Daily Archives: July 29, 2010
In a recent post on his blog, John W. Loftus made a very interesting assessment: People believe and defend what they prefer to be true.
While Loftus is only including believers in his argument by implication, he fails to provide a compelling reason to exclude atheists from this argument. Now, I’m well aware that Loftus claims that he doesn’t defend atheism purely because he wants it to be the case. John writes:
It’s argued that I reject Christianity because I prefer to live my life apart from God. Balderdash! Do I really prefer to live in a universe that is cold and uncaring, having only blind indifference toward me as a human being in which I can count on no divine help from outside of it, and no hope of an eternal life with my loved ones? Not a chance. Do I really prefer to reject the dominant religion of my culture to be ostracized by believers and hated for what I believe? No, not at all. (source)
However, a quick scan of some of his recent behavior would seem to contradict that assessment. After behaving like that in public, I’m assuming that John doesn’t want there to be a higher authority to whom he is answerable, since he has shown himself to be a jerk. More examples toward the bottom of this item, both of his lack of moral principles and his lack of honesty in arguing.
Loftus then follows it up with what can only be described as the most ironic post ever from an atheist. He says that the only two responses from believers either committed the ad hominem tu quoque fallacy, or took the form of “I’m the exception to the rule.”
I almost hit the floor laughing so hard. Hypocrisy within Christianity is one of the most frequent charges leveled at it in an attempt to discredit it, or else totally falsify it. That is the same fallacy that Loftus is accusing us of!
The problem is that as an atheist, there is no objective for moral standards. There is no way to appeal to a higher, transcendent authority since none can exist. There is only what is in atheism, not what ought to be. So, what standards can Loftus actually be held to? Hard for us to commit this fallacy when there are no standards of behavior inherent in an atheistic worldview.
I couldn’t be an atheist. I’m not inconsistent enough with my beliefs. Reference this article by VorJack of Unreasonable Faith fame. He quotes Geds of the Accidental Historian:
There was absolutely nothing special about the persecution of Christians.
The Roman authorities saw Christianity as a potentially destabilizing force in exactly the same way it saw criminals and revolutionaries as a destabilizing force. The only reason we’re lead to believe the stories of the Christian martyrs are special is because we have a lot of them.
Okay, then, might I make the same claim about the Crusades and the Inquisitions? “There was absolutely nothing special about the persecution of indigent tribes of nonbelievers, witches, or heretics. The Christian authorities saw them all as potentially destabilizing forces in exactly the same way as it saw criminals and revolutionaries as a destabililizing force. The only reason we’re lead to believe the stories of the nonbelievers, witches, and heretics’ torture and death are special is because critics of Christianity try to use them to argue against the faith.”
If the martyrdom of the early Christians at the hands of the Romans isn’t something to get excited about, neither is the later persecution of heretics at the hands of the Christians. The sword cuts both ways.
After writing some pro-Christian works, such as Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt and Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana, acclaimed author Anne Rice made the following announcement on her Facebook page:
For those who care, and I understand if you don’t: Today I quit being a Christian. I’m out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being “Christian” or to being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to “belong” to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’m an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.
Followed closely by:
As I said below, I quit being a Christian. I’m out. In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.
Well, I have a few reactions. First and foremost, I don’t know why the Blog for WhyWhyWon’tGodHealAmputees is touting this as some sort of victory for reason. This isn’t a victory, though Thomas thinks it could turn into one. Anne Rice still considers herself committed to Christ, she is just hesitant to align herself with Christianity because it espouses doctrines which she finds morally reprehensible.
On that note, we have to understand that faith in Christ is the only requirement for salvation. So this post is not an attempt to question Anne Rice’s salvation. If she still has faith in Christ, then there is still hope that God will deliver her from her serious misunderstanding that these “morally reprehensible” doctrines are that. In other words, the witness of the Holy Spirit can show her the error of her thinking, and she will be able to repent and remain in humble obedience to God.
Building on that foundation, we also have to understand that orthodoxy (right belief) leads to orthopraxy (right practice). Anne Rice is not orthodox if she fails to submit to the teachings of Scripture regarding homosexuality, the functional subordination of women in the church, and ethics and epistemology. If she isn’t orthodox, then her pattern of thinking is in rebellion to God, and therefore actions stemming from those incorrect thought patterns, will also be contrary to God (i.e. sin). I’ve written on the importance of matters of heart on my main blog, here, with a long list of proofs from Scripture.
That said, Anne Rice is putting herself on the wrong side of James 1:22. She’s currently a hearer, not a doer, and therefore deceiving herself. I don’t question her salvation, but her diligence in sanctification (2 Pet 1:3-11).