Statesboro, GA, USA
Can't we just keep the sentence frame and substitute some other group there? Do we really have to preface every remark we say with such banal phrasing (kind of like saying "in my opinion" after every sentence)?
As much as I want to scream no we don't, I'm stuck with the idea that we do, we do have to clutter our comments with such detritus.
Um, Brad, I have no idea where this came from or how it refers to any response of mine. Could you help me?
I had to make sure that you stated just such a similar remark considering atheists. Why? Because I've had to counter the idea that atheists, by definition, are lacking a morality. In some areas, this seems to be an axiom: No God, no morality.
That may be so, but it's faulty in those areas. Christianity is not the same as moralism, though it should have a high moral standard. Besides, the Christian apologists I know of who have answered Hitchens (John Lennox, Alister McGrath, and Dinesh D'souza- come to mind) have never said such a thing. Believer or non-believer, we are all moral beings, because created so, and therefore sometimes capable of "common moral decency". But common moral decency is just that.
And while I think he often misunderstands some more subtle theological arguments on morality (or rather he might say obfuscatory remarks on morality), I also think he gives us, the audience, a certain respect by not endlessly, mind-numbingly repeating the bloody obvious.
I would say that he give us, the audience, a certain disrespect by mind-numbingly (entertainingly of course, due to his sharp invective and wit) repeating the bloody preposterous, namely that religion is useless and always poison. I would of course be interested in knowing what you consider to be "bloody obvious" that is so oft repeated by proponents of the faith ... but not without reminding you that Hitchens is also quite repetitive, as his delivery is comprised of but a few ideas, "religion is poison" being chief. And I'm sure that because of our respective views, we're going to disagree on which sounds more like an ostinato and which sounds more like a scratched phonograph.
Hitch often uses chess as an example, but what about football?
If you pray before a game and win, did you cheat?
If you pray and lose, were you bested or were you tested by God?
Yeah, it gets that trivial.
yeah, it gets that trivial because it was framed that way.
First off, from a Theological view, God is patient. And those whose highest prayer and chief desire is to simply "win the football game", may be tolerated in the same way that I tolerate my youngest son always wanting to be "first". I deal with that mindset, though I am not overly concerned that it occurs.
And then there is real experience ... I have found (though not a highly athletic person myself) that many if not most prayers among athletic events I've heard, have had to do chiefly with other concerns altogether, such as safety of the team and of the opposing team, issues in the lives of players totally outside of the arena, being a good example on the field (as is asking for help not to resort to playing "dirty", and showing courtesy as well as competition), and many other things besides "let us win". Though I certainly wouldn't be so pseudo-sanctimonious (or pseudo-egalitarian in some cases) to say that's not allowed.
Anyway, though its a tasteless provocation, it could otherwise be a good discussion. But have you not figured out that Hithcens is not looking for discussion? The potentiality for triviality (in any setting he so chooses) is focused on to the exclusion of all else, and assumed to be both common and intrinsic to the subject. No qualifiers are allowed. It is rhetorically settled beforehand ...
Now if you want to raise the problems of evil, unexplained suffering, unanswered prayer, or even the allegations of divine favoritism or capriciousness, then you've raised some worthy questions ... but they are not, and have never been, trivial. Nor are they trivial just because the same questions could be asked about a football game or even chess.
Just like the question of materialistic determinism is not a trivial one just because it could be applied to football or chess.
How can preachers and priests makes statements about God's intentions when it comes to natural disasters?
Good question. And another one is, considering the wickedness of sin in humanity, how can it be that we've already decided that God could never express himself through nature, whether in wrath, mercy, or by sending trials that end up making us ultimately stronger (even in the same event)? Though not difficulty free, are any of these ideas reasonable?
You may think I've dodged your question about the accountability of preachers. I haven't exactly done so. Or, more accurately, I haven't done it to merely dodge the question. I've asked you questions to show that there are good questions to be asked from all sides. But I don't sense that recognition (at all) in anything by Christopher H.
When scientists make hypotheses, they are tested and checked by other scientists.
If you believe this to be invariably true, then may I recommend "The Devil's Delusion" by the agnostic mathmetician Berlinski?
And no, this doesn't mean that I'm against science. But still for me, the myth of the objective and disinterested unity of science is no longer thinkable.
But religious statements, like scientific statements, are tested on many levels, though the interpretive sieves and social filters may be different. "Heresy" by Alister McGrath is a good book that touches on this subject.
Hitch has argued that Auden's 1930s poetry is better than the post-return-to-Christianity work.
I haven't read much of Auden. Though I am interested since I have read about him through the author Alan Jacobs, and since he was part of the "Inklings". But since I haven't read him, I can't really comment on the question.
Religion sacrifices the joy of new knowledge, the achievement of understanding, with the comfort of already knowing, the complacency of "I've learned all I need to".
It does ... or it can?
Helping or advertising?
Great question, one that I would best like to ask of my own actions. Jesus certainly spoke of this slippery distinction in the human heart.
Now, Stephen, I know you won't accept all these points. Hitch wouldn't either.
But that's the point. You don't have to, he doesn't have to, and I don't have to.
I can change my mind.
Okay. But why is this interesting or other than obvious?
Maybe I'm just missing something Brad. You're probably a better writer than I. I feel I am more direct (though maybe frustratingly simplistic). With you I have to read between the lines, and follow your dance.
And Brad, all your ideas about new threads sound great. Just take it easy, and introduce one at a time. I think, for the sake of the discussion, it would be best. I certainly couldn't respond meaningfully to more than one or two at a time.