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Hogarth judge

December 2017

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Hogarth judge

Is Christianity good for the world?

The current issue of Christianity Today's website has a debate between Christopher Higgins (atheist) and Douglas Wilson (Christian) on the issue of whether Christianity is good for the world. Higgins raises issues of politics and theodicy.

My greatest doubts are social and political, not issues with the supernatural or miraculous content of the faith. I have no way of knowing whether Jesus did or did not rise from the dead. Acceptance or denial based on faith is all I have to go on there. Much more lively, to me, is the question of whether, by calling myself a Christian and going to church, I have allied myself with a bunch of warmongers, hatemongers, inciters of moral panics and persecutory manias, and otherwise harming my country and my neighbours by such allegiance.

Then again, all societies have had religions. Daniel Dennett's Breaking the Spell, the best atheist tract I have read, argues that religion represents the chance confluence of other human instinctual drives that render human reason liable to be coöpted by religion. If this be so, religion of some sort is more or less inevitable. Communism developed a body of rituals, shrines, martyrs, and idols.

And in all of those societies, religion has been governmental and traditionalist. It exists to give supernatural sanction to the actions of leaders, serve as a force for social cohesion, and justify their ancient enmities. Since religion is inevitable, the issue is not religion vs. no religion, but which religion is best?

With Christianity, the warlike, traditionalist, and legalist manifestations of the religion are distortions and indeed denials of the authentic faith. They are temptations in any institutionalized manifestation of Christianity, but the church is always in need of reform. Christianity is true because it blesses peacemakers, undermines social control, and rejects ties to an earthly kingdom.

Comments

See, you can say that, but in practice Christians are hardly ever heard actually speaking out against the other Christians. Until then, no-one going by the available noise and saying "hmm, these Christians appear to be batshit insane" is going to listen to being told "you should know better! we're not all like that!" "No, just the ones who speak up. Off you hop, now."
Find one atheist who doesn't worship at the altar of logic and science. Just one. I dare you.

i.e. You're right.

Though I have an issue with the argument commonly tossed by atheists that "Religion has been the root cause of most of the violence in the world."

Really?

Even in this country's history, the most violent war in our part was over state's rights, the second most violent was over political ideology.

Not to mention, MOST of the violence in the world happens outside of "war." I'm quite sure in the history of the US, more people have died due to domestic violence than terrorism.
Logic is only an arbitrary construct. I shall now prove this using this fish.