason to hate people who oppose the technocratic, multiculturalist utopia.

Spot-Damn On. (that was my quick EMOTIONAL reaction - is that intelligible?)
They're really self-loathers..as they've been trained to be. And Lying hypocrites - the most religiously fundies concerning their (non) science religion and it's priests and Authorities. (well paid to shill a particular outcome, I might add).
Science gets yet another thing wrong??
"That's not Science, biyotches!"
No True Scientist...and No True Balls to follow their Belief system to its logical conclusion: or admit their Darwinian Eugenics fetish.
Human Haters.
"ooohhh, I'm so trendy with my bite-of-the-forbidden-techno-fruit Apple iPhone!"
1984 is at the door because of these religious fanatics.

Anonymous James Dixon June 21, 2012 11:34 AM  

> It seems that for Holla, addition is hard.

I'm an engineer. I used a calculator. :)

Blogger Taylor Kessinger June 22, 2012 7:52 AM  

I have an extraordinarily hard time believing anyone finds this type of moral argument convincing.

As for the claim that philosophy leads to Christianity, see: “I cannot see any force in an argument to the existence of God from the existence of morality.” -Richard Swinburne

Anonymous PC Geek June 22, 2012 11:39 AM  

(personal incredulity and a quote) != valid argument

Anonymous FrankNorman June 22, 2012 1:42 PM  


As for the claim that philosophy leads to Christianity, see: “I cannot see any force in an argument to the existence of God from the existence of morality.” -Richard Swinburne


Other people do. Maybe if he cannot see what they do, its because he has his eyes closed, not because they are hallucinating.

Blogger Taylor Kessinger June 22, 2012 7:19 PM  

There was no argument intended except a counterexample against the claim that "philosophy leads to the cross". Obviously, many very good philosophers think variations on the moral argument are hogwash.

Blogger Duke of Earl June 24, 2012 12:15 AM  

What I mean is that we don't have a worldview that rests upon extremely shaky philosophical foundations. To take one example, we don't have to give causal explanations that, at bottom, boil down to, "contingent beings come from non-being, uncaused."

That being said, not all atheisms are equal. The atheism of, say, a Hitchens is far less robust and coherent than that of, say, a Quentin Smith or a J. L. Mackie. The latter deserve to be taken seriously; the former doesn't, really.


But guess which kind of atheist the local chapter of the (in)humanists and (ir)rationalists wanted to bring in to talk to them.

His initials are RD.

Blogger Duke of Earl June 24, 2012 12:42 AM  

There was no argument intended except a counterexample against the claim that "philosophy leads to the cross". Obviously, many very good philosophers think variations on the moral argument are hogwash.

Likewise there are also many who do not think those arguments are hogwash. You would actually have to demonstrate an ability to evaluate the arguments for and against, which you have not done. Also, if I recall Bacon's quote correctly it says only that depth in philosophy leads to religion, not the cross specifically.

The moral argument is formulated in such a way that if it is accepted that there is an objectively true moral law, then it is reasonable to argue that there is a moral law giver who makes those laws true. Like Kalam it would only be used to argue for the reasonableness of belief in a god.

It is specific arguments surrounding the historicity of the life death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth that are used to argue for the truth of Christianity once the initial premise, that there could be a god, is conceded.

Blogger Taylor Kessinger June 25, 2012 11:07 AM  

Likewise there are also many who do not think those arguments are hogwash.

I would love to see an example of a leading analytic philosopher (besides, say, Bill Craig) who thinks the moral argument makes a compelling case for God's existence.

Also, if I recall Bacon's quote correctly it says only that depth in philosophy leads to religion, not the cross specifically.

Guilty as charged–I was just responding to VD.

Anonymous Randy June 27, 2012 1:00 AM  

"a higher percentage of children raised atheist convert to Christianity than children raised Christian convert to atheism"

Do you have some stats to back this up?

Blogger Duke of Earl June 27, 2012 6:36 PM  

Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy.

Also Bill Craig is not seen as a primary promoter of the Moral argument. His speciality is the cosmological argument.

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