Statesboro, GA, USA
...The new atheists do not exploit a chasm. They contend (among other things) that religion is immoral at its core. True, there are many good and moral people who are also religious but those people are that way in spite of religion, not because of it.
But it's irrational to contend that religion is "immoral at its core' unless one defines what the core is. For example, can one say that Christianity is immoral at its core, if its core is the character and person of Christ? Does the prescriptive ethic of the Gospels strike anyone (other than Hitchens I suppose) as immoral? Does the character of Christ lead anyone to that conclusion?
The greater difficulty is describing "good and moral" in any meaningful way within the framework of atheism. A transcendent, religious, or spiritual view of things must be borrowed from (however anonymously) in order to make such statements. It's the very reason why Paul wrote in his epistle to the Romans that we "suppress the truth" in unrighteousness. Suppression does not imply complete alienation.
Betrayal of a child's innate trust in authority figures does not constitute outright religious hypocrisy?
I have to agree with you here Brad. I don't think that Jihadism and adultery are fundamentally different in their status as "hypocrisy", one being a perversion of justice, and the other a perversion of love.
...To be honest, I'm far more interested in hearing how people reconcile these 'apparent' contradictions than I am in trying to show any incoherence in scripture.
My take on this, is that in context, the passage in Ezekiel is speaking to those who were seeking to avoid their own repsonsibility and lapsing into fatalism. In such a case, hope is given for change, to differ from their fathers regarding all the behaviors that the prophet brings to their attention.
The Deuteronomy passage, is an address to the Hebrews about the importance of staying true to the Covenant that God made with them and their Fathers. Obviously the benefit of remaining faithful is contrasted with the disadvantage of not doing so. But more interestingly the two results are contrasted in their respective scopes; the reward for faithfulness being more far reaching than the punishment for infidelity. But in this passage, the importance of faithfulness is communicated by reminding that how we live will affect others, even our descendants of future generations.
The latter statement need not contradict the former if we view the one as affirming accountablity for one's own actions (for those who are seeking to deny responsibility), and the other as affirming duty to others (for those who are seeking to deny obligation).
In contemporary language, it can be expressed as the difference between saying "do your duty to your children", and "you can't always blame your father".
Would you accept that people are good and moral in spite of dogma?
And would you accept that people are not good and moral enough in spite of dogma (including the atheistic kind)? For the dogma of Christ is not simply that we need more goodness and morality.
They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.
This is an example of prooftexting without even beginning to discuss context. In view of Jesus' Olivet discourse, is it even remotely plausible (textually speaking) to think that all this about divided families is a kind of command or recommendation? Or have you mistaken the descriptive for the prescriptive? These kinds of irksome questions are still essential to exegesis, if one is to make either a pious or impious point using the Bible.
Religions ask you to accept their teachings unquestioned. What religions consider a virtue, new atheists consider a vice.
They do? Repeated stereotype of religions noted. As far as I know the Bereans in the book of Acts were praised for their limited and careful incredulity.
In other words, it makes religion a straw man. The fact is, both atheists and religious people consider recognizing authority a virtue and blindly following someone claiming authority a vice. Likewise both atheists and religious people consider inquiry and scrutiny a virtue, and endless cynicism a vice.
It's really disconcerting to me that someone as bright as you is repeating these authoritarian saws of the New Atheists without more skepticism of your own.
But how does one give credit to religion if one isnít willing to consider its responsibility?
How does one hold a religion responsible rather than particular adherents of said religion? And how does one determine whether the core teachings of respective religions are more inclined to immorality or virtue, if one isn't inclined to take effort and seriously ascertain what they teach, or if one is more inclined to paint religion with with widest possible negative generalization? The method is like trying to look at cells with a Telescope.
Well, weíre all guilty of that at times, arenít we?
Perhaps, but we don't all claim, like Dawkins, that science is the only valid means of knowing anything. Half the battle for me, is trying to show people how religious the new Atheism actually is, though from my perspective, that's certainly not why it's wrong.
And Brad, if it seems like I only respond to you lately, it's a compliment on my part.