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« Why Muslims Follow Jesus | Main | Theologian Humor »

October 25, 2007

Comments

Just finished watching this debate. Dinesh D'Souza uses a lot of the same fallacies that creationists employ like the "fine-tuned" universe. He also focuses on the greatness of western civilization, attributing its greatness to Christianity, when the truth is that it was challenges to Biblical dogma that got us to where we are today, not following it.

The problem with all these Atheists, Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris, and others, is that the don't fully express the alternate (and superior) systems of ethics available to Atheists and other non-dogmatic belief systems.

What is a "non-dogmatic belief system"?

Look up the word dogma, "the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, ideology or any kind of organization, thought to be authoritative and not to be disputed or doubted." Dogma ends a conversation on ethics before it even begins. "I'm right because God says so" sort of thing. We've been fighting Christianity's dogmas for years; divine right of kings, the divine authority of the Catholic church, slavery, women's rights and now gay rights and bio-ethics. It's secularism that has made the west and the modern world great, not Christianity.

Steve wrote:

"Dogma ends a conversation on ethics before it even begins. "I'm right because God says so" sort of thing."

Steve - do you hold this view of "Dogma" because of people or principle? What I mean by that is some people are not open to discussing religion, politics, etc because of strong opinions that they may not welcome challenges to. I can become frustrated with those people myself, so if that is what you mean - I understand.

However, and I may be mistaken - but that is not the aspect of dogmatism I understand you are frustrated with. Reading your posts, I get the impression you are uncomfortable with the idea that God is knowable, that He has revealed Himself and that you are responsible for your reply. If Christianity is true, you may have to make some changes.


Steve also wrote: "It's secularism that has made the west and the modern world great, not Christianity."

Do you value science? I assume you do. Do you know where and when modern science came from?

John

Steve:

Would an “I’m right because I’m not Christian” philosophy be dogmatic in a way?

Thank you Kevin W I was looking for a way to say that. Why can't atheist see that they are often just as dogmatic as Christians?
They often also fail to see that atheism is just as much a religion (m-w.com definition:a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith) as Christianity is.

I was actually shocked at the pathetic arguments that Hitchens used. This was the first time I had actually seen him debate, and to see him to resort to so many emotional arguments with so little evidence to support his position was really eye-opening. D'Souza totally cleaned his clock by using far more logic than Hitchens. Wow. If that's all the atheist's have, how can anyone be an atheist?

While I think D'Souza did well overall, he failed to pin Hitchens on at least one point. The focus of the debate was Christianity, as stated at the beginning of the event. Yet Hitchens included objections to Islam, and other beliefs, in his arguments against Christianity. I understand that Hitchens, as an anti-theist, opposes all forms of theism and probably lumps them into the same group, but the debate was about Christianity, not theism.

D'Souza should have explained that while he (Hitchens) may want to "judge" Christianity by the precepts of all theistic beliefs, there is by no means legitimacy in such a position being fair and objective.

Crui-Fide brings up an important point: Christopher Hitchens in this debate and others, continually muddies the waters by bringing up other religions. One should note that:

1) Not all religions are true. This follows from logic. When you have many systems of contradictory claims, either all of them are wrong or one of them is right. However, all cannot be right without suspending the law of non-contradiction. So at the outset, the Christian must state that Christianity is true and by inference, all other religions are false and irrelevant to the debate.

2) Just because Christians have acted contrary to the teaching of Christ (e.g. the Crusades or someone claiming to carry out murder because God told him to do so), does not mean Christianity is tainted. Never judge a worldview by its abuse. Otherwise, I can claim an attribute a lot to atheistic/evolutionary world view based on the actions of Jeffrey Dahmer.

3) While the abuse of Christian teachings can be recognized and the person held to have violated the doctrine, in the atheistic framework, moral values don't have an objective basis and hence the actions of Hitler, Stalin and Mao are perfectly justified. That is a big problem for the atheist. Hitchen's attribution of Stalin's brutalities to religious poisoning of people's mind leaving them open for persecution still leaves the question of - why did Stalin do so? Why didn't he take the higher road of "rationality and logic" and educate the people that he was just another purposeless arrangement of atoms and that they are to go about their purposeless ways?

4) Hitchens repeatedly brings up the point about the Heavens being silent for 98,000 of the 100,000 years of human existence. Well, this is only a problem if you believe Evolution which runs contrary to the Christian worldview anyway. If you hold to Creationism, God has been with mankind since day 1, indeed conversing with him, until man chose to rebel. And Christ's coming 2000 years ago in a world that is 6000 years old is not a problem.

Cruci-fides point is well taken. The reason I don't think D'Souza concentrated on that subject is that there were so many other easy points to make on Hitchens. Sort of like the intelligent design arguments. First, we need to establish that there is an intelligent designer, then we can make arguments as to who that intelligent designer is. But I agree at some juncture he should have forced Hitchens to stay on subject.

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