Comment is Free - Belief
  • bcarling October 2011
    Has anyone else been following the various articles in The Guardian's Cif site, i.e. various articles about the New Atheists' refusal to debate William Lane Craig? - see excellent pieces from Daniel Came, Julian Baggini and Fern Elsdon-Baker
  • bcarling October 2011
    The links to these are here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief
  • SimonSimon October 2011
    When I have time I do check them out occasionally - I quite liked Daniel Came's article whose point was beautifully illustrated by the usual drivel spouted by the "angry internet atheists" in the comments below!

    I sometimes wonder about the people who post on the comments section of those articles - I imagine a bunch of very angry, probably computer scientists, turning on their computer in the evening and getting their cathartic release by essentially plagiarising the God Delusion onto the Guardian forum without noticing their own philosophical ignorance!
  • AnthonySmithAnthonySmith October 2011
    Sounds like just about every forum on the internet ... except this one of course!
  • stevencarrwork October 2011
    When the Richard Dawkins Foundation published a piece in April (IIRC) about how Craig defended Biblical genocide, it transpired that they were once more beating up on fundamentalist Christianity, not at all representative of what mainstream Christians believed.

    Why can’t Dawkins take on people other than nutballs? was the cry….

    That article was just typical of Dawkins bashing people who had nothing to do with True Christianity....

    And when Dawkins refused to debate Craig, it suddenly became apparent that Craig was the world’s leading spokesman for Christianity and outranked everybody else as an intellectual who represented mainstream Christians in a way that nobody else ever had.

    Craig is now claiming that not only were the Canaanites judged as worthy to be killed by his god, but none of them needed to be killed if they had only ran away.

    I bet some of those 2 year olds could have toddled really fast, if they had known that Craig's god had sent soldiers to kill them.
  • SimonSimon October 2011
    Christianity is too diverse to be represented by any one person apart from perhaps Jesus (and I accept how ambiguous this comment is!!).

    New atheists, on the other hand, do not seem to be quite as diverse. They swallow the gospel of Dawkins in a way that the old atheists - or at least the more established atheist philosophers - find rather embarrassing. I debated a university atheist society once and actually had to help them out with the logic of the argument they were trying to make because they really had done no more preparation than finding quotes from the god delusion!!

    I know many sincere and well thought through atheists who are my friends. I have a lot of time for people who are prepared to think about life, but very little for people who just use sound bites, or accept a conclusion before they have sorted out their arguments.
  • stevencarrwork October 2011
    'Christianity is too diverse to be represented by any one person apart from perhaps Jesus ...'

    So if Jesus said there was a flood and that the Queen of Sheba will rise from her grave to condemn people and that the Jews of his day would be held partly responsible for the killing of Abel (no Genesis myths for him!), then atheists should take the Jesus of the Bible as representative of Christianity, and not modern day Christians who claim Abel never existed to be murdered?
  • stevencarrwork November 2011
    I see that Andrew Brown has also given his opinion on Richard Dawkins in the Guardian's Comment is Free section.

    Does anybody want to defend Brown's comments? Brown got taken down by people commenting on his article.
  • SimonSimon November 2011
    I'm guessing you mean this article:


    So, as far as I understand it, the argument is "since innocents go to heaven, those who abuse/murder are not quite as bad as we might otherwise think because by killing the innocent they are allowing them to get to heaven".

    I'm probably not the best Christian to talk about this as I am rather agnostic when it comes to an afterlife. A bit of me likes the idea of eternal peace and quiet, whilst another bit of me thinks that since I cannot imagine what heaven may be like I'll just focus on my behaviour on earth and just wait and see what happens when I die!

    However, on the premise that heaven is some form of eternal paradise (something I think many Christians believe), I think the argument described above and presented by Dawkins makes a huge error in assuming that consequentialism is the only type of ethics. I can see how, from a consequentialist perspective, the victim going to heaven can be viewed as a mitigating aspect to a terrible crime, however this is to distract from the real ethical issue - the behaviour of the perpetrator. Let's try an example:

    Imagine someone stole my car keys whilst I was shopping. Because of this I had to phone my wife to get her to bring my spare keys. However, as my wife is delivering the keys to me there is a gas explosion that destroys my house. If my keys hadn't been stolen, and my wife hadn't been delivering them to me, she would have been killed in the gas explosion. Now does this fortunate set of circumstances justify the original thief who stole my keys - I think not. The ethical judgement is therefore based on the behaviour/attitude of the perpetrator, not the consequences of the situation as a whole.