But then, you elected this profoundly stupid man to be your governor, so it’s all your own fault. I was reading an interview with Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana that was just embarrassingly bad.
To me, the core of the Christian faith is humility, which starts with recognizing that you’re as fallen as anyone else. And we’re all constantly trying to get better, but… so I’m sure I come up short on way too many occasions.
Our country was founded -this is just an historic fact; some people today may resist this notion but it is absolutely true- it was founded by people of faith. It was founded on principles of faith. The whole idea of equality of men and women [and] of the races all springs from the notion that we’re all children of a just God. It is very important to at least my notion of what America’s about and should be about and I hope it’s reflected most of the time in the choices that we make personally.
The core of Christianity has never been humility, but arrogance. This is a faith that claims its followers have privileged contact with an immortal, omniscient being, that claims that believers are especially loved by the most powerful intelligence in the universe, and that those who believe most devoutly will be rewarded after death with cushy lives in paradise, while the rest of us burn in torment for eternity. Governor Daniels needs to crack a dictionary.
a modest or low view of one’s own importance; humbleness.
There is nothing humble in believing one has an inside line to god. Sure, Christians talk about being “fallen” and “sinners”, but what it’s all about is false modesty: we’re all fallen, but Christians get to be saved, and you don’t.
Our country was founded by people of diverse faiths, many of which modern Christians would not recognize as anything like their beliefs; Thomas Jefferson and Tom Paine only get to be kept in the fold post mortem because they’re Thomas Jefferson and Tom Paine, but anyone who says the things now that they said in life is a heretic and apostate.
Equality was not one of those principles held to with any consistency by the founding fathers. Slavery was condoned. Slavery was justified by the Bible; what kind of “just God” orders his people to slaughter whole nations and enslave their women and children? Equality was an ideal of the Enlightenment (implemented poorly, in fits and starts, and with its own share of blood and pain), not Christianity. The Christian ideal was a hierarchy on earth and heaven; a monarchy topped by a god.
Mellinger: Is there part of you that is bothered by the aggressive atheism of a [Sam] Harris, a [Christopher] Hitchens, a [Richard] Dawkins? And what I mean is… this atheism is a little different than atheism has been in the past because it does seek to convert people.
Daniels: I’m not sure it’s all that new. People who reject the idea of a God -who think that we’re just accidental protoplasm- have always been with us. What bothers me is the implications -which not all such folks have thought through- because really, if we are just accidental, if this life is all there is, if there is no eternal standard of right and wrong, then all that matters is power.
And atheism leads to brutality. All the horrific crimes of the last century were committed by atheists -Stalin and Hitler and Mao and so forth- because it flows very naturally from an idea that there is no judgment and there is nothing other than the brief time we spend on this Earth.
Everyone’s certainly entitled in our country to equal treatment regardless of their opinion. But yes, I think that folks who believe they’ve come to that opinion ought to think very carefully, first of all, about how different it is from the American tradition; how it leads to a very different set of outcomes in the real world.
There is no eternal standard of right and wrong. It has changed from generation to generation; what was considered right and wrong in the Biblical Middle East would horrify us with its injustice if implemented in 21st century America, and reciprocally, a Judean priest from the 1st century BC would be calling for the wrath of Jehovah to fall upon those licentious, evil people like Pat Robertson or James Dobson, who lead millions into a life antithetical to ancient Jewish custom.
It is revealing that when Daniels speculates about what matters if there is no god, all he can imagine is the worship of power. That tells you exactly how hollow his morality is at the core; he cannot imagine a good life without a priest telling him what is right and wrong.
I’d answer differently. In the absence of a god-given absolute morality, all that matters is how we treat one another in this one life we have. What flows naturally to me is not brutality, which requires an absence of awareness of the suffering of others, but recognition of the fact that my fellow human beings really are my equals: we’re all going to die, we only have these few brief decades of life, and who am I to deny someone else the same opportunities I’ve been given?
Skipping past the obvious falsehood in his comment — Hitler was not an atheist — it is an absurd non sequitur to declare that awareness of our mortality leads directly to oppression and abuses of power and the selfish acquisition of power at any cost. There are no gods, no objective enforcement of a benign morality on us, and that has a couple of consequences. One is that we ought to reject out of hand any claims to morality based on theocratic morality as false; we should not aspire to build a just society on lies. Another is that we should do as Daniels says but patently does not do, and think very carefully. We should build our morality on reason.
I think it’s obvious, actually, even if it is a non-trivial problem. I can at least say that my ideal society would not be led by an autocrat who thought power was a sufficient justification for his actions, the conclusion Daniels thinks is natural for atheists, nor do I think that a culture built around obedience to tradition, as interpreted by a tribunal of priests, is my idea of a desirable society. And I’m an atheist. Why would a mindless ratbag politician like Daniels think that my dream world would be led by a dictator? I get so tired of being told by the ignorant that my goal is to put a Stalin in power, when they dream of a Palin.
I hope you do better in your next election, Indiana. Try to find someone who doesn’t confuse faith with justice next time, OK?
Aww, someone didn’t like what I said. Timothy Stone just had to write to me to argue that he wasn’t really being ignorant…while telling me I’m going to hell for not believing in his god. These guys have no sense of irony (also, the formatting of the email was even more mangled than what I show here. I have no idea why he decided the last half looked better in blue.)
The core of Christianity has never been humility, but arrogance. This is a faith that claims its followers have privileged contact with an immortal,
omniscient being, that claims that believers are especially loved by the most powerful intelligence in the universe, and that those who believe
most devoutly will be rewarded after death with cushy lives in paradise, while the rest of us burn in torment for eternity.
This is an example of someone who really does not get Christianity at all. With all of the doctorate degrees that you have and all of the power that you have, you simply
have failed to understand what God is all about and what humanity is all about. You could not get it more wrong.
The entire point here is that there are two types of people in the world, people who accept God and those who don’t. There is nothing arrogant about that.
It is, what it is. I can’t judge you personally, but I would believe that if a person did reject God and they died that person would end up in Hell.
See you don’t believe any of this, but belief does not matter. It is all real no matter how you try to hide or not. All of the events of all of our lives are being recorded.
You can say you don’t believe all you want. None of this matters. I know you think everything is a myth with the exception of science and the scientific method, but
that is simply not true. That is a lie that you keep telling yourself because you don’t want to accept God. No matter what proof is given, you will never ever believe in
things beyond the this natural world.
What if you tried to give a scientist the facts that Atoms existed and what if he never believed the scientific method, what if he believed his own methods.
My point being that some people have agendas and no matter how much proof or what kind of proof you give them, they still won’t understand.
Heaven and Hell are real. Hell is not meant for people, it is meant for other spirit forms that you don’t believe in.
However, there are some people in there because they just outright rejected God and then they died and it was too late.
I know how you work, you will call me a loon and then brand people like me a moron for what we believe because you think that everything that isn’t scientific
in nature is just myths and fairy tales. You do this every blog post and you beat the same horse over and over again with nothing really new.
Anyway, the only way to make you really understand all of this is when you die. However, it will simply be too late.
My hope is that you turn your life around before you die at least. I may not like what you say, but I would not want you to go to Hell.