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New Atheists Are Not Great
Christianity Today ^ | 3/13/2008 | Tony Snow

Posted on 03/14/2008 9:54:07 AM PDT by dinasour

In What's So Great About Christianity, Dinesh D'Souza is skeptical of skepticism and enthusiastic about the faith.

There are two types of Christian apologetics. One makes the positive case for faith; the other responds to critics. Dinesh D'Souza's delightful book, What's So Great About Christianity, falls into the second category. It sets out to rebut recent exuberant atheist tracts, such as Christopher Hitchens's God Is Not Great and Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion.

[Snip]

This leads us to perhaps the strongest argument against atheism, which D’Souza makes only indirectly—the argument from experience. Atheism cannot reach our hearts. A rigorous atheist cannot console in a time of grief, cannot explain love, cannot sigh in happy wonder at life’s endless surprises. He can only utter, “What is, is.”

Read the whole thing.

(Excerpt) Read more at christianitytoday.com ...


TOPICS: Apologetics; Religion & Politics; Skeptics/Seekers
KEYWORDS: tonysnow
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In know I didn't have to excerpt this, but it's kind of long anyway.

Tony wouldn't mind the clicks. I hear that when you click on Tony, he giggles like Elmo.

HT: My favorite atheist, Allahpundit at Hot Air.

1 posted on 03/14/2008 9:54:07 AM PDT by dinasour
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To: baa39; cleveland gop; mom4kittys; rightwingintelligentsia; moscowmillsmuttlover; GregB; mupcat; ...
Tonys Mug


     Tony Snow Ping

 

If you want on, or off, the Tony Snow ping list, please FReepMail dinasour.


Tony couldn't bring us any snow today, so instead he delivers a little sunshine.
2 posted on 03/14/2008 9:56:28 AM PDT by dinasour
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To: dinasour

I’m not an atheist, but how does the author know an atheist cannot console in a time of grief, explain love, or sigh in happy wonder at life’s endless surprises?


3 posted on 03/14/2008 9:56:39 AM PDT by stuartcr (Election year.....Who we gonna hate, in '08?)
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To: Tony Snow

Hi, Tony - hope you’re doing well.


4 posted on 03/14/2008 10:04:47 AM PDT by Tuscaloosa Goldfinch (If MY people who are called by MY name -- the ball's in our court, folks.)
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To: dinasour; Tony Snow
I hear that when you click on Tony, he giggles like Elmo.

heheheheheheh

Thanks for the ping!

5 posted on 03/14/2008 10:04:56 AM PDT by tiredoflaundry (High Maintenance Estrogen Bot........... look out :0))
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To: stuartcr
but how does the author know an atheist cannot console in a time of grief, explain love, or sigh in happy wonder at life’s endless surprises

I wouldn't know, really.

A matter of opinion, a matter of faith.

A little of both.

6 posted on 03/14/2008 10:23:12 AM PDT by dinasour
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To: dinasour

Thanks for the ping!


7 posted on 03/14/2008 10:24:31 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: tiredoflaundry
heheheheheheh

On the other hand, I've heard that Allahpundit clicks when you tickle him.

8 posted on 03/14/2008 10:24:55 AM PDT by dinasour
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To: dinasour

“Barack Hussein Obama is a member of a radical, anti-American, anti-Semite religious organization. Who damns America often and blames us for 911 says we deserved it”

A gift of $22,500 to this radical, anti-American religious organization in 2006 says to me he is much more than involved he is committed to it’s values. It is Obama.

Have I missed something?
Can Obama be loyal to this country?

His close family relationships with hater, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. He’s also associated, as you know, with Tony Rezko, and William Aires, the domestic terrorist. By the way, all this is the side of his life that he doesn’t want discussed. The list of bad associates goes on and on. Can’t explain them all away Mr. Obama but I forget you don’t want it discussed!

I fear for us now. How about you?


9 posted on 03/14/2008 10:31:41 AM PDT by BellStar (In Arab culture and under Islamic law, if your father is a Muslim, so are you Obama!)
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To: stuartcr

Just curious - what consolation could an atheist offer when a loved one has died?


10 posted on 03/14/2008 10:41:17 AM PDT by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: dinasour

lolol! Well your pings tickle too!


11 posted on 03/14/2008 10:51:47 AM PDT by tiredoflaundry (High Maintenance Estrogen Bot........... look out :0))
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To: MEGoody

> Just curious - what consolation could an atheist offer when a loved one has died?

The worms will surely find you delicious.


12 posted on 03/14/2008 11:06:16 AM PDT by dinasour
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To: BellStar

> I fear for us now. How about you?

I have been hearing *about* this for a awhile. Only this morning did I actually listen to what this guy actually says.

Whoa.


13 posted on 03/14/2008 11:08:07 AM PDT by dinasour
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To: MEGoody

Not to be contrarian, but I would note that Buddhism is atheistic. The Buddha correctly discerned that the existence or non-existence of such beings as the Hindus call ‘gods’ is of no consequence for our moral and spiritual life, but, without the light of divine revelation, did not discern the existence of the one transcendent God. Buddhism contains many consolations for the grieving, without being theistic.

Now most Western atheists are also antagonistic to mind-body dualism and the existence of a soul which continues to exist after death. It is this error that renders them incapable of consoling the grieving, not their folly in saying there is no God.


14 posted on 03/14/2008 11:13:33 AM PDT by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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To: stuartcr

>>I’m not an atheist, but how does the author know an atheist cannot console in a time of grief, explain love, or sigh in happy wonder at life’s endless surprises?<<

It is simple. It is their core “what is life” paradigm that eliminates the possibility of being uplifting during such times.

Utterly and completely impossible - unless they are not being true to their own beliefs.

But then, I’ve never met a real athiest. I’ve met plenty that claim to be, but when questioned further, every single one of them backpedaled and admitted they were really more “agnostic”.

Wanna see how a REAL atheist would act? Rent Natural Born Killers.


15 posted on 03/14/2008 11:13:44 AM PDT by RobRoy (I'm confused. I mean, I THINK I am, but I'm not sure. But I could be wrong about that.)
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To: The_Reader_David
Buddhism contains many consolations for the grieving, without being theistic.

Such as?

16 posted on 03/14/2008 11:19:33 AM PDT by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: dinasour
The worms will surely find you delicious.

Yeah, such a consolation. ;)

17 posted on 03/14/2008 11:20:19 AM PDT by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: MEGoody

Not being an atheist, I don’t know. Maybe something like their thoughts are with them and sincere hopes that the person will find peace within themselves after their loss? I’m sure some atheists here could elaborate if they see fit.


18 posted on 03/14/2008 11:30:47 AM PDT by stuartcr (Election year.....Who we gonna hate, in '08?)
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To: stuartcr
Maybe something like their thoughts are with them and sincere hopes that the person will find peace within themselves after their loss?

I can certainly see them saying something like that, but that isn't consolation or comfort. . .it's just platitudes.

19 posted on 03/14/2008 11:38:20 AM PDT by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: dinasour

A rigorous atheist cannot console in a time of grief, cannot explain love, cannot sigh in happy wonder at life’s endless surprises. He can only utter, “What is, is.”
__________

Tony, Tony ... leave the aphorisms for those who are better at them.

Why would anyone suggest that one who does not believe in a transcendant God would have no human emotions, and the ability to understand the emotions others feel. It’s just silly.


20 posted on 03/14/2008 12:54:16 PM PDT by dmz
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To: MEGoody

Just curious - what consolation could an atheist offer when a loved one has died?
____________

Exactly the same consolation as you would offer.

Is empathy now a uniquely Christian trait? Sorry, I completely disagree.


21 posted on 03/14/2008 1:04:21 PM PDT by dmz
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To: dmz
Exactly the same consolation as you would offer.

So an atheist would tell a person who is grieving that they will see their loved one again in heaven? Interesting.

:::sarc tag in case it is needed:::

22 posted on 03/14/2008 1:51:18 PM PDT by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: MEGoody

Probably the same thing to many people.


23 posted on 03/14/2008 2:18:13 PM PDT by stuartcr (Election year.....Who we gonna hate, in '08?)
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To: MEGoody

I once attended the funeral of a young girl who had died of leukemia. She was a beautiful, intelligent homeschooled teenager who had so much promise. But her family were atheists and her funeral was so full of secular readings, etc., and nothing of faith or hope or even eternal life. This couple had no comfort, had no faith or even hope of seeing their loved one again. It was the saddest funeral I’ve ever seen because it was devoid of hope. The parents are now divorced.

Around the same time, a young girl near us, Sarah Ann Wood, was kidnapped and murdered. They have never recovered her body. But her parents were able to go through this praising God in spite of it all. He was a pastor and they both had a great relationship with their Lord. They KNOW they will see their child again. That’s the difference.


24 posted on 03/14/2008 4:49:27 PM PDT by Marysecretary (.GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL)
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To: dmz

DMZ,

Read the whole thing, as they say. Of course atheists feel pangs of emotion. They grieve, they laugh, they cry, they show up to hug and console. But when it comes to having something substantive to say, something that would provide consolation — that life has meaning; that one doesn’t simply occupy space for a time and then decompose; that there are great overarching principles that give life its depth, joy, texture and purpose; and that those principles arise not from artifice or practice, but from a Creator whose central principle is love — when it comes to making these arguments and more, the atheist must remain mute. They still can and do hug and cry. But they cannot argue that life is anything other than an accident and death, the end of everything...


25 posted on 03/14/2008 9:51:15 PM PDT by Tony Snow
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To: dinasour
Tony couldn't bring us any snow today, so instead he delivers a little sunshine.

Thank you, dinasour, for posting this little ray of sunshine.

26 posted on 03/14/2008 11:35:26 PM PDT by MaggieCarta (Will suggest (or even write) taglines for food.)
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To: Tony Snow

Are you saying, that if one is an atheist, they cannot believe in something after death? If so, why?


27 posted on 03/15/2008 8:27:40 AM PDT by stuartcr (Election year.....Who we gonna hate, in '08?)
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To: MEGoody

Such as ‘He lived a good life, in his next he will have an easier time of attaining enlightenment.’

The post WW II saying about the Japanese is that they are born as Shintoist, married as Christians and die as Buddhists.

Not buying the death and rebirth stuff myself, I can only report from afar that folks who do find Buddhist doctrines consoling at the time of death and at the death of a loved one.


28 posted on 03/15/2008 8:42:00 AM PDT by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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To: stuartcr

You might observe that modern Western atheists almost to a man also deny mind-body dualism or the existence of the soul, and regard mind, emotion, will, indeed all the attributes of personhood as epiphenomina of chemical reactions in the brain.

Buddhists are atheists, and don’t deny something after death: rather they are trying to escape from what they think comes after death—rebirth.


29 posted on 03/15/2008 8:47:11 AM PDT by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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To: The_Reader_David

I guess the best thing would be to poll the atheists here on FR. How would a Buddhist try to escape something they believe will happen? Maybe some FR Buddhists would answer also.


30 posted on 03/15/2008 10:45:35 AM PDT by stuartcr (Election year.....Who we gonna hate, in '08?)
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To: stuartcr

Let me place the challenge in your lap. Tell me how atheists would believe in life after death. I’m unaware of any who profess to believe in such a thing, but would be interested, if there are such folks, in hearing what they have to say.


31 posted on 03/15/2008 12:11:39 PM PDT by Tony Snow
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To: stuartcr
I’m not an atheist, but how does the author know an atheist cannot console in a time of grief, explain love, or sigh in happy wonder at life’s endless surprises?

Pretend my child just died. Now, from an atheist's point of view, console me in my grief.

32 posted on 03/15/2008 12:17:31 PM PDT by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: Tony Snow

As I said in #18, not being an atheist, I cannot comprehend how or why they believe what they do. I too, would like to know what they have to say.


33 posted on 03/16/2008 8:57:43 AM PDT by stuartcr (Election year.....Who we gonna hate, in '08?)
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To: P-Marlowe

I am incapable of accuratedly knowing what an atheist would say. Perhaps something like..’be thankful that your child is at peace, or is no longer in pain’...something like that. Although, an atheist may not care how you feel, as they know it is the child that died, and you have to deal with these things in your own best manner.


34 posted on 03/16/2008 9:00:46 AM PDT by stuartcr (Election year.....Who we gonna hate, in '08?)
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To: stuartcr
I am incapable of accuratedly knowing what an atheist would say. Perhaps something like..’be thankful that your child is at peace, or is no longer in pain’...something like that.

An athiest would be incapable of saying such a thing without betraying his atheism. As to "no longer in pain" who said anything about pain? What if the child just dropped dead or was hit by a car or drowned in a pool?

Logically with an attitude like that, the Atheist should be walking through hospital wards with a AK-47.

35 posted on 03/16/2008 9:05:14 AM PDT by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: P-Marlowe

Exactly why would an athiest would be incapable of saying such a thing without betraying his atheism? Is being at peace impossible for them? As you must have read, I said ‘something like’, not anything specific. Why is it logical, that an atheist should be walking through a hospital with a weapon? That doesn’t make any sense at all.


36 posted on 03/16/2008 10:16:43 AM PDT by stuartcr (Election year.....Who we gonna hate, in '08?)
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To: stuartcr

You can’t do it, can you?


37 posted on 03/16/2008 10:21:27 AM PDT by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: P-Marlowe

Can’t do what?


38 posted on 03/16/2008 6:39:51 PM PDT by stuartcr (Election year.....Who we gonna hate, in '08?)
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To: The_Reader_David
Such as ‘He lived a good life, in his next he will have an easier time of attaining enlightenment.’

Doesn't seem hopeful to me. "You just gotta keep living over and over and over and over and over until you get it perfect. Then you get to die for the lasttime and then it's over."

39 posted on 03/17/2008 6:04:00 AM PDT by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: Marysecretary
They KNOW they will see their child again. That’s the difference.

Amen.

40 posted on 03/17/2008 6:07:34 AM PDT by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: Tony Snow
As a matter of curiosity, on the death of a child, how would a strict, fundamentalist Christian console an atheist (or, for that matter, a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Confucian, Jainist, Jew, Sikh, Shinto, Gnostic, Wiccan, etc., etc.)? Perhaps something along the lines of — too bad your kid is going to burn in hell for eternity?
41 posted on 03/19/2008 8:54:20 AM PDT by atlaw
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To: atlaw

Please tell me you’re being provocative and not idiotic. One consoles as one can; with love and steadfastness. The purpose of consolation is not to proclaim judgment; that’s someone else’s job. In times of grief, one gives one’s heart to another, in ways that will provide solace rather than pain — to embrace, them, help them and support them. Paul notes that one needs to be all things to all people in practicing one’s faith. And in times of grief, one must be a selfless friend.


42 posted on 03/19/2008 1:13:40 PM PDT by Tony Snow
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To: atlaw

Please tell me you’re being provocative and not idiotic. One consoles as one can; with love and steadfastness. The purpose of consolation is not to proclaim judgment; that’s someone else’s job. In times of grief, one gives one’s heart to another, in ways that will provide solace rather than pain — to embrace, them, help them and support them. Paul notes that one needs to be all things to all people in practicing one’s faith. And in times of grief, one must be a selfless friend.


43 posted on 03/19/2008 1:25:35 PM PDT by Tony Snow
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To: Tony Snow
One consoles as one can; with love and steadfastness. The purpose of consolation is not to proclaim judgment; that’s someone else’s job. In times of grief, one gives one’s heart to another, in ways that will provide solace rather than pain — to embrace, them, help them and support them. . . . [I]in times of grief, one must be a selfless friend.

Precisely. And in what way is the atheist an exception to the rather patently secular view of friendship and consolation that you offer here?

The implication in this thread has been that the religious person (specifically the Christian) is uniquely positioned to offer solace because of a knowledge that life is not over after death -- that there exists an after life. As was said in the post immediately preceding mine --

They KNOW they will see their child again. That’s the difference.

Amen.

And the equally "know" that the atheist, apostate, heretic, and infidel will also see their child again, just not in heaven.

You yourself stated the proposition as follows --

But when it comes to having something substantive to say, something that would provide consolation — that life has meaning; that one doesn’t simply occupy space for a time and then decompose; that there are great overarching principles that give life its depth, joy, texture and purpose; and that those principles arise not from artifice or practice, but from a Creator whose central principle is love — when it comes to making these arguments and more, the atheist must remain mute. They still can and do hug and cry. But they cannot argue that life is anything other than an accident and death, the end of everything...

But your supposed, unique ability to offer solace as a function of knowing that the Creator's central principal is love and that life is not over at death carries a rather enormous caveat, doesn't it? After all, the Creator's ancillary principal is judgment, and life after death for the atheist, apostate, heretic, or infidel is not exactly something to take solace in.

Hence, I'm not surprised that you now offer as an alternative to religious consolation an entirely secular form of consolation. Best for the religious person, with his certainties about life after death, to simply keep those certainties to himself and offer consolation like -- well -- an atheist.

44 posted on 03/19/2008 3:20:25 PM PDT by atlaw
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To: atlaw

We’re talking past each other, which often happens in such matters. You have personalized a simple argument, and larded it up with expressions of hurt and outrage that reflect your personal feelings — not the arguments I have advanced.

The argument in the original piece was pretty simple: If one claims that life has no meaning, one lacks the tools to console — or even to justify such things as moral rules. If you can provide the syllogism by which meaningless translates into meaning, I want to see it.

You imply that I am acting as the vengeful judge here. Wrong: The piece deals merely with the contradictory nature of atheism — its implicit acceptance of moral truths (as opposed to ethical conventions, which shift with the tastes and times), and thus its tacit embrace of the fundamental principles of natural law. There’s no attempt to berate, belittle or condemn.

Nor do I claim “unique” powers to provide solace. I merely point out that the atheist view — life is arbitrary, without inherent meaning, and ends with one’s expiry — leads one toward moral anarchy on one hand, and personal despair on the other.

To repeat: The purpose of the piece was to review a good book — I commend it to you — and outline some of the major arguments in the debates raging about whether God exists. The basic thesis was that atheism is mired in contradictions that it cannot reconcile. That’s it. No kids crackling in hell; no vengeance or judgment. You have supplied those touches.

I’m sorry religion enrages you. But it does so because you have adopted a caricature of faith — a grisly one at that — and made it into a pinata. If I thought of religion as you do, I would share your anger and disgust.

Final point: My “secular” description of consolation was less secular than you might imagine. The simple impulses to practice compassion make absolutely no sense in a world shorn of meaning, guided by mere caprice, and eventuating in a dusty casket. There would be no reason to feel empathy, sympathy or love. But we do, whether we consider ourselves believers or not. And the pertinent question to ask once we grant to one another our shared humanity is: Why do all generations of mankind share the same basic precepts, same feelings of compassion, the same altruism — especially toward the young — despite wild changes in the natures of societies themselves. Governments have evolved radically over the last two milennia. Basic moral precepts have not. And the overwhelming question — the one that led me, at least, back to faith is: Why?


45 posted on 03/19/2008 6:52:21 PM PDT by Tony Snow
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To: Tony Snow
We’re talking past each other, which often happens in such matters.

Respectfully, I don't think we're talking past each other. I think you may be a bit uncomfortable with the direction your initial contention is now taking you, but I think we're communicating just fine.

You have personalized a simple argument, and larded it up with expressions of hurt and outrage that reflect your personal feelings — not the arguments I have advanced.

That's odd. I am neither hurt nor outraged, and in fact find this debate with you rather interesting. What did you specifically perceive as "expressions of hurt and outrage"?

The argument in the original piece was pretty simple: If one claims that life has no meaning, one lacks the tools to console — or even to justify such things as moral rules.

As I previously pointed out, your jumping off point in this contention is that the here and now is meaningless in the absence of the hereafter. To be more precise, the finite life of the here and now has no "meaning" unless it is viewed as a precursor, or testing ground, for an infinite life hereafter.

Indeed, for the honest adherent to the dominant, organized religions, this life has an exceedingly explicit meaning. In the here and now you must obey and worship the God of your religion, or in the hereafter you will suffer the consequences of condemnation. This particular "meaning" of life is, if anything, a stumbling block to consolation of anyone other than a fellow believer in good standing.

You seem to be at pains to avoid the condemnatory aspect of religious faith, going so far as to deride it as (apparently silly) talk of "kids crackling in hell," "vengeance" and "judgment." Perhaps this avoidance is because you personally adhere to a more liberal form of theism, pursuant to which God is all love and no judgment. I suspect that this is not the case, but you can certainly settle the issue by stating clearly:

(i) what consequences or judgment you believe atheists suffer for their disavowal (or stronger, rejection) of God, and

(ii) what consequences or judgment you believe non-adherents to your particular religion (such as, say, Muslims) suffer for their disavowal or rejection of your religion.

For now, assuming that you do indeed accept the traditional religious precept that judgmental consequences exist for disbelief, rejection of belief, or wrong belief, then what specific "tools" would this religious faith provide to console a grieving atheist, apostate, heretic, or infidel?

If your "consolation tool" is some sort of compassionate ability to deceive the grief stricken by conveniently omitting the truth about the destination of the deceased, then in what way is this same misrepresentation-by-ommission "tool" uniquely unavailable to the atheist? You simply omit the "going to hell" information, and the atheist omits the "nothing after death" information. Both are deceptive, but both are also indisputably compassionate in their deception.

Surely you are not contending that the atheist is compelled by nature to honesty, but the religious adherent is freed by his faith to be dishonest. Or are you?

You imply that I am acting as the vengeful judge here.

No, I'm not. I fully concur with your decidedly secular description of appropriate consolation, where one does not interject the judgmental certainties of one's own religious (or non-religious) beliefs.

The piece deals merely with the contradictory nature of atheism — its implicit acceptance of moral truths (as opposed to ethical conventions, which shift with the tastes and times), and thus its tacit embrace of the fundamental principles of natural law. There’s no attempt to berate, belittle or condemn.

The "nature of atheism" that you describe in abstract terms here stands in stark contrast to your more blunt statement above -- that atheists lack the "tools to console — or even to justify such things as moral rules." This is rather curious.

While you acknowledge on the one hand that atheists "implicitly accept moral truths," you contend on the other that atheists lack the "tools" to implement those moral truths. This certainly appears to be a contention that atheists are at bottom sociopaths, who may abstractly know right from wrong, but lack the capacity to appropriately act on that knowledge (which, by the way, can hardly escape classification as an "attempt to berate, belittle or condemn.")

It is my understanding, however, that atheists perceive "moral truths" (including compassion and altruism) as a product of, and an inherent characteristic of, humanity's drive to co-exist and propagate in familial and societal units. Attribution of these moral truths to supernatural sources (and the corollary of supernatural retribution for acts contrary to delineated moral truths) can have cohesive and civilizing effects (as well as, obviously, divisive and destructive effects), but such attribution is not a prerequisite to the perception of, and adherence to, moral truths. The legitimacy and justification of moral truths is in the efficacy of their operation, not their source.

(And as an aside, there are obvious Biblical antecedents for the notion that man is imbued with an inherent sense of right and wrong, of good and evil, albeit an independently operative inherent sense that was initially transferred to man by God.)

I simply fail to see any connection between one's perception of the source of agreed upon moral truths (natural versus supernatural) and the availability of "tools to console."

I’m sorry religion enrages you. But it does so because you have adopted a caricature of faith — a grisly one at that — and made it into a pinata. If I thought of religion as you do, I would share your anger and disgust.

I'm not an atheist. And religion doesn't enrage me. Rather far from it. I just find your argument (and D'Souza's) to be lacking in rigor and foundation.

[T]he pertinent question to ask once we grant to one another our shared humanity is: Why do all generations of mankind share the same basic precepts, same feelings of compassion, the same altruism — especially toward the young — despite wild changes in the natures of societies themselves. Governments have evolved radically over the last two milennia. Basic moral precepts have not. And the overwhelming question — the one that led me, at least, back to faith is: Why?

A good question. It is one that leads many to a conclusion that basic moral truths are supernatural in origin, and many to a conclusion that they are natural in origin.

46 posted on 03/20/2008 1:45:12 PM PDT by atlaw
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To: atlaw

Kudos, fantastic post.


47 posted on 03/25/2008 2:44:55 PM PDT by UndauntedR
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To: Tony Snow
Let me place the challenge in your lap. Tell me how atheists would believe in life after death. I’m unaware of any who profess to believe in such a thing, but would be interested, if there are such folks, in hearing what they have to say.
Hey, just saw a more recent post of yours and decided to dig down into some older stuff.

I think it's quite possible for an atheist to believe in life after death, just not in the way that human's traditionally think about it. Atheists tend two believe in two kinds of determinism, genetic and memetic(i.e. nature and nurture). Your consciousness doesn't survive, but the two most important parts of yourself, your genes and your ideas, do.

If you think about these two as the most important things in your life, a lot of things, consolation, altruism and love make a lot more sense. You're one of the most articulate people on FR so if you have the time I'm looking forward to your thoughts on the matter.

48 posted on 05/30/2008 9:27:04 AM PDT by ketsu
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To: stuartcr
I’m not an atheist, but how does the author know an atheist cannot console in a time of grief, explain love, or sigh in happy wonder at life’s endless surprises?

Having been an atheist for some time before becoming a Christian, I think I can answer this. Atheism tends to be very reactionary against religious thought, especially in times when people tend to turn to their religion. So sickness, death, and other times of grief are seen as dangerous areas for an atheist that he must contend with. Some atheists reach for a sort of empty pantheism to help, bestowing godlike anthropomorphisms to the universe as a whole. Others are far more mechanical in their approach and tend to sidestep the whole issue.

On the last point, however, the author seems to overreach. Atheists are fully capable of expressing happy wonder at life's surprises, even with a mechanical worldview. They believe they have better insight into the world and human nature than religious people, so they take prideful joy in "tearing back the curtain" with many happenings that they experience.

49 posted on 05/30/2008 12:36:37 PM PDT by dan1123 (If you want to find a person's true religion, ask them what makes them a "good person".)
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To: grellis

bump for later


50 posted on 07/13/2008 6:38:12 PM PDT by grellis (By order of the Ingham County Sheriff this tag has been seized for nonpayment of taxes)
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