Sunday, September 21, 2014

Quotation

“I never yet have seen the person who could withstand the doubt and unbelief that enter his mind when reading the Bible in a spirit of inquiry.”

Etta Semple
"A Pious Congressman Twice Answered"
Truth Seeker, Feb. 23,1895

"Is new atheism dead and is it even a term worth saving?"

The so called "new atheism" never had any merit to begin with. I have never understood why any atheist would view this term as anything more than yet another attempt to pigeon-hole and dismiss atheists. In most instances when it has been used by theists it has served as a smear and a way to maintain and spread a wide variety of myths and stereotypes about us. Dan Arel doesn't seem to get it. His use of the "Four Horsemen" is another example of this mindless crap. Just because the media and hostile critics insist that guys like Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, and Dennett are the spokesmen of atheism doesn't mean the really are. There are plenty of other publicly vocal atheists who could be said to be leaders, again, not that that makes them our official spokespeople. How often does the media pay attention to individuals like Ophelia Benson, S.T. Joshi, A.C. Grayling, Greta Christina, Steve Novella, Anni Laurie Gaylor.....?

To be clear, the only thing "new" about the supposed new atheists was that they were able to get mainstream publishers. In the past, no mainstream publisher would touch works by or about (unless they were negative) atheists. Basically, it can't be said to be dead since it was a fabrication to begin with. The label is definitely not worth saving. The momentum that this media attention has helped to spur is worth keeping, however.

Decent intentions can still be arrogant and negative

I would emphasize "decent" since I can't completely tell what Nicole Fulgham's intentions are from the interview Jonathan Merritt conducted in "What Christian parents need to know about America’s schools" or from the video embedded in the piece. There are a few instances where it seems like her support for education is conditional on its ability to proselytize for Christianity.

Even if that is not the case I do have some concerns about Fulgham's approach. With or without implied, or worse overt, indoctrination she makes it clear that her message is geared toward Christians. This is disturbing. Does she think non-Christians don't care about their children or education in general? Her constant repetition of "Christian children" and "Christian parents" seems to be very arrogant, bigoted, and misguided. Everyone should be concerned about the well-being of children and of education. If this is the message she is trying to get a cross she is doing a shitty job. At times it does seem like she wants to exclude, even discourage, non-Christians from being involved.

Whether her intentions are good, at this point I'd give her the benefit of the doubt, the results are not likely to be so wonderful. I can't imagine that her manner of presenting issues and concerns won't automatically alienate most non-Christians. Sadly, I can easily see her doing more harm than good

Exceptioanlly weak Apologetics or Mental Diarrhea?

The overwhelming majority of apologists seem to share the same penchant for willful ignorance, self-delusion, and logical fallacies. Yet another example of this intellectual bankruptcy is clearly demonstrated by Brandon Jones in his recent piece at The Global Dispatch, "Evidence of Jesus Christ’s life, resurrection and how atheists are foolish." Jones lobs numerous definitive statements without the slightest reference or support. It is hard to summarize the massive doses of bigotry, bias, and plain stupidity contained in this rather short piece but I'll give it a shot.

"Jesus is on ancient Roman records to have been crucified in 28 AD.  Even Orthodox Jews, who still hate Him, acknowledge His existence and death, but have trouble with his birth and resurrection....The tomb of Jesus, which can still be seen today in the Garden Tomb area (not the Catholic traditional site), still has the metal spikes which were sheared off when the angel rolled the stone away....The tomb of Jesus, which can still be seen today in the Garden Tomb area (not the Catholic traditional site), still has the metal spikes which were sheared off when the angel rolled the stone away....Why was the body of Jesus never found…, at least by unbelievers?  How is it that God managed to have the Ark of the Covenant hidden for 600 years, right under the place where Yeshua was crucified, so that His blood would flow down the earthquake crack of the hill of rock, and drip 24 feet down upon the West end of the Ark?"

All of that came from the first page of his two page rant. The first thing I noticed was that unlike many other apologists he makes no attempt at citing anything. Usually, they try to make some bogus claim that this historian or that stated something about Christ in one of their works. In each instance it is either a completely fabricated "source" or the source actually refers to what Christians said about their beliefs, which the historian was simply conveying. The historian makes no value judgement on the beliefs themselves. It's pretty pathetic that this asshole is as lazy as he is deluded. There are no Roman records related to Jesus Christ. In point of fact, Roman records discredit most aspects of the Jesus narratives. The supposed court case against Christ, for example, never would have proceeded the way it is described in the Gospels. There are certainly no accounts of such a noticeable event as an earthquake of the magnitude and consequence that he recites.

Then, of course there are all the other ridiculous things he manages to cram into such a short space. The Jews knew/know Christs existence and hate him. Really?! Jones knows this, how? Even if another group of theists accepted something as true what makes that factual? There is a lot of blind bigotry that Jones conflates with historical fact. The Garden Tomb, as he implies, is one of a handful of sites theists have speculated is the site of Jesus resurrection. There is no archeological evidence for this assertion. There isn't even any remotely objective reason to favor his preferred site over the various other proposed one. Also as Jones implies, many Christians refute this as a legitimate holy site. A fact about the Garden Tomb that can be easily confirmed is that it is a highly profitable tourist trap. Just follow the link to it's official website to check it out.

And, what the fuck is with his reference to the Ark? The supposed Ark of the Covenant, if it were real, would have pre-dated Christ and has no direct connection to any aspect of the Jesus narratives. Referencing multiple mythical events and figure does not provided reinforcement to any of them being historical. Its almost as if he contracted some type of mental diarrhea that he was then compelled to put down in writing. And remember the excerpts above are from just a handful of paragraphs on the first page. It doesn't get any better. You really have to read it to fathom the level of stupidity it contains. There is far more to ridicule than just what little I've pointed out.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Quotation

"Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived."
Isaac Asimov