Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Famous Atheists On What Sort of Christians they Respect

I have an agenda in publishing this, but I won't use any of my own words to make the point. It should be abundantly clear, nevertheless, what sort of approach to "the conflict between the Bible and science" garners respect from well-informed atheists, and which does not.



"I would say that if you don't believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you're really not in any meaningful sense a Christian." ~Christopher Hitchens

I’ve always said, you know, that I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize.  I don’t respect that at all.  If you believe that there’s a heaven and hell, and people could be going to hell, or not getting eternal life or whatever, and you think that, well, it’s not really worth telling them because it would make it socially awkward . . . How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize?  How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?  I mean, if I believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that a truck was coming at you, and you didn’t believe it, and that truck was bearing down on you, there is a certain point where I tackle you.  And this is more important than that . ~ Penn Jilette, atheist

“Now if you believe the Bible … is literally the word of God … , then you do indeed have grounds for believing that the ethical precepts found in the Bible have a special warrant that no other writings could have. If, on the other hand, you believe that the Bible … is really a nonmiraculous product of human culture, issuing from some one or more human authors, then you will grant it no authority beyond tradition and whatever its arguments generate by their own cogency.” ~ Daniel Dennnett, atheist

I think creation scientists are intellectually honest in their beliefs. If evolution is true, then none of the things that deeply religious people want to be true are in fact true. No God. No life after death. No free will. No ultimate meaning in life and no ultimate foundation for ethics. All of these things are taken away, and I believe creationists have a keen appreciation of this fact. So I sympathize with their general point of view. In other words, they say evolution cannot have occurred. I understand the sentiment. I just believe they’re wrong. If modern evolutionary biology is true, then the traditional foundations for religion are gone” ~ William Provine

“Richard Dawkins … sees no need at all to bring in the idea of a creator god. ‘I call it explanatory overkill. It’s putting two explanations in where one will do. The theory of evolution by natural selection is on its own sufficient to explain life. It may be that God on his own is sufficient to explain life. If I were God I wouldn’t do it by evolution! I would do it directly. By invoking the idea of evolution by natural selection as God’s way of doing it, you are in effect invoking the one way which makes it look as though God isn’t thereSo if God chose that way of doing it, then he deliberately chose a way which totally covered his tracks.’ ‘If he was there, and this was in fact the way he did it,’ I persisted, ‘would you say that the nature of this particular process casts some light on the kind of God he would be?’ ‘I think it would show him to be totally indifferent … . The consequence of natural selection is suffering on an enormous scale all over the world. It’s not that nature is malevolent … . It’s just that misery of this kind is precisely what you’d expect if nature is totally indifferent to suffering … ’” ~ Richard Dawkins, atheist

‘Oh but of course the story of Adam and Eve was only ever symbolic, wasn’t it? Symbolic?! So Jesus had himself tortured and executed for a symbolic sin by a non-existent individual? Nobody not brought up in the faith could reach any verdict other than barking mad!’
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‘The moderates’ [liberals’] position seems to me to be fence-sitting. They half-believe in the Bible but how do they decide which parts to believe literally and which parts are just allegorical?’
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‘It seems to me an odd proposition that we should adhere to some parts of the Bible story but not to others. After all, when it comes to important moral questions, by what standards do we cherry-pick the Bible? Why bother with the Bible at all if we have the ability to pick and choose from it, what is right and what is wrong?’
~ Richard Dawkins, atheist 

And the winner is:

Oh well, by far the most important was understanding evolution. I think the evangelical Christians have really sort of got it right in a way, in seeing evolution as the enemy. Whereas the more, what shall we say, sophisticated theologians are quite happy to live with evolution, I think they are deluded. I think the evangelicals have got it right, in that there is a deep incompatibility between evolution and Christianity, and I think I realized that about the age of sixteen. ~ Richard Dawkins, atheist, explaining how he became an atheist

-W

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