Earlier today, William J. Murray expressed frustration with a Web site, The Skeptical Zone who, he says, don’t think they should be charitable to Uncommon Descenters.
I can’t recall visiting that site much, if at all. I routinely avoid people who identify themselves as “skeptics.” They lost me somewhere between the Big Bang as a mirage from a collapsing higher-dimensional star and the Big Bazooms theory of evolution. Actually, come to think of it, they lost me earlier.
Given that they think this kind of stuff should replace traditional thought, I find I just prefer the latter. So far, that’s my right.
About charity, well the reason a Christian is counselled to show charity is that he wouldn’t be a Christian if charity had not been offered to him from a divine source. And he best demonstrates that fact by displaying charity himself.
I am in no position to explain why non-Christians should show charity except to say that we have reason to believe that The Boss likes and rewards that quality in people so much that he cares more about that than about their often confused and untutored religious theories.
Does charity pay? Certainly not if we usually expect others to follow suit. For one thing they may not have had our experiences in life.
They may believe that they exist for no other reason than to impose their views on the world until they are meaninglessly extinguished, just as they meaninglessly began.
They may have given their lives to the promotion of crackpot cosmology or neo-Darwinian evolution, and now find that the true nature of reality is simply too complex in an ordered way for any of that to make sense.
They may sense that most of the people who support them just don’t understand what the problems are, or else they are in it for the money and advancement that comes from toeing the party line. So they count on whatever support they can muster in the same way that bankrupt governments count on fatuous promises to dim voters. Anything to keep going.
They may also be proud adherents of new atheist movements tarred by sex scandals and sex uproars. People tend to be angry and defensive when this stuff happens, even if the general opinion is, well, what do you expect, no hard feelings, but sure hope you didn’t have money at stake.
People in their kind of a mess are in no position to be charitable, so there is no reason to expect it. So they blame us.
If we are in fact on the right track with reality, it is not unreasonable that a higher standard is expected of us, including charity.