Excursions in the field 19

Theodore Shoebat has an article at Front Page making an important point: that Islam and Environmentalism are both collectivist ideologies, both of them anti-humanist and both of them deplorable. With most of what he says I agree.

Where I disagree with him is in his conclusion: that it is therefore better to be Christian.

Christianity has been a collectivist, totalitarian movement, and (I suspect) would be again if it could. While it is less oppressive than other ideologies in our time, its doctrines are no more true. And its morality, if not inhumane, is inhuman; if not anti-humanist, anti-human. Who can love everyone else? Does everyone deserve to be loved? Is forgiveness just? Was it perhaps the setting of unrealistic ethical goals that made the churches, both Catholic and Protestant, so cruel in their powerful past?

I expressed my opinions and quite a few disagreed with me, some so strongly that they condemned me to Hell.

The argument can be found in the Comments on the Shoebat article here.

Perhaps some of our readers may feel moved to join in – preferably on our own Comments page, but if under the Shoebat article, please let us know and give us the link.


Jillian Becker   January 20, 2013

  • Paresh

    Jillian, I give you a lot of credit for engaging with those people as much as you did. I have had a similar discussion with religious zealots on townhall.com and it was an exercise in futility.

    The thing that I find so interesting is how mean-spirited these bible people are. Remarkably, you kept your cool, and kept making your points, but they just fell on deaf ears. I particularly love how they always use terms like “brainwashed” and “dogma” when describing atheists.

    When I got involved in my discussion, I regularly asked for proof to substantiate their beliefs… and they would recite passages from the bible!!! I just responded with something like, “Uhhh, I don’t think any written word in a book is going to prove that your god exists.” But of course, as in your case, it fell on deaf ears.

    This is my favorite part of your dialog: You are discussing spending eternity in Hell, and ask for proof, and JacksonPearson responds with, “There’s no better proof than the Old and New Testaments of the Holy Bible.” I have just added a comment to that section asking that “objectivefactsmatter” guy to provide proof for heaven and hell. I’m sure he will respond with some form of condescending personal attack.

    Jack wrote above that this type of dialog is depressing. I totally agree. It is so sad that we, as conservatives, have to align ourselves with these people.

    • Ron G

      Well said Paresh. I too give Jillian a lot of credit for keeping her cool. The thing is, religious people see nature as god; to them, a tree proves that god exists. I was on a plane once having a wonderful discussion with a woman about her son-in-law who was a Navy Seal. It was great until we flew over the Grand Canyon and she belted out: “Now you can’t look at that and tell me god doesn’t exist!” I nearly swallowed my tongue to keep from giving her a lecture on geologic time and water erosion, but I didn’t.

      • Paresh

        That is hilarious. I can definitely empathize with your frustration at that point!

    • liz

      I threw my 2 cents in there, too, pointing out the irony of someone calling themselves “objectivefactsmatter” who believes in something based entirely on no facts whatsoever.
      It is pretty funny for them to condescendingly accuse atheists of things like being uneducated, irrational, and brainwashed, when they are the very epitome of it.

      • Ron G

        I believe it’s called “projection.”

  • liz

    Typical of Christian commenters I’ve encountered, too. They don’t listen to your argument, they just lash out in an uncontrollable, reactionary way at what they fear. They fear, deep down, that you could be right, and that would cause their entire identity and sense of worth to disintegrate. So they attack you without even considering the logic or reason of what you are saying.

    In the same way they either ignore or attack the concept of evolution, just as they have every other scientific idea that has ever come down the pike.

    Just like Goebbels said of his propaganda, you must attack the truth if it conflicts with your lie. So the truth becomes expendable for the sake of “the Truth”.

    • Ron G

      liz, that is an excellent point. I think we can all relate to having resorted to that sort of argument when we have tried to defend an illogical or unreasoned position and we realize that we may have been had.

  • Kelly

    Although a conservative atheist and a religious conservative may agree on many things, it’s rather dangerous for us to delve deeply into the underlying philosophies and worldviews that bring us to our similar conclusions. They’re often dramatically different. So much so that I keep my political comments circumspect around anyone I don’t know well, even — or especially — when we appear to agree on on policy. Most of the time, an in-depth discussion would lead us to some point of fundamental disagreement — a disagreement that could leave us so much at odds that we could never work together on the things we do agree on. If there were great numbers of atheist conservatives, then we could afford to go off on our own and thumb our noses at those benighted god-sters. But unfortunately, we’re such a tiny minority that we can’t do very much unless we ally ourselves with them.

    • Ron G

      The problem is that if you identify yourself as an atheist, they will not ally with you. So you are left with being intellectually dishonest and hiding your true position.

      • Paresh

        Kelly and Ron, you both make some very good observations here. A lot of times when I discuss politics with my conservative coworkers, I realize exactly what you said: that although we reach the same conclusions, we get there in fundamentally different ways. Most people at work do not know that I am an atheist because this common understanding will deteriorate… and I don’t exactly want to make work an uncomfortable place to be!

        • Ron G

          Paresh you are exactly right and I wrestle with this all the time in all aspects of my life. Half of my ex-hippie friends from the 70s are now proselytizing on Facebook. My mother, a pious Byzantine Catholic, still prays that I’ll return to church. So far I have just ignored it and tip-toed around answers for questions that involve religion (although I did at least get my mother to admit that the world is not 6000 years old).

      • liz

        Even though they are the ones that are being intellectually dishonest to begin with. Since you mentioned Santa Claus – it really is like talking to a kid about what he’s going to get for Christmas, and he mentions Santa Claus, and so of course you go along with it, not wanting to cause a major crisis. You actually have to be like that with adult Christians in order to simply avoid major repercussions that would affect being able to work with them. You have to submit to the invisible, unspoken sort of “tyranny” of a tantrum throwing child.

        • Ron G

          At some point, though, you have to spill the beans to your children. The problem is, though Christians tend to act like spoiled children when it comes to religion, they are adults and you can’t seem to show them the religious equivalent to “look, I bought the presents.”

          • liz

            It’s pretty hard to have a coherent argument with someone when all they have to do is label everything you say as a “lie from the pit of hell”, and feel they have a superior argument!

        • Ron G

          And yes, I agree that they are intellectually dishonest. That actually was my “Santa Claus” point. If you can be duped into believing that a fat elf delivers your Christmas presents, how can you not at least admit the possibility that someone made up your religion? If you can mock other religions for having been made up, how do you blank out and not see that yours is the same thing?

  • Ron G

    You know, i just realized that if people substituted “Santa Claus” for “God” in their sentences, their arguments wouldn’t last very long.

  • Jack

    What struck me was the overt primitivism of so many of their responses. “Burn in hell” is actually worse than what you would get from a Leftist (and that is saying something). They hate the Left. Fine. But they cling to their theistic metaphysics and their preferred mythology (ie the carpenter’s son who was the son of god) with the same ferocity that Leftists cling to egalitarianism.

    I still think that on average you find much better people amongst Conservatives but when a Conservative is committed to religion they are just as brainwashed as modern liberals. Also, you get the sense that some of those Conservatives would have no problem with directing aggression against atheists. For them the problem with the Left is that Leftism has rejected “God and Christ” and thus all of morality and goodness. There are so many problems with that going all the way down to the deepest branches of philosophy that I wouldn’t know where to begin.

    Its so easy to despise the Left as they have dominion over the culture. But, episodes like this remind you that religious Conservatism is no answer and a danger unto itself.

    Caught between a rock and a hard place. Depressing.

  • Troy

    you won the argument the moment they started attacking you.

  • Azgael

    Its a futile effod to argue with these religitards, they ae THE same as all on left, their superstitions non-sense is more important to them than facts,evidence or the truth, both use tacticts from the same playbook, think of the leftists movement as a impoved version of religion, and religion sees itself being replaced by leftism and triesd to fight back and infiltrated and took over the Republican party and conservatism