Blog Update 2 — The Atheist Blog Roll

I just read some email that I’ve been added to the Atheist Blog Roll. I feel privileged and delighted to join ranks with the larger community of atheists, free thinkers, and humanists. This one little blog is of course, insignificant, but I hope that the sum total of all that is out there will be a powerful force for good in our civilization and I’m happy to contribute what little I can.

Please be sure to check the Atheist Blogroll on the right panel of this site to see what’s out there.

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4 Responses to “Blog Update 2 — The Atheist Blog Roll”

  1. Clark Bunch Says:

    Christianity is a powerful force for good.

  2. liquidthinker Says:

    Hi Clark,

    I would agree that there are some Christians who have been a force for good. However, the religion itself has not had such a great record. There were, off the top of my head, the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, a long history of persecution of Jewish people ultimately resulting in the Holocaust, the Thirty Years War in Europe, ad infinitum. More recent examples could include Reagan’s Secretary of the Interior Watt shrugging off environmental responsibility due to the imminent return of Jesus. On an even more disturbing note, bombing of clinics where abortions could be performed are justified within some people’s interpretation of Christianity.

    One of the key problems is the ambiguity of scriptural interpretation. For years, the Bible was used to justify slavery, for example. There were some Christian abolitionists with superior morality who perhaps used the Bible to condemn it as well, eventually. But the problem is, they were all still all using the same book on which to justify their answers. The book has not changed. Our morality has improved (one hopes). A backwards step in our society could potentially justify slavery again using the same biblical arguments that slave owners used so long ago. That is because these are all arguments based on dogma and faith, instead of critical thinking and reason. Once one has removed oneself from the reach of reason, all bets are off.

  3. Clark Bunch Says:

    I was in a weird mood when I left that comment. I sort of figured you would just delete it. I had no idea you would post a lucid, valid, well thought out response. But since you did…

    I wrote a post many months ago admitting many of the past sins of the church. Yes there were the Crusades; yes some Christians are as bad as terrorists and blow up abortion clinics. Some even hunted down and killed abortion doctors. Even today in our society, there are many “Christians” who are practicing Christianity badly. I rant sometimes about stupid Christians that make us all look bad. (Just last week a group laid hands on the Wall Street bull and prayed for it.) But those Christians who read the Bible and interpret the work of Jesus Christ correctly impact the world in a positive manner. Imitating the Christ of the New Testament is a wonderful thing. Those Christians build hospitals, volunteer in inner-city communities, feed and clothe the orphans of the world, and even enter harms way in the mid east and the Sudan to bring water and medicine to the victims of war. Not ALL Christians are a force for good, I admit and apologize for that. But the ones who imitate Christ, those are good people who make the world a better place.

  4. liquidthinker Says:

    Hi Clark,

    Glad to have you back. I’m not really one for deleting comments, but prefer an open discussion for all. Even from those who may disagree with me. You do indeed seem to be one of the Christians who is a force for good, but I would suggest that there is no need for you to apologize for the Christians who are not. Not your fault. Before jumping into the main points of the discussion I wish to address here, I would like to address an interesting point you make. You state “But those Christians who read the Bible and interpret the work of Jesus Christ correctly…”. That’s actually kind of my point. Who determines what is a correct interpretation? But I’ll leave that for the moment to talk about the good works inspired from the example of Jesus.

    It may actually amuse you to hear that, as I recall, Richard Dawkins was once offering t-shirts with the slogan, “Atheists for Jesus”. There were some good moral lessons in the Jesus story (Good Samaritan, casting the first stone, etc.), and the story does have him challenging the status quo. Now all the evidence, arguments, etc. that I’ve been through convince me that Jesus never actually existed as such, but that doesn’t mean there are not some good lessons to take from the story.

    It is also true that some Christians have probably taken inspiration from the story to do the good works you mention. I would argue though, that such good works can also find quite reasonable justification in rational argument. In fact, I would go further and suggest that this is a more robust justification. Imagine that there were some piece of evidence that conclusively proved that Jesus never existed. I’m not sure what evidence this could consist of, perhaps minutes from a meeting of scribes trying to figure out how to flesh out the spiritual Christ of Paul into an actual story. A source for the Quelle of Mark, if you will. Now the entire framework upon which many of those good works were based is gone. It was, as Jesus might have said, “a foundation built on sand”. But if we recognize that, for example, hospitals are good for society by alleviating sickness and suffering, thus allowing people to maximize their happiness and contribute back to society, than we have every reason to continue the good works without religious urging. Not to mention that as humans, we are, by nature, compassionate creatures (There are interesting naturalistic speculations on why this is so. It seems likely that empathetic mirror neurons play a significant role.) and helping others often feels like the right thing to do. We can all try to make the world a better place.

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