Humanity should move beyond religion?

Porkopolis makes some overly broad generalizations about religion in general:

Considering that

  • Religion is a man-made institution [Before arguing this point, first take on in your mind a belief in a ‘God’ you currently don’t believe in – like Amun, Akua, Centeotl, Zeus or The Flying Spaghetti Monster and make your best argument against that entity. Then use that same argument against any belief in ‘God’ you may have];
  • Logic leads us to the Golden Rule without having to resort to religious doctrine;
  • Religion is used to justify acts of inhumanity;

Humanity should move beyond religion.

Let’s not be so quick to sing the praises of cold-eyed, godless evolutionary worldviews.
Some religious zealots have killed lots of people, and Islamic fascists certainly max out the crapulence meter in that department. However, religious murderers are mere pikers compared to the paragons of atheistic society: the communists and secular socialists. Militant atheists Mao Tse-Tung, Josef Stalin, Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh, Kim Il-Sung, Kim Jong-Il, and Adolf Hitler all hated believers (especially Christians). In the Twentieth Century alone, they and their governments racked up a body count somewhere in the range of 100 million to 120 million people.
And what about the claim that morality can be explained as an evolutionary survival strategy? Sorry, that doesn’t explain morality at all, as Greg Koukl illustrates:

There is one question that can never be answered by any evolutionary assessment of ethics. The question is this: Why ought I be moral tomorrow?

The evolutionary answer might be that when we’re selfish, we hurt the group. That answer, though, presumes another moral value: We ought to be concerned about the welfare of the group. Why should that concern us? Answer: If the group doesn’t survive, then the species doesn’t survive. But why should I care about the survival of the species?
Here’s the problem. All of these responses meant to explain morality ultimately depend on some prior moral notion to hold them together. It’s going to be hard to explain, on an evolutionary view of things why I should not be selfish, or steal, or rape, or even kill tomorrow without smuggling morality into the answer.

Evolution may be an explanation for the existence of conduct we choose to call moral, but it gives no explanation why I should obey any moral rules in the future. If one countered that we have a moral obligation to evolve, then the game would be up, because if we have moral obligations prior to evolution, then evolution itself can’t be their source.

There’s no way anybody can tell me “you ought to _________” … that is, if there’s no such thing as objective moral standards imposed by a transcendent moral Lawgiver.
P.S. — Before my pork-busting colleague cries “foul!” at the mention of God, I would encourage him to consider the Kalam Cosmological Argument.

Tactics for opposing gay “marriage”

If you’re not a Christian, you might find this post mildly interesting, but it probably won’t tickle your gray cells much. Most of you Christians out there trying to argue against gay “marriage” need to understand my point and adjust your approach.

Dr. Dobson over at Focus On The Family has posted excerpts from his book “Marriage Under Fire“, offering his eleven arguments in opposition to gay “marriage”:

  1. The legalization of homosexual marriage will quickly destroy the traditional family.
  2. Children will suffer most.
  3. Public schools in every state will embrace homosexuality.
  4. Adoption laws will be instantly obsolete.
  5. Foster-care programs will be impacted dramatically.
  6. The health care system will stagger and perhaps collapse.
  7. Social Security will be severely stressed.
  8. Religious freedom will almost certainly be jeopardized.
  9. Other nations are watching our march toward homosexual marriage and will follow our lead.
  10. The gospel of Jesus Christ will be severely curtailed.
  11. The culture war will be over, and the world may soon become “as it was in the days of Noah” (Matthew 24:37).

Venn diagramI think Greg Koukl over at Stand To Reason does a much better job of persuading undecided people who don’t tackle this issue from an evangelical Christian worldview. In Dobson’s defense, his audience is almost exclusively evangelical Christians like me, and his excerpted essay aims to get us off our lazy butts and do something about the problem.

Think of it this way. There are plenty of arguments you could use to oppose gay “marriage”, signified by the inside of the light brown circle. Some of them have foundations in a Christian worldview (the darker circle). The wise advocate for traditional marriage will select the right intellectual ammunition for each target. You might be convinced that our Christian arguments give you more than enough to get the job done, but non-Christians respond to that approach like a tank responds to a pistol bullet.

Yes, I know we’re right. But tactically speaking, your sincere beliefs don’t mean anything to someone who doesn’t recognize the authority of the Bible. How receptive are you when you hear a muslim arguing that Islam must be the one true faith, because the miraculous beauty and structure of the Quran shows that it couldn’t possibly be otherwise? Their source of authority is illegitimate in your worldview. And just like them, you’re trying to knock out a tank with a handgun.

If you don’t want to be a gooey blob in somebody’s tank treads, pick up an intellectual anti-tank missile. Use arguments that stand some chance of getting past the non-Christian’s armor. I’ve highlighted five of Dobson’s eleven points that have some promise. Not all of them are potential winning shots, but at least they can do some good.

Try using what you find here:



Commentary on news

I’ll keep adding bullets as I find more good material.