Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanks for not using "No True Scotsman"

I found this letter to the editor in yesterday’s Austin American-Statesman interesting. It was in reference to a statement in an earlier article regarding the recent Fort Hood shootings:

Religious radical?
Re: Nov. 12 article "Suspect alarmed doctors."

The story noted that Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan's doctors and colleagues "viewed him at times as belligerent, defensive and argumentative in his frequent discussions of his ... faith."

That pretty much describes every member of the religious right that I've ever encountered.

Rev. Bill Young

How often have I, and others, said that liberal Christians need to be more vocal in their condemnation of their more extreme brethren--instead of falling back on the "No True Scotsman" fallacy? In fact, it’s their silence and solidarity as much as their support of irrationality that lends credibility to the extremists in their ranks. So, this statement undermines at least one of the pillars supporting fundamentalism in Western Christendom. I hope other Christians will follow suit.

When I first read the content, I thought, “No Christian will hear anything an anti-religious person submits in this vein.” Then I saw the signature and was happy. It’s like reading about a lawsuit to bring down a religious statue on public property and finding the plaintiff is theist. It’s sort of a relief to know we aren’t going to be accused of bias and targeted for criticism or ugly insults—at least not this time. That’s not a bad feeling now and again.

Thanks Bill.


  1. This is a topic that I don't how to feel about. While of course it's best that the idiots the next order of magnitude over are relegated to insignificance, there's still a lot of auxiliary harm from the "moderates" position.

    Also problematic is that regardless, the point of "faith is a good thing" is one that is rather inseparable from however fundamentalist.

    Anyway, also good when ignorance is shot down, regardless of by whom.

  2. You make an interesting point, Tracie. Any criticism from US can easily be dismissed because after all, atheists are all "Anti-religion" right? (/sarcasm).

    While I do think it's a bit like arguing over whose version of an imaginary friend is better, I would like to see more religious people at least TRYING to hold the extremists accountable and calling a spade a spade.

  3. That's awesome. It's about time we saw theists speaking out against other theists, instead of silently supporting them.

  4. Yes, I must agree with you Tracie, that it is nice to hear more liberal, less delusional, and more accepting members of the religions condemning the batshit insane members from amongst their ranks. Furthermore, I commend this guy. He sounds like the type of theist that I could be friends with, and have have civil discussions concerning supernatural beliefs with.

    That being said, it is a sad thing that I must say that I still see the liberal face of the religious community as simply acting as enablers for the fanatical side which many of them condemn.

  5. One more point....while I do understand that these types of liberal believers, which I called "enablers", are trying to be good people...I still see them as quite hypocritical in the way in which they simply overlook the immoral parts of their belief system and and condemn those who don't.

    (shameless plug)


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