Endless Supply

Yet more kack; the rabbi hands the kack-distribution duty over to a bishop.

There is a paradox about the current bout of media atheism.

Oh yes, the current bout of media atheism. How about the ongoing drip drip drip of media theism? Is there a paradox about that? In the fact that it keeps saying the same few untrue things over and over and over again, never fazed by voices whispering of bad arguments and troops of strawmen, and never able to find anything new to say?

The idea that faith and reason are inherently opposed to one another is a mantra that is mind-boggling in its lack of historical perspective. The fact is that all philosophers, ancient and modern, have believed that reasons can be adduced for and against a religious view of life. Most of them have, in fact, believed in God but all have thought religious belief a matter of rational argument.

Nonsense. Tricksy wording. Sure, all philosophers have believed ‘reasons can be adduced for and against a religious view of life’ – that’s easy! Sure, reasons can be adduced for and against anything; it doesn’t follow that the reasons adduced are good reasons, or that all philosophers think they’re good reasons. And if it is still true (which I doubt, and which I strongly doubt that the bish has any evidence for) that most philosophers have believed in god in the past, much of that is, obviously, because they lacked evidence for alternative explanations. And as for all thinking religious belief is a matter of rational argument, same as the first point – of course they do, but that’s not the same thing as thinking religious believers have good rational arguments. Don’t be tricksy, bish. It ain’t Christian.

However, religious belief is a matter of considered judgment. It involves our aesthetic sense, our moral judgment, our imagination and our intuition. In this respect, it is not totally different from making a judgment, for example, that Beckett is a great playwright, the war against Iraq was wrong or the sheer existence of the universe is awesome.

Yes it is. Unless you are simply defining religious belief as a value judgment, but since that is not what most people mean by religious belief, that’s mere tricksiness. It’s that bait-and-switch tactic we’ve noted so often – talk about religion as a vague feeling or attitude to the universe when talking to atheists and a broad general public, and talk about it as theism the rest of the time. That’s cheating. Don’t cheat, bish. It ain’t Christian.

The danger of this simplistic understanding of the relationship between science and religion is now fully exposed by the way American creationists are using Dawkins and Dennett. Indeed, the leader of the American creationists has apparently written to Dawkins to say that they daily thank God for him.

Sigh. Apparently the bish missed Dennett’s piece in the Guardian commenting on that leader of the creationists thanking god story:

I find it amusing that two Brits – Madeleine Bunting and Michael Ruse – have fallen for a version of one of the most famous scams in American folklore. When Brer Rabbit gets caught by the fox, he pleads with him: “Oh, please, please, Brer Fox, whatever you do, don’t throw me in that awful briar patch!” – where he ends up safe and sound after the fox does just that. When the American propagandist William Dembski writes tauntingly to Richard Dawkins, telling him to keep up the good work on behalf of intelligent design, Bunting and Ruse fall for it!

Hello, bish? You missed the point? (I thought it was Americans who don’t do irony.)

Dawkins argues that evolution inevitably implies atheism.

No he does not. How many patient corrections of that stupid error have I seen in the past few months? I don’t know, but it’s more than a few. But obstinate blinkered tiresome woolly-minded bishops and rabbis and vicars and their fellow-travelers keep trotting it out every five minutes just the same. And then they expect us to take them seriously and think they are rational and have good arguments! No can do, bish. If you will insist on all this tricksiness of wording and recyclement of ancient misquotations, I’m not about to give you the accolade of being a rational arguer, or a scrupulous one, either.

This Easter, as usual, the Christian church will proclaim its central theme that, in Jesus, God shares our human anguish to the full and, through the resurrection, gives us hope that in the end all evil, including death, will be left behind.

So God shares our human anguish by causing his son to be tortured to death. Inspiring.

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