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Daniel Dennett, associated with the “new athiesm” debates Alvin Plantinga, retired head of the philosophy department at Notre Dame on the question, “Is Religion incompatible with Science?” Click here to download the debate.
My favorite Atheist blog, The Atheist Revolution, recently wrote a lament post entitled “Wake Up, Indeed,” in which he laments the “schizophrenia” of an opinion piece written by a Christian from a Christian perspective. Below is a lengthy excerpt, and carries the spirit of his critique.
The good pastor is convinced that his religion is being attacked by people who have little understanding of it.
Christian teaching and beliefs are being attacked all over. Here are some recent examples: the lighting of the “non-denominational holiday shrub in Boston”; the “atheist creed being placed by the nativity scene in the Washington State capital”; the attack of “Prop 8 proponents in California in regards to those who supported the defeat of the gay marriage amendment.”
With the possible exception of the atheist sign in Washington, how can any of these examples be construed as attacks on anything but intolerance?
But Panzer’s inconsistency kicks into high gear when it comes to his bible. His words will likely do little but confuse already confused believers. After appearing to proudly accept the fundamentalist mantle, he immediately reverses himself by implying that his bible is open to correction.
So, call me John the Baptist if you will. I believe that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God written for our teaching, rebuking, and correcting. I believe that it’s just as valid and certain today as it was back then. Its purpose is to point us to Christ for our redemption, life and salvation. So, call me Patrick Henry too. I believe in the blood of the soldiers who have given us this great country with so many freedoms, including the freedom of capitalism. I believe in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, that they are just as valid and certain for us today as they were back then.
If his particular bible is “the inspired, inerrant Word of God,” how can it have been “written for our…rebuking, and correcting?” Does Pastor Panzer not know what “inerrant” means? Who is he to rebuke or correct the word of his god?
Two things that stick out to me about Vjack’s interaction.
1. Vjack asks, “…how can any of these examples be construed as attacks on anything but intolerance?” I have to wonder whether this is a real question, or just an expression of displeasure at a different point of view. It’s not hard to understand how those of strong religious persuasions might understand attacks against those who support Prop. 8 as attacks on something other than mere “intolerance.” Worldview makes the difference. Given the right worldview, a person can come to construe reality in ways that are very counter-cultural and may seem to others as invalid perspectives. This question, then, makes Vjack look intolerant himself, and ignorant also. All it takes is a little serious dialogue with such people to get a handle on how they see the world, even if in the end, one might strongly disagree with them.
2. Christians would immediately notice what is wrong with his criticism of schizophrenia. It’s founded on the accusation that the Christian pastor was saying that he believed the Bible to be God’s inerrant word, yet that we should correct and rebuke God’s word. Well … if he was saying that, he definitely might be liable to Vjack’s accusation. But, of course, that’s not at all what the man was saying. The verse this pastor was referring to was 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness ...” (Vjack actually admits later in an “update” on his post, his criticism of schizophrenia was based on a misunderstanding of the pastor’s point.)
Disliking the viewpoint of the Christian author, and being unfamiliar with the Bible, Vjack has attacked him on false accounts. What’s ironic is this: The opinion piece written by the Christian pastor stressed how people are attacking Christianity but have little understanding of it. As it turns out, Vjack ends up (by accident) proving the point of the Christian who wrote the opinion piece by providing a documented case of this very thing in his post.
___——___——_-_-_-HT: Atheist Revolution