Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Religious Nutjob Letters!

I have, apparently, gotten to the point where I'm receiving now and again letters trying to refute whatever position I'm making. They're not nearly as cool as comments, where the person's absurdity is out there in the open for everyone to see, but I feel this is progress towards having my own brand of home grown fundie Christian trolls!

In any event, here's a missive I got from a Christian. I'm posting it as I got it except for putting in some paragraph breaks which make it flow easier:

You asked for a response from a "smart Christian" so here it is: I promise not to use a single verse out of the Bible to make a stand.

How do you know you exist? Rene Descartes puts "cognito ergo sum" (I think, therefore I am). The next question you should ask your self is how did I and my ancestors come into being? Well evolution is a sound theory except it relies on the same principal of Christianity. Faith. Only micro-evolution has been truly proven. All other forms are based on circular reasoning. Quoting from Kant "If anything exists in the cosmos, then there must be an absolutely necessary Being."

Now for the Atheist argument. Ancient teachings are inaccurate because the writers of old did not know even one-quarter of what we know today. I rebuke this as untrue. The ancient Egyptians knew about "modern medical practices." They performed brain surgeries on concussions thousands of years before we. The ancient Indians had indoor plumbing in their houses years before the Romans even had aqueducts.

In the face of these things you will say that we lost most of our knowledge during the Crusades were the Christians in their ignorance burned the Library of Alexandria simply because it was Pagan. We slay the Muslims because of greed and we denied any medical advancement during the reign of the Holy Catholic Church. Have I not made an accurate assessment of your views? Our perception of the world is based on faith and faith alone. Truth is only the abstract conclusion of many minds.

So it doesn't matter whether you are an Atheist or a Christian or any other religion, you are only following the truth of faith. God plays dice and sometimes he craps. That's not to say that he doesn't love his creations it's just that he rather make it fun. Knowing you, you'll try to rebuke me with Bible. Go ahead and read for "The truth shall set you free." And "Ye shall be as gods." Sorry I couldn't keep the Bible out of the rebuke. Oh, and yes a mans' hands did scribe the bible, but let's do a little mind experiment.

Take one child, maybe just old enough to write (let's say a 3rd grader), and have the child write every instruction you give him exactly. Next take another child (let's use a 12th grader) and give the child a general idea of what you want. More than likely the 3rd grader who you told step by step to do will come out with better instructions than the 12th grader with just a general picture of what you wanted. This is basically the model of the Bible. God told the prophets what to write and they wrote. The New Testament is only a compilation of the letters of the church leaders save for Revelations and the four Gospels.

In conclusion Christianity is basically a Crap game. I'm putting my life to a God who may or may not exist, yet one side not God has not been proven not to exist so he must exist. For if there is no reproof for the proof provided by our elders then the elders must be right. Like I said before faith is a dice game and I could crap. But crapping is a chance I'll be willing to take for my god.


I wish I'd gotten the idea of posting the other letters I'd gotten. I want to say that pretty much all of them are about this level of . . . whatever.

How do you respond to something like this? Seriously. He starts off with irrelevant passages from Descartes and Kant (two philosophers I hate, I should also add - I HATE that I think therefore I am crap!). He then goes on to give the old canard about religion and science are the same because they both rely on faith. Which is nonsense. Science has proof and can do things, it never involves the intervention of supernatural beings.

Then the guy just gets weird. Not the things he gets that are merely factually wrong (like the Library at Alexandria being burned by the Crusaders . . . the Crusaders never conquered Alexandria) and then his bizarre thought experiment, and referring to religion as a "crap shoot" and ending up with a crude restatement of Pascal's wager. Or what's that stuff about how the ancients were more knowledgeable than us? That's just so . . . well, it's this bizarre stupidity whose end I thought we'd put soundly to rest by the Renaissance and the death of Scholasticism. Also, stupid on inspection. Where's the ancient aluminum or airplanes or steel reinforced concrete or Plexiglas, blah, blah, blah. I mean, sure, a few Egyptians might have had brain surgery, but . . . the survival rates for such procedures were v. low. Oh, sure, what the hell - the patient is gonna die, anyway. Might as well dose 'em up on opium and crack open the ol' brainpan. But to equate what the Egyptians did with surgery compared to modern medical techniques is daft. Daft and bizarre.

I just don't know what to say to this! I COULD just correct where he's factually wrong. Talk about the differences between science and religion, for example. I could critique his bringing up Descartes and Kant as irrelevant, and even veer into a discussion why I think that Descartes, as a philosopher, made a fine mathematician. I can talk about history, science and philosophy at some length.

But somehow I get the feeling it wouldn't work. If anyone has an idea of what might work, please, say so! Otherwise, I guess I'm just posting this as an example of the sorts of things I am getting in my inbox, nowadays. Which is fine! It makes opening my mail an interesting and unique experience every time.

11 comments:

L>T said...

Goodness, that's some post. I'll try to read it soon because I'm putting my computer in storage in a couple of days, because I'm moving. On that note, I relied to your post on Neitzsche & slave morality. It is posted on my blog. :)

Chris Bradley said...

Yay! I'll go and read it on your blog and respond . . . somewhere, hehe.

divabeq said...

"God plays dice and sometimes he craps."

This was my favorite line. There's a certain surreal genius to it, though. I've seen some of these kinds of rants in other places, and this level of disconnect is fairly common. And called logic in the same way you call the stuff you say as logic. I think it's a good illustration of the lack of intellectual curiosity that lies at the heart of this movement that wants to "prove" god and faith in god. It's funny, because this movement seems to want to be the "intellectual" branch of the church. They seem defensive, at least, about intellectualism. When it seems like those involved in religion who are actually educated and thinking, have accepted that there is no answer to science in religion, and the best way to deal with the schism caused by that is to try to keep the two things separate as much as possible.

Furthermore, these guys are the most vehement in their objections to science or other non-religious thinking. I predict that they will be the first group to peel away from the church. There's just too much of an air of desperation to their flailing denials. I hope you forgive me for quoting Shakespeare, but, Methinks he doth protest too much.

Chris Bradley said...

Becky,

Yeah, most of the learned people I read while researching Simon Peter didn't try to make religion into a faux science. (Except the ones who really have fucked up Biblical archeology -- I've got this special contempt for them, hehe.) They suggested (wrongly) that secularism (of which science is just a part) can't fulfill all of a person's needs. I don't think they're right, but I understand their point and it is a better (but still wrong) point than "trying to prove god exists".

But while most "educated" Christians don't spend much time trying to have religion be some sort of science, it is recognized as a problem. "Secularism" is a big issue because religion is not, really, answering people's needs, spiritual or otherwise, and people are leaving religion in droves. Educated Christians have no answer at all to the "problem" of secularism! On, they propose some strategies, but they're all deeply flawed (such as . . . Judiazing Christianity, which sort of ignores the extent to which Jews are leaving religion, for instance).

So, guys like this nutjob who wrote me this letter, and what is likely the overwhelming majority of Christians, are kinna . . . doing it themselves. Bereft of serious leadership (indeed, really, of even the POSSIBILITY of leadership) in this area, and on some level aware of the extent to which secularism threatens religion, they're proposing all this half-educated, passionate nonsense in order to fight secularism. They're doing this because, really, they have no choice.

themaiden said...

Let your "smart Christian" know that the Latin is cogito ergo sum not cognito ergo sum. Cognito is Latin but it means something more like "getting to know" or "knowledge of" or "acquaintance with" and anyway it would be spelled cognitio, with an "i". But thanks for the translation, smart Christian. :)

Fun post though. I am always very amused by 'logic' like this.

I posted something similar once. Take a look at Bad! Bad, Maiden! Bad!

centuri0n said...

Chris:

You have an open invitation to join me at my DebateBlog to discuss a thesis of your choosing.

Thanks.

Chris Bradley said...

*checks out the Maiden's link, hehe*

Chris Bradley said...

Centurion,

I was gonna agree, suggesting a discussion about whether American Christianity is better or worse than American atheism, but the site doesn't work for me in that link. Did you get the right link?

Chris Bradley said...

LOL.

I rechecked the posts here and . . . Centurion, uh, the last time I posted on your blog, you modified my posts!

So, no, I shan't be debating you about anything on any blog run by you, as you have not demonstrated understanding of basic concepts of fairness. That would be crazy of me.

Sacred Slut said...

That whole last paragraph makes my eyeballs cross.

In conclusion Christianity is basically a Crap game. I'm putting my life to a God who may or may not exist, yet one side not God has not been proven not to exist so he must exist. For if there is no reproof for the proof provided by our elders then the elders must be right. Like I said before faith is a dice game and I could crap. But crapping is a chance I'll be willing to take for my god.

What can you say to "logic" like that? He is welcome to his crap religion, that's all I can say.

Krystalline Apostate said...

I think this bozo was trying to reach you via "gawd doesn't play dice w/the universe" mode.
The idea that a creator deity who makes it 'fun' by introducing a gambling factor is just...psychotic. Does anyone sane gamble w/their children's welfare?
The point w/the 3rd grader vs. the 12th grader is the comparison of simplicity.
The "no evidence means there IS evidence" is risible.
Dipstick didn't even get your views straight, far as I can tell.
Idiot doesn't even get his/her terminology straight. It's a crap shoot.
Sorry to hear about your blog going ballistic.