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Brian Leiter on Why Tolerate Religion?

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Stuck with another deadline today, so news posting will be light till tonight.

Meanwhile, remember Brian Leiter?

Apparently, U Chicago prof Brian Leiter is author of numerous screeds, of which this is an example in our field of interest: “pathological liars from the Discovery [sic] Institute, the public relations arm of the “Intelligent Design” scam; on the other, Larry Arnhart, a professor of political science at Northern Illinois, and John Derbyshire, a pontificator at the National Review (who at least knows enough to know that “Intelligent Design” is bogus), who are championing a different intellectual muddle:”

The whole planet is dumb except Leiter?

Well, he has finally got his colleagues’ attention. We have it on good authority that a well-known British philosophy department has started to complain about a guy with good degrees who sounds like a fishwife on market day.

First, a question: What is it about being an atheist and Darwin defender that tends to bring this out in people? C.S. Lewis noted the problem yay years ago (1951): “What inclines me now to think that you may be right in regarding it as the central and radical lie in the whole web of falsehood that now governs our lives is not so much your arguments against it as the fanatical and twisted attitudes of its defenders. ”

Now, by way of explaining the above, a favour to ask: A friend has sent me a vid of Brian Leiter and another legal scholar, David Skeel, on Why Tolerate Religion? Could someone with more free time than I have just now watch it and offer some impressions?

The title is the name of Leiter’s book on the subject:

This provocative book addresses one of the most enduring puzzles in political philosophy and constitutional theory–why is religion singled out for preferential treatment in both law and public discourse? Why, for example, can a religious soup kitchen get an exemption from zoning laws in order to expand its facilities to better serve the needy, while a secular soup kitchen with the same goal cannot? Why is a Sikh boy permitted to wear his ceremonial dagger to school while any other boy could be expelled for packing a knife? Why are religious obligations that conflict with the law accorded special toleration while other obligations of conscience are not?

Well, we don’t need to tolerate religion; we could always go back to the Wars of Religion instead. It was that kind of thing, no doubt, t hat got religion to the top of the In tray.

Back at the News desk soon. – O’Leary for News

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Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose

But alas News, in the overall sense, it is impossible for atheists to have any coherent 'plot' in the first place once they reject God,,,
"If you have no God, then you have no design plan for the universe. You have no prexisting structure to the universe.,, As the ancient Greeks held, like Democritus and others, the universe is flux. It's just matter in motion. Now on that basis all you are confronted with is innumerable brute facts that are unrelated pieces of data. They have no meaningful connection to each other because there is no overall structure. There's no design plan. It's like my kids do 'join the dots' puzzles. It's just dots, but when you join the dots there is a structure, and a picture emerges. Well, the atheists is without that (final picture). There is no preestablished pattern (to connect the facts given atheism)." – Pastor Joe Boot - Defending the Christian Faith – 13:20 minute mark video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqE5_ZOAnKo
Atheists even have to use Theistic premises in order to be able to 'slap God in the face'.
"Hawking’s entire argument is built upon theism. He is, as Cornelius Van Til put it, like the child who must climb up onto his father’s lap into order to slap his face. Take that part about the “human mind” for example. Under atheism there is no such thing as a mind. There is no such thing as understanding and no such thing as truth. All Hawking is left with is a box, called a skull, which contains a bunch of molecules." - Cornelius Hunter https://fbcdn-sphotos-c-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpa1/v/t1.0-9/10344804_736790473055959_5027794313726938258_n.png?oh=32dcc64a81815fd8fbf5884ea44490ed&oe=548E8745&__gda__=1418537725_911886dd89430d275c0e393a46afdb55
Here is another good quote:
"Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning." CS Lewis – Mere Christianity
But life is infused with meaning:
Jennifer Fulwiler: Scientific Atheism to Christ - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aw8uUOPoi2M
What caused Jennifer Fulwiler to question her atheism to begin with? It was the birth of her first child. She says that when she looked at her child, the only way her atheist mind could explain the love that she had for him was to assume it was the result of nothing more than chemical reactions in her brain. However, in the video I linked above, she says:
"And I looked down at him, and I realized that’s not true." - Jennifer Fulwiler The Heretic - Who is Thomas Nagel and why are so many of his fellow academics condemning him? - March 25, 2013 Excerpt:,,,Fortunately, materialism is never translated into life as it’s lived. As colleagues and friends, husbands and mothers, wives and fathers, sons and daughters, materialists never put their money where their mouth is. Nobody thinks his daughter is just molecules in motion and nothing but; nobody thinks the Holocaust was evil, but only in a relative, provisional sense. A materialist who lived his life according to his professed convictions—understanding himself to have no moral agency at all, seeing his friends and enemies and family as genetically determined robots—wouldn’t just be a materialist: He’d be a psychopath. http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/heretic_707692.html?page=3
Verse and Music:
Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. All I Need {{Acoustic}} - Bethany Dillon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2TH1qOxJH0
Bornagain77 at 3, yes the Pastafarians are a curious group. They seem to have got started to mock ID, but because they pretended to be a religion, they ended up getting persecuted as such in Russia. And when a guy loses his licence in Canada for refusing to take a spaghetti strainer off his head for the photo - let's just say that the joke is certainly no longer on ID. I'm not sure I understand what happened to them. Just lost the plot I guess. News
If You Thought Religion was a Bad Idea...Check Out Atheism - Kirk Durston - June, 2012 Excerpt: To summarize why purely atheistic societies are so dangerous, they not only killed for the cause of advancing a purely atheistic society, but their moral guardrail has no grounds. Thus, extraordinary democide can result, because a portable, hand carried moral guardrail is no guardrail at all. http://powertochange.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Religion-and-Atheism-Kills-2012.pdf
Moreover, as if that was not sobering enough for Atheists to think about, Theists live longer, and happier, lives than Atheists do:
Atheism and health A meta-analysis of all studies, both published and unpublished, relating to religious involvement and longevity was carried out in 2000. Forty-two studies were included, involving some 126,000 subjects. Active religious involvement increased the chance of living longer by some 29%, and participation in public religious practices, such as church attendance, increased the chance of living longer by 43%.[4][5] http://www.conservapedia.com/Atheism_and_health Are Religious People Happier Than Atheists? - 2000 Excerpt: there does indeed appear to be a link between religion and happiness. Several studies have been done, but to give an example, one study found that the more frequently people attended religious events, the happier they were; 47% of people who attended several types a week reported that they were ‘very happy’, as opposed to 28% who attended less than monthly. In practical terms, religious people have the upper hand on atheists in several other areas. They drink and smoke less, are less likely to abuse drugs, and they stay married longer. After a stressful event like bereavement, unemployment, or illness, those who worship don’t take it as hard and recover faster. All of the above are likely to be beneficial to a person’s happiness. Additionally, religious people, as a result of their beliefs, have a greater sense of meaning, purpose and hope in their lives. http://generallythinking.com/are-religious-people-happier-than-atheists/ Atheism's detrimental effect on mortality and morality (section 11) http://creation.com/atheism
Although to be fair, atheists are far from the only people in the world who persecute 'soft target' Christians:
Knowing our world: The three major reasons for persecution of Christians worldwide - Denyse O'Leary Excerpt: The world-wide picture is sobering. Pew Research Center, Newsweek, and The Economist all agree that Christians are the world’s most widely persecuted group. Marshall and team offer information about three quite different reasons for persecution by different types of regimes (pp. 9–11): First, there is post-Communist persecution, following the collapse of Communism in the late 1980s, where the regimes " … have since retreated to an onerous policy of registration, supervision, and control. Those who will not be controlled are sent to prison or labor camps, or simply held, abused, and sometimes tortured." The most intense persecutor is the still Communist (not post-Communist) regime, North Korea (pp. 9–10). There, “Christians are executed or sent to prison camps for lengthy terms for such crimes as the mere possession of a Bible.” Second, in some countries, “Hindu or Buddhist religious movements equate their religion with the nature and meaning of their country itself.” They persecute minority tribes as well as religions (pp. 10–11). These countries include Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan. Third, of course the Muslim world where "Even though the remaining Communist countries persecute the most Christians, it is in the Muslim world where persecution of Christians is now most widespread, intense, and, ominously, increasing. Extremist Muslims are expanding their presence and sometimes exporting their repression of all other faiths. … Even ancient churches, such as the two-thousand-year-old Chaldean and Assyrian churches of Iraq and the Coptic churches of Egypt, are under intense threat at this time. (p. 11)." http://www.thebestschools.org/bestschoolsblog/2013/03/30/knowing-world-major-reasons-persecution-christians-worldwide/
Of related note, Christianity has had far more of a positive impact on the world than any other worldview has had:
From Josh McDowell, Evidence for Christianity, in giving examples of the influence of Jesus Christ cites many examples. Here are just a few: 1. Hospitals 2. Universities 3. Literacy and education for the masses 4. Representative government 5. Separation of political powers 6. Civil liberties 7. Abolition of slavery 8. Modern science 9. The elevation of the common man 10. High regard for human life
Also of note: After years of brutal suppression by the communist regime, Christianity is now exploding in China,,
China on course to become ‘world’s most Christian nation’ within 15 years – 19 Apr 2014 Excerpt: Officially, the People’s Republic of China is an atheist country but that is changing fast as many of its 1.3 billion citizens seek meaning and spiritual comfort that neither communism nor capitalism seem to have supplied. Christian congregations in particular have skyrocketed since churches began reopening when Chairman Mao’s death in 1976 signalled the end of the Cultural Revolution. Less than four decades later, some believe China is now poised to become not just the world’s number one economy but also its most numerous Christian nation. “By my calculations China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon,” said Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University and author of Religion in China: Survival and Revival under Communist Rule. “It is going to be less than a generation. Not many people are prepared for this dramatic change.” China’s Protestant community, which had just one million members in 1949, has already overtaken those of countries more commonly associated with an evangelical boom. In 2010 there were more than 58 million Protestants in China compared to 40 million in Brazil and 36 million in South Africa, according to the Pew Research Centre’s Forum on Religion and Public Life. Prof Yang, a leading expert on religion in China, believes that number will swell to around 160 million by 2025. That would likely put China ahead even of the United States, which had around 159 million Protestants in 2010 but whose congregations are in decline. By 2030, China’s total Christian population, including Catholics, would exceed 247 million, placing it above Mexico, Brazil and the United States as the largest Christian congregation in the world, he predicted. “Mao thought he could eliminate religion. He thought he had accomplished this,” Prof Yang said. “It’s ironic – they didn’t. They actually failed completely.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/10776023/China-on-course-to-become-worlds-most-Christian-nation-within-15-years.html Study: Rising Religious Tide in China Overwhelms Atheist Doctrine Excerpt: One of the last great efforts at state-sponsored atheism is a failure. And not just any kind of failure. China has enforced its anti-religion policy through decades of repression, coercion and persecution, but the lack of success is spectacular, according to a major new study. No more than 15 percent of adults in the world's most populous country are "real atheists." 85 percent of the Chinese either hold some religious beliefs or practice some kind of religion, according to the Chinese Spiritual Life Survey. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-briggs/study-rising-religious-ti_b_811665.html
Verse and Music:
John 15:18 If the world hates you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. Creed - Bullet http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtCHFLMRX78
As everyone who has ever dealt with militant atheists on the internet knows, Atheists have VERY little 'tolerance' for religion, especially Christianity.
Richard Dawkins espouses Militant Atheism: "Mock them, Ridicule them." - video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPqqp8KVuQU
Atheism's track record for 'tolerance' of religion speaks for itself: The unmitigated horror visited upon man, by state sponsored atheism, would be hard to exaggerate,,, Here's what happens when Atheists/evolutionists/non-Christians take control of Government:
“169,202,000 Murdered: Summary and Conclusions [20th Century Democide] I BACKGROUND 2. The New Concept of Democide [Definition of Democide] 3. Over 133,147,000 Murdered: Pre-Twentieth Century Democide II 128,168,000 VICTIMS: THE DEKA-MEGAMURDERERS 4. 61,911,000 Murdered: The Soviet Gulag State 5. 35,236,000 Murdered: The Communist Chinese Ant Hill 6. 20,946,000 Murdered: The Nazi Genocide State 7. 10,214,000 Murdered: The Depraved Nationalist Regime III 19,178,000 VICTIMS: THE LESSER MEGA-MURDERERS 8. 5,964,000 Murdered: Japan’s Savage Military 9. 2,035,000 Murdered: The Khmer Rouge Hell State 10. 1,883,000 Murdered: Turkey’s Genocidal Purges 11. 1,670,000 Murdered: The Vietnamese War State 12. 1,585,000 Murdered: Poland’s Ethnic Cleansing 13. 1,503,000 Murdered: The Pakistani Cutthroat State 14. 1,072,000 Murdered: Tito’s Slaughterhouse IV 4,145,000 VICTIMS: SUSPECTED MEGAMURDERERS 15. 1,663,000 Murdered? Orwellian North Korea 16. 1,417,000 Murdered? Barbarous Mexico 17. 1,066,000 Murdered? Feudal Russia” This is, in reality, probably just a drop in the bucket. Who knows how many undocumented murders there were. It also doesn’t count all the millions of abortions from around the world. http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NOTE1.HTM Martyred In The USSR - video trailer http://www.frequency.com/video/martyred-in-ussr-militant-atheism-in/76154382 Chairman MAO: Genocide Master “…Many scholars and commentators have referenced my total of 174,000,000 for the democide (genocide and mass murder) of the last century. I’m now trying to get word out that I’ve had to make a major revision in my total due to two books. I’m now convinced that that Stalin exceeded Hitler in monstrous evil, and Mao beat out Stalin….” http://wadias.in/site/arzan/blog/chairman-mao-genocide-master/
Believe it or not, I've seen atheists stoop to the level of calling Hitler a Christian in their attempts to deflect attention away from the horror that the atheistic/Darwinian worldview has visited upon mankind. Yet NAZI ideology was thoroughly rooted in Darwinian thinking:
From Darwin To Hitler - Richard Weikart - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_5EwYpLD6A How the Nazis mandated and used evolution and Darwin in the textbooks - November 7, 2013 Excerpt: The authors then asserted that the three main human races – European, Mongolian, and Negro – were subspecies that branched off from a common ancestor about 100,000 years ago. They argued that races evolved through selection and elimination, and the Nordic race became superior because it had to struggle in especially harsh conditions. Throughout this pamphlet the terms “higher evolution,” “struggle for existence,” and selection are core concepts that occur repeatedly.” (p.550) Weikart https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/darwinism/how-the-nazis-mandated-and-used-evolution-and-darwin-in-the-textbooks/
And Hitler himself certainly held deeply to the 'survival of the fittest' mantra in his worldview:
“The law of selection exists in the world, and the stronger and healthier has received from nature the right to live. Woe to anyone who is weak, who does not stand his ground! He may not expect help from anyone.” - Adolf Hitler http://www.wnd.com/2014/09/charles-darwin-and-world-war-i/ "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth." - Jesus Christ -
To try to deflect attention away from such a horrific history, Atheists like to point to the Spanish inquisition and witch hunts, etc.. etc.. to try to say that atheism is better than Christianity. Yet atheists purposely forget to 'look in the mirror' at the exponentially worse horror that was visited upon mankind in atheistic regimes. The comparison is not even close,,,
The Irrational Atheist: Dissecting the Unholy Trinity of Dawkins, Harris, And Hitchens - pg. 240 Excerpt: “The total body count for the ninety years between 1917 and 2007 is approximately 148 million dead at the bloody hands of fifty-two atheists…..The historical record of collective atheism is thus 182,716 times worse on an annual basis than Christianity’s worst and most infamous misdeed, the Spanish Inquisition.” http://books.google.com/books?id=5kYOcqb06EEC&pg=PA240#v=onepage&q&f=false "Christian" Atrocities compared to Atheists Atrocities - Dinesh D'Souza - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmrRC6zD4Zk
News, you're very welcome! Dionisio
Thanks much for listening, Dionisio at 4; I've been elsewhere occupied. News
Watched part of the video, as News asked, although it's very difficult for me to follow with attention this kind of legalistic / philosophical talking more than a couple of minutes, specially after having eaten a substantial meal. To me both speakers were fine, as far as I could tell. Interestingly, around minute 30 of the video, I think I heard prof Brian Leiter saying that the concept of liberty of conscious so embedded in western democracy was a product of the Protestant reformation. At that point had to take a break, because my eyes closed and my forehead hit the tablet screen. I'll see if I can resume the listening later :) Dionisio
Hey I say if atheists want to wear colanders let them! B.C. 'Pastafarian' loses driver's licence over holy colander hat - October 6, 2014 Excerpt: A B.C. ‘Pastafarian’ who wears a colander on his head has been stripped of his driver’s licence, after he repeatedly refused to take off the holy headgear for his I.D. photo. The nearly year-long conflict between Obi Canuel, 36, and the Insurance Corp. of B.C. came to a boil Friday, when ICBC refused to renew Canuel’s licence unless he went hatless for his I.D. photo. Canuel had been driving with a temporary paper licence for months after clashing publicly with the insurer in August. Canuel, who is an ordained minister in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, says it’s his religious right to wear a colander for his photo, just as members of other faiths are allowed to wear turbans and other coverings for their photos. Canuel says his headgear is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and he should not be forced to take it off.,,, The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster charges US$30 for a Canadian to become an ordained minister of the religion. The United States recognizes Pastafarianism as a religion. In January, a town councillor in a New York town was sworn in while wearing a colander on his head. “It is a strange thing when the West Coast of Canada is somehow less liberal than the United States,” Canuel said.,,, http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/b-c-pastafarian-loses-driver-s-licence-over-holy-colander-hat-1.2041844 Okie dokie,,,, I wonder if the tin foil hat people, who wore tin foil hats to keep their minds from being read, had similar problems? :) bornagain77
The irony here is that it is precisely those who are the most fanatical in their hatred of religion, who are the most religious ones of them all. And the more they try to deny the fact that they are religious just like everyone else, the more religious they become. They are trapped in a trap of their own making, snakes swallowing their own tails and all that silly stuff. Mapou
I'm afraid, statically speaking, atheists are greatly outnumbered by theists. I fear that eventually atheists are going to force theists to ask the same question. Why tolerate atheism? beau

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