The first thing you notice about Dinesh D'Souza is an intellectual swagger that borders on cockiness without crossing over.More like "a cockiness that borders on intellectual swagger without crossing over". Amirite?
But you get the feeling that it actually stems from the knowledge that, at any given moment, he is probably the smartest person in the room.What...does he like, work at a daycare center or something?
Don't get me wrong; he's not arrogant in the least. It's just that he knows, deep down, that he's smarter than you; he's smarter than me; and perhaps most importantly, he's smarter than the New Atheists whom he routinely debates at universities across the nation.Funniest thing I've read all year. And that includes Dinesh's columns.
So masterful is its defense of religion, and of Christianity in particular, that D'Souza has quickly become the world's foremost religious apologist— a C. S. Lewis for the postmodern set.At first I was going to scoff, but comparing him to C.S. Lewis in regards to apologetics is a mighty low bar to set. That being said, D'Souza falls dreadfully short of it still. But it is less outrageous than I originally thought once I saw the word "masterful" in description of anything but D'Souza's ability to simultaneously pull the wool over his own eyes while Gish Galloping himself into position to do the same for everyone else in the room. Maggie then proceeds to ask:
What do you think has caused atheists to move from a desire to be tolerated to a desire to make religion—especially Christianity—disappear?You can almost hear the whining. We don't want you to disappear; we want you to put away the KKK hoods and the Ten Commandments, and call it a day on the theocracy front.
For a number of decades, the atheists had embraced what might be called "the secularization thesis," which maintains that the world is automatically becoming more secular. In other words, they believed that as society becomes more modern, educated, technological, and scientific, it will naturally become less religiousWhat? I am unfamiliar with anyone who holds this thesis. The idea that secularization is increasing, and that we should be secular, that is something I hold. That this is supposedly an inevitability...I am far from optimistic enough to make that assertion.
Interestingly, the world has not met this expectation. As the last century ended, the atheists looked around the world and said, "Wait a minute. The world isn't becoming more secular; it's becoming even more religious."Sigh. What the hell are you talking about? Governments, in general, are becoming more secular, even if more people are becoming religious. So, are you referring to populations or governments? Because it's only the latter that is actually relevant to what you are claiming.
And many people don't realize this, but Christianity is actually the fastest growing religion in the world.Bull. Christianity has only the fifth largest rate of increase over the last 5 years, behind Islam, Baha'i, Sikhism, and Hinduism in order. And it has been behind those religions in percentage rate of increase, along with other religions, for the past 35 years. That being said, it is the largest religion, so its percentage rate of increase has a greater number of net converts. But, that isn't the same thing as "growing the fastest" though, considering that proportionality has a very intriguing effect on the rate that I am sure you would rather not acknowledge without time to rationalize it beforehand.
Oh...so you aren't even smart enough to try to manipulate the statistics. You just want to say that their growth doesn't count because they aren't converting people. Niiiiice.
I thought Islam was the fastest growing.That's actually not true. Islam is indeed growing, but primarily through reproduction. Muslims have big families, which translates into an increase in their numbers. But Christianity is growing both by reproduction and by conversions.
Even the U.S., which is in some respects more modern, affluent, and technological than any other nation in the world, has also remained perhaps the most religious country in the West.And we are the shame of Western society due that fact. Nowhere else is science so scorned, gay marriage such a big f%$&ing deal, and everything from the death penalty, to murder rates, to torture, to warmongering, to....dammit! Those religious leanings are fucking us up hard, is what I am saying.
Now if there's one continent that would seem to confirm the secularization thesis, it is Europe. As Europe advanced, it did become more secular, and atheists have always assumed that the U.S. would go the same way, but it just hasn't happened. Consequently, atheists have realized that they must become more aggressive in promoting their agenda.I am sure that you have much scorn for Europe due to that fact. But, really, you think that we are trying to more or less stamp out religion from the country? We just don't want religion in our government. They are two bad tastes as it is...they go even worse when they are together.
For a long time now, atheists have been accusing religion of being ignorant—of being unscientific and preferring blind faith over critical reason—but that could have been attributed to just harmless error.So, are you insinuating that religion is not unscientific and based in blind faith? Because I would love to hear why your particular flavor of Christianity makes sense, and more so than any other conceivable religion. I am all ears (literally...I've been genetically bitch-slapped).
Religion is not merely irrational; it's also toxic. It sets man against man. It produces carnage. It causes people to fly planes into buildings after reading holy books. Atheists have been able to surf on the wave of 9/11 by generalizing the crimes committed in the name of Islam to crimes committed in the name of God.Please. Even without such attacks it is clear from a psychological, sociological, and historical point of view that this kind of crap happens a lot. Not always on a large scale, mind you, but it does happen, as a natural product of what religion is: a glorified method of group formation that imposes codes for behavior and common identity through shared ideas. Same function for political ideologies, except we are actually fortunate that it is more binary in nature and actually consists of some claims and ideas that can usually be confirmed or denied empirically, which religions may not, and thus are untroubled by things like reality and common sense.
The more sophisticated explanation, which has been advanced not by Dawkins but by others, is that while the claims of religion are false—or, from a scientific point of view, unverifiable—religion itself does perform social functions. For example, it brings people together; it inspires people to do noble projects and to undertake grand ventures, whether it's building pyramids or cathedrals or going off on crusades; it solidifies the community; and it's a mechanism for the transmission of education and ethics to younger people. In this sense, religion survives because it is a social adaptation that confers benefits on the groups that embrace it.Way to make my previous points for me (though only tacitly). "Brings people together"? Ever wonder what happens when you have several different things that "brings people together"? You get clumps of people who are together, but separated from the other clumps! You get groups. Groups of people who disagree with one another adamantly. And "going off on crusades" is just admission that the violence derived from religion during 9/11 is not new, and you even go as far as to call such a thing "noble", further proving my point! And do you seriously think that we wouldn't have architecture without religious beliefs? As for "the transmission of education and ethics to younger people"; that's all well and good, that certainly is beneficial. Of course, when this education is not only on things that are patently ridiculous, or outright wrong, but also involves reasons for being hateful of other groups...it is the wrong kind of beneficial.
Years ago, the suspicion began to arise that Satan was actually Milton's hero. As one critic put it, "Milton is of the devil's party without even knowing it." Look at Satan's reason for rebelling against God. It's not that he doesn't recognize that God is greater than he is. He does. It's just that he doesn't want to play by anybody else's rules. This idea that it is better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven is Satan's motto, and it turns out that this is also the motto of contemporary atheists such as Christopher Hitchens.Well, honestly, Satan is a pretty sympathetic character when it comes down to it, once you see what kind of creature God is. He is the lesser of two evils, and willing to take a stand against the greater evil. But...we will be "reigning in hell"? This is news to me. Do I get a pitchfork?
Hitchens has argued in his debates with me that he is not an atheist at all, but rather an anti-theist. It's not that he doesn't believe in God; it's that he rejects this kind of God who acts in this kind of way and demands this or that of us. This is not scientific atheism; it's more like the atheism of Nietzsche.I can't help but think that this is a distortion on the part of Dinesh (I know...unheard of). "Anti-theist" isn't the proper label for someone who merely thinks that the description of a god offered by Abrahamic faiths is either logically inconsistent, inconsistent with reality, a portrait of a deity that is not worthy of worship due to incompetence/cruelty, or any combination of the three. And one can hold that position on the Christian God and his ilk and still have other reasons for being an atheist in general.
He simply doesn't like this Christian God with all of his commandments, the demand for complete allegiance, and his divine observance and scrutiny.Only when the commandments are arbitrary, and the allegiance is won through intimidation, and divine scrutiny is based on criteria that makes it so that any of us fail without using the arbitrary and inane cheat code he installed.
So Satan's doctrine—I will not serve—is the poetic root of the New Atheists, many of whom claim that they would rather go to hell than heaven.We mostly say that in the context of portraying how ridiculous your conception of those places really is. I mean, seriously, you don't see anything wrong with being able to experience eternal bliss while almost everyone you knew in life is tormented and burned for the rest of existence just because they followed the wrong set of ridiculous religious principles? This isn't just about refusing to serve a tyrannical god, of course. But if you want to pretend that this is an argument instead of a musing, go right on ahead and do that Dineshikins.
Just as parents are not permitted to beat their children, they should not be allowed to brainwash their children into their religious faith. In a sense, argues Dawkins, you are retarding your children's future development by implanting myths into their young heads that they will have a very difficult time getting rid of later.Well this just might warrant a fact check, don't ya think? And, whoa, look at that! Clarification.
I have two thoughts about this. First, I think it represents a little bit of desperation on the part of modern atheism, by which I mean that this apparent willingness to tell parents what they can and cannot do borders on the totalitarian.
Key point: the argument is an effort in consciousness raising, and not actual legislation. What does that mean? Simply this: he doesn't actually want the state to dictate what parents can teach their children, but he wants the people who have heard his musings to think a little bit about the tripe they are shoving down their children's throats.
We often forget that the guy is a biologist, however, who actually doesn't know a whole lot about anything else. His knowledge of history is poor; his knowledge of philosophy is abysmal; and his knowledge of theology is non-existent.Are you paid just to be make ironic statements that completely lack self-awareness like that? Or do you just make those complimentary?
So while in some ways I feel indignant about what he says, I also feel almost a sense of pity for him. The poor fellow is wandering around in intellectual fields where he is such an innocentI think I just peed a little.
Atheists spend a lot of time thinking about the motives for belief. Why do religious people believe these ridiculous things? When you turn the tables on atheists and ask them why they don't believe, they will answer, "Because we don't have enough evidence. We don't believe because there's no proof." But if you think about it, this is an inadequate explanation, because if you truly believe that there is no proof for God, then you're not going to bother with the matter....I don't believe in unicorns, so I just go about my life as if there are no unicorns. You'll notice that I haven't written any books called The End of the Unicorn, Unicorns Are Not Great, or The Unicorn Delusion, and I don't spend my time obsessing about unicorns.This x-treme failure has already been adequately covered elsewhere.
It's not as if the atheist objects to the resurrection or the parting of the sea; rather, it is Christian morality to which atheists object, particularly Christian moral prohibitions in the area of sex. The atheist looks at all of Christianity's "thou shalt nots"—homosexuality is bad; divorce is bad; adultery is bad; premarital sex is bad—and then looks at his own life and says, "If these things are really bad, then I'm a bad guy. But I'm not a bad guy; I'm a great guy. I must thus reinterpret or (preferably) abolish all of these accusatory teachings that are putting me in a bad light."Ahahahahahaha. Nice. As arbitrary as those "moral" prohibitions are, I certainly do not benefit from objecting to them personally, so I am a living testament to how much you talk out your own ass, Dinesh. And, seriously, we may not "object" to the resurrection and parting of the Red Sea, we sure as hell don't believe in them, and they sure are symptomatic of the overall crazy that is your beliefs. You're lucky that that isn't a surefire recipe for making an atheist, because you would only be left with the goddamn Phelps family if everyone who ever divorced, had sex outside of marriage (or in the butt), or thought that the resurrection might just be figurative became atheists.
"How does one do that? One way is liberal Christianity—you simply reinterpret Christian teachings as if they don't really mean what they say."I thought you were the guy who bashed people for not being sophisticated enough if they took the Bible literally. Has your fundification really come that far, D'Souza? Or is every comment you make just a cynical ploy in order to score credibility points from the credulous?
ask where morality comes from. Well, it comes from one of two places. It either comes from ourselves—these are the rules that we make up as we go along—or it comes from some transcendent source. To get rid of God, then, is to remove the shadow of moral judgment. This doesn't mean that you completely eliminate morality, but it does mean that you reduce morality to a tool that human societies construct for their own advantages. It means that morality can change, and that old rules can be set aside.You mean, without using God as an explanatory device, we would have an accurate description of what morality actually is and has been? Heaven forbid!
An atheist could say to a student, "Hey, I can help you become more rational. Don't believe in religion or any of that other stuff that your parents taught you." Well, that might work to some degree, but it would be far more effective to say, "Did you know that the moral rules that your parents taught you are just in your head? I've got a way for you to get rid of those rules."Wow. Just wow. Are we molesting college kids now? Or is Dinesh just trying to expose us to some of his twisted fantasies? On a serious note: if those "moral rules" are just "in your head", why would you need to "get rid" of them? You can change them at whim. Isn't that what gets your panties in a twist, afterall?
Atheism can be a sort of manifesto of moral liberation from rules. And the rules that are most objectionable in our day and age are those that basically say, "Thou shalt conduct thyself with responsibility, chastity, mutual fidelity, and so on."Are you trying to argue half of all Christendom out of existence, or is that just accidental?
The reason some people don't is because many of us live in secular neighborhoods, so we don't see Christianity around us. The truth is, however, that if you go to South America, you will find a huge number of conversions to Protestant Christianity. If you go to Korea, you will find Christian churches with 100,000 members. If you go to China, you will find 100 million Christians. And if you go to Africa, you'll find that countries whose populations were only five percent Christian 100 years ago are now 50 percent Christian.I...I just became very sad...
These trends have not gone unnoticed by historians, who are startled by them and have attempted to explain them away, and they are the empirical basis for my claim that God is doing very well in this world.Argumentum ad populum for the lose. Oh, but wait...Dinesh can't resist getting in some more fail at the last minute.
What's important to understand is that the New Atheism is not a triumphant cry of success, but rather a bitter reaction to the success of religion.Oh, religion may be successful and New Atheism may be a bitter reaction, but don't try to rob those facts of their context. Religion's success in the areas where New Atheism is popular is predominantly to the detriment of society in general. Points which I believe you addressed originally, but dismissed out of hand because it helps us out with group identity and building crap, and because al-Qaeda wasn't Christian. A very clever attempt to try to ignore this, when, as you typically tend to do, you actually brought it to our attention not more than a handful of paragraphs previous.
I cannot believe that people can take this clown seriously.