Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ow, the stupid, it burns!

Courtesy of WorldNutDaily comes a typical asinine piece from Dennis Prager, entitled "If there is no God." Count the fallacies.

"What one almost never hears described are the deleterious consequences of secularism – the terrible developments that have accompanied the breakdown of traditional religion and belief in God. For every thousand students who learn about the Spanish Inquisition and the Salem Witch Trials, maybe two learn to associate Gulag, Auschwitz, the Cultural Revolution and the Cambodian genocide with secular regimes and ideologies."

Gee, Dennis, I think you're right! And those two students are probably extremely sheltered homeschoolers with ignorant, confused, fundamentalist parents. Because only an idiot would say that Auschwitz had anything to do with a secular regime.

Wait, I... I... I can't go on. Just leave me here and do the rest among yourselves.


  1. I really need to get around to a creationist rant generator and see if I can generate something indistinguishable.

    Obligatory Iron Chariots Hitler article. If we could get people to check the Wiki before making their tired fallacies, pseudo-science and pseudo-history.

  2. The ridiculous thing is the antisemitic roots of the Holocaust started with the advent of Christianity. They used the Jewish bible, but obviously the Jews didn't agree with their interpretation regarding that whole "Jesus the Messiah" thing so they have to discredit the Jews somehow. The gospel of Matthew escalates to having the Jews calling for the blood of Jesus upon them and their children (which is strangely absent from the other gospels). I believe there are later, non-canonical gospels which have Pilate handing Jesus over to the Jews so they themselves can torture and crucify him. I think it's pretty obvious the direction the spin on the Christian gospel is going.

    This leads into the Middle Ages where you have Christian motivated "blood libel" against Jews. Where Jews are alleged to torture and bleed Christian children to either mock Christ, cure their ailments, or bear Jewish children.

    But it's still pretty obvious that the real roots of antisemitism are secular in nature. And Hitler was an atheist.

  3. Oh, it's more than just the Spanish Inquisition and the Salem Witch Trials, Mister Prager.

    The repeated pogroms against the Jews in Europe over the course of many centuries. The crusades against the Baltic pagans. The massacres of the Cathars. I could go on and on, but I think I made my point. Just to be clear, I am not necessarily blaming Christianity for these atrocities, but am simply pointing out that secularism is not a sine qua non for totalitarianism.

    And as I pointed out in a post on my blog, it surely is no coincidence that totalitarian communist regimes like Stalin's Soviet Union and Mao's China arose in places that had long traditions of absolutist rule. Russia probably would not have produced a Lenin or a Stalin had there not been an Ivan the Terrible.

  4. Yes, sure. Just because someone can come up with atheist killers, it necessarily means that God exists! TRUFAX

  5. I am not going to do the same debunking of “Nazis were atheists” that has been done time and time and time again. Let’s pretend for a moment that it WAS an atheist movement. And yes, the Khmer Rouge was an atheist regime. But that had nothing to do with the atrocities that occurred here. I am in Cambodia right now and have lived here the past two years. People cannot appreciate just how horrible the Khmer Rouge was. The Nazis beat the Khmer Rouge on sheer numbers, but on pure cruelness…the Khmer Rouge win hands down. There is a large tree at the Killing Fields that will forever be frozen in my mind. I call it the “Baby Tree”. I won’t tell you why. But in nothing that I have seen here is it evident that atheism was a motivator behind the atrocities.

    But let’s pretend it was. Let’s pretend that the Nazis and the Khmer Rouge were doing what they were doing solely because they were trying to promote an “atheist agenda”. So what? What does that have to do with whether or not there is a god? I have never understood that line of argument. There either is a god or there isn’t. The actions of those who believe either supposition has no bearing whatsoever on the validity of the claim.

    And it goes both ways. Just because believers have done horrible things is not evidence that there is no god. And just because some atheists have done absolutely wonderful things is not evidence that we atheists are right. Jenny McCarthy isn’t wrong about vaccines causing autism because she is a bad actress whose claim to fame is being a Play Boy Bunny. No, she is wrong because the facts are not on her side.

    Let’s say that it would be preferable if there was a god. Let’s say that Heaven would be a great place and not at all boring. So what? Just because something is preferable does not make it true. I really, really wish I could fly. Things would be wonderful if I could fly. But no matter how great it would be, if I go and jump off a 20 story building, I’m going to die. Reality doesn’t care about what we want. Reality is not swayed by our desires.

  6. The Salem Witch Trials, I expected...but I didn't expect The Spanish Inquisition!

    [Someone had to say it.]

  7. [whomp] NnnnnnnnnnnnnOOOOOObody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

    (I certainly can't just leave a good straight-line hanging there.)

  8. The claim that Hitler (or whoever) was an atheist, etc. is guilt by association. It's the argument that lack of a belief in God necessarily leads to evil, since atheists supposedly have no moral foundation.

    I think the argument is a smoke screen (actually "projection") that is trying very hard to draw attention away from the fact that any mass movement of believers, say Christians, that does harm NECESSARILY invalidates some core tenet, such as:

    The holy spirit guides believers.

    God speaks to believers through prayer.

    God is the author of morality.

    On a related note, I co-hosted an episode (#489 in 2007) that examined another smoke screen where Christians have been trying to connect Hitler and Evolution. The connection to Martin Luther is what they're trying to hide.

  9. oh my was that painful to read but still pretty much the rhetoric that's heard all of the time.

    My favorite glaring fallacy was the contradiction between 2 of the points. Number 9 and Number 12.

    Only if one posits that humans, not animals, are created in the image of God do humans have any greater intrinsic sanctity than baboons.

    compared to:

    Without God, humanist hubris is almost inevitable. If there is nothing higher than man, no Supreme Being, man becomes the supreme being.

    Do which is it? Do we secularists believe that we are the supreme being? Or are we no more sanctified then baboons and therefore not the supreme being? Or perhaps both we and baboons are sanctified beings?

    I had to register just so i could post this but will probably do some more posting in the future.

    - ryan

  10. psyop: you may be curious to know that in Ancient Egypt there were many gods associated with monkeys and baboons, including Bebon and Babi, a fertility god and a bloodthirsty protector. It's probably from one of these where the word "baboon" comes from.

    So yeah, maybe we're both wrong and the Egyptians were right. Personally, I prefer polytheistic cultures anyway. You don't like the gods of your fathers? Ju st wander over to the temple next door.

  11. Regarding the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, Western christians who point to that regime that as an example of the evils of "atheism" conveniently fail to mention that most Cambodians have traditionally professed a form of Buddhism called Theravada that dismisses the value of gods and could qualify as a species of atheism. If zealous christians had gotten control of that country, how do we know that they wouldn't have done the same kinds of things to persecute those god-denying Buddhists?


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