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Five ways to lose the argument with atheists

Next time you find yourself sucked into a debate with secularists be careful not to make these five classic mistakes, says Peter D Williams

By on Thursday, 17 May 2012

Don’t stop to think what Pope Benedict might say if he were in your position (Photo: PA)

Don’t stop to think what Pope Benedict might say if he were in your position (Photo: PA)

It is not an uncommon situation. You are reading an interesting article online about some matter of recent religious controversy, but upon reaching the end of the piece you meet the comments area, and try to resist the temptation to scroll further down the page. How many times have you perused such sections before finding yourself infuriated by the base anti-Catholic bigotry you find there?

Still worse, how often have you found your time irretrievably wasted, as you are sucked into futile disputation with secularist trolls who, in the famous words of Churchill, “can’t change their minds, and won’t change the subject”? Like glancing at a car-crash, however, the curiosity can be too great to resist, and you begin to read on…

This experience is hardly atypical for the average Catholic reading online, but it has even become unsurprising to experience similar situations when having a drink in the pub, or while at an otherwise genteel dinner party. Where we are called to defend and expound our Faith in these situations however, we must do so in a constructive way that raises the standard and tone of discussion.
It is regrettable, then, that experience shows us how often Catholics fail to do this effectively. As an illustrative remedy for some of the more common mistakes in this endeavour, here are five brief tips on how not to argue with atheists.

1) Cynically assume the worst in people. Before speaking, or touching that keyboard, imagine your opponent to be an irredeemable ogre, whatever they may have said. Don’t charitably assume they are simply misinformed, or look for the good motivations they may have in arguing as they do. At a false accusation of “homophobia”, don’t try to understand the positive impetus behind this error (genuine concern about abuse and hatred), and refrain from showing how the Church teaches compassion and care for those who experience same-sex attraction – you may help to defuse anger rather than fuel it!

2) Argue as a means of venting emotion. When someone says or writes something shocking or offensive to Catholic piety, our natural reaction is to get angry. Indulge that. Try to forget any Christian goal of defending or expounding the Faith. That will only get in the way of fun. Instead, be determined to show how stupid your opponent is, and punish their ignorance and prejudice with counter-abuse. To be scrupulously gentle and reverent at all times is just far too hard. Of course it could be that, even if someone does not remember your arguments, they may remember what a model of virtue and decency you were in arguing, which might be a good witness that may help them later on – but such considerations should not get in the way of a good bout of rock throwing.

3) Don’t call out bad behaviour, mirror it! If someone is unnecessarily rude or vulgar, feel justified in returning like with like. That “turn the other cheek” stuff is far too high a standard. Simply pointing out your interlocutor’s unkindness (and how it hinders discussion) would be too laborious. And sticking to the substantive arguments that have been produced? What are you,
a robot? Think of our Lord’s response to the liars who accused Him, and the guard who hit Him, in front of the Sanhedrin. What was His answer to calumny and abuse? Well, we all know how that worked out.

It might be that following His example would accentuate the irrational meanness of the person you are engaging with (to themselves and anyone around watching your discourse) and even shame them into changing their behaviour. Don’t worry about all that, though.

4) Adopt the martyr complex. Few things are as convincing as arguing with someone who thinks your ideas will lead inexorably to a new totalitarian regime, or who believe themselves to be “persecuted”. Does this come across as hysterical, and make that person look silly? Of course not. So don’t forget to break out the comparisons with Hitler or Stalin, and be sure to moan about how hard done by Christians are (especially with comparison to Muslims). This is bound to win you lots of sympathy, and isn’t at all clichéd. Not even a bit. No.

5) For heaven’s sake, don’t Pray. Surely an obvious point. Praying before you interact with people, and asking God to give you the words He would have you say, and the sharp but loving mindset He would have you adopt, is just a massive spoiler. So, indeed, is praying for your opponent, that their minds and hearts might be opened, and that your conversation with them might be helpful. Prayer is lethal to good squabbling – so cut it out!

In reality, tailoring our words and our tone to the highest common denominator of human sentiment may not convince the people with whom we are immediately interacting, but may at least begin to win the hearts and minds of any bystanders who are watching. Focusing on how we can best practise the spiritual works of mercy (especially instructing the uninformed, counselling the doubtful, and bearing wrongs patiently) in our arguments with atheists will help us minister to our opponents in the most effective way. In doing so, and in witnessing to the truth of our Faith, humbly, gently and respectfully, we may truly witness to the virtue, as well as the rationality, of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Peter D Williams is a Catholic apologist and speaker for Catholic Voices

  • JByrne24

    Well, like-minded people possibly agree more with like-minded people!

  • JByrne24

    I do agree that interpreting Jesus’ teaching doesn’t mean what you say it doesn’t mean – but I didn’t say that it did.

    But it doesn’t follow that conservative traditionalists are always right. I don’t think either that they are always wrong – although I believe they usually are.

  • Macsfieldimages

    What a load of BS!! The church clearly understands and teaches that the relic itself has no curative value, but the Grace which follows it, imparted by God, certainly has value.

  • Macsfieldimages

    Atheists are the best possible proof of a God, because one can not oppose that, which does not exist. They claim that we can not see, smell or touch God, therefore there is no God. I can not see, smell or touch an atheists brain – therefore, there are no atheists. What is clearly evident though is that they do have their special day marked in the calendar - April Fools day, because as the Bible clearly states, “Only a fool would not believe there is  God”.

  • Philip Gray

       I don’t oppose non-existent gods.  I oppose the belief in non-existence gods.  
     There’s a difference.

  • Philip Gray

     Science and religion are two separate disciplines, with the former relying on actual knowledge that is demonstrable and independently verifiable. 

  • Steven Dillon

    The only argument that purports to establish the existence of god as a logical necessity is the ontological argument. It’s incoherent to deny a logically necessary proposition. Thus, it’s incoherent to deny the law of non-contradiction. It’s not incoherent to suggest god doesn’t exist.

  • Joe Wetterling

     Belief in the incarnation, resurrection, or Real Presence is not simple – you’re right. Those beliefs are not contrary to reason (not impossible, strictly speaking), but they are beyond our otherwise usual experience. They are singular.

    I believe them because I believe the Church. I believe the historical record – what has always been believed and why (what evidence they had, back then).

    There’s a parallel, though, between these and the belief in the 18th of May. I cannot “see” or touch the 18th of May. I believe today is the 18th of May because of the documentation (my calendar) that tells me so and the authorities that established the naming system.

    If I decide that, for me, its not the 18th of May. Its the 48th of April – since I don’t like May very much.  Well, I can say that all I want, and I might even get other people to jump on board (the mayovacantists?).  Nonetheless, today remains today. There is an objective reality that is either true or not, regardless of what I call it or whether I choose to believe.

    I agree that there are differences in the meaning of “belief” in those two contexts; but there’s a little interesting overlap, at the least.

  • Philip Gray

      Determinism leaves no room for miracles. 
      Non-determinism leaves no room for planned outcome.
     So, enjoy your life.

  • Philip Gray

      Can you explain this mystical violence perpetuated against the boundary separating the supernatural world from the natural world and which side seems to be winning the war? 

  • Philip Gray

      Why in the world would anyone want to live in a reality directed by miracles?  
     Such a world would be immune from any understanding or planning.   A miracle could always show understanding incorrect and ruin planning.  
     With a god, we would lack reason to create our own meanings.

  • Jorge Morais

    By “traditionalist”, do you mean those guys who reject religious freedom and attack the ordinary Mass as “Invalid”? I am not one of those.

    I am merely a faithful Catholic, meaning that I try to follow Catholic teaching – that is, the Holy Scriptures, the Holy Tradition and the Magisterium.

    If you think that there is a serious conflict between those who refuse Vatican II (and religious freedom) against those who follow it, then you have been seriously duped. The pro-religious-freedom side has already won. This conflict is just a distraction – a rallying cry of the modernists who dissent from the Holy See in the guise of “protecting Vatican II”.

    And I am justified in accusing the modernists of abusing the Bible as merely a sophismatic justification for their pre-conceived leftist ideology. The modernists follow political ideologies, while the faithful follow Christ.

    Take John Paul the Great for example. He was a radical Christian. He fearlessly defended the unborn, family values, the priesthood, and freedom. All politically incorrect ideas. Yet he cannot be said to to be a Republican, because he also criticized the Iraq War (for example). He answered to God, not to a political party. Because of this, he was severely criticized, specially by traitors inside the Catholic Church – such as Hans Kung. Just like Jesus predicted.

    Now take the LCWR. They are consistently leftist. They dare not expose politically incorrect ideas. Antonio Gramsci is their God and Herbert Marcuse is their prophet. For their political correctness, they are loved by the world.

    Yet Scripture says: “But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, not hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth.”

  • Jorge Morais

     First, your logic is a false dichotomy.
    Second, I wouldn’t enjoy life if I believed in the atheist materialist conception of history. For then life would have no meaning.

  • Jorge Morais

     Do you not see your logic as a textbook example of false dichotomy?

  • Jorge Morais

    “which side seems to be winning the war ”

    Oh, I see. You are one of those that support whatever is “the idea of the Future”. When you confront people with opposing views, you accuse them of being “in the wrong side of History”.

    I prefer to defend what is right, instead of cheerleading for whatever seems to be winning.

  • Honeybadger

    An atheist on a Roman Catholic forum… rather like someone perving through the hole in the neighbour’s fence!
     
     
     
     

  • Skeptic

    yes there is no good reason to criticise the catholic church therefore those that do are hate filled ogres making up falsehoods. the best way to combat it is to be as unlike the teachings of jesus as is possible

  • Skeptic

     not surprisingly you fail at logic. there is clear evidence that a person has a brain; he just has to act in ways typical of humans. there is zero observable evidence of the existence of god. your comparison is an apples and oranges one

  • Jorge Morais

     There is reason to criticize some actions taken by Catholics, such as the loss of liberty in medieval European theocracies. The problem is that anti-Catholic bigots forget that Protestants did it too and that, when compared with atheist genocidal totalitarian tyrannies such as the Soviet Union, the PRC, Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia and others, then those Catholic theocracies look like America.

    Anti-Catholic bigots also forget to mention the immense goods that the Church brought.

    By the way, sarcasm is the mark of those who have no arguments.

  • Parasum

    “The problem is that anti-Catholic bigots forget that Protestants did it too…”

    ## Depends what “it” is. “X is no better than us” is a *v.* bad argument.

  • Jorge Morais

    ?
    Can you please rephrase that?

  • Parasum

    “Rather, we should be pointing out that there is a great deal of
    scientific evidence for the existence of a designer/creator in such
    diverse fields as cosmology, neuroscience, genetics and information
    theory.”

    ## That is one argument that IMO is utterly loathsome. There *cannot* be scientific evidence  for the existence of a wholly *super*-natural Being. This is why there is no need to clean up Washington after Godzilla trashed it in 1998. The Roland Emmerich film was a real film, but the content was a fiction: Godzilla, being a fictional monster, could not trash a really-existing city, or do it the tiniest harm. Godzilla’s reality is real within the boundaries of the fiction about him – but NY’s reality is of a totally unrelated kind, because such a city does actually exist.  The two realities can’t meet, because there is nothing to relate them. We can think of both – that makes our thinking of them the bond that unites them: but they cannot meet or communicate in any other way. So, Washington is forever safe from Godzilla (but not from Roland Emmerich).

    Science cannot meet or communicate with God either – for a similar reason. Nothing created can meet God – not unless God takes the initiative. His douing so is always a free act of grace – never something got from Him by any created being. He can’t be compelled, because God is not man. God has to be the Way to God – nothing we do can be.

    This alleged “scientific evidence for the existence of a designer/creator” means, not that God is “Really Real”, but that the idea that ther could be a god has something to be said for. It not show that there is only one god, or that God is Good, or Eternal, or Infinite; It does not show that the Bible is worth anything more than as discarded shopping-lis, or that God is Tri-Une.  This “evidence” may point  to the notion that X is the case – it cannot show that this X is is a real being & not a mere notion.  This is the same blunder as confusing a record of a scan of the brain with the thougts in our intellects. All a scan can record is the activity of the body-part – not the content or actions of the human soul, which a spirit. This is as daft as  weighing a relic, then subtracting the weight of the object to find out how heavy the grace in it is, would be. It’s as naive as testing the efficacy of intercessory prayer by using statistical means:

    http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1849/have-studies-proven-that-prayer-can-help-heal-the-sick

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0021968165900408

    http://www.examiner.com/article/scientific-studies-on-the-effectiveness-of-intercessory-prayer

    If God could be shown to exist, He would not be worth believing in. If God is so pathetically teeny-weeny tiny as to be within the scope of the created mind to contain, he is no more of a god than an old sock woul be. At least an old sock can be worn – but so tiny a God is completely unworthy of anything so valuable as human attention.  Happily for us, He is “not a tame lion”.   

  • Parasum

    Relics are Christological – they are souvenirs of His working through creatures.

    As for miracles, they produce real effects in the natural order  by not being reducible to it – they are not possible within it, because they are super-natural, Divine in origin. It is cuckoo to try to prove the reality of a power within natute that is “from beyond” nature, by ignoring the God Who is Alone Super-natural, & staying within the field of natuiral causes. Within nature, of which we are a part, yet transcending it also, the super-natural is “impossible”. So miracles are “impossible”. That is what makes them miracles – they “can’t” happen, yet they do :)

  • Willeman

     Try to spot an example of one small jab that atheists cannot omit: “richard dawkins is an idiot.” What’s wrong with that sentence? First, it’s the fact that I refuse to spell dawkins’ name with capital letters, even though he may have revealed himself as a person who has his name spelled with initial caps. Second, it’s the disrespect toward a text that is sacred to atheists. Oops, let’s just say, very important to them. Of the billions of people on earth, the *overwhelming* majority have some sacred text. To disrespect someone sacred text is just plain malicious. Don’t do it. It’s plain bad manners. This Christian is simply tired of mean-spirited atheists.

  • willeman

     You miss the point. The point is that we’re not here to argue points or win debates or change anyone’s minds. We’re Christians trying to enjoy a Christian blog, and you’re gate crashing. You’re like straight guy in a gay bar, trying to convince the other guests that they’re wrong.  Why in the world don’t you frequent an atheist blog and exchange ideas there? I’ve written a Christian book, and atheists come and troll my Amazon site. Why?? Did I ask any atheist to even read my book? No! Do I go to atheist websites and mock the stupidity of dawkins and his ilk? No!

  • JabbaPapa

    In my own experience :

    First, it is very important to understand the difference between atheists and atheists.

    Some atheists are perfectly happy to engage in calm and courteous discussion, in a respectful manner — and also happy to accept that when unresolvable difficulties appear in any discussion, that it’s perfectly OK to agree to disagree. These people are a RARITY in my experience on most online discussion forums.

    The more commonly encountered atheist is the militant in-your-face Dawkins-inspired so-called NuAtheist — who has been literally *encouraged* to pour their scorn upon religious people, and Catholics especially ; whose fanaticism to their atheist creeds are as dogmatically entrenched as those of any religious zealot ; is usually unable to even *try* and think outside of the box of their belief system ; and is, especially, not even looking for a meaningful discussion in the first place, but whose main purpose is to engage in both atheist evangelising and the laying down of atheist doctrines and to attack people who profess their religious beliefs in their presence as violently as they can.

    Then, there are the atheist trolls who are all of the above — PLUS the desire to start great big arguments for their personal pleasure.

    As such, here are my comments on the “five ways” :

    —————–

    1) Cynically assume the worst in people

    I’d agree that the “cynically” part of this is something to avoid at all costs — however, when someone has repeatedly stated positions and opinions that are absolutely ghastly, and has supported those positions positively and for even more awful “reasons”, then you’re no longer “assuming” the worst : you’re facing it.

    The best advice at this point is, pure and simple : run away !!

    If you don’t have the strength to face this sort of evil, then let others handle it in your place. The Christ does NOT require Catholics to sit down and have friendly, polite conversation with the servants of Satan — shake the dust from your feet, and take your conversation elsewhere.

    However it is indeed vitally important to realise that included in the masses of the more destructively minded online atheists, there are actually some very reasonable people, either atheists or agnostics, so that it is wrongful to assume the worst of every apparent atheist before you have even got to know them.

    2) Argue as a means of venting emotion — excellent point !!!

    Emotion can be the cause of an argument against some online statement or other, but it should NEVER be a means nor a purpose.

    OH !! Except the emotion of LOVE, of course : honest, Christian, Love. :-)

    3) Don’t call out bad behaviour, mirror it!

    I’d almost completely agree with this generally good point — but there are actually some people out there who are constitutionally incapable of understanding things unless they are presented to them in an aggressively unpleasant manner. (!!) They are quite unusual, but these people can only be convinced by an all-out destructive assault upon their positions. Attempts to convince them on this basis that their positions might be inaccurate usually fail — but NOT always.

    But that’s very tiresome work, with very little reward — Peter Williams’ sarcastically-presented advice is more generally useful.

    4) Adopt the martyr complex

    Yes — avoid at all costs !!!

    5) For heaven’s sake, don’t Pray

    Prayer is in my experience an extremely useful tool when one is bewildered in the face of some weird and arcane argument, not seeming to be based in reality, concocted by an atheist, and that one can make neither head nor tail of. Usually involving a *deep* misunderstanding of religion and Catholicism.

    It is very useful to take a moment to meditate on the Christian Truth that has been mangled — or you’ll risk addressing the misunderstanding instead, thereby providing it with a kind of (false) legitimacy, because you will have agreed to argue the points raised on the basis of that fallacy.

    Present your argument on the basis of the Truth – not on the basis of whichever false agenda the atheists try and impose upon you.

  • JabbaPapa

    Troll.

    Open your own ears before accusing others of having closed theirs !!!

  • JabbaPapa

    If you don’t realise that that scary has accurately described the main purpose of the majority of them, then you’ve understood very little about online atheists.

    Your understanding of their actions may be skewed by the fact that you agree with their positions in the first place, and mistake their ideologically-motivated attacks for “reason”.

  • JabbaPapa

    The NuAtheists do exactly as you suggest, well said !! — but not the rarer sort of atheist who might be happy to engage in polite, respectful conversation instead of mud-slinging and muck-raking.

  • TreenonPoet

     I would like to think that Catholics who realised what damage religion is doing to the world, or to individuals and groups of people, would no longer be Catholics, so I guess that it is unlikely that anyone who remains a Catholic appreciates why anyone would challenge them. Such is the nature of religious faith that it is seen as a virtue to resist challenges (just as scary goat reveals in the “stand my ground” remark). That attitude encourages the dismissal of arguments out of hand, resulting in assertions such as “Their whole point is just to argue“.

  • JabbaPapa

    You’re illogically deriving a general statement from an observation concerning a minority of individuals — MOST atheists do NOT in fact go round trolling Catholic online discussions.

    Abuses of religion do damage to the world, but the religions themselves, at least not the mainstream non-extremist ones, are no more harmful than any other sect of philosophy, including atheism. But the abuses of radically extremist atheism have clearly done damage to the world as well — during the Terror in France, under Nazi Germany, Stalin, Maoist China, etc.

    The damage comes from the abuses and misuses of these things. As a more general statement.

    Being a general statement, this time you will find that exceptions to it are liable to exist in abundance.

    You are dragging things down to a level of rationality that I find to be overly simplistic.

    I only dismiss arguments out of hand when they appear to contain no sense of critical or analytical skill or methodology or knowledge whatsoever — but you will notice from the length of my response to you that I have not dismissed your own argument out of hand.

  • Alex

    Except that there exists a word ‘god,’ meaning some generic god, not the Christian god commonly called ‘God.’ Atheists usually use the lowercase to mean your god is just one among an infinite number of possible gods. I use the lowercase, not out of disrespect, but because all possible gods are the same to me. “Doesn’t your god say X?”
    It’s like building a new make of car and calling it Car so no one else can coherently use that word again. Kind of presumptious, really.
    And for the record, good luck trying to insult nonbelievers by attacking ‘sacred’ texts. I don’t even understand how those words apply to me.

  • Seebert42

    The point is not to convert anybody. The point is to let no challenge go unanswered to the eludification of those watching. To that end, I really appreciate the atheists I have dealt with in the message boards.

  • Steven Dillon

    Dawkins is a wiener. Atheist philosophers don’t take him seriously lol.

  • Lists


    radically extremist atheism have clearly done damage to the world as well — during the Terror in France, under Nazi Germany, Stalin, Maoist China, etc. ”

    Which had exactly nothing to do with atheism. The reason atheism may gain ground is this sort of lies. Statement of false equivalency. It’s not doing Catholicism any favors, or any other religions either for that matter. 

    I also wonder how an atheist (someone lacking faith in Gods) could be radically extremist. 
    Exactly the sort of stuff that spurs on atheists and provides ammo for ridicule of any and all religions.

    *sigh*

  • Lists

    Sticking with what the Church teaches would have us living in the Dark Ages.  Times change, we grow and evolve and just as a small piece of evidence of that is the fact that there are thousands of religions out there, all claiming to be straight from the heavens. 

    We constantly look, poke and prod to gain a better understanding of things. Not doing that would still have us think that the earth is flat and we’d still chase game with spears in the middle of Africa.

  • JessicaHof

    That’s a lovely post. Bless you, how Christ-like.

  • JabbaPapa

    ???

    radically extremist atheism have clearly done damage to the
    world as well — during the Terror in France, under Nazi Germany,
    Stalin, Maoist China, etc.”

    Which had exactly nothing to do with atheism.

    … which all of them in fact had *everything* to do with atheism, to the extent that religious people were deliberately rounded up and slaughtered for the purpose of eradicating religion and replacing it with secularism.

    I also wonder how an atheist (someone lacking faith in Gods) could be radically extremist.

    Are you that much in denial ?

    I dunno, read 1984 by George Orwell, just for starters …

    It’s fiction yes — but the mechanisms of totalitarian atheism are very realistically described within…

  • TreenonPoet

     “You’re illogically deriving a general statement from an observation concerning a minority of individuals

    I am not sure which statement you are referring to…

    In my response to scary goat, I used the word ‘seem’ based on Mr goat’s reluctance to engage with ‘aggressive’ athiests (“best ignored” etc.). Perhaps I should have written “seem to me”.

    In my response to you, I advanced a hypothesis about the reason that athiests might be perceived to be arguing for the sake of it. That was based on an assertion about the nature of religious faith (belief despite contradictory evidence or despite lack of evidence).

    MOST atheists do NOT in fact go round trolling Catholic online discussions

    I agree. I never suggested otherwise. I get the impression that most (not all) of those athiests who do comment on Catholic forums do so initially in a genuine attempt to correct a perceived error (though exchanges can sometimes deteriorate), even if it is only an error of logic because that is what they may consider religion as a whole to be. The athiest may or may not make an effort to understand his opponents view. Sometimes there is an almost impenetrable barrier to understanding, as I found with Parasum‘s comment that began “Relics are Christological…” (though you might find it perfectly understandable).

    Abuses of religion do damage to the world, but the religions themselves, at least not the mainstream non-extremist ones, are no more harmful than any other sect of philosophy, including atheism. But the abuses of radically extremist atheism have clearly done damage to the world as well — during the Terror in France, under Nazi Germany, Stalin, Maoist China, etc.
    The damage comes from the abuses and misuses of these things.

    There is a lot that I disagree with there, but their discussion would be off topic and probably long. I will restrict myself to identifying it as a diversion. It may surprise you that I do not agree with a lot of what some dictators who are judged to be athiests have done. It is a bit late for me to campaign against them since their failures are widely recognised, but even if that were not the case, it would not be a reason not to tackle religion.

    You are dragging things down to a level of rationality that I find to be overly simplistic.

    I agree my comments are simplistic (for brevity). I am sorry that you find them overly so – I hope that it is not because I shun supersensual metaphysics.

  • http://www.facebook.com/iain.carstairs Iain Carstairs

    Sean Faircloth has joined the Richard Dawkins group and they’re making a political movement; the interesting thing is that he saw straightaway that they needed to be seen as compassionate instead of angry.  So they’re trying to rebrand themselves as affable, compassionate – which I think would be a great thing, and a big eye opener for them in debates. 

    No longer will they be able to scorn religious types – though they might want to take some of the really hateful cartoons of Wendy Wright off their website.  But remember that they are trying to discover compassion, and what better way than to show them an example of it!

  • Fides_et_Ratio

     > “Which had exactly nothing to do with atheism.”

    It is *caused* by atheistic materialism. See below.

    > “I also wonder how an atheist (someone lacking faith in Gods) could be radically extremist.”

    You refer to atheism as simply “lack of belief in God”. But this is not the ideology of Richard Dawkins. The ideology if Richard Dawkins is a positive ideology; its main tenets are:
    1) Materialism – that is, reality can be explained by the laws of Physics (see http://richarddawkins.net/articles/490048-the-blue-brain-blues-materialist-ethics-and-simulated-minds)
    2) Anti-religious intolerance: religion is irrational, superstitious and must be erased. While it exists, it must be contained to the private sphere – that is, the political rights of people of faith must be curtailed.

    And these two tenets are at the core of Marxism. Marx took the idea of materialism and developed it into his “materialistic conception of History”, which is the root of Marxism. And he incorporated tenet 2, as can be seen in his hatred towards religion.

    Therefore, the ideology of Dawkins (which of course existed centuries before Dawkins) is a clear cause of Marxism, and therefore 100,000,000 deaths, torture, general suffering, terror, repression, censorship, bigotry and societal decay.

    In other words, Dawkins is the *last* person that can complain about the “evils” of religion.

  • Fides_et_Ratio

    >”Sticking
    with what the Church teaches would have us living in the Dark Ages.”The truth is the opposite of that. Christianity is what gave us the Western Civilization, with its human rights, science, technology and art. Check the book “How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization”, by Harvard historian Dr. Thomas Woods. Or, if you are too lazy, the youtube series “The Catholic Church: Builder of Civilization”> “There are thousands of religions out there, all
    claiming to be straight from the heavens.”First, not all religions claim to be the foundation of Truth as Catholicism does.Second, the existence of multiple claimants to the throne is no evidence for the nonexistence of the king.

    > “We constantly look, poke and prod to gain a better understanding of
    things.”Of course, that is great. And that is largely done in the university system, which was invented by the Catholic Church. And the whole idea of science, of investigating physical reality with reason and experimentation, is based on the Judeo-Christian concept that the universe is ordered (“You have arranged all things by measure and number and weight”) and that God very rarely performs miracles. Other civilizations explained everything, from hurricanes to solar eclipses, by blaming false gods.

  • Fides_et_Ratio

    >”Sticking with what the Church teaches would have us living in the Dark Ages.”

    The
    truth is the opposite of that. Christianity is what gave us the Western
    Civilization, with its human rights, science, technology and art. Check
    the book “How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization”, by
    Harvard historian Dr. Thomas Woods. Or, if you are too lazy, the youtube
    series “The Catholic Church: Builder of Civilization”

    > “There are
    thousands of religions out there, all claiming to be straight from
    the heavens.”

    First, not all religions claim to be the foundation of
    Truth as Catholicism does.

    Second, the existence of multiple claimants to
    the throne is no evidence for the nonexistence of the king.

    > “We constantly look, poke and prod to gain a better understanding of  things.”

    Of
    course, that is great. And that is largely done in the university
    system, which was invented by the Church. And the whole idea of
    science, of investigating physical reality with reason and
    experimentation, is based on the Judeo-Christian concept that the
    universe is ordered (“You have arranged all things by measure and number
    and weight”, says Scripture) and that God very rarely performs miracles. Other
    civilizations explained everything, from hurricanes to solar eclipses,
    by blaming false gods.

     
    (posting again to try to fix the layout)

  • scary goat

    Thankyou Cestius.  Very insightful and helpful comment.  I take that on board.

  • Honeybadger

    Er, excuse me, Damart!

    My. Name. Is. HONEYBADGER. One word. Not two.

    ‘Nuff said! Your attention to detail stinks.

  • Honeybadger

    Ha! Ha! In your dreams!

  • scary goat

     TreenonPoet, When I said stand my ground, I meant I will engage in the discussion rather than avoiding it. I usually avoid it because I find agressive atheists to be exactly that….aggressive.  I was brought up atheist actually, indoctrinated is probably a more accurate term.  I understand atheists’ arguments extremely well, I have lived with it all my life.  From the time I was about 4 years old I was told to think for myself, not follow like sheep (although at that age I had no idea what I was supposed to think about) so I did exactly that….I thought for myself and came to different conclusions.  I have been despised as being of inferior intelligence ever since.  My mother grew up in an age where Christian morality was the societal norm, yet she does not recognise her own morality as having been influenced by that, she feels that it is a product of her own conscience. (Where such an abstract concept as conscience comes from is a miracle in itself in my opinion).  Having lived some 90 years + she is now horrified at the state of society around her and seems totally incapable of understanding how people think these days. She finds so much that disgusts her.  It seems to me that she lacks any sense of cause and effect, when it is exactly the values that she helped to demolish that protected against the things she now finds so dreadful.  But will she concede a single point? No. She regularly baits me to argue.  If I avoid argument she becomes enfuriated because I won’t discuss, if I discuss it is never a discussion it is an argument which she WILL win by fair means or foul, resorting to calling me stupid if she cannot counter my point rationally. If I admit to being convinced with my faith she mocks me, although she lacks understanding of what the Catholic faith actually teaches, if I try to save myself from being mocked by saying for example that ok, at the end of the day none of us actually KNOW for sure, but the Catholic faith makes more sense to me than anything else, she says Ha! you are not a REAL Catholic then, if you don’t believe every full stop and comma without doubt.  She assumes the right to define what is a real Catholic.  I cannot win.  Not that I want to “win” in case you misunderstand my use of the expression, I mean I am doomed to lose before the argument even starts.  Unfortunately I have found most aggressive atheists to use similar tactics and have a similar mentality.  By the way, I am mrs. goat not mr. not that it matters.  Thank you Jabba for trying to explain my position in my absence the last couple of days.

  • scary goat

     I second that.

  • huanggua804

     http://www.choosegoods.org

  • scary goat

     Why does it matter to you if we believe in God? Do you think our lives will be better if we don’t believe in God? My life wasn’t better when I didn’t have a belief in God. With a belief in God I find myself to be not only happier, but a better person.  Why would you want to encourage me to think otherwise? What do you have to offer me that is better? And I am not being sarcastic with that question, I really would like to know why it is important to you to teach us that we shouldn’t believe in God. Thankyou.