Friday, 20 March 2009

Fear

A new study has revealed that people with strong religious beliefs will fight death more strongly than non-believers.

Researchers followed 345 patients with terminal cancer up until their deaths. Those who regularly prayed were more than three times more likely to receive intensive life-prolonging care than those who relied least on religion.

Speaking as an ex-Christian, I completely understand this. Despite the myth, religion is no comfort when it comes to thoughts of mortality.

Never was death more terrifying to me than when it was accompanied with belief in a poorly-defined afterlife and the spectre of Judgement Day.

Although few will admit it, every devout religious believer fears death. And not in spite of their religious belief, but because of it.

They fear they will not have done enough good works, even though how much is “enough” is never made clear.

They fear being damned for their little sexual peccadilloes.

And they all harbour the uncomfortable feeling that they might, just might, have picked the wrong religion.

Once you break it down to specific faiths, the fear gets even more specific.

Evangelical Christians fear being left behind, standing and watching as the Rapture takes the faithful up to heaven. Catholics fear eternity in the fires of hell. Sikhs fear reincarnation as a fly or tapeworm. Muslims fear their Judgement Day.

But for the atheist, death holds no such terror.

As the late, great Mark Twain once said:

"I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions of years before I was born and had not suffered the slightest of inconvenience from it."

Now that’s comforting.

30 comments:

Kate said...

My fave is thanks to my favourite writer Irvin D. Yalom's take on Richard Dawkins concept..."(who asks)us to imagine a laser thin beam of light moving inexorably along the immense ruler of time.

Everything that the beam has passed is lost in the darkness of the past: everything ahead of the spotlight is hidden in the darkness of the yet to be born. Only what is lit by the laser thin spotlight lives.

This image...evokes in me the thought of how staggeringly lucky I am to be here, alive, and luxuriating in the pleasure of sheer being! How tragically foolish it would be to diminish my brief time in the light by adopting life negating schemes which proclaim that real life is to be found elsewhere in the indifferent darkness ahead of me..."

I think it is so natural as a human to experience death anxiety. If you allow yourself to experience it, it can propel you forward in life and possibly be an effective tool to define your life choices. I do also think though that more unlived your life, the greater your death anixety will be - and that in turn will also facilitate the need for religion.

ZAROVE said...

This is what I mean when I say your just looking for ways to Bash CHristianity. You take somehtign that says Religious folks fight for their lives more stridently than the Non-Religious, and turn this into proof that those poor Religious fools are really fearful of Death. All of which is base don no evidence at all. Worse, get things wrong.


for instance, you say Evangelicals fear being left behind. Well, why would this make them fear death? The Rapture of the Church happens to the living as well.

Also, you say they fear not having done enough good works, even though exactly how much is enough is not specified. Isn't the point of Christianity, even Catholicism, that its not about works? this is true of Protestants especially, as they argue that Salvation is by Faith Alone, and thus wouldn't really depend on the amount of good works you produce, but genuine acceptance of Jesus Christ as Saviour. Why would someone with that belief fear not having done enough good works? This is actulaly contradictory to their teachings.

As to Cahtolisism, it also isn't a system of doing more good than bad and getting rewarded, but one in which genuine repentance combines with obedience to accept the Salvation Christ offers. Whereas doing good works is required, there is no spacific amount, because the point isn't that you have to do a certain amount ot get ot Heaven, but as a show of your obedience to God and the amendment of your life.


That said, I see no evidence in this study that devout Christians (The only peopel you seem relaly to discuss) are mroe fearful of Death, only mroe willing to fight for their life. Perhaps this is due, not to fear, but to the fact that their lives have greater value to them than, say, an Atheist who sees no purpose in it, especially if in a depleted state. Maybe its the Ahtiest who is fearful. Fearful of living a poitnless life where even the hedonistic pleasures he wants arne't available any longer.

Or perhaps because the Atheist is mor eprobe to pessemism given his world has no meaning or value, he is not as willign to ut up a fight. The Atheist gives in in a fit of dispare because he just can't go on living throughthe pain, because he cannot see past it.


Its just as reasonablke to argue those as it is to argue that Christians are really fearful.


You have no evidence for your claim at any rate. Spare me the "I was a Christian so know" routine too, because you clearly don't udnerstand even the basis of the theology, and are obviously biased.

ZAROVE said...

As to the overused Mark Twain quote, I can list hundreds of Quotes from Christian men said throughout the centuries, that confirm they do nort fear death.

I could quote Edward the confessor, or C.S. Lewis, or John Wesley. I can even cite examples, such as Arrchbishop Cranmer, who placed his own hand in the fire od his own execution pyre.

His words, "This has offended!" showed courage, not cowardice, even if it was to recant an earlier cowardice.

When Bill Lane faced death, he told his student Michael Lane " I will show you how a Christian man dies", and he died without a whimper of fear.

What of the death of WIlliam Tyndale, whose only prayer was "Lord, open the King of Englands eyes!"

What of CHarles SPurgeon, who wrote this...

"When the time comes for you to die, you need not be afraid, because death cannot separate you from God's love."

He died well, not in fear.

Evem the Bibel tells us not to fear death, though I suspect you'sd]d say Christians dont really beleivein it.

STill, I can recount hundreds of stories in which CHristians faced death without fear.


And of you would chalenge their veracity, remember this; You cite Mark Twain, in an overused quote, but words spoken whilst Twain was very much alive are of less interest to me than wat he felt at death, and to be just and fair, he is but one man, not all Atheists.

Your claim fails because of this, and your simlistic thinking.

Matt said...

Zarove,

Anecdotes aren't evidence, as I'm sure you're aware. The study I've cited is clear evidence for my claim.

Besides, the study isn't really the point. The point I'm making is a personal one.

I've been on both sides of the fence. I've seen the world from a Christian standpoint and it made death frightening for me. From an Atheist standpoint, that fear is no longer there.

Paul Emerson Teusner said...

I had a sexual peccadillo once. Oh wait, it was an armadillo.

ZAROVE said...

Zarove,

Anecdotes aren't evidence, as I'm sure you're aware.



Then why did you quote Mark Twain? Thats what my references refuted. You used him as an exampel of why Ahtiests od not fear death, and I coted several Christians who made their own words known on the topic.

That was my point.




The study I've cited is clear evidence for my claim.



No it doens;t.

Thats my firts point. You assume that CHristians cling to life mroe because of fear, but the study did not actually conclude this. All the study stated was that they are more likely to fight for their lives, it did not say why.

The rest was just you projecting a reason without any evidence that seems to have been invented by you simply to further illustrate why Christianity is bad.

But there isn't a lick of evidence to support your claims, and I then offered two other reasons giving the above.

Relemmber?

I can use this same study to show that Christianity is superior to Athiesm because Atheists give up on life. Remember me sayign that? No address ot it?

No matter, I put fourth no real evidence, bu then neither did you.


Thats sort of the poitn Ive been raising, a lot.

Your conclusion that Christians fear death and Atheists don't is simply base don your own prejudices and an emotional need to demonise Christianity, but is not actulaly supported by this study.

It wa smade up to erve yor own needs, andnothign more.



Besides, the study isn't really the point. The point I'm making is a personal one.



I gathered that already, lad, if you read my posts on the Watchmen or on the Pope article.

But my point is, you are tryign to use a study to prove CHristians fear death whilst Atheists don't, and then to prattle on about how much this proves Atheism superior.

Thats simply not a vlaid arugment given that frear may not really be the reason why Christians fight for life more.

Its just a projection on your part.


I've been on both sides of the fence. I've seen the world from a Christian standpoint and it made death frightening for me. From an Atheist standpoint, that fear is no longer there.

I don't buy it.

The reason is because, I am a Christian and actually did face death. I wa sin an accedent, and form that I now walk with a cane due to a spinal injury. Before that,. when the event occured, I had been peirced throught he Infirior Vena Cava, a major artery, and nealry died. In fact, there was a greater chance of me dyyign than living.

But, I wasn't afraid to die.


I really don't care about your claim that you feared death as a Christian, because I don't. If this is goign to boil down to your personal expernces, then why can't I use mine?

If I don't fear death and am a Cristian, what does htis say about your claims? Or are you goign to write me off as an anomoly? Well if so, what of others hwo faced death and didn't fear it? Are we all liars?


I've also known Atheists who died cryign out in feaer, tryign their best to live, because htye where afraid of what may lie beyond, or fearful of final extinction.


COem off it, what your actually doing is projectign onto all of CHristendom your private view, which is itself highly immature.

It never even occures to you that to other people the oposite may be true. They may go form beign Athiests and fearign deahtbecause it wil be the end of them, to beign Christains and not fearign death becuse they ave a sence of eternity.

It never occures to youy that fear of death may not relaly be existant in some either way.


No, we're all exalty liek you. Isnt that wonderful.

You can't relaly be serious when you mak this sort of claim, or if you are, I'd suggest you htink it through a good deal more.

As someone who faced death in an eery calm, not worried about he outcome, and yet is a Christian and was then, I gurantee you this is spurious.


As to y=the "I was a CHristian so know" routine, givin hat you said about Evangelicals and Cahtolics, no, you dont know. Your nonsense aout he Rapture was illogical, as I said, because the Rapture iwllhappenr ather your dead or alive, so why woudl they fear death as a ruslt? Or the bit abotu not doing enough good works, which is actulaly contrary to the Christian concept of salvation, which is not by works.

How is this a real reflection of how things are?

It seems more like just you seekign a way to demonise Christendom.

SUrly you can uderstand why Id say this.

Matt said...

Zarove,

I understand completely why you’d say that. You’re clearly very sensitive to attacks (both real and imagined) on your faith.

I understand this because I was once exactly the same.

When I realized my beliefs had no basis other than personal revelation, the only support I could offer for them was to assert them loudly. Again. And again. And again.

But I’m no longer interested in assertions of faith. That’s no path to knowledge; merely a path to assuredness about things one can’t possibly be sure about. Subjectivity writ large.

I’m only interested in evidence, physical observable evidence, and what can be known objectively.

ZAROVE said...

Zarove,

I understand completely why you’d say that. You’re clearly very sensitive to attacks (both real and imagined) on your faith.


No matt, Im not sensative to attacks on my faith. But nice way to evade the very real problems I noted about your ocnclusions to the Fear STudy. By makign this abotu me and pretendign I have an emotionally charged reason for postign here because I dfeel my faith is threatened, you can avoid the critisism to your statements and dismiss my comments as simply an insecure guy tryign to defend his Faiht form what he thinks is an attack.

Thats not the poitn at all.


The poitn is, nothign in the study you linked above actually says that Christians Fear Death whilst Atheists don't, and your conclusion is based not on evidence but on a self serving emotional need to show Atheism as superior to Christianity.

Nothing at all in the study actulaly suggests that the reason Christians tend to live through these sorts of things more often is because they are fearful of death.

Your conclusion is compleltey baseless.

And makign it abotu me and claimign Im insecure wont make that go away.



I understand this because I was once exactly the same.



No, you wheren't. Because htis isn't about me beign insecure abotu a percieved threat to my faith, this is about your conclusion and how little its based on reality.

By usign the "I was once a Christain so understand" you really are displayign that arrogance I mentioiend earlier. This is condecension.

Next you'll start prattlign on about the need for me to raise my conciusness.

But, do keep avoiding the real problem I am discussing and pretending its all about me, it will shwo you why your arguments are weak. Its because they are base don an emotional need, not on reason and Science, and the very act of dismisisng me wihtout actually addressing my critisisms but instead pretendign that you udnertsand my insecurity is simply further proof that you relaly don't care about truth at all, only your narrow minded little agenda.



When I realized my beliefs had no basis other than personal revelation, the only support I could offer for them was to assert them loudly. Again. And again. And again.



I wish you'd realiswe this about your conclusions here. SUch as the one about Christians fearign death beign the reaosn they fight for life more. What exaclty is that base don? No , Matt, its not based soley ont he study, for the study doens't actually say Christians Fear Death mroe than Atheists.

You based that soley on personal revelation, and it is not base don real Sceince or anythign remotely close to Critical thinking.

And its what your now ignorign to make the issue abotu me and a supposed insecurity.

Why not stick to the topic rather than commit the Ad Hominim fallacy by attackign the person?




But I’m no longer interested in assertions of faith. That’s no path to knowledge; merely a path to assuredness about things one can’t possibly be sure about. Subjectivity writ large.



I hate it hwen idiot Athiests misdefine Faith as beleif without evidence.

I partoculalry find it annoyign here since you are assertign on Faith (Beleif withotu evidence) that the reason Christians fight for life mroe than Ahtitss is because htye fear death, a conclusion you have no actual evidence for.

I'll remidn you, Matt, that sayign the study is proof is not goign o work since the study doens't actually say that Fear motivates the Christian to fight for life more. That spacific conclusion is an invention by you, and if the study had foudn the oposite, that Ajtiets fight for life mroe, you'd have smply said htis proves Atheism superior because Athists realise that life is worht fighting for, and dont out their trust in Pie int he Sky when you die.

No matter ehat the conclusion was to this stuidy, you'd have foudn a way to spin it to favour Atheism.

And thats what Im realy addressing


SO rather than claim Im sensative to attakc on my faiht and pretenign Im just makign assertiosn, why not just look at my critisism, and at htis poitn we both know you have no argument to actulaly support your claim, so admit you where wrong, or at leats rpesumptuous.



I’m only interested in evidence, physical observable evidence, and what can be known objectively.



Then show me the evidence for your conclusions.

No, Matt, the study is not in and of itself proof that Christians fear death and so fight for life mroe, and Ahtiest can go peacefully becaue they don't. Neither is the Mark Twain quote.

Real eviedencd that suggests Christaisn are mroe fearful of Death, Matt, not your blind assertion.

Matt said...

Zarove,

Go back and read the article again. I didn't say the study was proof. I said it was evidence.

You take the contrary position, and that's fine. But you do so without producing any evidence.

ZAROVE said...

My position is ismply that you are making a statement that is rooted in your emotional need to demonise Christianity. I made no absolute statement about the study.

I simply noted that your conclusion is self serving and has no actual basis. The alternatives I offered where only presented to illustrate other conclusions one coudl arrive at.

Matt said...

Zarove,

I could equally argue that you're taking the contrary position because of your emotional need to defend Christianity.

The point is that I have evidence to support my position.

Until you can produce some evidence to support yours, it's just rhetoric.

Rob said...

So I've read bits and pieces of this back and forth, and decided to actually read the article. Here is my 2 cents.

The article says that religious types are more likely to fight death. It also says that fighting death actually makes for a "worse" death. (i.e. more painful, prolonged and not in the place you would like).

It says that some religious people to whom this applies agree with the statement 'religion was "the most important thing that keeps you going".'

What it doesn't say, though, is that religious types fear death. So, Matt, while you can show this study (or more to the point show a news report about a study) as evidence, the only evidence it supplies is that religious people fight death more.

And that is not evidence of fear. The fear element that you talk about is extrapolated, and Zarove has said, from your personal experience and your feelings towards christianity in general.

Also, this is a study with an incredibly small sample group. I could not trust the results of providing a survey to 345 people. Surveys are unreliable at the best of times, and apart from anything else, presumably they only surveyed those who were alive. How does that skew the results?

ZAROVE said...

Rod said it for me, Matt, so I will onkly say that I didnt take any position except to critisise you conclusion. The conclusions I offered as a counter abotu Atheism (I offered tswo, they both cant be right) where meant to illustrate the folly of this sort of presumption, not meant ot hsow my actual position.

Matt said...

Thanks, Rob.

Zarove, if that was your point then you'd do well to take note of Rob's style of argument: brief, logical, clear references to the original point of the article, and devoid of ad hominem attacks.

He managed to make the point clear in just 6 paragraphs.

ZAROVE said...

Mtt, mine is clear, and logical, and void of Ad Hom attack. But, Im also a Christian so your automaticlaly hostile to me.

Stop makign this about me and address points only. I suspect the reason you now back off is simply because others notice the same weakness I do.

Matt said...

Zarove,

I agree with Rob's comment. His point is an excellent one.

I have indeed extrapolated the results based on my own personal experience and my feelings about Christianity. You've done the same thing and come to a very different conclusion.

This is fascinating, is it not?

The question then becomes . . . how to choose between the possible conclusions? What other evidence exists? What kind of objective observations could be made? Is it even possible to know for sure?
These are all valid and rational and interesting ways to think about and discuss this fascinating problem.

But the opportunity for this sort of discussion is easily lost, particularly when it's subsumed by insults and accusations of arrogance, simplistic thinking and immaturity.

The clear impression you've given Zarove, is that you're not interested in that kind of rational discussion.

ZAROVE said...

Matt, I didnt do exaclty the ame thing. My conclusions where spur of the monent commentary made to show you why your conclusions whee worthless.

You seem to completley misunderstand what Ive been saying, btut hats no shock since Im a Christian and obviously can never be givin much credit to an Anti-Christian zealot like you.

Incidentlaly, the whoel claim that Im nto intereste din Raitional discussion is another cheap way of framign this in the context of an ignorant, irrational Christian arugiogn from emtion to defned his Faith agaisnt an Ahtiets who uses Logic.

But you don't, you've shown endleslsy on this blog just how little rationa thought leads your conclusions.


The fac thtta I am a Christian doens't mean Im irraitonal, and I haven't shown ehre that Im nto itnereste din Raitonal thought. Rather, you see that in me for the same reasony ou see Christians holdign to life mroe because of fear, because its an easy way ot make yourself feel superior.

Which in the end is the flaw to this ewhole line of thinking you advocate.

Quick Joe Smith said...

ZAROVE, I'm not sure anyone is saying that your Christianity is the cause of your irrationality.

You missed the point of this blog post from the very beginning. Matt made it quite clear that he was referring to his own experience. He even reinforced that early on by saying "The point I'm making is a personal one". You've reacted as though it was a slam against your religon as a whole, and you've marched down that tangent away from the main point despite the best of efforts to coax you back.

And you clearly either need to look up what an ad hominem attack is, or develop some more self awareness. Your denial of this was jaw-dropping to say the least.

ZAROVE said...

Quick Joe Smith, may I suggest you re-read this thread.

Nohtign in Matts original blog post suggests this as merley personal, and his use of htis as "Evidence" is actually indicative of a probelm with his thinkign in general.

Itz a Trend on this blog, in fact, to be critical of all thigns Christian.

But the fact remains, Matts use of this aritlce about a survey of only 345 people in order to justify a personal prefered beleif tht Athiests are better than Christians and don't fear death is, at its core inherantly irrational, and ultimatley simplisyic and deeply arrogant.



As to your comments baotu me, I didn't issue Ad Hom attakc son Matt, and my Irraitonality is not relaly Irrationality.

I really, really am sick of Athiests clalg me Irrational because Im a Christian, and yes i realsie you said my irraitonality may not be cause dby my Religion, but Im pretty sure you htink all Religiosu peopel are Irraitonal so this is a CHicken and Egg scenaro.

STill, I'm not actulaly beign Irraitonal here, I'm makign a point that Matts Evidence is not evidence of what he claimed. It is not evidence that Christians fear death whilst Atheits don't.


If Matt was a Rational thinker, he'd realsie this, and set his personal preference of beleif aside to exmine what the facts really say.

Instead he prefers o entertain this a evidence dispte the dubiality of the survey in rder ot bolster an emotionally held beleif.

And you are ogign to sit there and accuse me of irrationality?

Why is it thatbeign an Ahtets automaticllay make sone raitonal, and beign a Chrisian make sone irraitonal?

COme now, it gets relaly old really fast with that sort of thinking.

Quick Joe Smith said...

Thanks ZAROVE, but I read it correctly the first time.

If you are so sick of atheists calling you things, might I suggest not seeking them out on their blogs and leaving argumentative comments? That would go some way to dispelling rumours of your irrationality.

In response to your absurd claim that "Nohtign [sic] in Matts [sic] original blog post suggests this as [sic] merley [sic] personal", I present to you the following counter-evidence:

* "Speaking as an ex-Christian, I completely understand this."

* "Never was death more terrifying to me than when it was accompanied..."

ZAROVE said...

Thanks ZAROVE, but I read it correctly the first time.

No, you didnt.


If you are so sick of atheists calling you things, might I suggest not seeking them out on their blogs and leaving argumentative comments?

You mean like Matt did over at the Watchmen blog?

I came here to see why Matt was there.

His aggression prompted my responces, and lets be fair, my responces are far less aggresive than his.

Of course, beign that you agree with Matts worldview and part of that is Anti-Christian, its far easier for you to overlook how aggressive Matt is being and to simply cheer him on, and to read into me a hostility and anger that simply isn't there.

My posts here, hwoever, have merley challenged Matt in his claims, but I have not gone on to simply ridicule him as he has, say, Pope Benedict the 16th with his rant agaisnt him, or his "Bible mroal survey", or his claim of ho bad Christians are in hwo they fear death...

Matts posts are inherantly aggressive, and my posts merely offer why those clims he makes are wrong and unfair.

How is that relaly aggression?

Oh thats right, because Im a Christian and we all know that we're bloodthirsty.

Yeah Im just waitign to find where Matt lives so I can burn him at the stake...




That would go some way to dispelling rumours of your irrationality.


No it woudlnt. Calling Religious peopel Irraitonal, especially Christians, is pretty wella staple of the sort of Ahteism Matt, and you, espouse. Had I never came here I'd be Irraitonal simply because I am a Christian.

You and Matt and others in the New Atheism and anyoen following the thoughts of the Enlightenment and what it promoted will always see people like me as Irrational because you need to.

Just as you associate yourselves with logic and critical thinking, and assume you advocate for reason to prevail.

It doens't matter if you actually use reason or just use profanity laced insults, whatever your critisism is, if its agaisnt Reliigon, or CHristianity mosyly, it iwll be seen as Rational, just as any comment to defend Christianity or tell what it teaches, or even to challenge the argument presented, will be seen as Inately irrational.

Its part of the fanciful way you lot define yourselves.

But you also have to forgoe true reason in order to acocmplish this.

Then again, Ropesphere asociated Reason with the Gullotine.

So all hail the Temple of Reason.



In response to your absurd claim that "Nohtign [sic] in Matts [sic] original blog post suggests this as [sic] merley [sic] personal", I present to you the following counter-evidence:

* "Speaking as an ex-Christian, I completely understand this."

* "Never was death more terrifying to me than when it was accompanied..."



THose where lft by Matt to illustrate his point, however, as he said in boht the blog post and in these comments, his principle point was to show the survey as evidence that Christians Fear death.

His use of himself as an example was to further illustrate the points mad eint he survey, and to show that, when he thoguth abotu it raitonally he realsied that Chrisaisn fear death.

It wans't just a eprsonal thing but an examinaiton fo hsi condition in light of the survey.

That is how he presented it.


It shoudl also be noted though that testamony from an Ex Christian is liek that of an ex wife. If the Ex wWife is bitter and has shown tendancy to attack her former husband, more than likely she will reinterrpet memories of her time wth him in a way to correspnd to her present anger towar shim. The result is that often she will say she felt one thign when she in fact elt another when discussing some time they spent, or that her motives where such and such when in fa tthey had been different all togather.

Matt obviously seeks to vindicate his newfoudn Ahtissm and to demonise Christianity, and has obviously sought out arguments to attack Christuaianity.

The question hten mecomes, shoul we rely upon what Matt says he remembers about beign a Christian?

WOudl Matt not be temoted at all to project his current views onto his own past, and to ficus on moments of doubt and fear in order to create a previalign vie that Christianity as ane xpeirnce for him a son th whoel negative, and that he as freed form this torment by his Ateism?

WHy shoudl we rely upon Mathews personal expeirnces when he has shown himself to be highly prejudiced? Doe shtis pspeak of Objectivity and reason? No, not really.

Yet this is what Matt woudl want us to beeklive, and he did present his personal expeirnces as a mean to justify his conclusions, which he supproted wiht evidence fromt he survey, so this wans't sticlty a personal issue abotu his private views. A whimsical meditation, as it where.

It was Matt tryign to convince his reader of his position.

Quick Joe Smith said...

Regardless of who started what, you're still here arguing with an atheist while you simultaneously pretending to be sick of them arguing back. That's pretty irrational in my book.

For your information, I am not anti-Christian. In fact I am happily married to one. This highlights a peeve I have with people like you. You like to use your beliefs as a shield against personal criticism. You interpret anything said against you as hatred of your beliefs so you don't have to deal with it or look at yourself too closely.

It is obvious that you are just looking for an argument, no matter how trivial, by the way you overreact to everything. Nobody could sensibly conclude that I'm anti-Christian, especially since all I've done is challenge your arguments against Matt's blog--not said a single word about Christianity.

ZAROVE said...

Regardless of who started what, you're still here arguing with an atheist while you simultaneously pretending to be sick of them arguing back. That's pretty irrational in my book.


Its also a misrepresentaiton of me. I never said I was sick of Ahtiests arguing with me, I said I was sick of how many Athiest, particulalry online, tend to go about claimign all Christian are irrational and pretending that their posiitons are logical simly because they are Atjeistss, and how they tend to demonise Christianity for no apparent reason.

There is a difference betwenthis and, say, presentign a Hegelain dialouge about the existance of God.




For your information, I am not anti-Christian. In fact I am happily married to one. This highlights a peeve I have with people like you. You like to use your beliefs as a shield against personal criticism.



No, I like to point out that Matts attacks on CHristianity are unwarrented and baseless, and your defence of him, and critisism of me, seems to come from a form of Nepotism because you agree with his Athistic stances.

The only personal critisim you levied agisnt me was lablign me irraitonal, and that was soley for beign a Christian, not because you had anythign intellegent to sya abut what Ive said here.





You interpret anything said against you as hatred of your beliefs so you don't have to deal with it or look at yourself too closely.


No, I look at being called Irrational for challenigng Matts claims unwarrented, and se in it the same old trend of Ahtiests calling Christuans irrational becaue they want ot pretend their beelifs are the only raitonal position available and that Christianity as a whole is.

Nothign I've said in this entie blog has been Irrational, and thus there was no real reason for you to call me irrational. But, hey, Athiests love to call thmselves rational. Just look at the Rational Responce Squad. They also love to call Christians Irrational.

Its just a standard insult, and one I've heard to death and that lacked any real substance.

Is nto even a personal critissm agaisnt me, after all, you haven't relaly engaged in my point.




It is obvious that you are just looking for an argument, no matter how trivial, by the way you overreact to everything.


I've not actually overreacted, though.

I've simply brought into question Matts suppositions and challenged the foundaiton of his claims. But I've not been particulalry nasty or aggressive, thats just toyou rading into the situation.




Nobody could sensibly conclude that I'm anti-Christian, especially since all I've done is challenge your arguments against Matt's blog--not said a single word about Christianity.


WHilst clalign me Irraitonal simplybecause I've cha;l;enged his claims.

I know, mayne I shoud take a long har dlook at myself... bu Ive doen that. Thats the point, this insult itnst new and Im not rlaly irrational.

I'm actulaly trained ind ebate and in critical thinking.

Thats one thing that really is beign stressed here to begin with, that Matts supposition of how CHristianity is blidnly followed is ias wrong as his claims that the Pope is malicious or that CHristians Fear Death, and all of it shares the sme root in his emotional need o see CHristianity as somehow infirior.

Your just defending him because you happen to agree with his posiitons, and dont like me because I challenge them.


I'm nog your wife, either, and this will leae you far mroe free to see me in a negative way just to justify your claims.

Quick Joe Smith said...

My, what a tenacious palooka you are, Zarove...

"I never said I was sick of Ahtiests arguing with me, I said I was sick of how many Athiest, particulalry online, tend to go about claimign all Christian are irrational..."

Please stop side-stepping. The point is clear. If you're sick of it then why go out of your way to seek them out and put yourself in this situation? Your behaviour makes no sense. What's more, your actions contribute towards the perception of Christians as irrational because that is precisely what you are being.

I'm not going to bother with the rest of the inane and baseless gainsaying. You have confirmed every suspicion I have about you.

Rob said...

I actually find myself feeling sorry for Zarove here. I think at least some of the points he is trying to make are valid, but he clouds them in defensiveness (as Quick Joe Smith says, he is quick to hide behind the idea that people are attacking him for being Christian) and, dyslexic or not, the poor typography and phrasing does make it difficult to actually see a rational point of view.
For the sake of clarity, and me being the ultimate fence sitter that I am, I have read back over Matt's post here to see what has happened. Here is what I see.
Matt has pointed to a study "showing" that believers fight death more that non-believers. He then talks about his own experience as a Christian and how he feared death (which is, as he said, a personal issue). However (and here is where the confusion comes), he then goes on to make generalisations about believers and fear of death.
What he doesn't do, though, which I missed the first couple of times, is actually say that this study proves a fear of death. It's more used as a segue into the concept than it is as evidence. It is not until the comments fight that this is really hinted at.

I think it's fair to say, Matt, that you are anti-religion, and you don't actually mind admitting that. I think what you object to is the idea that this point of view in some way clouds your rationality to the point. Like Zarove, I think it does, but hey, it's your blog.

I must say, though, that in the whole "I'm going to go on the net and find people I can disagree with, just so I can argue with them" stakes, you guys are both Kindred Spirits.

ZAROVE said...

Rod, the defensiveness is not out of emotional need. As I said, Im trained in Debate.

I can argue for Atheism just as effectively as for theism, but Id be defensive either way, simply out of habbit.

Also, all of my point are valid. I checked the arguments agaisnt logical synthess.

Matt said...

Hi Rob,

I agree with most of what you said there.

The only comment I take some exception to is the charge of being anti-religion. While it's true in a sense, that phrasing is a bit general and could easily be misinterpreted.

For example, Zarove would also say I'm anti-religion and take that to mean that I hate Christians and want to see religion eliminated. Which is simply not true.

Religion is a valuable part of many people's lives and I have no interest in seeing that ended.

What I'm "anti" is the power that we, as a society, bestow upon religion. We give it a completely undue level of influence in public life, including the lives of non-believers.

Society gives automatic respect to religious proponents and leaves largely unchallenged the idea that religion somehow endows believers with a superior moral code.

I'm "anti" all of that.

And you're right. It's my blog. One of the things I want to do here is explore my own feelings about religion. At the moment I'm interested in its ridiculous aspects and the dangers of giving it too much influence.

As a warning, I could spend a while on these particular topics. There so much material to choose from.

ZAROVE said...

Matt, your not even Anti-Religion. Your Anti-Christian. Yu on't mind Pagans setting abotu tlaking about thier beleifs, for example.

And you yorself are a Humanist, which dispite your claim to the contrary, is itself a Religion. (Read the actual Manifesto...)


And this is the problem with what you said above. The idea is an old one, the "Leave it in the CHruhces and homes" routine cannot work. If someone is a CHristian, he actuallybelives Christianity is true, and woudl attemto to live by those principles.

In the same vin, a Budbist woudl try to live by Budhist principles.

You cna't relaly ask them to set those aside because this is how they see the world and udnerstand it, and is an essential element to who they are.

It'd be like me askign you to stop embracign Hmanist vlaues in public.

The Public Square shoudlnt' ne purges of Relgiion, and in fact can't be. The Public Square is precielcy that, Public. It shoudl be open to all peoples views, provided they are presented respectfully.

But then, you relaly just want Humanism taight, and have classified Humanism as a Philospphy nd not a Religion. But the Philosophy is direclty contradictive of plenty of peoepls religions. It'd be hard ot see it as anythgin but an alternate relgiion, that is beign impose don everyone else.


You arn't a Non-beleiver Matt, but a beleiver, you just beelive different things and want to impose your standards onto everyone else, hence why Humanism can't be a Religiin to you. If it where a Relgiion, you'd a be a Hypocrite.

Soemhow you think forcing Hmaist orinciples onto everyone, and makign sur no oen utters a word about any oher beleif system, is OK.

As to CGovenrment, ad te respect clergy get, those too are a part of the right of any free people. CLergy usually are well educated, and tend to have years of expeirnce in counseling others, and in studying moral nd ethical situations eopel face. They acutlaly ought ot be treated with both respect and differance, because they are experts in their field and do hold to a storng moral and ethical Philosophy which can help us in our dialy lives.

And againm allowign a divesity of them to speak from a range of beelifs is better than isolatign the GOvenment to a singular view, that of the Hnanist, and expectign all laws and policies to be in line with Humanism, and pretendign this is not biased.

As to the unchallenged claim that Rleigion endows us with a sueprior moral code, its been challenged for 200 years now. Voltaire and ROuseu challenged it.

But that doens't mean that, just becauseits challenged, it shodul be removed form a position of respect and influence. Surly you can see some wort in the exploraiton of the themes of the worlds religions, can't you Matt? Or are you so blinded by your antipathy that you think that Religious Proponants cant possibely offer nay valuable insight?

Matt said...

Of course religious proponents can make valuable contributions. That's self-evident.

What is also self-evident is that those contributions would be just a valuable, in fact more so, without being hobbled by the silly notion that it's somehow the result of some nebulous God.

That's my issue with religion. The philosophy and good works are all very well, but it's tainted with all this unfounded belief and superstitious nonsense. I've talked about this in a previous post.

Even that belief could be harmless in itself, but it turns out it isn't. When people genuinely believe their prejudices are supported by, or even reflective of, an omniscient God then they're just not willing to address those prejudices in any rational way.

This is precisely the issue with the Pope's stance on condoms. There's no rational basis for it. His pronouncements are just serving his beliefs.

Take homosexuality as another example. There's no rational reason to consider homosexuality as 'wrong' or 'immoral'. And yet we have all this vitriol and prejudice against homosexuals because appartently God thinks it's 'an abomination'.

And all this without one shred of objective evidence that this God even exists!

ZAROVE said...

Of course religious proponents can make valuable contributions. That's self-evident.

What is also self-evident is that those contributions would be just a valuable, in fact more so, without being hobbled by the silly notion that it's somehow the result of some nebulous God.



Actualy they woudlnt be, Matt, because htose cotnributions ar emade base don those peoplees beelif in God, which forms a central aspect of the enture Philosophy they espouce. You can't seperate the Philosophy they hold to from God, thats just idiotic and faisl to grasp the actual phuilosophy as a hwole they hodl to.




That's my issue with religion. The philosophy and good works are all very well, but it's tainted with all this unfounded belief and superstitious nonsense. I've talked about this in a previous post.



You aslo spouted the usual "Religioin is Dangerous" routine. You didn't actulaly prive anythign though.

Why shoudl I beelive a society that is storngly infleucned by Christianity will be a threat to free speech? Why shoudl I think that its a threat to other relgiions? WHy Matt? Because you said so?

And the hwole "Scinece VS Religion" argument is even worse, sicne its been discarded eyars ago except in pop culture.

Why shoudl I buy your claim that its all unfoudned nonsense? You've clealry never studied anythign about Religion (SPare me the "I was a Christian " speech) and have absolutley nohting to support your claim.

Givin the numeorus volumes by learned men defendign variosu tradiitons and exoplaining why people beleive as they do, why shoudl I acceo tthat iits all unfoudned beleif?

You certianly don't provide me any reaosn to, in this psot or the other.

Making assertiosn that support your conclusiosn is easy, but given that I have studied Religions for years now, I can't accept that its all unfoidned nomsense, which has no evidence ot support it. Ive seen the evidence that does and woudl be happy to link you to books that explain such evidence.


This is why I say your not rellay thinkign this issue throguh or ofering a rational reason.

Your just using the old Athiestic standards of claimign Religion is Dangeorus to justify an assault on Christianity, and use the same old tired claims, which themselves aret base don anythign but myth and fancy.



Even that belief could be harmless in itself, but it turns out it isn't. When people genuinely believe their prejudices are supported by, or even reflective of, an omniscient God then they're just not willing to address those prejudices in any rational way.



Matt, do you realise that this statement above is in and of itself a Prejudicial sttaement that your unwillign to address in a Raitonal way?

Given that I am a Christian, you'd think I coudlnt get on with non-Christians. Yet I have Ahtiets as firends, and Jews, and Buddhists. I've known and gotten on with Muslims.

And I can see thier point of view.

The truth is, the prejudice that is so dangeorus isnt inherant in the CHristian relgiiosu views, which arnet as dangeorus as you pretend, they exist when peopel refuse to evewn admit the other side has any legitimate reaosn to hodl their views and begins to mock them, much liek what your doing here.

Your far mroe dangrous than a Christian who is open minded, or a Muslim. And Id rathe rliv ein a society of open minded Muslims than closd minded Athiests like you.




This is precisely the issue with the Pope's stance on condoms. There's no rational basis for it. His pronouncements are just serving his beliefs.



Matt, there are logical reasons for his beleifs, which Ive stated before. You can look on the Vaticans website and read "Humane Vite" yourself. You cna also read other works on the Vaticans site which clealry spell out the logical raosns.

If you perisst in syaign its a beleif wth no evidnce that is acted on in prejudice and irraitonal, your just turnign a blidn eye to the very thign you claim to use, Rason.

There is no reaosn to attack the Popes posiiton, sicne the Poeps posiiton is actulaly logical.



Take homosexuality as another example. There's no rational reason to consider homosexuality as 'wrong' or 'immoral'. And yet we have all this vitriol and prejudice against homosexuals because appartently God thinks it's 'an abomination'.


Matt, Atheists like you use ot be vitirolic agaisnt Gays, and in Russia the COmmunist Party is thinkign abotu proposing legeslation to recriminalise it.

Meanwhile, many Chruhes accept Hmosexuality.

That said, if you'd step outside of your idiotic prejudices you'd realise that Homosexuality is a much mroe ocnplecate dissue than your presentign here, and peopel can make a logical case agaisnt it. Homosexuality has been inked ot a greater freqnecy of disease spread and mental health issues.

Its not at all a clear cut "Obviosuly not wrong" behaviour, that only religiosu fools fo rno reaosn at all oppose.

Are you even capable of lookign at hte issue raitonally Matt?

Because all your doign is presentign the standard buzz words form humanists, but you dont seem to udnersgand what the debate is really about.





And all this without one shred of objective evidence that this God even exists!



I'd suggest reading Antony Flews "Thee iIs A God", followed by the SUma THeologica, and perhaps some es Carte, andhwile yor at t dsome TIllich and Fuller.

There actulaly is evidence that God exists.

Just as a Rational Case can be made agaisnt Homosexuality, or for the Popes posiiton.


What has no evidence is the claim that Christianity woudl inherantly pose a danger to freedom and sicnece.

And thats the point, your "Raitonal" reaosn are just assertions. They arent even relaly reaosns, but excuses you settled on after-the-0fact to justify yor rantings.

SO whats your ral reason Mathew?