Anti Christian? Moi?

A few days ago I posted a brief description of the heroic efforts of Captain Moody and his crew as they fought to save Flight 9 after all four engines of their 747 failed over Indonesia. I drew a parallel between the fight to save that aeroplane and current efforts to save the planet from the consequences of global warming.

The piece [click here to view] attracted a multi-part response from an old friend who happens to be on the opposite side from myself on just about every issue except possibly the joys of drinking copious quantities of beer. My American friend’s response is enumerated below in bold italics with my comments appended in normal text.

  1. “I can’t think of anyone who would sit back and pray without trying to save themselves.”

There certainly are such people especially when it comes to refusing proven scientific medical care in favor of woo and attempts to pray a disease away. That however was not my point.

I was referring to that group of religious people who deny the reality of climate change as an article of faith because God once produced a rainbow as a sign that he would not flood the earth again and to another group of religious types who accept that climate change is happening but attribute it to God dealing out righteous punishment for various sins. I cited references for these two contradictory biblical views in my “Biblical Climatology” post. There are yet others who think that making a snowball and displaying it in the Senate chamber somehow outweighs the considered views of thousands of climate scientists. Click here to see Senator James Inhofe make a complete ass of himself on that score. These are all examples of those who regard praying as having greater efficacy than science.

2. As they say, “There [are] no atheist in the foxholes”.

Some do say that but there are and always have been atheists in foxholes. Atheists serve in cockpits and on ships they are everywhere. [Click here] to visit a site dedicated to men and women who are serving their country in uniform or  have served in the past. The most common final word on cockpit voice recorders, uttered by men who know they are about to die, is not an appeal to God, it is “Mother”.

3. You seem to be very anti Christian.

I am not, nor have I ever been anti Christian, I am not, nor have I ever been anti Muslim, I am not, nor have I ever been anti Hindu, I am not, nor have I ever been anti Semitic etc etc. I am not against any person simply on the basis of their cosmological view. I am an atheist and as such I have many differences of opinion with those who hold religious views.

At bottom, a religion is nothing more than an opinion or a set of related opinions held by a particular group. Sometimes these opinions are expressed as being “deeply held religious beliefs” with the implication that they should not be challenged. A “deeply held belief” is still just an opinion and as such is as open to challenge as any other opinion.

I am not anti Christian but I do disagree with some of its premises, on the other hand I agree strongly with the philosophy of treating others as you would like to be treated yourself.

Question: what goes clip clop clip clop clip clop, bang, clip clop clip clop clip clop?

Answer: An Amish drive by shooting.

This joke is humorous on several levels but mostly because no one would ever consider a member of the Amish community participating in a drive by shooting. Which brings me to a problem on my side of politics, the liberal side.

Many liberals refuse to accept that terrorist atrocities committed by Jihadists have anything to do with Islam. Instead, they cite entirely political motivations. Political motivations certainly feed into Jihadist atrocities but it is foolish to deny that Islam plays no part. I am with Sam Harris, Bill Maher and Douglas Murray on this point.

Equally there is a problem with some on the political right who characterize all Muslims as being murdering thugs. Ultimately, it is largely Muslims like Maajid Nawaz of the Quilliam Foundation who will reform Islam and defeat the Jihadists.

4. Would the world be a better place based on Sharia law? 

Emphatically and unreservedly no to sharia law. [Click here] for my views on sharia as I expressed them in 2014. All efforts to incorporate the opinions of any religion into the law of the land must be resisted every where and at all times.

5. Would Europe be a better place if the Muslims had succeeded in their attempted conquest of Europe?

I think that Charles Martel’s victory over the  Muslim Umayyads at the battle of Tours in 732 was a good thing. Similarly the repulsion of the Ottomans at the gates of Vienna in 1683 was a positive outcome for Europe.

6.  I hear the argument that the Crusades are the root of our problems with the Muslims. My history books state that the Crusades was an attempt to take back what the Muslims had taken.

I have no strong opinions on this other than that you seem to have overly simplistic history books. The crusades are part of a very complex and multi faceted history between the East and West. The crusades were as much about power, wealth and control of territory as they were about religion. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

7. Finally, do you think the western world is a better place as our society adopts an attitude that if it feels good, do it?

I don’t think that “if it feels good, do it” is a particularly useful or even a meaningful idea and it is not, in my opinion,  a generally accepted one. I might go along with it in the strictly narrow sense that if a proposed action does not compromise your conscience or your moral principals, it may be OK to do it. As a statement of ethical principles “if it feels good, do it”  sucks.