Friday, January 04, 2008

Raw Anti-Christian Bigotry

From the website of famous atheist Richard Dawkins:

Dawkins reproduces a manifesto from a blog called the Christian OUT.

Some typical excerpts:
We need to realize that we should be reaching out to people with true compassion and sincerity, minus the pious pharisaical cloaks; to both the saved and the lost. We need to reach out in support to our fellow Christians that are new or struggling, to give support and love through their trials, tribulations, and times of growth as a Christian; to be understanding, yet Scriptural, with a kind heart. We need also to reach out to this lost world with the saving gospel of Jesus Christ, remembering to not find it uncommon if by chance the lost person chooses to reject God and the Scriptures, to our dismay. We should not allow their rejection of it to be taken personally, but to be brought to God in prayer for their soul’s need of salvation.

We need to realize that it is necessary for a Christian to personally speak out against sin. We need to speak out against the sin in our own lives and other professing Christians, and also when we are confronted with sin by family, friends, and co-workers. At the same time we are first to examine the beam in our own eye before pointing out the dust in our neighbor’s eye. The dust in another’s eye does not make us more righteous, nor does looking around the beam in our own eye. In contrast, we also need to speak out concerning the truth, morality, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Even when it is uncomfortable, we are to be true to Scripture and obedient to God, therefore calling good “good” and evil “evil.” Remember we are to speak and do that which is right because it is right, out of obedience to God, not for personal prestige, gain, or that we should be puffed up while others are put down, causing our pride to be lifted up causing us to fall into sin.

We needn’t be so timid or worldly that no one knows that we are a child of God, yet we must refrain from the pitfall of legalism whereby we judge the whole world by our personal moral code brow beating and demanding the lost world or fellow Christians to conform to a system that is above even that which Scripture calls for.
How do the commenters respond?

With an outpouring of naked anti-Christian bigotry. Readers can go to the comments section and peruse them.

But a warning: if you are a Christian, you are going to feel like a black guy at a Klan rally.

Of course, one can expect anti-Christian people to frequent richarddawkins.net.

But the comments aren’t that different from opinions expressed in the liberal blogosphere in Wisconsin. Check particularly Hermes’ Journeys and Illusory Tenant.

The secular leftists, of course, are not merely anti-religion. You won’t hear them say much bad about Islam. They simply have a particular grudge against Christians.

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14 Comments:

Blogger JesusIsJustAlrightWithMe said...

No, not really. The "Christian OUT" thing would have to be considered bigoted too under your definition. It's saying, "we're right and you're wrong and we are going to change you." Bigotry or not, it's certainly a loud of bullshit.

"The secular leftists, of course, are not merely anti-religion. You won't hear them say much bad about Islam. They simply have a particular grudge against Christians."

That article is written by Christians. It wouldn't make that much sense for the commentors to talk about Islam there.

1:10 PM  
Blogger JesusIsJustAlrightWithMe said...

Also, it's important to note that "Christian" is not something people ARE, it's something people THINK. (And it's a pretty dumb thing to think IMHO). Criticizing the ideas and tendancies of Christians isn't really any different than criticizing those of liberals, or racists, or SABERmetricians.

1:13 PM  
Blogger PaulNoonan said...

The secular leftists, of course, are not merely anti-religion. You won't hear them say much bad about Islam. They simply have a particular grudge against Christians.

This is probably true of Dawkins, but I think the only thing special about Christianity for most of these high-profile atheist types (Dawkins, Hitchens, Sam Harris, etc.) is that it happens to be the religion that they run into most frequently. They are probably writing what they know.

This is also testable to some extent. In Dawkins latest anti-religious tome, "The God Delusion," the index indicates that Islam plays only a minor role compared to Christianity, which agrees with my memory of reading it.

Sam Harris is a different story. In "The End of Faith" he spends a great deal of time on Islam, as is indicated by the index which devotes roughly the same space to Christianity and Islam.

Hitchens recently produced a collection of atheistic writing throughout history called "The Portable Atheist." The latter 1/3 of the book deals almost exclusively with Islam.

I know that you were focusing mainly on the commenters to the linked post, but taking blog commenters as a representative sample of anything, even "secular leftists" is quite dangerous.

1:24 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Personally I find nothing wrong with that post... but... and this is speaking as a Christian... it does leave that "what does he really mean?" feeling in my gut.

It's one thing to be openly Christian as an individual. That is fantastic. It's another to use that take your Christian norms and write them into law for others to follow.

And that's the fear that many have. That being more outward in your Christianity will lead to pushing for more legislation to enforce Christian morality. And that is the fear the many Christians never seek to alleviate.

1:49 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

"Christian" is not something people ARE, it's something people THINK.

I disagree. You are what you think. And you have a right to be without being demeaned.

Your statement is the sort used by politically correct people to stifle speech directed at blacks or gays (the claim being that people are born gay) while allowing bigoted statements toward Christians, Republicans, etc.

As for the Christian who wrote that statement saying that he's right and others are wrong: that's just another way of saying that people have opinions.

Democrats believe Republicans are wrong. If they constantly demean and deride Republicans they are bigots.

Here, the demeaning and derisive language is from atheists directed at Christians, not from a Christian directed at atheists.

2:41 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

It's another to use that take your Christian norms and write them into law for others to follow.

And that's the fear that many have. That being more outward in your Christianity will lead to pushing for more legislation to enforce Christian morality.


This is essentially an argument that we don't want people to believe anything, since if they do they might try to write their beliefs into law.

I know that you, Nick, are probably pretty consistent about not wanting feminists, environmentalists, socialists, etc. to be able to enforce their morality through law.

I see religious morality as no different, from a Constitutional standpoint, than any of those other forms of morality -- although some of your comments about religion in the public square do suggest to me that you think religion particularly suspect.

Maybe both of us can agree that most of the people who bitch about "writing your moral views into law" are hypocrites, even though a principled libertarianism is possible.

2:49 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

To PaulNoonan:

Thanks for all the good information in your comment.

I don't take blog posters as typical, and I think I admitted that in my post.

I just posted that in the spirit of "this is an example of a very nasty form of bigotry," and observed that it's not terribly uncommon in the Wisconsin leftist blogosphere, while leaving open how common it is among the general population.

My assessment of the latter issue: quite uncommon among all Americans, common (but a minority view) among Democrats, more common (but still a minority view) among Democratic activists.

2:57 PM  
Blogger JesusIsJustAlrightWithMe said...

"I disagree. You are what you think. And you have a right to be without being demeaned."

What I meant is that Christianity is just an idea. There's nothing inherent about it. Nobody is born Christian like they are born black or female or gay. Regardless, you certainly do not have a right to think anything you want without being demeaned. You have a right to ignore the "demeaning" comments, or even respond with some speech of your own. But if you think that we should not criticize dangerous world views in a free marketplace of ideas then you should consider moving to a different country.

"Here, the demeaning and derisive language is from atheists directed at Christians, not from a Christian directed at atheists."

It's coming from both. Or neither. That article says crap like this:

“We need to realize that we should be reaching out to people with true compassion and sincerity, minus the pious pharisaical cloaks; to both the saved and the lost.”

The lost? You really think I like being referred to as “lost”? That's not demeaning? This whole diatribe is full of crap like that. I have a very clear idea as to how life should be lived - certainly clearer than that of anyone that babytalks to a sky wizard. Calling me and other nonbelievers "lost" is insulting and annoying.

I didn’t read all of the comments, but I couldn’t find any that are objectively more bigoted in spirit than the article they are commenting on. Perhaps you could identify a few?

3:03 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

"you certainly do not have a right to think anything you want without being demeaned."

You don't have a legal right not to be "demeaned." That is to say, people should be able to demean you without government locking them up.

But let me guess: you actually like "hate speech" laws so long as they protect politically correct groups like blacks, women and homosexuals, don't you?

But people who demean others over a difference of opinion can be criticized. That was the point of my post.

I think nasty racist speech coming from a Klansman is protected by the First Amendment, but I'm happy to call Klansmen bigots.

As for you being "lost:" that's not inherently demeaning. It's just a way of saying you have chosen the wrong path. It's no worse than a liberal lamenting that a fellow they like has joined the military.

In fact, it's probably a lot less demeaning than the typical liberal talking about people who buy SUVs.

I have a very clear idea as to how life should be lived - certainly clearer than that of anyone that babytalks to a sky wizard.

See? You remind me of the feminists who insist they don't hate men. But then they go on a rant about how men are evil.

Christians like me can disagree with how you live your life, just as you can disagree with how people in the military live their lives. It doesn't have to degenerate into nasty invective.

3:35 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

"This is essentially an argument that we don't want people to believe anything, since if they do they might try to write their beliefs into law."

Not true at all... it's about minding your own freaking business. Your desire not to do something to your temple (as is described in the referenced post) should have nothing to do with my desire not to abuse my temple as I choose.

Your beliefs can be yours as much as you want. Just keep them as YOURS. Don't make them mine.

"Maybe both of us can agree that most of the people who bitch about "writing your moral views into law" are hypocrites, even though a principled libertarianism is possible."

Couldn't agree more. Most people are hypocrites. Being a libertarian is damn too. Adjusting to the idea that lifestyle and personal choices that I make for myself may not fit everyone, and that this is ok, is a hard pill to swallow. But if you don't want others to force you to swallow their pill, then its a necessary one.

4:05 PM  
Blogger JesusIsJustAlrightWithMe said...

"But let me guess: you actually like "hate speech" laws so long as they protect politically correct groups like blacks, women and homosexuals, don't you?"

Of course not. What did I say here that could possibly make you think such a thing? Hate speech laws are pointless and dangerous. Always.

"I think nasty racist speech coming from a Klansman is protected by the First Amendment, but I'm happy to call Klansmen bigots."

As am I. Klansmen, Christians, whoever.

"It's just a way of saying you have chosen the wrong path."

The wrong path? Listen to yourself. You don't think that's demeaning? At least as demeaning as anything said in the responding comments.

"See? You remind me of the feminists who insist they don't hate men. But then they go on a rant about how men are evil."

I rant about how evil religion is (although I rarely use such simplistic terms as "evil") but you will never hear me insist that I don't hate religion. I DO hate religion (but I do not hate religious people).

"Christians like me can disagree with how you live your life, just as you can disagree with how people in the military live their lives."

I'm not sure why you picked that example, but I'd just like to add that I most certainly don't disagree with how people in the military live their lives.

"It doesn't have to degenerate into nasty invective."

One man's nasty invective is another man's accusation that one has "chosen the wrong path." I find condescending cliches from religious jerks to be nastier than anything I read in the comments to that post. btw, you still haven't identified which of those comments you consider "raw anti-Christian bigotry."

4:38 PM  
Blogger illusory tenant said...

Oy vey, such laughable histrionics and hyperbole. I challenge you to cite an instance of "raw anti-Christian bigotry" on my blog.

Anybody who's read it knows that I'm a non-subscriber to superstition and fairy tales, which I've characterized as exactly that. Big deal. That's hardly "bigotry," raw or cooked.

Additionally, any intelligent observer -- like, for example, a university professor -- will notice that my criticisms are directed at those who use religion for political, financial, or other material ends.

I've also criticized those who hide their religion for political purposes, e.g., the latest incarnation of creationists.

I probably have more respect for the admonitions attributed to Jesus than most so-called Christians, certainly those hypocrites one encounters in the press and online on a nearly daily basis.

If I recall correctly, Jesus wasn't a real big fan of hypocrites either. So, think of me as doing the Lord's Work.

6:21 PM  
Blogger PaulNoonan said...

I won't fight Mr. Isjustalrightwithme's battle for him, but I've talked with him enough to know that he is vehemently against hate speech laws.

6:50 PM  
Blogger illusory tenant said...

I challenge you to cite an instance of "raw anti-Christian bigotry" on my blog. 1/4/08

So ... how's the challenge going, Professor?

12:50 AM  

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