Questionable Motives

January 26, 2010

Christianity according to Dawkins: a haven for apologetic hypocrisy?

We know what caused the catastrophe in Haiti. It was the bumping and grinding of the Caribbean Plate rubbing up against the North American Plate: a force of nature, sin-free and indifferent to sin, un-premeditated, unmotivated, supremely unconcerned with human affairs or human misery.

The religious mind, however, restlessly seeks human meaning in the blind happenings of nature. As with the Indonesian tsunami, which was blamed on loose sexual morals in tourist bars; as with Hurricane Katrina, which was attributed to divine revenge on the entire city of New Orleans for harboring a lesbian comedian, and as with other disasters going back to the famous Lisbon earthquake and beyond, so Haiti’s tragedy must be payback for human sin. The Rev. Pat Robertson sees the hand of God in the earthquake, wreaking terrible retribution for a pact that the long-dead ancestors of today’s Haitians made with the devil, to help rid them of their French masters.

Needless to say, milder-mannered faith-heads are falling over themselves to disown Pat Robertson, just as they disowned those other pastors, evangelists, missionaries and mullahs at the time of the earlier disasters.

What hypocrisy.

Loathsome as Robertson’s views undoubtedly are, he is the Christian who stands squarely in the Christian tradition. The agonized theodiceans who see suffering as an intractable ‘mystery’, or who ‘see God’ in the help, money and goodwill that is now flooding into Haiti , or (most nauseating of all) who claim to see God ‘suffering on the cross’ in the ruins of Port-au-Prince, those faux-anguished hypocrites are denying the centrepiece of their own theology. It is the obnoxious Pat Robertson who is the true Christian here.

Read the rest of Dawkins’ On Faith article here.

Advertisements

27 Comments »

  1. I really have no desire to read the rest of the usual Dawkins diatribe — Dawkins is a one note samba and lacks any dimensionality.

    It’s really quite humorous when anyone determines that they and they alone know the exact cause of a natural disaster — especially when they assign a moral component to the cause. Pat Robertson’s “making a pact with the devil” comment is just the latest example.

    Theologians, like Robertson, focus on immorality as the cause for calamity. There is immorality in Haiti; therefore, “God” destroyed Port Au Prince — same for New Orleans, etc. This focus only furthers their cause and their ministries (i.e., fund-raising efforts).

    They seem to ignore the suffering of innocent, moral people and entities. In Haiti, missionaries and aid workers were concentrated in Port Au Prince, yet, according to Robertson’s view, God destroyed the city anyway.

    An example from Florida: Hurricane Ivan virtually destroyed Pensacola in September 2004. Ministers in the city blamed the hurricane on the city allowing homosexuals to congregate on the beaches during Memorial Day weekend — yet they ignored the fact that the very day the hurricane hit, a huge Assembly of God Bible Conference was scheduled to take place in the downtown civic center — let alone the fact that September is not Memorial Day.

    This is the kind of stuff that gives people like Dawkins ammunition.

    Comment by ektachrome — January 26, 2010 @ 3:47 pm | Reply

    • I disagree slightly with the subject of Dawkins’ assertion that The religious mind… seeks human meaning in the blind happenings of nature. I think human mind always stands ready, willing, and able to assign agency to any, all, or no happenings. The difficulty lies in knowing when such agency is a reasonable assumption and when it is not. The religious mind fails to do a very good job discriminating between the two very real possibilities, and sometimes in the case of a Robertson, spectacularly so.

      What Dawkins is pointing out in this one note samba (the song, by the way, which has many different notes that give the tonic its dimensionality) is that it is the religious moderates – the liberal apologists for religion – who are less honest in their watered-down faith than is Robertson. And because what Robertson says is so offensive to the reasonable mind, moderates need to re-examine their willingness to support and excuse the basic faith from which so many interpretations may come. They can’t all be right, but the point Dawkins is making is that Robertson is closer than most. That fact should alert moderates to the weakness of their religious position.

      So its not Robertson and “this kind of stuff” that gives Dawkins ammunition; once again, it’s religious belief in action… and the incoherence of the textual basis on which the highly dubious religious assumptions that supposedly drive the behaviours are based.

      Comment by tildeb — January 26, 2010 @ 6:21 pm | Reply

  2. It is preposterous to suggest that the suffering in Haiti is anything to do with ‘god’ – really people need to get a grip on reality. I think people muster up god in these times to support their narrow minded xenophobic political view.

    Pat Robinson is absolutely disgusting, shame on him, and shame on the religious moderates who lay the foundation for such strong beliefs to take hold in society, that cause such hatred and division between peoples.

    Comment by misunderstoodranter — January 28, 2010 @ 7:31 am | Reply

  3. […] blame for the devastation suffered by Haiti as an example of a ‘real’ christian (read my previous comment on Dawkins’ article and why he argues as much). This is a failure of critical thinking by […]

    Pingback by Is atheism fundamentally a Straw Man argument? « Questionable Motives — January 28, 2010 @ 5:40 pm | Reply

  4. So you are occultists? You follow this one man – who is quite ridiculous – like he is a God….Dawkins – the Atheist God – LOL

    Comment by 4amzgkids — January 29, 2010 @ 3:02 am | Reply

    • I have learned a great deal from Dawkins and applaud his courage in taking on such a public role against what I consider a great evil: unjustified beliefs.

      Comment by tildeb — January 29, 2010 @ 3:09 am | Reply

  5. On the contrary, I don’t follow or worship Dawkins, I respect him – there is a big difference!

    Dawkins has earned his respect in society because he has worked hard, and has helped advance science and the teaching of science – measurably.

    I don’t think you understand what it takes to be a professor of Dawkins’ standard. There are other science professionals like Robert Winston, who I follow as well, he is a Jew, and believes in god, but he accepts evolution as fact.

    I respect Dawkins and Winston equally, because they are both scientists of good standing, of proven academic ability, with integrity. The difference here is that Robert Winston, can put forward an argument for a creator, without the need to twist scientific facts.

    It is a question of integrity – which you seem to have a problem understanding.

    In addition, you seem to think that all christian’s think the same way you do – they do not. For example many Christian’s are pro-choice – they do not appose abortion:

    (http://www.rcrc.org/issues/questions.cfm).

    The other thing you ignore is that Dawkin’s does not threaten me with buring in hell for eternity if I do not happen to agree with him.

    Dawkins has written a books, which I have read – he did not force me to read the books – I choose to read them to get a better understanding of the world from a man who has deadicated his life to research, and has earnt a living from teaching scientists and future generations about science in order to progress modern society in a constructive peaceful way.

    The Pope on the other hand, has held back the world, by demonising contraception, thereby increasing the population of the world, while ensuring that the population spreads STDs like AIDs – great thinking!

    Comment by misunderstoodranter — January 29, 2010 @ 11:25 am | Reply

    • A Christian that is pro-choice is an oxymoron – HELLO!!! You hold firm to Dawkins and what he teaches and believes, this is one man – I’m just saying be careful – cults begin and end that way.

      Comment by 4amzgkids — January 30, 2010 @ 2:31 am | Reply

    • YOU SAY: The Pope on the other hand, has held back the world, by demonising contraception, thereby increasing the population of the world, while ensuring that the population spreads STDs like AIDs – great thinking!

      Why I wonder? Because God tells us to reproduce – hmmmm

      Yes, you are right – it’s the Pope’s fault there is an aids epidemic – Ridiculous- but if Dawkins said any of this – of course it would be truth – LOL!

      There is such a thing as abstinence you know – and the church does teach that as well but people will do as they please as usual- it is man’s fault for all of the bad in the world you really need to get over it and stop blaming the church and God. Humans sin for their own pleasure.

      Comment by 4amzgkids — January 30, 2010 @ 2:34 am | Reply

  6. “4.So you are occultists? ”

    “Peebs.Net is a website that endeavors to investigate and report the Truth behind the Exclusive Brethren, a group of so-called Christians, and by so doing, help break the chains and break down the barriers that prevent us from seeing our families, friends and loved ones, trapped in what many are calling a bona fide Cult.”

    http://www.peebs.net/

    Comment by misunderstoodranter — January 29, 2010 @ 12:24 pm | Reply

    • Are you for real with this website? you never cease to amaze me!

      Comment by 4amzgkids — January 30, 2010 @ 2:38 am | Reply

  7. “There is such a thing as abstinence you know.”

    Tell that to the Catholic priests that abuse choir boys.

    Comment by misunderstoodranter — January 30, 2010 @ 7:24 am | Reply

    • Difficult for these girls to practice abstinence when they are raped, often because there is an assumption that having intercourse with a virgin cures the ‘wasting’ disease that is HIV/AIDS.

      Comment by tildeb — January 31, 2010 @ 11:41 pm | Reply

  8. Those are sick human beings that hid in the church – why can’t you go beyond this?

    Comment by 4amzgkids — January 31, 2010 @ 12:08 am | Reply

  9. “Those are sick human beings that hid in the church – why can’t you go beyond this?”

    Why can’t you see the irony, are you so blinded by religion? – The people in the Church, telling people homosexuality is a sin, and sex outside of marriage is a sin, and to be kind and loving to others – and yet the priests still get caught with their pants down. If you can’t see that, then you are vulnerable.

    They used their faith, not to heal, not to help, but to put fear into children and manipulate those children. Then they cleaned their own conscious’s by saying a few prayers, and hell Mary’s – and went on smiling and preaching, and abusing.

    You are right – they are sick, the visible ‘filth’ of the religious is a text book example of how religious faith is used to put fear into young minds, in order to manipulate them. They disgust me more than anything, because they have used their influence, their priests uniform to gain trust of individuals and trust of society in order to abuse them.

    This is no different than on the world stage – the Pope condemning condoms is a crime to humanity – because the reality is that people will have sex anyway and do have sex anyway, and without contraception disease spreads, and people reproduce in some of the most impoverished countries in the world, adding to social problems regarding food, resources and health. It is utterly irresponsible for the Pope to use his influence to frighten people from using the one method of contraception that can prevent disease and population growth – he should leave this to the people who know what to do to prevent these issues, and keep his short sighted religious dogma to himself.

    Indoctrination of children is also a crime, because it breeds another generation of people who are not able to think – who are not able to see that advice such as banning condoms is folly. It breeds another generation of people who are vulnerable and can be taken advantage of and manipulated by churches and religions.

    Do you think for one moment that religious people don’t know that they can use their dogma to control people? Are you that naive that you can not tell the difference between right and wrong, unless someone in a uniform tells you?

    Do yourself a favour, question everything, especially authority, and most of all question those who tell you that ‘god’ gave them that authority.

    Comment by misunderstoodranter — January 31, 2010 @ 2:55 pm | Reply

  10. Why can’t you see the irony, are you so blinded by religion? – The people in the Church, telling people homosexuality is a sin, and sex outside of marriage is a sin, and to be kind and loving to others – and yet the priests still get caught with their pants down. If you can’t see that, then you are vulnerable.

    These are humans in the church that were evil….this is not God’s teaching or the Church’s teachings…..these were sick pedophiles. Not all priests are like this. Hello?

    You are the one that needs to question everything! You are lost…you have a twisted sense of reality….just re-read your comments slowly. The pope will have sex? Condoms will not help …it only encourages sexual activity and they are not totally protective against AIDS. You misunderstand what you read and take from it what you can to spew hate. I’m guessing you are mid 20’s to mid 30’s with how you speak. It’s crazy!

    Where do you think your moral judgement comes from if no one has taught you? What if you grew up with sick abusive parents that didn’t love you and they did drugs, stole, etc…where did your correct judgement (if you have it) come from?

    Comment by 4amzgkids — January 31, 2010 @ 3:44 pm | Reply

  11. “These are humans in the church that were evil….this is not God’s teaching or the Church’s teachings…..these were sick pedophiles. Not all priests are like this. Hello?”

    Why didn’t the all knowing god, intervene then and stop them from becoming priests then?

    And by the way, I never said all priests, just some priests – so anxious are you to disprove any argument against religion, that you can not see any reason in any debate against it – you’re utterly deluded.

    “Condoms will not help …it only encourages sexual activity and they are not totally protective against AIDS.”

    What an utterly vile view of contraception – sex is normal, it is not a sin between consenting adults – and yes even the Pope: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sexually_active_popes

    Open your eyes!

    Comment by misunderstoodranter — January 31, 2010 @ 4:43 pm | Reply

  12. “You misunderstand what you read and take from it what you can to spew hate. I’m guessing you are mid 20’s to mid 30’s with how you speak. It’s crazy!”

    Perhaps I am crazy or worse….

    Perhaps, you think I am Satan, or possessed by him – because I don’t believe in the god of the bible… hmm you could be right you know? Do you think I should get an exorcism – do you think that would help me believe in god? Perhaps you should pray for me to be healed of satan’s work – do you think that would work?

    Do you believe in fairies?

    Did you know that Santa does not exist?

    How about Wizards do you believe in them?

    Trolls?

    Dragons?

    Unicorns?

    Demons?

    Ghosts, do you believe in them?

    What about King Arthur and Robin Hood – were they literally real? After All there is lots of ‘evidence’… [if you believe that you will believe anything].

    Do you believe that some people can speak to the dead?

    What about Satan, I heard he converts Catholic girls into prostitutes?

    What about Aliens – do you believe in those, do you think they have a Jesus as well, a little green one?

    Grow up and stop believing in imaginary things, especially those ones that are suggested by others to exist – after all you really don’t believe in Santa anymore do you?

    Comment by misunderstoodranter — January 31, 2010 @ 5:39 pm | Reply

  13. I love how you go on and on on this site….yet at mine you could no longer argue the points and knew you were wrong. Interesting – you are obviously very deluded.

    Comment by 4amzgkids — January 31, 2010 @ 11:27 pm | Reply

    • When I do, you delete the comment.

      Comment by tildeb — February 1, 2010 @ 8:32 pm | Reply

      • Nice Tildeb….you now that’s not true – it only gets deleted when you make ignorant statements that add nothing to the conversation. The comment above was also for MUR not you. I will stay off this site though because it is becoming hateful and ignorant and there’s no need for that. Why can’t people go on like mature adults in lieu of ranting on like children? Why breed hate?

        Comment by 4amzgkids — February 2, 2010 @ 12:19 am

      • I don’t doubt you think them ignorant statements, but I don’t. Just like many of your comments here seem to me to be aimed more at espousing derision than backing up or explaining a point, which can certainly be taken by many to be ‘ignorant’. Nevertheless, here they are. Your commentary on this blog still belong to you, as far as I’m concerned, and should anyone wish to comment on them, they are equally free to do so. Whether your comments add to or detract from the conversation also is not up to me.

        You are incorrect in your assertion that this site is hateful and ignorant, unless your definition of these words is radically different from OED. It is critical – highly critical – of unjustified beliefs and to those who wish to protect those beliefs from legitimate criticism use – as you do – such words as if such labels discredit the criticisms. They don’t. The criticisms stand or fall on their merit of the reasoning that informs them. If you wish to convert anyone here to the loving embrace of your interpretation of god, then I wish you luck because you haven’t evidence or better reasoning at your disposal. But in the conspicuous absence of evidence, your use of name calling is rarely exemplary conversational skill at revealing better reasoning. And that leads me to the point that I don’t think you really want to have an honest conversation about honest differences in opinion, which is fine (some of my best friends are religious!). So I know your name calling is actually your way of laying blame about the weakness of your cause at the feet of others.

        Comment by tildeb — February 2, 2010 @ 12:52 am

  14. Why don’t you research instead of making sweeping statements? You obviously don’t even understand what you read and you add to it. That must be why you can’t comprehend religion. Maybe it’s your intellect. Not to offend but from your comments it’s quite obvious you are very immature and not very intellectual. You go to sites that believe in God and try to harass them but when they have an answer for everything you question you move on. See the light and stop being so ignorant. Maybe you’re on drugs?

    Comment by 4amzgkids — January 31, 2010 @ 11:30 pm | Reply

  15. “Why don’t you research instead of making sweeping statements?”

    I / we do as does every other decent atheist – but it is never enough – it has gaps (like the 40 year gap between Jesus being nailed to a cross and the gospels being written). But you are blind to any reason, blinded by dogma, by fear that you will go to hell for not believing in magical men in the sky.

    “That must be why you can’t comprehend religion.”

    I can comprehend religion, I can’t comprehend anyone that would believe in it – in this modern world – if I do a rain dance it does not rain, if I pray to the sun it does not shine harder. If I pray to Jesus, he does not fix the world.

    “Maybe it’s your intellect.”

    Yes it is my intellect, my lack of stupidity and great amount of common sense does not allow me to believe in supernatural things – especially those that ‘other people’ claim to be true – and can’t provide any evidence to support it.

    “Not to offend but from your comments it’s quite obvious you are very immature and not very intellectual.”

    I love your assumptions – they are so nice, but I actually do not give a toss what you think – if you want to indoctrinate, sponsor organised religion blindly (the business of religion) then be my guest – just make sure you masturbate your religion in private. People are different, I don’t need religion, I don’t want religion, and a I certainly do not want the the leaders int he world thinking that they have god on their side when they have their finger on the nuclear button – because as you said “some people – get carried away.”

    “You go to sites that believe in God and try to harass them but when they have an answer for everything you question you move on.”

    What are you doing here? Why do you keep coming back? More or less every question from evolution to the Pope having sex, and you are proved wrong time and time again with references and logical thinking – and yet still you try to push your dogma. It is not going to work, if dogma worked on atheists there wouldn’t be any atheists – we see through it, we refuse to be manipulated by people who think that they have conversations with god.

    “See the light and stop being so ignorant.”

    You mean – “read the bible” and don’t read anything else.

    “Maybe you’re on drugs?”

    Lovely Christian statement – did they teach that to you in Church? That everyone who disagrees with you must be mad, on drugs, or possessed by the devil. Perhaps I am a homosexual, or a woman that had an abortion, perhaps I have no morals a sinner an evil hateful person. Perhaps, I am someone who goes around accusing others of madness and being on drugs!

    Comment by misunderstoodranter — February 1, 2010 @ 7:54 am | Reply

  16. love your assumptions – they are so nice, but I actually do not give a toss what you think – if you want to indoctrinate, sponsor organised religion blindly (the business of religion) then be my guest – just make sure you masturbate your religion in private. People are different, I don’t need religion, I don’t want religion, and a I certainly do not want the the leaders int he world thinking that they have god on their side when they have their finger on the nuclear button – because as you said “some people – get carried away.”

    Then leave those that believe alone MUR – the rest of your response speaks for itself!

    Comment by 4amzgkids — February 2, 2010 @ 12:21 am | Reply

  17. I comment on this blog precisely because I am free to speak my mind, and I know that as long as my thoughts are reasoned and researched (to some degree) they will generate provocative and thoughtful debate.

    I have nothing to fear with voicing my views, and I have no problem with people mocking them so long as they laughter is with reason.

    But then the Church has always censored other people’s beliefs and challenges, because that is what they fear. They particularly fear humour – a good work of fiction that highlights this issue is the novel ‘the Name of the Rose’ by Umberto Eco.

    If this blog censored my thoughts, I would not visit it anymore – and this is precisely the reason why I no longer comment on religious blogs anymore, especially if they have silly ‘moderation’ rules and processes (like Defend the Word’s) – what is it that they are afraid of – is it in insult, or is it really the fear of information exchange on a website that will attract other believers, which may make them think twice about the evidence for god?

    When you censor a thought, what you are actually doing is snuffing out a voice, you are saying to the world, that you know better. But the biggest message you are sending, is that you have something to fear, you can’t bear other truths, so you have to block them out and snuff out that view and pretend that it is not there.

    People are judged by their actions, and a decision not to actively moderate a forum as a matter of course is a noble, moral and honest one.

    Comment by misunderstoodranter — February 2, 2010 @ 9:35 am | Reply

    • Censorship is very popular as one travels to either end of the spectrum – political, religious, social, etc… which makes one wonder about one’s own location on a spectrum if one agrees in where ‘appropriate’ censorship lies.

      As for the “noble, moral, and honest” moderation, I agree with you that people should be allowed to express their thoughts as long as their expression falls within a general modicum of civility, meaning that sometimes moderation needs to be applied. But it should be for reasons other than disagreement with the point being expressed, and I think this is what you mean. You put an opinion out there, have it parsed and criticized and supported and challenged, and I think the opinion for all of that is better informed for it.

      Some people think we are defined as individuals by our commonality and group memberships. I don’t. I think we are defined by our differences and their expressions add zest and interest to life.

      Comment by tildeb — February 2, 2010 @ 5:16 pm | Reply


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: