None so blind

This sort of thing annoys me – not just because it excludes a large proportion of the population from social discussion. But also because it demonstrates a cultural blindness. Some people are so blinkered they won’t even acknowledge that elephant in the room.

Yesterday Lincoln Tan had a Herald Opinion piece – Christian faiths losing out to other religions. It’s basically talking about religious diversity in Auckland and lamenting that “Western religions, such as Anglicanism, ‘fail to connect’ with diversifying cultures.”

He quotes a Massey University study by Peter Lineham – Changing Patterns of Auckland Religion:

“The Anglican Church, which has traditionally been New Zealand’s dominant religion, has dropped from 47 per cent in Auckland identifying with the church in the 1926 census to slightly over 10 per cent in 2006, lower than the 10.8 per cent nationally. It was a different story for Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam, which have experienced surges in membership.”

And the rest of the article talks about these “world religions.” Those Eastern religions whose adherents are actually increasing in numbers – even though those numbers a relatively small (1.8 – 3.5%).*

Notice the elephant in the room – those horrible non-religious people? They can’t possibly be part of our country’s religious diversity can they? They must be ignored. Well nationally they comprised 33% of the national population in the last census – I would be interested to know if the Massey study recorded these people and what their numbers are in Auckland. (I can’t find a link to the report at the moment (could anyone who has a link let me know it?)

Then their was this Herald piece today by George Armstrong (an Anglican priest and teacher) –  It’s time for the religions of the world to unite

The gives his message – Different faiths can work together to promote noble values. Religion’s have to stop competing and start working together. He’s effectively calling for unity of action to solve the world’s problems:

“all the peoples of the planet . . . have to forge new tolerances and appreciation and interfaith and intercultural partnerships. Any decent religion will have love, humility, awe, justice and peace at its centre. There’s plenty of that at the heart of the major world religious traditions. And there’s plenty of it at the heart of the great political and diplomatic traditions of our diverse peoples.”

But really he is contemplating unity of action of only religious people. Again he has ignored that large elephant in the room. Interfaith action is not going to include the non-believers.

But there is plenty of “humility, awe, justice and peace” at the centre of many non-religious traditions too. Especially today. Why exclude them?

All of us are capable of noble values – irrespective of religious belief. Although I sometimes wonder at the capability of some religious leaders and commentators who seem to have a very blind spot reserved for the non-religious.

*This plot shows the change in religious diversity according the New Zealand census results since 1991. Last census Christians amount to 49.5% of the population (after taking “double dipping into account). The Hindu religion has the next largest numbers for a religion – but amounted to less than 2%. Why concentrate on unity with the very small religions while refusing to include the non-religious (33%)?

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68 responses to “None so blind

  1. Max Whitakerx

    I see your point, but are people who identify as non-religious interested in interfaith initiatives. They are more than welcome to come to interfaith meetings, and discussions in my part of the country, but from experience tend not to even when offered explicit invitations.

    Perhaps this is because many of the questions would be of no interest to them. Shares perceptions of God for example? But as you point out many of the questions would be of interest.

    I suggest you, and anyone else who identifies as non-religious get proactive and go along to interfaith discussions if you are interested. You could even ask to present a humanist perspective. My suspicion is you would be more than welcome!

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  2. As I said, Max – None so blind.

    Perceptions of gods are of no more interest to people of other religions than they are to the non-religious. And personally I have no interest in them. But I do have interests in the things Armstrong talks about – and something to offer. As do my fellow non-believers.

    It is blind to concentrate on unity of action with 1 or 2% of the population on things of general human concern while actively ignoring a third of the population.

    Interfaith set-ups can’t handle inclusive activity – that is well known. But they do encourage the religious to live in their own silo and think they are involved in inclusive democratic action while actively excluding a third of the population.

    I have been both told that I couldn’t be part of the local interfaith group (I wasn’t asking to) and also invited to participate in national interfaith forums – obviously there are different attitudes.

    Let’s instead establish genuine secular, democratic, inclusive organisations to drive unity of action. Interfaith groups can’t do it.

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  3. Why can’t we all come together and agree on the basics?
    God lives and sits on a physical throne on a planet called Kolob which is an actual star or planet in this universe. It was discovered by Methuselah and Abraham by looking through the Urim and Thummim, a set of seer stones bound into a pair of spectacles. Everybody knows that.
    We can puzzle out the other details a some much later date.

    Bill Maher exposes Mormon religion

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  4. Max Whitakerx

    “Let’s instead establish genuine secular, democratic, inclusive organisations to drive unity of action. Interfaith groups can’t do it.”

    Do it!

    No point complaining that a group does not do what you want it if it was set up to do something different. A little like complaining that they don’t play rugby enough in the ballroom dancing society.

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  5. Max, you have made an unwarranted assumption. I am not complaining that interfaith groups can’t, by their very nature, build inclusive democratic campaigns. That’s just a fact. My complaint is that certain religious leaders claim they can and are – by ignoring a huge part of the population.

    Such campaigns are built around specific issues. It’s silly to think a small group can establish a campaign organisation and then wait for the campaign to come along. It’s also arrogant.

    But one problem of the silo effect is these these sort of delusions are fostered. I just hope that when the issues arise people who are now part of interfaith groups recognise this weakness and put their effort behind much more inclusive action and groups.

    I saw that happen in the 60s with the peace and anti-war campaigns – but it took a few years for the religious to come out of their churches and join the action.

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  6. Max Whitakerx

    Yeah – like dancing clubs ignore rugby players! They are not pretending to be a secular problem solving society. They are an interfaith group… not sure what your complaint is really. They do what they say. If you want a secular problem solving society then that is a different thing.

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  7. I don’t know what they are pretending to be but clearly problems we face and must deal with are largely secular (they can keep their internal religious dispute – I don’t want anything to do with them).

    So action to resolve issues in our secular pluralist society require inclusive democratic groups. The interfaith groups should not pretend they are adequate.

    More importantly religious columnists should not ignore such a huge proportion of society when they discuss our pluralist nature.

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  8. Interfaith groups exist to promote greater understanding among the ‘religions’ represented. However, I also believe that those with no religion, so-called non-theists, atheists all have something that they understand to be unconditional, non-dependently real, an attribute they share with all the religions of the world. Therefore, atheists, non-theists etc. should all be included in such interfaith groups.

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  9. But they aren’t riisn68. Because those groups are defined exclusively for “faith” – for religion. Now I could understand a group defined more inclusively – say as including the interests of all life stances rather than just faith – could attract the non-religious.

    Mind you such a group would have different programmes and a different, more tolerant culture, than interfaith groups.

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  10. You seem to have two complaints Ken:

    (1) Those nasty interfaith groups won’t let me play!
    (2) I don’t want to play their stupid game anyway!

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  11. Richard Christie

    Anyway Max, faith hasn’t solved or mitigated any of mankind’s woes over the past several thousand years, it’s just a sad joke for the godly to assume they have the power to do so now, merely based upon a shared enthusiasm for dusty books of revelation. Oh, and it’s gobsmackingly arrogant.

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  12. @Ken

    It doesn’t matter if Christianity as represented in your chart goes down to 10%, that factor doesn’t make it any more true or false. I really don’t see any point to this thread otherwise.

    @Richard

    You say “Anyway Max, faith hasn’t solved or mitigated any of mankind’s woes over the past several thousand years, it’s just a sad joke for the godly to assume they have the power to do so now, merely based upon a shared enthusiasm for dusty books of revelation. Oh, and it’s gobsmackingly arrogant.”

    Mankind is always going to have woes as it has for over 200,000 years.

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  13. Cornell, you must be unable to see the point here. Of course truth or reliability of an ideology is not determined by the number of adherents. That’s a common trick creationists use in the US (they use the opposite “Galileo argument” here).

    The trouble is though, when the number of religious adherents drops to 10% and they still think they have the obligation to ignore all other groups in our democratic pluralist society when it comes to unity of action they will be demonstrating even more strongly how out of touch with reality they are.

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  14. I don’t know what ‘creationists’ you are meeting, but I’ve NEVER ONCE heard a friend of mine or a Theist philosophy that I read ever use an ad-populum type of argument. So perhaps you need to look forth into academia, I can provide sources if you wish. Otherwise you are just going to look like someone who is playing Devil’s advocate to the EASY arguments put forth by Bible-Belt fundies.

    you say “The trouble is though, when the number of religious adherents drops to 10% and they still think they have the obligation to ignore all other groups in our democratic pluralist society when it comes to unity of action they will be demonstrating even more strongly how out of touch with reality they are”

    The topic I’ll be addressing here is, “out of touch with reality”.

    Ok, let’s pick North korea as it is considered and atheist state and would be a perfect example of a country with under 10% religious adherents:

    I’ll use your friend Wikipedia as a source:

    “State atheism is the official promotion of atheism by a government, sometimes combined with active suppression of religious freedom and practice.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_atheism

    So are you saying that religious people in North Korea or Cuba are out of touch with reality? Does this mean that Kim Jong- Il WAS in touch with reality when he was alive or is it always religious people who are out of touch?

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  15. edit

    *Theist philosopher that I read ever use an ad-populum type of argument. that states the more Christians there are, the more likely it is true*

    I only hear that horrible argument used in Fundy Bible-Belth Theology

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  16. Cornell, in the US the ID people often use the argument of polls showing a low acceptance of evolutionary science for their arguments about not teaching it in schools, giving equal time to religious theories, etc.

    Here where the polls show about 80% acceptance of evolutionary science creationists are more likely to use the opposite argument.

    I don’t know what your problems are with Korea and Cuba but they are irrelevant here. If NZ has political or social issues it wishes to resolve our society should do this democratically. After all we are a pluralist society and democracy should mean all groups treated equally and having a chance to participate.

    The inherent trouble with Interfaith groups are their exclusive nature – and in particular exclusion of non-religious. Democracy surely should ensure social actions are secular and inclusive – no privileges or prejudice based on ideological belief.

    Or are you saying that only the religious are entitled to take social action, or that their action should be separate from others, in NZ?

    (By the way, I always thought that North Korea is a religious country with an official state deity called Kim Ill Sung. They certainly look very similar to the Vatican.)

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  17. “Anyway Max, faith hasn’t solved or mitigated any of mankind’s woes over the past several thousand years…”

    Thats a pretty amazing claim. Even if you think the things people have faith in are nonsense to claim that this faith has NEVER mitigated anyones suffering EVER in the past several thousand years is a pretty big claim. Do you honestly thin that no one has EVER been gained any benifit from their faith?

    This is obviously not true after just a moments reflection.

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  18. Thats a pretty amazing claim. Even if you think the things people have faith in are nonsense to claim that this faith has NEVER mitigated anyones suffering EVER in the past several thousand years is a pretty big claim. Do you honestly thin that no one has EVER been gained any benifit from their faith?

    Faith is bullshit, just like prayer.
    Having faith in magical, invisible sky people is delusional.
    Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has.
    Delusions don’t help.

    “The Story of Suzie” (classic)

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  19. “Cornell, in the US the ID people often use the argument of polls showing a low acceptance of evolutionary science for their arguments about not teaching it in schools, giving equal time to religious theories, etc.

    Here where the polls show about 80% acceptance of evolutionary science creationists are more likely to use the opposite argument.

    I don’t know what your problems are with Korea and Cuba but they are irrelevant here. If NZ has political or social issues it wishes to resolve our society should do this democratically. After all we are a pluralist society and democracy should mean all groups treated equally and having a chance to participate.

    The inherent trouble with Interfaith groups are their exclusive nature – and in particular exclusion of non-religious. Democracy surely should ensure social actions are secular and inclusive – no privileges or prejudice based on ideological belief.

    Or are you saying that only the religious are entitled to take social action, or that their action should be separate from others, in NZ?

    (By the way, I always thought that North Korea is a religious country with an official state deity called Kim Ill Sung. They certainly look very similar to the Vatican.)”

    I don’t care about what the ID people say regarding an ad-populum point, as I don’t agree with Behe or Meyer on a lot of aspects, so I don’t see why you had to bring them up to make a point, it makes absolutely no sense and again I think you have a problem with making points using analogies. So in conclusion I don’t know why we went from number of Christians using an ad-populum argument to ID advocates arguing about how many people believe in evolution. In both cases the number of people who hold to either position doesn’t make their position any more true or false, I’ve already established this in my first post. Ad-populum is a FALLACY for a reason. I don’t use ad-populum to put forth an argument, neither do any of my friends or the philosophers I read.

    Now you say North Korea is a religious country, please define ‘religion’ as it seems like the term is becoming more and more vague. Are sports fanatics religious people? Is anti-theism an aspect of religion?

    Once you define this I can easily answer your question about NZ, hence you just called a nation filled with atheists ‘RELIGIOUS’ and now the question becomes a bit more difficult.

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  20. Thats a pretty amazing claim.

    Well, it’s a falsifiable hypothesis.
    Just list a few of mankind’s woes that faith has solved, and you win.

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  21. Cornell, you are flogging a dead horse here in the issue of numbers. You seemed to be upset by my graph and gone off at a tangent.

    One of the important definers our inland revenue uses for defining religion when it comes to their tax exemptions is that it should include supernatural teachings which are being promoted.

    In North Korea the formal president is a man we know died several years ago but is still treated as if he exists. Sounds supernatural to me. And his personality cult is typical of religions, as are the behaviour if its adherents in their worship.

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  22. And his personality cult is typical of religions, as are the behaviour if its adherents in their worship.

    Yep, cults usually look like cults.

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  23. “Well, it’s a falsifiable hypothesis.
    Just list a few of mankind’s woes that faith has solved, and you win.”

    Fair enough. But in order to do so I will have to have you first define what a “woe” is, and what is acceptable as a “soultion”. But already you have shifter your stance because all I actually need to show is that it has “mitigated” one persons woe in the last few thousand years.

    But lets say a “woe” is grief over a childs death. I think there is AT LEAST ONE instance in the last thousand years where the greif has been mitagated by a persons faith. That is the greif has been reduced by the persons faith. Now this may be because the person is deluded, and the faith is completely false, but that is beside the point.

    I think this is a perfect falsifying example. I thank youl

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  24. Oh goody, playing with semantics, often seems to be a favourite pastime of the godly, especially theologians (not that you are a theologian Ma, …actually, are you?).

    Mankind doesn’t refer to a single part of a whole. I believe that if you look it up in the dictionary you will find it is collective, e.g. from Encarta

    1 all human beings
    human beings considered collectively
    2 men not women
    men considered collectively, as distinct from women

    I’m using number 1 sense, you can’t claim I’m a sexist!

    Unfortunately, your argument based on an individual fails immediately .

    Tell you what though, I’m feeling generous, I may even concede and drop the ‘mitigate’ part of the argument on the grounds that a placebo effect from belief in a loving invisible friend may have conceivably, but improbably have washed over human kind on occasion, resulting in, well who knows, I give up, something nice, warm and fuzzy.

    Mankind’s woes – you know the sort of thing I’m talking about, here are some with the result of faith’s help in solving.

    disease and pestilence – fail
    war – fail-
    death – fail
    misery – fail

    you get the picture,

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  25. well then. in that sense nothing we do cures humanities woes. we are all mortal and no philosophy, religion, movement, scientific advance, great work of literature, musical composition, social advance…etc etc. has ever or will ever change that…. if that is how high your goal posts arw then no…. we have never freed humanity if its woes. ever. with anything we do. ever.

    so true…. but meaningless.

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  26. well then. in that sense nothing we do cures humanities woes.

    Smallpox.

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  27. Death.

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  28. Yes but no musical composition has ever cured aids or provided us with immortality. So therefore all music is a waste of time. As is all literature. We are all doomed to die, so all the advances of civilisation are valueless, a joke, and arrogance… vanity and emptiness.

    Come to think of it this is all starting to sound quite familiar…

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  29. Yes it is familiar, perhaps all music composers should for the benefit of mankind unite to promote noble ideals, as music represents all things that are good, they are common to and lie at the heart of all musical styles .

    That should fix things up just dandy.

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  30. That is a different issue. You are the one claiming that if a discipline did not cure aids or grant immortality it was worthless…

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  31. You are the one claiming that if a discipline did not cure aids or grant immortality it was worthless…

    Who is?

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  32. Lets review:

    “faith hasn’t solved or mitigated any of mankind’s woes over the past several thousand years, it’s just a sad joke for the godly to assume they have the power to do so now, merely based upon a shared enthusiasm for dusty books of revelation. Oh, and it’s gobsmackingly arrogant.”

    “Well, it’s a falsifiable hypothesis.
    Just list a few of mankind’s woes that faith has solved, and you win.”

    ” I may even concede and drop the ‘mitigate’ part of the argument ”

    “Mankind’s woes – you know the sort of thing I’m talking about, here are some with the result of faith’s help in solving.

    disease and pestilence – fail
    war – fail-
    death – fail
    misery – fail “

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  33. Although I would say that given the unversal appeal of religion (for whatever reason) and its central part of many societies, it has probably at times mitigates a lot of misery…. but “cured”? Removed all misery from a society…. no. I guess not. But if you put your goalposts so high then as demonstrated nothing will ever count as making a difference in your book.

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  34. yeah but who is claiming that if a discipline did not cure aids or grant immortality it was worthless

    Strawmen aren’t popular in here. Demolishing imaginary edifices really is pretty easy and don’t suddenly win any argument.

    Anyway, I conceded the warm-fuzzy-feelings bit.

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  35. But if you put your goalposts so high then as demonstrated nothing will ever count as making a difference in your book.

    hey hey hey, hang on,

    Cedric has already high lighted modern medicine. What did incantations contribute to the huge advances in life expectancy over past centuries?

    Public sanitation, no hand-waving contributed to that helpful advance in the human condition either.

    Freedom of millions from famine through advances in agriculture? nope, I don’t think tall pointy hats and tight collars had much to do with that either.

    etc

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  36. There you go then. Although you concede it in a rather patronizing way which minimises its importance. What you call the “warm-fuzzy-feelings bit” is what most people call “life”

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  37. Pain killers!

    What do you prefer before the dentist says open wide? an anesthetic or a prayer?

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  38. Well lets see. have these things met your strict test:

    disease and pestilence – still exists (though mitigated in some areas) fail
    war – fail
    death – fail (obviosuly… but you put it in there)
    misery – fail “

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  39. Pain killers:

    disease and pestilence – fail
    war – fail
    death – fail
    misery – fail

    Nope – looks like painkillers are pointless too…

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  40. No, the warm fuzzies is the false sense of security that some people, those who are terrified on being dead (again), get from having a imaginary friend who promises it won’t happen.

    I’ve conceded that.

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  41. Pain killers:

    vanquishing misery via disease – win

    for some it even puts death off for a while

    I’d say that’s 2 out of 4, not bad, better than a psalm.

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  42. A big assumption that religion is (i) to do with a god (ii) this god provides life after death (iii) that fear of death is the motivator for religion.

    All three of these are not true for many religious people, and for many whole religions.

    And when you can show me a pill which grants immortality I will take your other examples seriously. It was you who put up the high goalposts… you can lower them if you like (I see “cures death” has been changed to “puts death off for a while” for instance. I have not seen misery or disease vanish from humanity though – remember your own goal was that it had to be removed – not mitigated or changed for just some individuals – the goal posts get lower and lower and soon anyone will be able to get a ball over.)

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  43. “Cornell, you are flogging a dead horse here in the issue of numbers. You seemed to be upset by my graph and gone off at a tangent.

    One of the important definers our inland revenue uses for defining religion when it comes to their tax exemptions is that it should include supernatural teachings which are being promoted.

    In North Korea the formal president is a man we know died several years ago but is still treated as if he exists. Sounds supernatural to me. And his personality cult is typical of religions, as are the behaviour if its adherents in their worship.”

    Ken disagreement does not mean tangent. This type of dishonesty will get you no where I’m afraid. All you are doing here is trying to ‘poison the well’ on my character. This is a fallacy, Anyways, I’m having a tough time with your inconsistencies, and I’m trying to get to you stick to one criteria.

    http://www.fallacyfiles.org/poiswell.html

    One method you say to describe a religion is whether or not it is tax exempt, but what about all the ancient religions that didn’t use a tax system, because well they didn’t have a gov’t? Were they considered religions? There is evidence in Richard Leakey’s ‘The Origin of Humankind’ that shows religions MIGHT be around 30,000 years of age. Did they have governments back then?

    http://www.amazon.com/Origin-Humankind-Science-Masters-Series/dp/0465053130/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349828999&sr=8-1&keywords=the+origin+of+mankind

    You also say ‘supernatural teachings’, and you equate it with treating dead people as if they still exist. Well I see that in other places as well.

    So let’s take the declaration of independence for the U.S.A, is the US honoring dead people who do not exist anymore when they adhere to this declaration that has been around for over 200 years written by people who do not exist anymore. So does your criteria work here as well or are you looking for a case of special pleading, only when it helps your needs?

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  44. Cornell, it is a tangent but while you are tangentially avoiding the real issues perhaps you should take Plantinga to task for defining “naturalism” as a religion.

    Or is questioning of him not permitted?

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  45. A big assumption that religion is…

    yes Max, I agree, just as well that I didn’t make those assumptions.

    On a more serious note one of the notable things about Armstrong’s piece was the amount of strong indignation “he’s no true christian” that must have flooded into the newspaper (they published two letters in that vein) from real christians.

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  46. Strawmen from the sock puppeteer? Now there’s a surprise-not.

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  47. “yes Max, I agree, just as well that I didn’t make those assumptions.”

    “No, the warm fuzzies is the false sense of security that some people, those who are terrified on being dead (again), get from having a imaginary friend who promises it won’t happen. “

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  48. “On a more serious note one of the notable things about Armstrong’s piece…etc”

    That is interesting. Where are the comments that say he is not a “true” Christian”. I always find these sorts of comments interesting.

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  49. Max,

    some… those who are…

    did you miss or do you object to the qualifiers I used? (apart from them falling outside your strawman claim)

    You got me on the religion without a god bit though. That’s news to me but I probably won’t dispute it if you just provide a reasonable example of one for me to file away.

    That is interesting. Where are the comments that say he is not a “true” Christian”. I always find these sorts of comments interesting.

    Sorry, can’t help, threw the newspapers out, wasn’t expecting to need them, so strictly speaking I probably shouldn’t have brought it up, except that it seemed relevant.

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  50. Whoops, I misled you. Like a good citizen I recycled the papers, i didn’t throw them out.

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  51. That is interesting. Where are the comments that say he is not a “true” Christian”. I always find these sorts of comments interesting

    Couldn’t find the newspaper comments but others have adopted that attitude and in quite strong language too.
    http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2012/10/04/yet-another-vicious-wolf/

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  52. @Cedric
    Fine googling!
    Same sort of comment in the letters to editor. Really thought some of the writers wanted the poor man strung up.

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  53. Audrey Evermore

    He(a)rd of Elephants ?

    Christianity Is an Eastern Religion . Why do most people forget this !

    Unity is unnecessary if Tolerance can be adopted ,taught, learned, accepted.

    Religious Unity would be very very dangerous for the rest of us .

    Ongoing debates and discursive arguments are all that we could ever hope to achieve from these topics … and … funnily enough, all we ever need from these topics.

    meanwhile … back in the medical research labs we shall continue to prolong life, ease pain, eradicate diseases , prevent diseases (a man has been cured of aids this week) whilst listening to great music, …. I saw John Gurdon speaking at a lecture last week …fantastic man . Plays polo too !

    pass the straw please, I have to feed my elephants.

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  54. Audrey Evermore

    Baby elephant on the stairs too… Cornell … I think you will find that it was the great religions of the world that invented tax… if you research the origin of the words ‘money changers’ and if you study the Hieroglyphs you will find it was the religious leaders who required taxes, although they called it ‘sacrifice’ initially.

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  55. Audrey Evermore

    Elephant poo in the lobby … Dear Max W , I also do not respond to invitations to the BNP meetings . I feel you would not accept my invitation to stop attending your religious meetings and get on with real life . Your comments and goading to increase numbers at your meetings only serve to remind me why I do not attend. .
    ps… I would like to attend any group which advertises a discussion of Ken Hunter’s new book . Why dont the religious people take on some real issues of justice that affect our lives. They are too cowardly I assume.

    Now then where was I …. mmmm oh yes that was it … what colour was Jesus’ hair ?

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  56. Um… what???

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  57. I assume Audrey is refering to Keith Hunter’s new book The Case of the Missing Bloodstain.
    It is very good reading, exposing far greater corruption by the NZ Police in the Crewe murder case than was previously documented in the Royal Commission in 1980.
    His website Hunterproductions possibly also lifts the carpet on some very recent maneuvering by NZ Police to continue perverting the course of justice.
    Rather off-topic for this discussion.

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  58. OK.. now I am not on my phone, I can address each point in order.

    “Dear Max W , I also do not respond to invitations to the BNP meetings .”

    Huh… what???

    ” I feel you would not accept my invitation to stop attending your religious meetings and get on with real life .”

    Huh… what???

    ” Your comments and goading to increase numbers at your meetings only serve to remind me why I do not attend. .”

    Huh… what???

    ” I would like to attend any group which advertises a discussion of Ken Hunter’s new book . Why dont the religious people take on some real issues of justice that affect our lives. They are too cowardly I assume.”

    Huh… what???

    “Now then where was I …. mmmm oh yes that was it … what colour was Jesus’ hair ?”

    Huh… what???

    I think that covers it.

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  59. Audrey Evermore

    Max ..that was a strange way of addressing a few points. Tyrhettes ( I cant even spell that !) or perhaps you have the same vocal coach as the Leader of the Opposition in Australia.
    Your inter faith discussion groups must be riveting ! Do you play PaperRock Scissors … I already had you covered . But you have become quite emotional there . Are you a woman ?

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  60. ie repeat: Huh… what???

    Nothing you say has any relevance to anything I have said. I don’t even disagree with you… you just make no sense.

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  61. Audrey Evermore

    Max . I do apologise. . Perhaps we speak different languages. And I also confess to not really knowing what ‘ Huh…what???’. actually means.

    I have heard that there are 17 different types of English spoken and written in the world. I guess i was kindov inviting you to an inter hemisphere language unity group but you declined the offer.

    I presume you will reply with your usual ‘Huh…What???’

    the difference between cents and pennies is that pennies do drop eventually . I must send you one .

    Sheesh ! Please dont throw me off this blog . i promise not to do that again . I love reading the comments here . I should be read only perhaps ,but it feels so lazy and voyeuristic to do that .

    Like

  62. OK – lets test whether you are just a troll or not – I will give you the benifit of the doubt. What on earth was this supposed to mean:

    ”Your comments and goading to increase numbers at your meetings only serve to remind me why I do not attend. .”

    What meetings was I trying to increase the numbers of? What goading was I doing? I mentioned no meetings, and was not trying to increase the numbers in these imaginary meetings, Your comment is so out of context as to be meaningless.

    or again:

    ” I also do not respond to invitations to the BNP meetings .”

    Also? As well as what? And what is BNP? Again out of context and meaningless.

    As for:

    ” what colour was Jesus’ hair ?”

    Very probably dark brown.

    Like

  63. Audrey Evermore

    .’I see your point, but are people who identify as non-religious interested in interfaith initiatives. They are more than welcome to come to interfaith meetings, and discussions in my part of the country, but from experience tend not to even when offered explicit invitations’

    I took the above quote from your comment as an invitation to a meeting . You used the word ‘come’ and ‘my’ and you mentioned your own experience.

    ‘Perhaps this is because many of the questions would be of no interest to them. Shares perceptions of God for example? But as you point out many of the questions would be of interest.’

    In the above statement you are purporting reasons for non attendance … this is conjecture . You dont know for sure.

    ‘I suggest you, and anyone else who identifies as non-religious get proactive and go along to interfaith discussions if you are interested. You could even ask to present a humanist perspective. My suspicion is you would be more than welcome!’…..

    er… goading …

    The British National Party (BNP) send invitations to meetings to everyone … I do not attend their meetings because I do not agree with their policies or philosophies . I think they are misguided . ‘Also’ refers to meetings that religious people hold to debate meaningless questions about virginity . transubstantiation, and Jesus’s hair colour…. which I ‘also’ do not attend.
    and I do need to send you a penny for the info on Jesus’s hair colour.

    I am not a troll . I do not need the benefit of your doubt.

    I wish I had an Idiot Test to run on you .

    Like

  64. Wow. Way to read things into what other people have wtitten!

    Like

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