View Poll Results: Your feelings about Christianity vs. feelings about other religions
I perceive Christianity in a more positive light than I perceive other religions. 25 14.62%
I perceive Christianity no differently than I perceive any other religion. 102 59.65%
I perceive Christianity in a more negative light than I perceive other religions. 44 25.73%
Voters: 171. You may not vote on this poll

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  #51  
Old 05-18-2019, 01:48 PM
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It was literally what you said. Here, I will quote you (underline mine):
No. I'll walk you through this. If you pay attention, at the end you'll have learned the meaning of 'literally', a very useful and practical word for grown-ups.
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Originally Posted by HMS Irruncible
If you follow the literal teachings of Christ then you practice mercy, forgiveness, compassion, generosity, etc.
That's literally what I said. I did not say "And no other religion practices these virtues." I did not say "You're not truly doing it if you don't do it the Christian way". I did not say "There is no other way to understand these virtues." I did not say "The Christian way of practicing these virtues is is the best way".

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Jews follow the Old Testament and most value and honor the Golden Rule.
The Golden Rule is New Testament. If they choose to follow it, great.

If you believe "Jews follow the Old Testament" then that tells me you don't really know what Judaism is or the Old Testament is. Learn that and come back for an informed discussion.

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What about atheists? They don't follow any religious tenets. Are they good or bad?
I will again direct you to what I literally wrote:
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If someone tells me that they do certain things because their religion demands it, then the religion gets the credit (or blame).
What am I saying about atheists? Nothing. Literally nothing.

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What I'm suggesting is that th
I don't care what you're suggesting as long as you're mischaracterizing what I wrote, attributing false implications to it, and demonstrating thoroughly defective reasoning while doing so.

Read.
  #52  
Old 05-18-2019, 02:05 PM
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You're right, HMS Irruncible. Please accept my sincere apologies.
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  #53  
Old 05-18-2019, 02:23 PM
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Contrast that with Christ's commandments to essentially ignore the Old Testament and be loving, kind, helpful, merciful, tolerant, forgiving, humble, etc... if you follow those instructions, those are good things and it makes you a good person.
That isn't what Christ said. Christ said "I have not come to abolish the law" and also warned on many occasions of Hell and damnation awaiting those who did not repent, and also said "I did not come to bring peace but a sword."
  #54  
Old 05-18-2019, 03:11 PM
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You're right, HMS Irruncible. Please accept my sincere apologies.
Accepted, no hard feelings.
  #55  
Old 05-18-2019, 03:39 PM
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You people who are hating on Christianity should be glad you don't live somewhere like Saudi Arabia (Islam) or North Korea (Marxism / Communism). For all its faults, Christianity is one of the most benign of religions.

Me? I'm a theist, but not Christian. I don't really fit into any modern religion.
  #56  
Old 05-18-2019, 04:46 PM
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North Korea (Marxism / Communism)
What is the religion of that area and how how do you reckon it informs one's everyday decisions?
  #57  
Old 05-18-2019, 04:50 PM
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You people who are hating on Christianity should be glad you don't live somewhere like Saudi Arabia (Islam) or North Korea (Marxism / Communism). For all its faults, Christianity is one of the most benign of religions.
No, it's one of the most malignant and destructive that has ever existed. It's just not as firmly in power anymore; religions inflict harm in proportion to how much power they have, and over the last few centuries Christianity has lost most of its power.

Religion has far more power in Saudi Arabia, therefore it does more harm because that's what religion does.
  #58  
Old 05-18-2019, 04:55 PM
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An interesting thing that I learned today is that Christian atheism exists. Upon reflection, that might be my thing.
  #59  
Old 05-18-2019, 05:40 PM
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An interesting thing that I learned today is that Christian atheism exists. Upon reflection, that might be my thing.
Yup, been around pretty much since the time of Jesus. I think that might also have been Thomas Jefferson's thing, although he's usually described as a deist.
  #60  
Old 05-18-2019, 07:00 PM
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I'm a Christian who has more in common with a lot of atheists and agnostics than I do others who identify as Christian. I try to follow the teachings of Jesus as I understand them. Complicating matters is the fact that I'm pretty sure he didn't really say everything attributed to him. He died long before any of the New Testament was written. How were the people who wrote the books to remember things accurately for that long. Certainly they also had agendas of their own. When adherents of any religion get too numerous, watch out.
  #61  
Old 05-18-2019, 07:06 PM
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I think the dominant religion in a particular country or region always, or almost always, does the most harm in that region/country. So Christianity (really, certain varieties of Christianity) does the most harm in the US of any religions; certain varieties of Islam do the most harm in majority Muslim countries; certain varieties of Judaism do the most harm in Israel; etc.
  #62  
Old 05-18-2019, 08:10 PM
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I voted “negatively” but that’s only because it’s the religion I’m most familiar with and the most likely to affect me.

Of the major world religions, traditional Christianity has the most convoluted and least plausible story to me. God loved the world so much that he sacrificed his only son so that any one who believes in him will be saved from the sin inherited from Adam and Eve, who gave into temptation and disobeyed god by eating a stupid apple that a snake convinced them was okay? People seriously are supposed to accept this as true and beautiful, and not sheer madness? Being pressured for a long time to believe the unbelievable does make me view Christianity negatively.
  #63  
Old 05-18-2019, 10:10 PM
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I think Christianity is fine, as far as its teachings, and on a par with other religions. However, I think that Christians tend to be more self-righteous, particularly this need to save everybody else.
  #64  
Old 05-18-2019, 10:36 PM
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I'm an atheist and voted that I perceive them equally.
There are obviously good and bad on all sides, but lately it seems up here in Canada our government has been siding more with the Muslim faith at the expense of Christianity. It's probably all to do with courting the Muslim/refugee vote.

A few years ago a friend of mine from Michigan was visiting. He's a devote Catholic and on the topic of religion he stated that Catholicism is the only true religion, and that Islam was bound to die out. I just about fell off my chair.
  #65  
Old 05-19-2019, 12:22 PM
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lately it seems up here in Canada our government has been siding more with the Muslim faith at the expense of Christianity. It's probably all to do with courting the Muslim/refugee vote.
I am not familiar with what the Canadian government is doing right now, but what are they doing to "side with" Islam that is at the expense of Christianity? It is not a zero-sum game.
  #66  
Old 05-19-2019, 12:28 PM
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You people who are hating on Christianity should be glad you don't live somewhere like Saudi Arabia (Islam) or North Korea (Marxism / Communism). For all its faults, Christianity is one of the most benign of religions.
I'm very glad I don't live in Saudi Arabia or North Korea and if I did live there, I imagine I would hate the local ideology. But I live in the United States and the local equivalent ideology here is Christianity.
  #67  
Old 05-19-2019, 04:47 PM
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You people who are hating on Christianity should be glad you don't live somewhere like Saudi Arabia (Islam) or North Korea (Marxism / Communism). For all its faults, Christianity is one of the most benign of religions.
My ancestors in Russia who had to deal with the oh-so-Christian Cossacks might have disagreed with you.
Christianity robbed of much of its power in secular societies is much more benign than when it was dominant. But I'll take most Eastern religions any day.
  #68  
Old 05-20-2019, 01:20 PM
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In theory there are four reason why Christianity should be the best religion on this planet. They are:
Love your neighbour
Don't throw the first stone
Turn the other cheek
Turn water into wine.
In practice, it is a heinious intolerant cult. For me it is the worst religion (and Islam is just a schism or a plagiarism, whichever you prefer - Christianity has hab plenty of schisms before and after 622 AD, I lump them all together) made worse by its might.
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  #69  
Old 05-20-2019, 02:30 PM
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In practice, it is a heinious intolerant cult.
In practice, there are so many different branches, varieties, manifestations, and subgroups of Christianity that it's practically impossible to say anything about Christianity as a whole (at least without no-true-Scotsmanning out large exclusions).

Which is why I haven't voted in the poll: I'd want to vote for both #1 and #3.

To take just one example: There's a current thread on "Why did we free the slaves?" And one of the responses in that thread is:
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Largely it was religious arguments. Starting with Quakers, but spreading throughout various Christian groups, particularly in the North which has always enjoyed a more progressive Christian outlook.
And I think that's largely correct: much of the impetus for abolition (and, much later, the Civil Rights Movement) came from Christianity, and from Christians acting on their Christianity.

But much of the defense of slavery (and inequality, and segregation) also came from Christianity.
  #70  
Old 05-20-2019, 02:35 PM
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It's all about despair and hate and death, and the loathing of any form of happiness that doesn't come from hurting or oppressing people.
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If this is your view of Christianity, it's a pretty big straw man.
Meh, you've got to take Der Trihs' comments with a grain of salt. That's how he feels about most of mankind in general.
  #71  
Old 05-20-2019, 04:29 PM
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In practice, there are so many different branches, varieties, manifestations, and subgroups of Christianity that it's practically impossible to say anything about Christianity as a whole (at least without no-true-Scotsmanning out large exclusions).

Which is why I haven't voted in the poll: I'd want to vote for both #1 and #3.

[...]
No-true-Scotsmanning would apply to Christians, but I am speaking about Christianity. I could have voted #1, #2 or #3 if I had based my argument on individual persons, but I understood the question to be about the cult itself (which, as I wrote, in my view includes Islam). Then, for me, #3 wins hands down. I was raised in Catholic Spain, I believe I know for a change (see my signature) what I am talking about.
If there are, as you write, "so many different branches, varieties, manifestations, and subgroups of Christianity that it's practically impossible to say anything about Christianity as a whole", then the concept becomes meaningless and this discussion has no sense. It is a valid argument, but it kills the conversation. Perhaps you feel offended by my statement and want to negate it with this no-true-Scottsmanning that seems to me to be the other side of the coin of whataboutism? Sorry, I did not want to offend you, but I truly belive Christianity is inherently evil. Even if Jesus Christ is portrayed as a nice man, which I am ready to grant he was, and even if some or even most of the people who call themselves Christians are good persons, the resulting cult is a travesty of his ideals.
So yes, I voted #3. And I stand by it.
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  #72  
Old 05-20-2019, 04:36 PM
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Meh, you've got to take Der Trihs' comments with a grain of salt. That's how he feels about most of mankind in general.
Der Trihs and I resolved our conflicts about religion by never speaking directly to each other about it. Right, old buddy?

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In theory there are four reason why Christianity should be the best religion on this planet. They are:
Love your neighbour
Don't throw the first stone
Turn the other cheek
Turn water into wine.
In practice, it is a heinious intolerant cult.
In practice, some groups have twisted Christianity to form heinous, ignorant cults.

Thank you.

Last edited by Kent Clark; 05-20-2019 at 04:39 PM.
  #73  
Old 05-20-2019, 04:44 PM
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In practice, there are so many different branches, varieties, manifestations, and subgroups of Christianity that it's practically impossible to say anything about Christianity as a whole (at least without no-true-Scotsmanning out large exclusions).
There are assessments of christianity that apply to most or all variants thereof - mine, for instance. There is something deeply, deeply wrong with any religion that celebrates deities that accept human sacrifice.
  #74  
Old 05-20-2019, 08:00 PM
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There is something deeply, deeply wrong with any religion that celebrates deities that accept human sacrifice.
But what if the scriptures tell us that the sacrifice will assure that our crops will flourish? Why would you deny us a plentiful harvest?
  #75  
Old 05-20-2019, 11:31 PM
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Having been psychologically tortured as a child at the mercy of sadistic Roman Catholic nuns, I have a particularly negative view of Christianity.
  #76  
Old 05-20-2019, 11:56 PM
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Every religion is a product of the culture(s) it originates and grows within. Cultural fables, rules and morals get woven into the story along the way, just as Christianity in America has been warped and twisted by multiple ideologies (on both sides, but right now moreso on the right) over the years.

Why? Because priests have power and money, their followers need rules and order, and cultures need stability to endure.

As much as many people would like to claim the similarity is "be kind to one another", this is clearly NOT true with many mythologies and religions.

And unfortunately, some versions of Christianity are very busy jettisoning that whole 'love one another' thing, however little many versions still retained.
  #77  
Old 05-21-2019, 01:02 AM
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[B]
In practice, some groups have twisted Christianity to form heinous, ignorant cults.
On the other hand, you can also say that some groups have twisted Christianity to form reasonably progressive and tolerant factions. Mainstream Christianity of 1,000 years ago was worse than all but the most extreme cults today.
  #78  
Old 05-21-2019, 01:31 AM
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The radical fundies of any religion are the problem.
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  #79  
Old 05-21-2019, 06:41 AM
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There is something deeply, deeply wrong with any religion that celebrates deities that accept human sacrifice.
There is something deeply, deeply wrong with any religion that celebrates deities that accept animal sacrifice.
  #80  
Old 05-21-2019, 07:13 AM
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(including lack of belief-the Reign of Terror wasn't called that because it was all about happiness and joy)
Robespierre was a believer. In fact, he despised atheism.
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  #81  
Old 05-21-2019, 07:24 AM
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In practice, some groups have twisted Christianity to form heinous, ignorant cults.
You don't need to twist it. You just need to interpret it in a certain way, and pick the part of the scriptures that support your views, which is no different from what people forming non-heinous cults do. Neither is more ignorant or less valid. The Westboro baptist church, for instance, quotes many parts of the scriptures to show that god, in fact, often hates, and these quotes are perfectly correct. Most Christians just prefer to ignore them because they prefer to hear that god loves.
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  #82  
Old 05-21-2019, 07:53 AM
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I see pretty much all religions, and "philosophies" in general, as the accepted substitute for thinking.

I prefer thinking. You tend to get better results.
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  #83  
Old 05-21-2019, 09:09 AM
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Robespierre was a believer. In fact, he despised atheism.
He believed in something anyway, though not any religion that most of us have heard of. I guess we might call him a classical Deist, although it's questionable how much he actually believed in some sort of Supreme Being and how much was a reaction against the excesses of the Cult of Reason as well as an acknowledgement that Religion cemented social bonds. As the Reign entered late 1793, I think there was a real fear of public backlash against deChristianization and Robespierre was desperate to replace it with something. The Cult of the Supreme Being was his attempt to give the people a religion, but not Christianity. There was also the political fights between Robespierre and the Hebertistes that almost certainly influenced his rhetoric at the time. Whether or not he actually believed it is a matter of debate. Regardless, most of the true excesses of the Reign were committed by devout atheists in the name of atheism, people like Billaud-Varenne, d'Herbois or Barere and that doesn't even include the pre-Reign atrocities of Fouche.

Last edited by senoy; 05-21-2019 at 09:12 AM.
  #84  
Old 05-21-2019, 12:46 PM
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There is something deeply, deeply wrong with any religion that celebrates deities that accept animal sacrifice.
Depends on why the deity wants the animal sacrifice. If it's just cackling with glee over watching something die then that's monstrous, but there's evidence that the christian god likes animal sacrifices because it likes a good barbecue. If you're a primitive tribe with a hilariously poor comprehension of what fire does, you could imagine that by burning the meat to a dry crisp you're magically transporting the juicy steak's essence to God's platter. And as a guy who likes a good steak myself I can sort of understand the concept of bribing a god by offering him a tasty meal in exchange for a plentiful harvest.

Of course this focus on the tasty smell of sacrifices puts the whole Jesus thing in a rather...unfortunate light. Not that Jesus was burned; it seems clear that whoever decided that Jesus's execution for disturbing the peace was a 'sacrifice' had completely forgotten why God was accepting sacrifices in the first place. (And/or were desperate to make their prospective messiah's disqualification-by-death make some sort of sense in-mythos.)
  #85  
Old 05-24-2019, 05:49 AM
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Not immediately sure how to reply as a Christian myself. You could argue I view it more positively because I think it is true. But I don't think of other religions on general as being negative in any way, and even particularly like some aspects of many.

I do have a problem with the trolling version of Satanism. I think trolling is wrong.

I notice a lot of dopers judge religions on history rather than beliefs. That idea had not occurred to me. But I don't know enough about the history of most other religions, save for Scientology, which is definitely horrible because of it. But their actual beliefs are bad, too.
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Old 05-24-2019, 07:29 AM
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"They're all crap" would be how I sum up my point of view.
+1
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  #87  
Old 05-24-2019, 07:55 AM
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I notice a lot of dopers judge religions on history rather than beliefs.
I mean, I see why you'd think that was problematic, but what tells you more about a person: what they say, or what they do? Jesus was way cool and the world would be a better place if more people were like him. But considering the horrors perpetrated in his name, you kind of have to question the organizations dispensing his word. Over and over again, Religion has proven itself to be the ultimate bait and switch scam of humanity: Come and join/support us if you believe in X,Y, and Z; and then we'll use that power to further agendas to persecute anyone who hasn't joined the club. Personal spirituality and moral codes are fantastic. Religions exploit those things.
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Old 05-24-2019, 11:23 AM
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I notice a lot of dopers judge religions on history rather than beliefs.
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what tells you more about a person: what they say, or what they do?
Bingo. I can claim to be a Christian and believe in a loving God, but if I'm generally an asshole, how meaningful are my beliefs?
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Old 05-24-2019, 12:08 PM
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I think with Christianity though, it's not REALLY the history of Christianity that is problematic. It's a 2000 year old institution that encompasses hundreds of cultures and spans every continent. It has a lot of history. Some quite good and some quite bad. Because though we don't have the time, nor really the desire to delve too deeply into it, we tend to dwell on the more problematic parts of it. We also have a tendency to view the negatives of Christianity as a product of the system, but the positives as a product of the individual - and of course, such distinctions are meaningless. We are more than willing to blame Christendom for oppression of the Jews during the Inquisition (as well we should), but are less willing to give it credit for the Scientific Revolution or Human Rights. (We can watch below as people circle their identity wagons as they try to use apologetics to deny the influence of Christianity on whichever one of those things they find antithetical to their presupposed point of view.)

In Western culture, we have largely divided into two camps- Christian and secular. Our opinions on Christianity largely have little to do with history or beliefs or anything else other than which of those two camps we fall into. And that's dangerous for both sides. A secularist that rejects Christianity out of hand is in danger of denying the foundations upon which modern secularity actually exists. Stephen Hopgood is one of the leading canaries of this danger. Christians that only see the positives of their belief system run the danger of not reforming their beliefs in the face of evidence and not dealing with their flaws.
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Old 05-24-2019, 12:23 PM
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(We can watch below as people circle their identity wagons as they try to use apologetics to deny the influence of Christianity on whichever one of those things they find antithetical to their presupposed point of view.)

What you are doing right here is called "poisoning the well."
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Old 05-24-2019, 03:03 PM
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It's only poisoning the well if the information presented is irrelevant. For instance, if I were to say "Convicted pedophile Bob will now tell us why he is a socialist." When the information presented is relevant, it's not poisoning the well. For instance, "Former Bush Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice will now tell us why the Iraq War was good."

In this case, my point is that the attitudes towards Christianity are a direct result of presuppositions and biases and I was already preparing people for the inevitable rebuttals about why their presupposition forces my statements to be wrong. Not all preemptive rhetorical attacks are poisoning the well, only those that are irrelevant. The real reason I posted it though was that I felt that it could easily change the subject to arguing about the Inquisition or the Scientific Revolution, rather than the real point that due to our presuppositions, we pick and choose what parts of those 2000 years worth of history we want to look at to confirm our biases.
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Old 05-24-2019, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by senoy View Post
I think with Christianity though, it's not REALLY the history of Christianity that is problematic. It's a 2000 year old institution that encompasses hundreds of cultures and spans every continent. It has a lot of history. Some quite good and some quite bad. Because though we don't have the time, nor really the desire to delve too deeply into it, we tend to dwell on the more problematic parts of it. We also have a tendency to view the negatives of Christianity as a product of the system, but the positives as a product of the individual - and of course, such distinctions are meaningless. We are more than willing to blame Christendom for oppression of the Jews during the Inquisition (as well we should), but are less willing to give it credit for the Scientific Revolution or Human Rights. (We can watch below as people circle their identity wagons as they try to use apologetics to deny the influence of Christianity on whichever one of those things they find antithetical to their presupposed point of view.)
It is definitely true that Christianity was involved with a lot of science in the west - though Islam was also, until early fundamentalists shut it down. It is hardly surprising since the Catholic clergy had the learning and the time to do science. However I am unaware of an official program of the church supporting natural philosophy back then. The Catholic Church does better today, it seems to me.
I have a book of scientific writings from Copernicus to 1800, and it is striking how mention of God and his glory diminish in the writings as time goes on.
Which church pushed human rights, exactly? Many clergypeople do, but often in defiance of their churches. Some churches do follow along as society moved to better rights, but few have pushed for it, and theocracies around the world are hardly exemplars of rights.
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In Western culture, we have largely divided into two camps- Christian and secular. Our opinions on Christianity largely have little to do with history or beliefs or anything else other than which of those two camps we fall into. And that's dangerous for both sides. A secularist that rejects Christianity out of hand is in danger of denying the foundations upon which modern secularity actually exists. Stephen Hopgood is one of the leading canaries of this danger. Christians that only see the positives of their belief system run the danger of not reforming their beliefs in the face of evidence and not dealing with their flaws.
What do you mean "reject Christianity out of hand?" The most flaming secularist, like me, acknowledges Christianity's existence and influence. Or are we supposed to say that it is at least a bit correct? I didn't do that even when I believed in God.
I'm an atheist solely due to the lack of convincing evidence for any god and the fact that the world and universe makes a lot more sense without any gods. No problem of natural evil for me. No worries about unbaptized heathen babies for me either. The good and evil of organizations which are about believing in a deity are totally separate from the correctness of their belief. You can have a Star Wars fan club which breaks windows and a Star Wars fan club which runs a soup kitchen, but Star Wars is fiction in either case.
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Old 05-24-2019, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by senoy View Post
It's only poisoning the well if the information presented is irrelevant. For instance, if I were to say "Convicted pedophile Bob will now tell us why he is a socialist." When the information presented is relevant, it's not poisoning the well. For instance, "Former Bush Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice will now tell us why the Iraq War was good."

In this case, my point is that the attitudes towards Christianity are a direct result of presuppositions and biases and I was already preparing people for the inevitable rebuttals about why their presupposition forces my statements to be wrong. Not all preemptive rhetorical attacks are poisoning the well, only those that are irrelevant. The real reason I posted it though was that I felt that it could easily change the subject to arguing about the Inquisition or the Scientific Revolution, rather than the real point that due to our presuppositions, we pick and choose what parts of those 2000 years worth of history we want to look at to confirm our biases.
The Inquisition is relevant because it is a direct result of Christian beliefs. If one thinks a non-Christian is due for an eternity of torment, then forcibly converting that person is good for him. Right? Forcing him to send his children to Christian schools to be indoctrinated is good for them.
There are plenty of evils of the church, like indulgences, which come from individual greed and not Christianity, but let's acknowledge the ones that are a result of doctrine.
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