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Christianity or Islam from atheistcartoons.com


This is the thing that always gets me about religious apologetics. The speaker -- especially Christians in my experience, but I've seen it from Muslims and Buddhists as well, and I have no reason to think anybody else is any different -- takes the plausibility of their own mystical, mythical, supernatural tradition for granted. As though the question of whether a divinity exists rests just on the plausibility of the stories in the Bible or Koran, or on the historicity of a particular prophet or guru.
 
So if atheism really turns you off, I'd ask you to do a thought experiment. Ponder the people who believed in Thor and Odin and Frejya, or in Apollo, Demeter, and Athena...don't worry so much about the gods, think about the people who prayed and sacrificed to these gods for the sake of a safe childbirth, for the hope that their sons would return from the war, for the hope that rain would feed the crops, for the strength and courage and wisdom needed to carry out their domestic and public duties. Imagine that you're one of them and that you take your devotion to those gods just as seriously as you might now entertain the reality of Yahweh, Christ, or Allah. (Imagine further that your choice of god doesn't depend on which religion happens to field the biggest army.)
 
How can you be fair to those people? What does it mean to treat their inner lives with as much respect as you expect for your own? Are you capable of distinguishing the preferences that stem from habit, culture, and upbringing from actual evidence for your beliefs and theirs?
 
It's worth thinking about.

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smackshack: a crude digital self-portrait (Default)
smackshack

June 2012

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