Sunday, March 31, 2013

Or You'll Do What Exactly??? A Short Rant


When in the past I have lobbied some harsh criticisms against religion, there have always been those whose immediate response is to say, "You better be careful, that's my faith you're talking about."

Be careful... or what?

I have always found that if your first response is to threaten someone for offering what may be a valid criticism or critique, no matter how controversial, with vague implications toward... whatever... then this response only makes me want to knock you off your pedestal of self-righteous privilege even more. 

Be careful I don't hurt your feelings? Grow up.

Seriously. You have no idea how much this self conceited reactionary threatening annoys me. It panders toward an already established level of intolerance and it caters to fear for the sake of shutting up your opposition. 

I mean... it really, really, really, makes me want to take a sledge hammer to the foundations of everything you believe and rattle your goddamn beliefs so hard that you'd take two fucking seconds to think. Yeah... think


Be careful... or what? You'll actually have to think for two seconds?


If I sound angry, I apologize. I'm more annoyed than angry. I get this response at least once every few months, and it bothers me to no end.

*Takes deep breath*

Okay

Rant/Over.

Friday, March 29, 2013

An Open Letter to Those Who Oppose Marriage Equality for Gays

Some of you are opposed to marriage equality for LGBTs.

I have to seriously wonder why.

It's no surprise though, that most of you are religious.

Most of you are, predictably, right wing.

Conservative. 

I can make this guess because I have experience on both sides of the fence, so to speak. You see, I used to be a right wing, conservative, Evangelical Christian.

Now I'm a liberal atheist.

So I know exactly how you think about gay marriage.

And I am here to explain exactly why opposing gay marriage isn't only morally reprehensible, but it's stupid. What's more, I'm going to convince you of this fact.

So if you want to continue opposing gay marriage, well, you better do yourself a favor and STOP reading now!

~***~

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Rare Political Post: That Damn Letter Again!


On Facebook and elsewhere there has been this letter followed by the accompanying image, which has been making the rounds (again).


Now I offer the reader the letter, in full, to read. I will follow it with my own critique. Here is the letter supposedly written by 95 year old war veteran Harold B. Estes:

"Dear President Obama,

My name is Harold Estes, approaching 95 on December 13 of this year. People meeting me for the first time don’t believe my age because I remain wrinkle free and pretty much mentally alert.

I enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1934 and served proudly before, during and after WW II retiring as a Master Chief Bos’n Mate. Now I live in a “rest home” located on the western end of Pearl Harbor, allowing me to keep alive the memories of 23 years of service to my country.

One of the benefits of my age, perhaps the only one, is to speak my mind, blunt and direct even to the head man.

So here goes.

I am amazed, angry and determined not to see my country die before I do, but you seem hell bent not to grant me that wish. I can’t figure out what country you are the president of.

You fly around the world telling our friends and enemies despicable lies like:

”We’re no longer a Christian nation”

”America is arrogant”

– (Your wife even announced to the world,” America is mean-spirited. ” Please tell her to try preaching that nonsense to 23 generations of our war dead buried all over the globe who died for no other reason than to free a whole lot of strangers from tyranny and hopelessness.)

I’d say shame on the both of you, but I don’t think you like America, nor do I see an ounce of gratefulness in anything you do, for the obvious gifts this country has given you. To be without shame or gratefulness is a dangerous thing for a man sitting in the White House.

After 9/11 you said,” America hasn’t lived up to her ideals.”

Which ones did you mean? Was it the notion of personal liberty that 11,000 farmers and shopkeepers died for to win independence from the British? Or maybe the ideal that no man should be a slave to another man, that 500,000 men died for in the Civil War? I hope you didn’t mean the ideal 470,000 fathers, brothers, husbands, and a lot of fellas I knew personally died for in WWII, because we felt real strongly about not letting any nation push us around, because we stand for freedom.

I don’t think you mean the ideal that says equality is better than discrimination. You know the one that a whole lot of white people understood when they helped to get you elected.

Take a little advice from a very old geezer, young man.

Shape up and start acting like an American. If you don’t, I’ll do what I can to see you get shipped out of that fancy rental on Pennsylvania Avenue . You were elected to lead not to bow, apologize and kiss the hands of murderers and corrupt leaders who still treat their people like slaves.

And just who do you think you are telling the American people not to jump to conclusions and condemn that Muslim major who killed 13 of his fellow soldiers and wounded dozens more. You mean you don’t want us to do what you did when that white cop used force to subdue that black college professor in Massachusetts , who was putting up a fight? You don’t mind offending the police calling them stupid but you don’t want us to offend Muslim fanatics by calling them what they are, terrorists.

One more thing. I realize you never served in the military and never had to defend your country with your life, but you’re the Commander-in-Chief now, son. Do your job. When your battle-hardened field General asks you for 40,000 more troops to complete the mission, give them to him. But if you’re not in this fight to win, then get out. The life of one American soldier is not worth the best political strategy you’re thinking of.

You could be our greatest president because you face the greatest challenge ever presented to any president.

You’re not going to restore American greatness by bringing back our bloated economy. That’s not our greatest threat. Losing the heart and soul of who we are as Americans is our big fight now.

And I sure as hell don’t want to think my president is the enemy in this final battle…

Sincerely,

Harold B. Estes"


Now, doing a bit of research, I found that Harold B. Estes died in 2011. Here's his obituary. First, I should say that Harold B. Estes has my gratitude for his service to the country I am proud to be a citizen of. More than this, however, without his services, and the services like others who experienced Pearl Harbor and fought in the subsequent wars following, such as both of my grandfathers, I would not have the honor of meeting my lovely Japanese wife. With the lasting peace that was created in the post-war era, we are ever truly grateful.


This said, however, there are some things that strike me with a sense of regret and shock with regard to the above letter. Needless to say, the letter is somewhat dated. It was written back in 2011, and reflects a time of political change in America. It was only the 2nd year of Obama holding office and people were still becoming comfortable with the idea of a black man as president (well, some people, most of us were just fine with it). In the wake of Obama's election there were many attempts to slander the President, not only by taking his words grossly out of context at every available chance, but also by creating out and out lies about him. The greatest offenders being Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, naturally.


But even though it is old, the letter has resurfaced and is, once again, making the rounds. Probably, I suspect, due to the aftershock of Obama's triumphant re-election. Now what used to be Obama's staunchest critics, many of them so drastic in their disdain for the president that they demonize him to the point of labeling him the Antichrist, now have become bona fide Obama-phobes.

It is no surprise then that those critical of the president, but not overly critical minded themselves, are once again cranking hard on the slander-wheel, attempting to resurrect age-old libel and anything which "attacks" President Obama or his office.

As such, I will break it down and respond to the key points of Harold B. Estes letter, even though it's been done a dozen times before. Before I begin, however, I should point out that the (supplied) image is misleading. Harold B. Estes doesn't actually claim to have been at Pearl Harbor during the attack anywhere in the above letter. This information is simply unfounded supposition at this time. All Mr. Estes actually says is that he retired in Hawaii. Lucky for him, that he may live out his remaining days in good weather and good company.



Now onto my first criticism.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Quote of the Day: G.W. Foote

"As a man Jesus died because he had not the sense to live. As a God he must have died voluntarily. In either case it is an idle, gratuitous, enervating indulgence in "the luxury of woe" to be always afflicting ourselves with the story of his doom. Great and good men have suffered and died since, and other lessons are needed than that may be learnt at the foot of the Cross." --G.W. Foote (Seasons of Freethought, p. 279)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Reason Against Blasphemy


My new book anthology Reason Against Blasphemy is now available for purchase. I hope you all get a chance to track down a copy.

Reason Against Blasphemy collects two important works on blasphemy by two of our greatest Freethinkers. This volume includes both G.W. Foote's memoir "Prisoner for Blasphemy" and Robert G. Ingersoll's defense at the "Trial of C.B. Reynolds" along with two related lectures by Ingersoll on "Blasphemy" and "individuality."


This book is chock full of wisdom, insights into morality, philosophy, and human rights issues. I even wrote and extended Introduction about blasphemy in our current day world, of religious hypersensitivity, and why I feel that these two important works by Foote and Ingersoll are worth taking another look at. 

But instead of boring you all with the details, here's the introduction I wrote for the book.

***

INTRODUCTION to REASON AGAINST BLASPHEMY

TRISTAN VICK

Isaac Newton, Galileo, Kepler, Copernicus, Thomas Paine, Mark Twain, Salman Rushdie and countless others have been branded blasphemers at one time or another. Some have been labeled such for their heretical points of view while others have been unjustly attacked and persecuted for what is essentially a ‘victimless crime’.

Literary virtuoso Salman Rushdie, whom I had the pleasure of sitting down with back in 2005, is quite familiar with the intolerant aspects of religion. Perhaps the most famous blasphemy case in living memory, Rushdie was accused of blasphemous slander for his irreligious work The Satanic Verses, and was the unhappy recipient of a fatwā issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1989, the Supreme Leader of Iran at the time.

Even though Salman Rushdie had the bad fortune to be sentenced to death for nothing more than a difference of opinion, despite numerous attempts made on his life, he is alive in well today. However, his Japanese editor and book publisher, Hitoshi Igarashi, who lived in far off Tokyo, Japan, was gruesomely stabbed to death in 1991 by religious radicals seeking revenge on anyone who aided Rushdie in publishing his works. This appalling act of murder for nothing more than perceived “libel” in the name of blasphemy is a grave reminder that the undeniable fact of the matter is that blasphemy is a cruel and barbaric practice which has no place in the civilized world.

Still, blasphemy is a hot topic issue in our ever growing multicultural world. Many religious nations are now seeking to enact “Defamation of Religion” laws which would seek to make criticism of religion, all religions, a punishable offence.

Perhaps this desire to shield religion from opposing views arises, in part, due to the vanishing geographical boundaries which once separated peoples, cultures, and customs. Strong borders also allowed for the segregation of tribes, villages, and towns where the belief systems, rarely, if ever, came into contact with one another. In today’s information saturated world, we have technology such as smart phones, the Internet, and global news media which provide us with easy access to a sea of ever expanding knowledge. This has subsequently caused the regional boundaries to become blurred, and in many cases, it has forced countries to adapt to the rapid influx of new ideas and beliefs. Many of which, no doubt, have challenged the firmly established worldviews of the old world.

As the cross-cultural assimilation continues, one comes to realize it is near impossible to shelter oneself from the unlimited sea of information and ideas that are washing over us in waves. Both old and new worldviews have begun to rub up together, and in some cases, have crashed head on, like the sea frothing at the rocky shores of some distant seaside bluff. As such, this cross-cultural friction has led to one of two consequences. It has led to either an increase in the breakdown of cultural norms, where the old worldview is acclimated into the new (and vise versa), or else a defensive recoil occurs in which the old worldview tries to preserve itself by erecting even stricter laws and regulations to try and limit the cross-cultural influence.

Whereas the former breeds liberalism, the latter breeds conservatism, and it is in the conservative element that we find a weariness of the outside world and a preoccupation with “defamation” and “libel” regarding beliefs which are considered “sacred” or “divine.”

Blasphemy has been used (and continues to be used) as a tool to maintain the religious opinions against prevailing opposition and change. Making blasphemy a punishable offense goes one step further by allowing persecutors to actively seek to quell religious dissenters, apostates, and impede the growth of irreligious secularism and the heretical attitudes which are so easily fostered therein. It seems that wherever blasphemy arises as an issue of contention, we can be sure that we are not dealing so much with an issue of finding any real “offense” at criticism, but rather, we are witnessing resistance to change.

Wherever religion outrages reason to the point of due criticism, there has always been the religious self-reflexive defense to invoke blasphemy as a means to quell independent thinking and the freedom of speech, which stands in direct opposition to the stronghold of unimpeachable orthodoxy. But like Thomas Jefferson imbued, criticism is necessary if we are to properly evaluate the substance and worth of ideas, and therefore no idea is beyond reproach.

Needless to say, those who have lived sheltered lives in the safety zones of religious communities with closed off borders are not well equipped to handle derisive criticism coming at them from all sides. We cannot be too quick to judge the person of pious faith when their first reaction is toward anger and outrage when the foundations of their piety are taken to with sledge hammers of unyielding reproach. In many cases, they simply have not had enough experience with the free exchange of ideas to develop the thick skin required to be able to let the unimportant criticisms slide. Unable to respond to their critics’ barbed comments and cutting condemnation makes any mutual understanding difficult to come by. Subsequently, feeling criticism of their faith to be akin to abuse, the demand to shut down the discourse out of fear of further abuse arises, and blasphemy laws and defamation of religion laws are thus born out of such frustration. Resentment toward being on the receiving end of the criticism, indistinguishable from abuse in their mind, leads to outrage, and this goes a long way to explain why those who have a personal investment in preserving their religious beliefs and sheltering them from criticism often do not seem capable of reasoning dispassionately and leaving their emotions out of it.

Granted, modern blasphemy laws are a little more complicated than simply a desire to control other’s opinions and the outburst of infantile temper tantrums,1 but as far as the notion of blasphemy itself goes, namely the desire to safeguard what is deemed sacred as an inviolable truth, one cannot help find a morsel of truth in Oscar Wilde’s comment that, “Truth, in matters of religion, is simply the opinion that has survived.” Religious opinions have survived, in part, by unjustly persecuting those who have opposed religion, and consequently, would be deemed blasphemers.

Some contend that erecting universal blasphemy laws will seek to ensure greater tolerance among differing viewpoints, but if recent events are any indicator, the opposite seems to be true. Instead of greater tolerance, with every blasphemy law comes more outrage, violence, and narrow mindedness.

As recently as 2009, the Republic of Ireland introduced a new blasphemy law which would seek to protect religions against defamation and libel. But as is common with such laws, it has only lead to more unease, as it has set a president by which other religious run states call for the persecution of religious dissidents, i.e. apostates and freethinkers. One only look at the events in Pakistan and Bangladesh where Internet bloggers are being murdered and imprisoned for supposed “crimes” of blasphemy.

If the religious want greater respect, then they must earn it by respecting the rights of others first and foremost. Indeed, erecting blasphemy laws is not a valid method for spreading greater understanding and tolerance. One does not gain tolerance by telling people how to think and what to say. We can only have true tolerance and equality by allowing for the rights and opinions of others to be expressed equally, regardless of whether or not such opinions offend.

Caving into the demands of those who would make blasphemy a punishable offense is also the call to give up one’s freedom of speech perchance their opinions might offend. It is no surprise then that the concept of blasphemy is in direct opposition to the freedom of speech.

Islamic apologists have adopted the term “blasphemy” to describe any and all criticism of Islam. This has proved problematic. In an op-ed article in the National Post, Faisal Saeed al-Mutar and Jackson Doughart point out the incompatibility of the concept of blasphemy with the concept of the freedom of speech, when they relate:

“The earnest employment of the term blasphemy, and its advancement by Islam’s apologists as a tenable concept, is a clear enemy of open and secular society. Free expression, which constitutes the bedrock of the West’s process of deliberating controversial questions of value, cannot be balanced or reconciled with the idea of sacred and unchallengeable beliefs, since it contradicts the first principle of free speech: that even the most profane dissent must be protected.”

Blasphemy, as it is used today by most religious apologists, is nothing more than the tool of fear-mongers who wish to silence their opponents and anyone that does not share their particular brand of faith. Their message is clear: think twice before questioning our faith—our religion—because if you should be found in contempt, your punishment will be severe. It is the call for silence and unquestioning compliance to the will of religious authoritarians. It is to shackle your lips and censor your mind. This very line of reasoning prompted the late great journalist and intellectual author Christopher Hitchens to assert:

“I refuse to be told what to think or how, let alone what to say or write by anybody, but most certainly not by people who claim the authority of fabricated works of primeval myth and fiction and want me to believe these are divine. That I won’t have.”

Although he was known for his controversial views on religion, Hitchens’ sentiment was held with equal conviction by the great Freethinkers of the late 19th and early 20th century as well. Defying the imposition of theocrats abusing the rights of man was one of the main goals of the Freethought movement. The Great Agnostic Robert G. Ingersoll outlined further the notion behind the necessity to resist those who would seek to control or oppress the opinions of man, stating:

“Notwithstanding the fact that infidels in all ages have battled for the rights of man, and in have at all times been the fearless advocates of liberty and justice, we are constantly charged by the Church with tearing down without building again. The Church should by this time know that it is utterly impossible to rob men of their opinions. The history of religious persecution fully established the fact that the mind necessarily resists and defies every attempt to control it by violence.”

Throughout the ages the lesson has always been the same, if you do not agree with religion, you are to bite your tongue. If religion disagrees with you, it will cut off your tongue and condemn you as an infidel and a blasphemer.

Likewise, Robert G. Ingersoll observed the same danger with regard to blasphemy, when he warned, “Blasphemy is a padlock which hypocrisy tries to put on the lips of all honest men.”

Needless to say, in a world without religion there would be no such thing as blasphemy. In fact, the very notion of offending religious sensibilities can only be erected under the umbrella of religious faith. Outside of religion, however, blasphemy is by and large a meaningless concept.

This is why I feel publishing this volume is of timely importance. We must turn now toward the timeworn lessons of the Golden Age of Freethought. The war for Freethought has already been waged and won, but there are still religious organizations which would seek to bring our basic freedoms and liberties back under their control. Echoing the sentiment of Christopher Hitchens, I hope you’ll join me when I say, this we will not have.

***

Perhaps now, more than ever, we must reflect on the implications of imposing blasphemy laws and stripping men and women of their opinions. This is why I have found it necessary to reproduce the blasphemy cases of G.W. Foote and C.B. Reynolds as defended by Robert G. Ingersoll. Each case, separated by only a year, represents great victories in the arena of free speech and the freedom of expression.

G.W. Foote was convicted and sentenced to a year in prison for the crime of “libel against religion” and I think the reader will find that his punishment was unjust. In fact, so did most civilized people of his day. Annie Besant, a friend of Foote’s, who three years prior faced similar charges of blasphemy for her Freethought work alongside Charles Bradlaugh, went on to write that “A struggle has begun, which promises to be one of the fiercest that this century has seen, between the bigots and persecutors on the one hand and the supporters of free speech on the other.”

She was not wrong.

Foote was the last person in England to ever serve a prison sentence for the crime of blasphemy, in part, for the outrage his sentence invoked in the minds of the English people. The law, even in 1886, was already considered archaic and stood in opposition to the freedom of the press. The fact that Foote’s prosecutor, Mr. Justice North, was a staunch Catholic and nursed an undeniable bias, meant that Foote had his work cut out for him. Needless to say, Justice North, who embodies the parody of a comic book villain, was incapable of hearing reason. As a consequence, Foote was tried and convicted for the crimes of blasphemy. After the trial, Justice North had to flee through a secret corridor out the back of the courthouse to escape the riots sparked by the public outrage of Foote’s sentencing. Sticking to the shadows and sneaking out the back of the courthouse like a common villain, Justice North proved that he was as much as a coward as he was contemptible. Able to sentence a free man to prison for voicing his honest opinion, but unable to look anyone in the eyes and stand by his judgment, it is to Foote’s credit that upon receiving his sentence from Mr. Justice North, he remained courteous and said, “My Lord, I thank you; it is worthy of your creed.”

Foote’s memoir of the trial, including an account of the trial proceedings and his subsequent prison internment, Prisoner for Blasphemy is required reading for anyone interested in the history of blasphemy laws and how this affects our rights as Freethinkers and as people.

In 2008, under Prime Minister Gordon Brown, England abolished its blasphemy laws. Likewise, in March, 2011, the UN Human Rights Council shifted from protecting beliefs (both religious and political) to the protection of believers (the individual) when amending the February 1989 resolution. This minor emendation takes us in the right direction of protecting people’s rights while limiting further the oppressive reach of religious theocrats by stripping them of their most favored weapon, blasphemy. I think Foote would have been disappointed that it took so long, but wherever and whenever reason wins out over age old superstition, we can honestly say, better late than never.

After Foote was released from prison in 1887, he went back to publishing the Freethinker. In 1890 Foote succeeded Bradlaugh as president of the National Secular Society, a position he’d proudly maintain for twenty-five years. The Freethinker is still published today. It is the longest running Freethought publication in existence.

At nearly the same time Foote was being released from prison, across the Atlantic, America was facing a similar crisis. C.B. Reynolds was a Freethinker who was known for passing out Freethought pamphlets revealing the contradictions and absurdities of the varieties of Christian religion. But for Puritan founded America, this was too much to bare, and Mr. Reynolds soon found himself faced with accusations of blasphemy, and a court hearing to determine his guilt. Lucky for Reynolds it was the Golden Age of Freethought. Enter war hero Col. Robert G. Ingersoll.

Civil War veteran, education reformer, and Freethought proponent Robert G. Ingersoll came to C.B. Reynolds aid, not because of any affiliation with Reynolds, but because the cause was just. After all, in a free country with a constitution guaranteeing the freedom of speech, no man should be punished for voicing his opinion freely. Robert G. Ingersoll’s defense makes it quite clear why blasphemy is an erroneous and outmoded concept. With his closing defense speech, Ingersoll forever did away with the notion that blasphemy could ever be tried under American law and forever insured that the freedom of speech was indeed more sacred than any religious ideal.

If Ingersoll’s brilliant defense of C.B. Reynolds and the victory for freedom of speech wasn’t enough, I have included Ingersoll’s lectures on “Blasphemy” and “Individuality,” as they relate to the topic, and show us a better alternative to the outmoded blasphemy laws of old.

***

As with my prior anthology Seasons of Freethought, I have updated the language and terminology for modern readership. It is never an easy choice to do so, as I feel that in some small way it betrays the beauty of the language as originally written. But language is ever changing, like the ebb and flow of the tides, and there comes a time when the old verses are too dissimilar from our current form of the language that it becomes distracting and, occasionally, causes minor difficulties in understanding. As my desire in reproducing these volumes is to present them to a new generation of readers, I have had little choice but to update the language. I think readers will find that the updated lexicon, along with modern grammatical forms, and with the utilization of the standardized English which is currently in vogue, makes the reading a much more smooth and enjoyable experience.

Archaic spellings, such as connexion for connection, have been updated according to the Oxford Dictionary of English corpus. Un– prefixes have been change to im– prefixes wherever necessary. Two word forms, such as some day and some where, etc., have been contracted to the single word forms of someday and somewhere. Unique or archaic spellings have been left intact where there is no acceptable alternative. Where a modern alternative to a word is found acceptable, the modern word form has been selected over the alternative, e.g. victress has been replaced by victrix and gaol has been replaced by jail.

Most of the changes are merely cosmetic and do not change the meaning or content in any significant way. The choice to use modern American spellings over the old British or old American spellings is twofold. First, it allows modern readers to read with ease and enjoy the content without being confused as to the meaning of old spellings or terminology which might disrupt reading flow. Secondly, the simplified American spellings cut down page count significantly, making anthologies and collections, such as the one you hold in your hands now, cheaper to produce and thus less costly.

Beyond these rather mundane technical enhancements, I have tried to stay as true to the source material as possible while updating it for a modern readership. Most assuredly, I am pleased to present a new generation of Freethinkers, Skeptics, and Atheists with an accessible and affordable collection of works by two of the greatest defenders of Freethought and free speech who ever lived.



Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Quip of the Day

"Philosophy is the study of ideas in the same way that theology is the study of God, but with one important difference. At least we know ideas exist." --Tristan Vick

Monday, March 11, 2013

G.W. Foote on Ridicule

"Goldsmith said there are two classes of people who dread ridicule--priests and fools. they cry out that it is no argument, but they know it is. It has been found the most potent form of argument. Euclid used it in his immortal Geometry; for what else is the reductio ad absurdum which he sometimes employs? Elijah used it against the priests of Baal. The Christian fathers found it effective against the Pagan superstitions, and in turn it was adopted as the best weapon of attack on them by Lucian and Celsus. Ridicule has been used b y Bruno, Erasmus, Luther, Rabelais, Swift, and Voltaire, by nearly all the great emancipators of the human mind."


--G.W. Foote (From his essay "On Riddicule," Seasons of Freethought, pg. 269)


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Quote of the Day: Robert G. Ingersoll

"Pious ignorance always regards intelligence as a kind of blasphemy."

--Robert G. Ingersoll


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sophists Chap My Ass


I'm sorry, I haven't written a blog in quite a while. I've been too busy publishing books and stuff. 

But I thought I would write a not so meaningful post mocking a sophist Christian. Not because he's Christian, but because he's sophist. I hate sophists.

Mike D. over at the A-Unicornist pointed out recently that the Christian theologian/apologist/whatever David Marshall recently wrote this:

"Genuine faith in the Christian sense is that act of mind and will by which we discover all that we ever can come to know. Faith means trusting, and holding firmly to, what we have good reason to believe is true, in the face of trial. In that sense, no science, no history, not even the most platitudinous reasoning, would be possible without faith."

At first I was like...


But then I remembered that I am actually good at thinking. And so I re-read it, since that usually brings to light the parts that confuse me, and then I was like...



Cuz you know, when you actually stop to think about it, the whole thing makes almost no sense, except that Marshall uses colorful philosophical language to make faith sound all great and stuff. 

But does he really believe in that sort of faith?

What if Jesus spoke to him and asked him to kill himself? Would he have faith in the truth of that message? Or would he check himself into the psyche ward for hearing ominous voices?

Buddy Jesus has a message for David Marshall...




Mind you, I would never ask anybody to kill themselves.

All joking aside, you might wonder is there a point to this? Yes, actually.


My point was, albeit rhetorical (and obviously tongue in cheek -- no, I don't want David Marshall to really kill himself, that's silly) if Marshal kept to the faith as he defined it in that quote, and he believed that Jesus really, truly asked him to kill himself, do you think he would heed his call?


If not, it's not really the sort of faith he says he practices. He might pay lip service, and make it sound like some great thing, but he wouldn't actually want to live by it -- not as he defines it -- not really.

I was challenging him to think about that for a bit.

A Muslim suicide bomber, on the other hand, might carry out such an act if they had enough faith based conviction.

Apologists strike me as hypocritical. They frequently change their definitions to suit their needs, move the goal posts back.


[Update: Just to clarify: David Marshall replied to this post taking personal jabs at my career and writing that I actually said "Marshal, Go kill yourself" which I never actually said. I used a meme of Buddy Jesus pointing which said to "Go kill yourself" in a nondescript sort of way to show that I wasn't at all serious and that the point wasn't to sound threatening to but see if Marshall really believes in the medicine he's selling. Personally, like Christopher Hitchens, I think faith is one of the most overate virtues.]






Advocatus Atheist

Advocatus Atheist