Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How We Forget

atheism, atheist, d'souza, christianity, christian, slavery, freedom, infanticide, religion,
I've heard of Dinesh D'Souza before, but this is the first time I've ever read anything by him, and I have to say, not impressed. I'm not impressed by the atheist bashing, and I'm not impressed by the amazing history fails.

(The article itself is fairly long, so I'm going to indulge in some ". . ." for brevity's sake.)

When Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal,” he called the proposition “self-evident.” . . . This idea of the preciousness and equal worth of every human being is largely rooted in Christianity.

Since when? Many Christian sects today do not consider all human beings to be inherently equal. What about Christian homophobia? Would Mr. D'Souza claim that gaybashing fundies recognize the inherent equality of all human beings? What about complementarians? Would Mr. D'Souza claim that people who think wives should obey and be subservient to their husbands consider all human beings equal? Clearly not.

Those examples are just two modern examples of inequality in Christian thought. What about 50 years ago when many Christians believed that whites and blacks should not be allowed to intermarry because blacks were unequal to whites? What about 200 years ago when Christians believed that slavery was acceptable for the same reason?

. . .

In ancient Greece and Rome , individual human life had no particular value in and of itself. The Spartans left weak children to die on the hillside. Infanticide was common, as it is common even today in many parts of the world. Fathers who wanted sons had few qualms about drowning their newborn daughters. Human beings were routinely bludgeoned to death or mauled by wild animals in the Roman gladiatorial arena. Many of the great classical thinkers saw nothing wrong with these practices. Christianity, on the other hand, contributed to their demise by fostering moral outrage at the mistreatment of innocent human life.

Really? Do I really need to mention the Crusades? All 9 of them? There's always the Spanish Inquisition if the Crusades aren't enough.

. . .

Christianity did not immediately and directly contest patriarchy, but it helped to elevate the status of women in society. The Christian prohibition of adultery, a sin it viewed as equally serious for men and women, and rules concerning divorce that (unlike in Judaism and Islam) treated men and women equally, helped to improve the social status of women.

First of all, when did Christianity as a whole ever directly contest patriarchy? In most Christian sects, women are not allowed to lead congregations or achieve positions of power. In many Christian sects today, women are regarded as little more than fetal containers for the next generation of worshippers.

Secondly, the "Christian" prohibition of adultery? Is Mr. D'Souza forgetting what part of the bible the ten commandments are found in? That would be the Jewish prohibition of adultery.

. . .

Mr. D'Souza's defense against Christianity's support of slavery is downright laughable.

But Christianity, from its very beginning, discouraged the enslavement of fellow Christians. We read in one of Paul's letters that Paul himself interceded with a master named Philemon on behalf of his runaway slave, and encouraged Philemon to think of his slave as a brother instead. Confronted with the question of how a slave can also be a brother, Christians began to regard slavery as indefensible. As a result, slavery withered throughout medieval Christendom and was eventually replaced by serfdom.

You know what the difference is between slavery and serfdom? Very little.

Serfdom is the socio-economic status of unfree peasants under feudalism, and specifically relates to Manorialism. It was a condition of bondage or modified slavery which developed primarily during the High Middle Ages in Europe. Serfdom was the enforced labour of serfs on the fields of landowners, in return for protection and the right to work on their leased fields

Bragging that Christianity replaced slavery with serfdom is like bragging that you quit heroin by taking meth.

. . .

The end of the article includes this amazing warning about the decline of civilization at the hands of atheists, completely without facts.

Let me conclude with a warning first issued by one of Western civilization's greatest atheists, the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. The ideas that define Western civilization, Nietzsche said, are based on Christianity. Because some of these ideas seem to have taken on a life of their own, we might have the illusion that we can abandon Christianity while retaining them. This illusion, Nietzsche warns us, is just that. Remove Christianity and the ideas fall too.

because atheists don't have morals, or value civilization. we're all crazy anarchic nihilists, just waiting for the chance to blow it all to kingdom . . .um, well, nowhere, I guess.

Consider the example of Europe , where secularization has been occurring for well over a century. For a while it seemed that secularization would have no effect on European morality or social institutions. Yet increasingly today there is evidence of the decline of the nuclear family. Overall birthrates have plummeted, while rates of divorce and out-of-wedlock births are up.

And how is that bad, exactly? care to give my some facts and figures on how that is affecting people in Europe? basically, Mr. D'Souza is arguing that divorce and low birthrates are bad because they are. Bad, that is. No studies, no facts, no figures, just a bald assertion.

Nietzsche also warned that, with the decline of Christianity, new and opposing ideas would arise. We see these today in demands for the radical redefinition of the family, the revival of eugenic theories, and even arguments for infanticide.
In sum, the eradication of Christianity—and of organized religion in general—would also mean the gradual extinction of the principles of human dignity. Consider human equality. Why do we hold to it? The Christian idea of equality in God's eyes is undeniably largely responsible. The attempt to ground respect for equality on a purely secular basis ignores the vital contribution by Christianity to its spread. It is folly to believe that it could survive without the continuing aid of religious belief.

if you're going to tell me that atheism causes eugenics and infanticide, at least give me a link. i have no idea what the fuck Mr. D'Souza is talking about, and no proof that Mr. D'Souza does, either.

and i do enjoy the idea that atheists are not capable of maintaining freedom. because we don't benefit from it or anything. apparently, we're not just anarchic nihilists, we're slavers, too!

If we cherish what is distinctive about Western civilization, then—whatever our religious convictions—we should respect rather than denigrate its Christian roots.

and keep the atheists from killing the babies, apparently.

8 comments:

  1. Can't forget the calvinists. They sure didn't think the elect were created equal to the non-elect

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  2. exactly. there are so many examples of this, i can't quite figure out how he wrote it without a bolt of lightening hitting his keyboard.

    clearly, the fact that d'souza didn't get zapped is proof there is no god.

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  3. Dinesh is well versed in bad apologetics. You should watch his recent debate with Hitchens in Colorado, it is a game of spot the fallacy.

    I would give the link but I am at work and can't access youtube.

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  4. i'm sure i can find it, thank you!

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  5. Consider the example of Europe , where secularization has been occurring for well over a century.

    Do you know, PF, that fundy Europeans think all evil comes from America?

    They're amazed when I tell them that North American Christians think Europe is the cradle of all things evil.

    A hyper-fundy Christian German told me once, "And we in Europe think that all the bad stuff comes from America. They have all the bad ideas and we just learn from them."

    ----*------*------*------*-------*-------*
    PR, I need a favour. On your previous post, I left a comment under Quintius. That was me from my husband's computer. I forgot to log out! Would you be so kind as to delete that comment?

    Thank you kindly.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I've never deleted a comment before, but i can try.

    also, you're kidding, europeans blame Usians just the same way we blame them? that's so awesome!

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  7. Wtf? How many times do these people need to be told that our nation is secular? It's not *becoming* secular...it *IS* secular. The problem is loads of Christians who have slowly made our laws and government into their image and creeds. Now that we're challenging that they act confused and harassed. Did they learn nothing from the Enlightenment era? It's *because* we're secular that they can even say half the crap they do!

    What brand of Christian *is* America anyways according to these people? They act like Christian means one thing to all Christians. Uh, sorry no. I'm pretty sure that if the Catholics had it their way vs the Fundies America would be much different under the rule of each.

    This guy has been schooled numerous times by greater minds. The same arguments just trotted out each time. Sigh.

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  8. Christianity is anti-violence *today*?

    is this why we are in Iraq? why gay and trans people are killed by Christians all the time (with the LOVELY "transpanic" defense)?

    is this why Christians never beat their spouses or their children? why they never abuse animals?
    is this why there are ZERO Christians in the military?

    GGGGGGGGRRRRRRR!
    i hate lying liers who lie ( >.< )

    ReplyDelete

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