Some while back I stumbled across a website. it is exactly the sort of thing I’ve seen before – a rather desperate attempt by somebody who was evidently some sort of Fundie Protestant pastor, to explain/debunk his previous beliefs.
These kind of websites/book etc. amuse me. I can’t help it: I find the entire premise from which they operate to be utterly inane, to the point of outright self-parody.
Below is the list of ten topics which evidently shattered his previous “faith”:
1) The science of Philology first did this when it was learned that texts could be dated based on grammar, vocabulary, and dialect. Lorenzo Valla (c.1406-1457) used it to show the Donation of Constantine decree was a forgery. In this forged decree the Emperor Constantine transferred authority over Rome and the western part of the Roman Empire to the pope. From the science of philology we’ve learned there are many forgeries in the canonized Bible (2nd Isaiah, Pastoral Epistles, II Peter, and so on) and that certain other books in the Bible reveal an evolutionary history. That’s science, baby, kick against the goads all you want to.
2) The next big hit came from Astronomy. The Copernican astronomical revolution as defended later by Galileo showed us that we do not live in a geocentric universe. Never did. The Biblical viewpoint, supposedly coming from a divine mind, did not understand this basic fact. The earth revolves around the sun. And we exist on a spiral arm in one galaxy of billions in the universe. The Catholic church took a big hit on this one and lost credibility in the eyes of scientists.
3) An even bigger hit came from Biology, specifically but not limited to Darwinian evolution. The Catholic Church learned from the debacle in Galileo’s day and came to embrace evolution as a fact. Evangelicals still denounce it, even though it is slowly winning over the best and the brightest among them. But with evolution we no longer need a creator, for there is nothing left to explain by means of the supernatural hypothesis. Completely obliterated is the literal Genesis account of origins, and since that’s the case why should anyone think there is any divine mind behind the writings in the Bible at all? No one should. There is no need of that god-hypothesis, as Pierre-Simon La Place (1749–1827) first informed us.
Everything after this was a forgone conclusion. The Bible was nothing more than a human product. There was no need of looking for a divine mind behind the human authors. If God revealed himself to human beings he did so in ways that are indistinguishable from him not revealing himself at all-
4) Archaeology has debunked many stories in the Bible. Archeologists have discovered several ancient Mesopotamian texts that predate the ones in the Bible and tell similar superstitious stories of the origins of the universe. It has also shown us there was no Exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt.
5) Psychology shows us we are largely products of our environment, that we think illogically many times, that we believe what we prefer to be true, that human beings are not evil so much as ill, largely because of their social environment. Psychology shows us there can be no wrathful God who will punish us forever because of what we believe.
6) Anthropology has shown us from the fact that there are many different cultures around the globe and with it a great deal of religious diversity, that there are many rational ways to understand our place in this world. Human beings get along just fine living in these so-called different universes. As a result many people are embracing multiculturalism. This is contrary to any given located cultural expression of Christianity which equates their Christianity with the absolute standard for cultures as a whole. Such a parochial limited notion is absolute hogwash.
7) Neurology shows us there is an extremely close relationship between our beliefs and neuron firings, which can be drug induced, or even surgically removed. There is therefore no need for the supernatural explanation of the soul.
Now, here’s the thing:
No matter how much evidence these “Former Fundie”-types offer, and no matter HOW persuasive that evidence might be to a RATIONAL or HONEST observer — it will NEVER reach the specific demographic being “targeted” by these sort of websites/books.
Take a look at this:
The godly base their confidence on two truths: 1) “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16); and 2) an elementary rule of Scripture is that God has deliberately included seeming contradictions in His Word to “snare” the proud. He has “hidden” things from the “wise and prudent” and “revealed them to babes” (Luke 10:21), purposely choosing foolish things to confound the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27).
Now, think about that:
The above quote indicates that the individual in question would simply (at best) give a cursory glance in the general direction of the evidence, and then basically say “so what? That’s just a ‘snare for the proud!'”.
In other words (and to put it bluntly): The ones would would benefit from the above-cited evidence are IMPERVIOUS to it — doggedly, unshakably, unwaveringly — and UNTHINKINGLY — impervious to it.
Time for a quote from George Orwell:
“Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity.”
Ultimately, THAT is why I no longer waste time in “debate” of that sort.
The Quixotic task self-imposed on Ex-Fundies is…..rather sad, actually.