Letter From A Christian Citizen by Douglas Wilson

 
 
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Dave H.
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11 April 2007 07:55
 

Should I point them out?  Or is that a fallacy?

 
 
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MDBeach
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11 April 2007 07:58
 

I’ll make it easier and remove myself from this conversation.  Sorry to get involved in the off topic discussion. 

I only really wanted to add that Wilson’s opinion should be taken with a grain of salt.  He has an obvious agenda and has purposefully slanted his arguments in that regards.  He is nothing special.  I assume he has put forth his own arguments as best he can, but if you are unsure about how you feel about faith, you aren’t going to find it anywhere except yourself.

 
 
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waltercat
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11 April 2007 08:08
 
[quote author=“Dave H.”]Should I point them out?  Or is that a fallacy?

I don’t understand why you have decided to become so contrary.  I think my point has been pretty clear.  You offer good advice: don’t disrespect the intellect of your interlocuters.  I only wanted to point out that you were ignoring the jist of Mia’s post because you became indignant at what you took to be an affront to your intellect.  I agree that Mia was indignant, but she was making some good points.  Her arguments do not become invalid just because she also was indignant and perhaps dismissive of the intellect of Christians.

So, again, your advice is well-taken.  I hope you will take my advice and give up contrariness for contrariness’ sake.

 
 
 
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eucaryote
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11 April 2007 08:56
 

This is ridiculous.

Ad hominem means arguments that either appeal to or arise from emotion and not logic OR it means relating to a particular person. It’s not the same as name calling or as a personal attack on a particular person the content of which is totally unrelated to the discussion or conversation.

I don’t think Mia really cares about changing anyone’s opinon or about having a “rational” debate with a christian. Because of their “beliefs” it is simply not possible to have a rational debate with a christian, at least not about religion. As Sam points out, it’s a conversation stopper.

As usual, the comments she made, including her characterizations of christians are right on and insightful. The fact that she thinks that christians have a few screws loose for believing sillly things for which they have no evidence is part of the debate. There is really not much else on which a sane person might comment.

She’s not slamming anyone personally, the truth she spoke just touched a nerve in DaveH just as Sam touched a nerve in the character who wrote this book. We have to expect that hit dogs will howl. Dave is just feeling self concious for believing in silly things and he’s blaming Mia for indentifying it. He is just distracting himself and us from the truth with this ad hominem argument accusation. The truth that Dave is trying to deny is that christians have a few screws loose. More than a few.

No one wants to discuss whether the bible is the inerrant word of god. There is no coherent conversation one can have about it. As Salt Creek reminds us, there is an infinite amount of crap one can know and argue about something made up.

 
 
 
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Dave H.
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11 April 2007 09:13
 

Agenda? IF that can be said of Wilson, then the same can be said of Sam Harris. If you’re attacked, shouldn’t you have the opportunity to respond without people accusing you of having an agenda?

 
 
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MDBeach
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11 April 2007 09:20
 

Absolutely.  I guess it would also be fair to point out that Sam Harris specifically states he has no plan of action.  He is just presenting ideas.  He has no agenda, other than alerting people to topics they would not otherwise consider. 

I am not attacking you Dave.  I am trying to stop a disagreement about nothing before it ruins this entire thread.  I have said my piece about Wilson.  I have nothing to add.  Feel free to challenge me on any other topic you would like.  I consistently hold opinions that are not following majority.  I was only trying to help you in this instance.

 
 
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Dave H.
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11 April 2007 09:27
 

Because of their “beliefs” it is simply not possible to have a rational debate with a christian

Oh please, say something more substantive than this.  This is the most generalized, undefended, unrational thing I’ve read here yet.  I could just as easily make the same generalization of you.  Talk about a conversation stopper.

 
 
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Joad
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11 April 2007 09:53
 

Because of their “beliefs” it is simply not possible to have a rational debate with a christian

That is not just some unwarranted attack on Christians.

“Because of their “beliefs” it is simply not possible to have a rational debate with a REPUBLICAN”...is also true

That is why we call them ‘beliefs’...they are immune to rationality.

Belief is a chosen position, not a rational destination.

 
 
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Dave H.
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11 April 2007 10:05
 

Nice try but no dice.  You are just asserting something and providing no foundation for it.  I could just as easily insert Democrat or Atheist in that same slot and it would be equally as true.

Belief is a chosen position, not a rational destination.

Do you believe your mother gave birth to you? Is that reasonable? Why?

 
 
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eucaryote
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11 April 2007 10:18
 

[quote author=“Dave H.”]

Because of their “beliefs” it is simply not possible to have a rational debate with a christian

Oh please, say something more substantive than this.  This is the most generalized, undefended, unrational thing I’ve read here yet.  I could just as easily make the same generalization of you.  Talk about a conversation stopper.

Dave,

Belief is something that is entirelly non-rational and unnecessary. I am willing to talk about what you think, what you percieve, what you surmise, what you consider, what you experience and most especially, what you know. Belief is something that requires or relates to none of the above.


If you want to believe in things that you cannot demonstrate and have no evidence of, have at it. Just don’t expect to have a rational conversation with anyone about it, unless you want it to be a clinical discussion. I think that it’s important to mental health and intellectual maturity to be able to shed belief in favor of knowledge.

 
 
austinstorm
 
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austinstorm
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11 April 2007 11:28
 

[quote author=“eucaryote”]Cool Doug! About your book, my dad always said that “a hit dog always howls”.

Has Sam struck a few nerves?! LOL

I’m looking forward to hearing your arguments. Hopefully you’ll do better than poor Andrew Sullivan did.

On his blog, Doug Wilson gives a brief explanation for why he wrote the book. I hope you don’t mind me copying it in full, but it explains things well:

[quote author=“Douglas Wilson”]...let me make just a few comments about why I think this published response is important for us as Christians. A number of observers have taken note of the rise of a militant, take-no-prisoners atheism in recent years. In bygone days, atheists would patronize believers, patting us on our silly heads, but more recently the tone has gotten pretty belligerent. Not only is this the case, but the market for this kind of militancy appears to be robust. Harris’ book has sold in the millions. Richard Dawkins has published The God Delusion, and his book together with Letter to a Christian Nation occupied the first two slots in religious publishing for the month of March. In just a few weeks Christopher Hitchens will have a book coming out entitled God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. My plan is to review Hitchens’ book, chapter by chapter, just as I have done with Harris and Dawkins. It seems apparent to me that Christians have to respond in a way that is no less vigorous than the challenge that has been mounted. We don’t want our response to be shrill, but we do want our response to be classified among the vertebrates.

And so, I am not writing this as a book-monger, or as an author interested in self-promotion. The point is not sales, or notoriety. The point is to meet the challenge. When David was distressed at the taunts Goliath was able to deliver to the armies of Israel, and David wanted to do something about it, his older brother accused him of showboating (1 Sam. 17:28). But that was not the issue. The point is to meet the challenge.

 
 
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eucaryote
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11 April 2007 11:49
 

[quote author=“austinstorm”]

On his blog, Doug Wilson gives a brief explanation for why he wrote the book. I hope you don’t mind me copying it in full, but it explains things well:

[quote author=“Douglas Wilson”]A number of observers have taken note of the rise of a militant, take-no-prisoners atheism in recent years. In bygone days, atheists would patronize believers, patting us on our silly heads, but more recently the tone has gotten pretty belligerent.

Doug doesn’t get it. Atheism is not a contrary belief system. It’s not a belief system of any kind. It’s just a recognition of reality. As Sam points out, we don’t have a word to describe people who fail to believe in astrology or any number of other things.
Doug is at war with the inevitable. His god is leaving us (hopefully) to disappear into mythology, where all gods go to die. I’m sure that to read his book will be to see yet another believer caught in the throes of cognitive dissonance.

 
 
 
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Joad
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11 April 2007 13:35
 

DH,

Do you believe your mother gave birth to you? Is that reasonable? Why?

No, I do not believe my Mother gave birth to me. I KNOW she did. It is the way children arrive in this world.

In order to believe something, there has to be some contradictory possibility.

 
 
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eucaryote
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11 April 2007 14:01
 

[quote author=“Joad”]DH,

Do you believe your mother gave birth to you? Is that reasonable? Why?

No, I do not believe my Mother gave birth to me. I KNOW she did. It is the way children arrive in this world.

In order to believe something, there has to be some contradictory possibility.

Right Joad,

Not only that but it really doesn’t matter what you believe or know or even think you know. Because we can prove who you mother is and even though you may claim divine origin, we know you had one.  :wink:

 
 
 
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SkepticX
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12 April 2007 01:27
 

[quote author=“Joad”]That is why we call them ‘beliefs’...they are immune to rationality.

Belief is a chosen position, not a rational destination.


This is why I don’t like the term “belief.” It’s a fudge term—just tends to confuse things.

Genuine belief is involuntary—the result of evidence and reason founded on sound epistemology truly overwhelming healthy doubt, and it’s at least in theory, tentative, open to revision based upon further sound evidence and reasoning. Most of the time, however (at least regarding religion), “belief” is used in place of presumption or pretense. Believers in the religious sense are really “presumers” or “pretenders.” If you really believe something you don’t need to go to a narcissistic weekly ego-stroking affirmation session to maintain it.

Byron