A fundamentalist shares her wisdom

Over the past six weeks, a commenter identifying herself as “Caroline” has been setting me to rights on fundamentalism. From these comments, I’ve deduced that she is (or possibly was) a home schooled student in Accelerated Christian Education, and a fundamentalist.

I’m also assuming that English is not Caroline’s first language (well, that’s the charitable interpretation). If that’s correct, I also infer that, in this instance at least, ACE has not worked well as a method for teaching English as a second language.  What else can we learn from Caroline?

Caroline made her debut in reply to “5 Even Worse Lies from Accelerated Christian Education“. If you read everything Caroline writes and everything I write, you’ll be here for a while, so I’ve edited it done my best to make it scannable.

Based on this article, it kind’a proves that you’re not a Christian Fundamentalist. Maybe you have a different doctrine. Are you a Catholic or your religion is related to Born Again Christian? These have different doctrines but most people confused themselves by calling both of them Christians. Both are different. Do you know Biblical Christianity? I’m a Fundamental Baptist and uses the Accelerated Christian Education. It seems like you can’t just accept the simple truth of the Bible. I believe that you didn’t understand the Bible well.

I cannot help but bow to the persuasive force of the first sentence.

But look at this: Catholic Christianity and ‘Born Again’ Christianity are both distinct from Biblical Christianity. Since the Bible is God’s Word, that means that both of those Christianities are not truly (or at least not completely) of God.

Next, we learn that the truth of the Bible is simple (ie straightforward), and that if we don’t accept it, it is because we don’t understand it (which must make us very simple indeed).

Accelerated Christian Education will be mostly understand by Christians who have understood the Bible deeply. Accelerated Christian Education does not promote any religions. Accelerated Christian promotes: “no religion can save you, only relationship with God.” that is what you call Biblical Christianity.

ACE can only be understood by those who understand the Bible deeply. Those who understand the Bible deeply believe it. Since I do not believe the Bible in the way that Caroline does, I do not understand it, and therefore I don’t understand ACE. Therefore there is no need for Caroline to listen to me or anyone else who disagrees. This was the same logic Ronald Johnson used to defend ACE in 1987.

I understand the people who have different views on this article, it is because we have different basis and both of us are willing to fight for these basis. Parts of the Bible and Science sometimes fight because it disproves each other. It is only your choice whether to believe in the basis of the Bible or the basis of Science. As for me, I will stick to the basis of the Bible because the basis of science is still not clear.

Caroline might be making a very deep philosophical point about epistemology here. Or she might be making the “science changes but God never changes, so I’ll trust God” gambit. I’m not quite sure what she means. However, I completely reject the preceding two sentences. This argument makes it sound as if the truth claims of science and the truth claims of the Bible are on a totally equal footing, and there is only personal choice to decide between them. I’d argue that evidence comes into it as well. And Caroline can’t possibly believe they’re on an equal footing either; she believes one of them is the Word of God.

1. Science Proves that Homosexuality is a learned behavior
If you have read the Bible, have you seen that a gay was born? It only means that once a person is born, he/she develops this immoral behavior due to different causes. It might be because of the environment that he/she is living, because of influence, or because of his/her belief. Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in a form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe (*wikipedia). “Being homosexual is NOT a fate, it is a choice.” Therefore, it is learnt.
Based on this paragraph, you are pro-homosexual and you believe that it is their fate. But if you are a Christian Fundamentalist, you will pity those who are homosexual because they won’t be able to enter heaven. No matter what, God is not pro to Homosexuals. To be frank as a fundamentalist, homosexuals will end up in hell.

To her credit, Caroline says, “if you are a Christian fundamentalist” rather than what I would have said 15 years ago – “If you knew the Truth”. I’m not sure what the relevance of wikipedia’s definition of science is to this debate, nor do I understand where the quotation came from. I’m not sure this paragraph needs much comment, except to say that ‘with pity’ is not the way I see fundamentalists treating gay people.

If Homosexual is fate and not learnt, it only means that a gay cannot be a man again because it is his fate to be a gay. God wants homosexuals to turn their back again to God and change. If homosexual is learnt, then it means that you can be a man again! This learned behavior is a wrong behavior, so why not correct it now? It is your choice whether to believe in the basis of the Bible or the basis of the world and science.

1. Apparently gays are not men.

2. I am reminded of another commenter, “Ace student” (I swear I don’t make these up), who wrote “And if you all think that homosexuality is not learned, then you must think that God condemned homosexuals since they were conceived.”

I am trying to learn elementary logic at the moment. This person is obviously much, much better at it than I am, because I can’t make that conclusion follow from the premise at all.

3. There is the assumption that the Bible and science are necessarily in conflict, so a choice must be made. What about people who reject this dichotomy?

Caroline has written many more comments, all stunning. Some highlights:

In reply to Lana’s post, ACE and the suppression of women:

I’m a fundamentalist, and most of the leaders in the church must be male. Even there is no exact verse in the Bible that tells “male is the superior,” it is seen in the Bible. The first man that God created is a man, but a man cannot live without a woman. The leaders in the Bible are mostly males. Why? The reason is not stated but a man will be far better as a leader, because it is not a girl’s job to protect a boy.

Here we see another tenet of fundamentalism: Sometimes, there is no reason given, but obeying the rule is still the right thing to do.

In fundamentalism, we study every detail of the Bible? (what must we wear?, the do’s and dont’s) Why? Because we want the people to see the difference of the person in Christ and the person that lives for himself. If you are wearing a short mini skirt, would somebody approach you and ask: “How to be save?” Of course no one

The church and school builds most of our character, so it is our choice whether to follow the fundamental principles that are in PACEs. Still, it won’t affect our salvation but it will effect our effectiveness in world evangelization.

It is true that my approaches to women in short skirts have rarely been to ask them how to be saved.

The trouble with the “it is our choice whether to follow fundamental principles” is that fundamentalist indoctrination can be so guilt-inducingly crippling that even after you reject the dogma, you continue to struggle with feelings of inadequacy and sinfulness if you disobey. Defeating the Dragons has a great post on this.

The awesome Sarah Nash asked Caroline what was wrong with being gay, other than THE BIBLE SAYS SO! This was the reply:

Harm? The real harm to those homosexuals are not really physically it is spiritually. They will be fighting a hard battle by themselves and will only get hurt if they will not change. That is why I feel sad for them for they don’t know what the Bible says.

For those homosexuals out there, you won’t be happy if you will try to please the world. The only source of happiness is God. So, repent your sins and accept Jesus as your personal Saviour and Lord through prayer: “Lord God, I believe and confess that I’m a sinner that in need of a Saviour. Please forgive me and I accept you as my personal Saviour and Lord. In the name of our mighty Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.”
Homosexual is a learned behavior therefore you have the right to decide. Fate is not the one who will decide what will happen to you, it must be you.
The only cure to homosexuals is not religion but Biblical Salvation.

I think this is the other side of the coin we saw above. In fundamentalism, sometimes there are rules you have to obey for no reason. Similarly, sometimes you can assert facts with no evidence.

In future, Caroline’s comments will have to be moderated before they are posted. This is because I was sufficiently stunned by her first comment to wonder if it was a poe. I asked, “Is it a coincidence that this was posted on April Fool’s Day?” Caroline replied:

I didn’t notice it too, to be honest I laughed at it too. But fools are the people who will believe the opposite of what I just said.

If you disagree, you are a fool.

Of course that’s true. 1 Corinthians 2:14. I remember when that made total sense to me, too. So now my question – to myself – is this: How do you engage with fundamentalists to help them see how damaging that mindset is? I have no doubt this post has made no impact on Caroline’s views at all. I can’t figure out what to say.

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About Jonny Scaramanga

I grew up as a Christian fundamentalist in the UK. Now I am writing a book and blog about what that's like, and what fundamentalists believe.

Posted on May 20, 2013, in Accelerated Christian Education, Atheism, Christianity, Creationism, Fundamentalism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 45 Comments.

  1. So it first glance, I believe that Caroline has a bad grasping of basic logic. Although that’s not really surprising, since fundamentalism requires people to reject logic.

    Personally I prefer catholics to fundamentalist protestants.

  2. I will go out on a limb and state that I know and understand the Bible far, far better than Caroline does. (I have an insatiable curiosity about it that is a holdover from my evangelical upbringing.)

    Fundamentalism of all stripes is bad enough, but Caroline’s flaky, incoherent “Biblical Christianity” is little more than a self-parody composed of empty slogans and regurgitated talking points.

  3. Have you considered that Caroline is not real? While I don’t doubt that many people like her exist this sounds to me like it could be someone who is actually seeking to make fun of ACE. I know quite a few kids who have grown up with the ACE curriculum and writing is usually not a problem for them and despite the well publicized issues with the curricula even logic skills are that bad. I don’t care for it myself and it could churn out Caroline like products but I have seen many survive and come out normally and not even YECs.

    • I have considered that Caroline might not be real, and I also thought about what it would mean for the blog if, having posted it, this turns out to be a Poe. Well, that’s the thing about Poe’s Law, isn’t it? By definition, you can’t be sure if they’re real or not. Whoever wrote this, they are intimately familiar with both ACE and a certain strand of fundamentalist Christianity. Caroline is plausible because I and my other commenters have met people in real life who genuinely hold these views.

      As I say, the charitable explanation for Caroline’s writing is that English is not her first language.

      It is true that some ACE students do think their way out of Creationism, some do exhibit competence with language, and some may display decent logic skills. But ACe relies on the motivation of the student; others could easily fall behind. It also relies on the intelligence of the student. Contrary to what ACE claims, it is not necessary to understand the material in order to pass the tests. So some may pass and understand; others may pass without understanding. Some might even understand but not pass, if they have not memorised the material verbatim as ACE demands.

      If they display decent logic skills, that is encouraging to hear, but ACE can’t take the credit. Either their teachers have taught it to them outside of PACE time, or they’ve learned them elsewhere. In the PACEs,sometimes the arguments presented as educational don’t even hold up to logical scrutiny (such as the claim about homosexuality under discussion here).

  4. Caroline, let me tell you what I hear you saying:

    “YOU DON’T EXIST. YOU DON’T EXIST. YOU DON’T EXIST. YOU DON’T EXIST. If I acknowledge you exist, it will fundamentally challenge my identity. THEREFORE YOU DON’T EXIST.”

    Let me tell you about myself.

    I was raised as an evangelical, fundamentalist, literal word of god believing good Christian, in an ACE school. I believed that I believed all the right things. Young earth creationism? Check! Infallibility of Biblical wisdom? Check! Christ born of a virgin? Check! Fundamental sinfulness of man? Check! Man led astray by woman? Check! Women inferior to man in every way? Check! Death and resurrection of my saviour? Check! Personal relationship with god? Check! Importance of strict discipline for children? Check! Satan hiding behind every street corner waiting to tempt me into sin? Check! Importance of being pious and judging the sinners (especially those believers who believe the wrong thing!) so they know they need to receive Jesus into their hearts? Check!

    I had it all. And yet, I was never able to achieve the behavioural standards demanded of me. I got caned five times one week for leaving my flag up. I got demerits and detentions for looking insolent. I got told off publicly for arguing with monitors and supervisors. I was bullied by fellow students then punished for responding to it. We had staff who were bitter, twisted, abusive and poorly trained who took it out on me and other students. Then, when I got home, I would be criticised again, hit with a tennis shoe for showing my parents up. But at least nobody spoiled me by sparing the rod, eh! I left that school with three GCSEs.

    Not only that, I didn’t exist. Around the age of 16 I realised that women didn’t really do it for me; friends would talk about girls and media stars they found attractive, but I didn’t see it. I saw Keanu Reeves not Sandra Bullock, Aladdin not Jasmine, Ben Afflick not Milla Jovovich. And whilst I’d heard of homosexuals, I knew I wasn’t one of them because, as always reminded, they *chose* to like men, and I definitely wasn’t choosing this. I really really wanted to like womenfolk because it meant I wasn’t an outcast who would probably catch HIV and die, and the church had made it quite clear they deserved that fate.

    After a lot of struggling, I admitted these feelings to one of the youth leaders (I was about 17 or 18 IIRC, and in a different church to my parents). Bear in mind this was in a one-to-one, what I didn’t expect was for the public humiliation and prayer which happened the following Sunday, when they attempted to exorcise the demons of homosexuality from me. When I first came out to my parents they didn’t talk to me for 4 years because they thought that meant I was a child abuser. Now, at the age of 21 with 15 years experience, I am still gay and I’m still haunted by my childhood experiences. It’s still a struggle.

    So, let me tell you, Caroline, I exist. I was born gay. I am not an example of demonic powers. I am not a sinner in need of salvation. And however much you want to believe that I and people I love and care for are not real, we are. We are all around you, in your workplace, in your neighbourhood, probably even in your church, trying desperately to ensure nobody else realises their secret.

    Caroline, you don’t realise the real, everyday harm that your denial causes. On the psychological level, you force us to hide who we are, to disconnect our reality from being revealed. We hear messages telling us we’re evil and going to hell. We’re told we’re worthless, and we really hear and believe those messages. It’s why so many young LGBT people experience serious depression and anxiety. It’s why LGBT people marry to deny their own identity, and end up hurting families when they’re found acting out their secret desires in public toilets. It’s why so many LGBT choose suicide over facing up to the humiliation of honesty. Your words, actions and attitudes are making people hate themselves so much they’d rather kill themselves than look in a mirror. You tell them they are not equal. You tell them they are not worthy. Caroline, you tell them they are less than human. And don’t try the “love the sinner, hate the sin” argument, because it just doesn’t wash. You tell someone their natural state is sinful and you’re telling them that they themselves are sinful.

    If that wasn’t bad enough, whilst you may condemn physical violence against LGBT people, your denial of their existence and condemnation of their activities creates a fertile soil in which it is acceptable to tie teenagers to fence posts and kick them until the bleed to death. It creates an environment in which beating up a couple on their way home from a birthday party is just one step up from telling them they’re sinful. It creates a society in which its acceptable to post dog poo through people’s doors because they live with their same sex partner. Your failure to promote equality and to acknowledge and celebrate diversity in this society legitimises the criminalisation and deth penalty for being suspected of being gay in other counties. Yes, you can say that’s wrong, but, Caroline, you feed that. Your words have real world consequences for real prople every day.

    But this argument won’t work with you, will it, Caroline, because you know The Truth, don’t you Caroline? Let me try another approach.

    Go and read 1 Corinthians 13. Where in there does it say “love judges” or “love condemns”? Where does it say that The Truth is better than being concerned about the effects of what you say and do? Where does Paul does it say that knowledge is a constant?

    It doesn’t. You condemn yourself, Caroline, by your words. You condemn yourself by your actions. You condemn yourself by you hypocrisy. But you know what, Caroline? When you’re ready to accept the reality of this world, and when you notice the subtlety of the bible, and when you’re ready to accept me and my brothers and sisters for who we are, and you’re willing to make a stand for us for equality and to stand against those of us who oppress us, when you’re willing to acknowledge you made an error and accept that your attitudes kill, bruise and harm people…

    …when you get there, I’ll be there for you. I shall hold your hand as you struggle to adapt to a world outside the closed doors of your blinkered religious world. I shall listen to your tears as you come to terms with the harm done by your teachers to you and to society. I will accept you as you are, with all your flaws and quirks and history.

    Because, as I’m sure you remember, Jesus taught that you know a tree by its fruit. And Caroline, the fruit from your tree is bitter and poisonous.

  5. One thing strikes me, over and over again, about the weighting these people give to certain subjects. I asked this question in a post on my own blog a while back, and no one seemed to know. Does anyone know of a technical term for “a non-voyeuristic obsession with other people’s sex-lives”?

    • I’m kind of brewing a blog post on a related subject, namely: Considering Christians can agree on hardly anything, how come the stuff they do agree on is absolutely vile?

      Seriously, 30,000 Protestant denominations (apparently). Can’t even get their ideas about their own God straight, but almost all of them agree that queers are going to hell. The success of the Christian Right in America is basically people with differing theology uniting against the rights of women and minorities.

    • I think the word you’re looking for is “Puritanism” *wink*

  6. You ask how to engage with Caroline or similar fundamentalists, and- They have Moses and the Prophets. If they do not listen to them, they will not listen even if someone returns from the dead.

    Oooh. Why did that verse come to mind, suddenly? Caroline lives in the world, knows gay people, watches TV, goes on facebook- if all that Reality does not get through to her, you won’t either. Probably. Not certainly, but probably.

    And- congratulations on escaping.

    • Thanks for commenting Clare. I’ve admired your blog for a while, so it’s good to have you here.

      I’m sure there’s a way to engage. I escaped; David escaped. The blog has many commenters who did. I feel like if I can figure out what’s different about the escape stories from the fundamentalist stories, we might have a better idea how to communicate with fundamentalists.

    • Knowing I used to be exactly like Caroline (with better language skills)… it’s probable she doesn’t know gay people, she doesn’t watch TV, and she doesn’t go on Facebook. I didn’t. Fundamentalists are exceedingly good at cutting themselves off from any exposure to reality– it’s called “separation,” and it’s taught as a basic doctrine, one of the most essential to fundamentalism.

  7. I don’t argue or try to rationalize with fundamentalists at all. It doesn’t nothing. Think about our own journeys from fundamentalist. Was it a well-reasoned argument that brought us around? Probably not. It was probably years of nagging questions in the back of our minds that couldn’t be answered by the stock set of propaganda we had been fed.

    Some people have a need to believe in fundamentalism and anything outside of it is scary. I figure if they are reading a blog like this and commenting, they either have questions in the back of their mind and are trying to comfort themselves with being able to argue back or explore the “other side” as it were. I let them argue, politely agree to disagree, and hope that they too will one day have more questions than answers and move on from fundamentalism.

    • Well put, Deb. But those questions that nagged at us came from somewhere. Some people questioned my faith in ways which made me defensive. My fundamentalist defences were triggered, and I shut down the argument. And others put questions in my mind that sat there and made me think.

      I’m curious about the difference. This blog probably doesn’t help. Mind you, I don’t think of this as a blog aimed at fundamentalists. It’s more for curious outsiders and ex-fundamentalists.

      • Jonny, I think your blog does help. Even though it is not primarily aimed at fundamentalists, I am sure you get fundamentalist lurkers who come to see what is going on just because of the title of your blog. Just as I believe becoming a follower of Jesus is a gradual change and not an instant one, leaving fundamentalism is a gradual change and not an instant one.

        Even though it seems your primary objective is to make a difference in state and public response to ACE, I think you do make a difference to fundamentalists. When you get to heaven you will be surprised at the number of people who come up to you and say, ‘Thank you Jonny for helping rescue me from fundamentalism.’ (Forgive me for that last sentence; I hope you recognize it as an allusion to a common fundamentalist statement, but perhaps it is not used among contemporary fundamentalists of the UK).

      • I just want to add my emphasis jesuswithoutbaggage’s point about lurkers. Someone who’s stated their position publicly is (a) most likely more certain about that position in the first place and (b) under a certain amount of pressure not to back down, due to not wanting to look “weak.” The lurkers, on the other hand, are (a) quite possibly lurking not speaking because they already have private doubts, (b) under no pressure to save face and (c) likely to be reading the conversation in one go, rather than a comment at a time with hours, maybe days, between; and many of the logical contortions, evasions and so on, will stand out like a sore thumb.

      • I think your blog helps. If people didn’t have questions or at least some form of curiosity, they wouldn’t be here. For some, arguing makes them feel justified. But given a lack of argument, what do they have, a shaky faith at best. So post away, share your journey and hope that something sticks down the line. You never know.

      • Oh, the questions. And the silent support, knowing others asked questions.

  8. Assuming Caroline is real…

    One thing that caught my attention was the way she mentioned Catholic and Born Again Christian. It seemed she was contrasting both of these to Biblical Christianity. This is odd in that I have never known a fundamentalist who was not a ‘born again’ Christian. In fact, she later employs the ‘sinner’s prayer’ which represents the foundation of born again Christianity. Upon a second reading, though, she might be contrasting Catholic with Born Again Christian, which is the same to her as biblical Christianity.

    She doesn’t believe you understand the Bible well. Of course, this is a common observation from fundamentalists. When I was a fundamentalist, I understood the Bible very well, which meant that I understood fundamentalist doctrines and could point to the proof texts that supported them. Some fundamentalists are better read and more acquainted with the broader sweep the Bible, but in my experience the majority of fundamentalists, even ministers, do not have an exhaustive grasp of the Bible; they only have a grasp of what they have been told, and they read the Bible from that perspective.

    I am a follower of Jesus; I have spent literally 50 years dealing with the Bible as the major project of my life, and I am sure that Caroline would say I do not understand the Bible. And she can say this with a straight face even if she is only 17 years old.

    You ask, “How do you engage with fundamentalists to help them see how damaging that mindset is? I have no doubt this post has made no impact on Caroline’s views at all. I can’t figure out what to say.” I would respond that a person of any persuasion is unlikely to change perspective suddenly based on someone saying just the right thing, especially when they are on a mission as Caroline is. The way to change is through exposure and reflection. The fact that she reads and responds indicates that she is gaining exposure here, and you are particularly dangerous to her position because you deal honestly with issues and treat people like Caroline with respect. It would probably be better for her security if you ranted, attacked her personally, and called her vile names. But you don’t.

    • Thanks Tim. Your interpretation of the “born again” (I just typed “boring again” – Freudian slip) part makes more sense.

      I hope I am respectful. I feel now, like I did after the napplegate post, that I could perhaps have been more respectful

      • I always try to be respectful, but after the heat of discussion I often wonder if I was respectful enough. One thing, though: kindness and respect are not the same as coddling. There is no need to coddle.

    • I’m pretty sure what Caroline meant to say is that the Born Again Christians like her are the Biblical Christians, unlike Catholics.

  9. Oops, I meant to ask about this

    I am trying to learn elementary logic at the moment.

    It’s something I’d be interested in pursuing. Could you recommend an online resource? (Preferably free, what with me being in my usual position of not having two brass farthings to rub together.)

  10. Jonny, my favourite thing about this post is that after saying “Next, we learn that the truth of the Bible is simple (ie straightforward), and that if we don’t accept it, it is because we don’t understand it (which must make us very simple indeed).”, in what I presume is supposed to be a sarcastic tone, you then go on to number your points 1, 2, 2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counting

  11. Someone tried to engage me in a conversation about how they recovered from ME/CFS (similar to a condition I suffer from), but when I said I wasn’t keen on discussing our religious differences, she replied “Oh, but I don’t agree with religion either. I don’t want to talk to you about religion – that’s the last thing I want to talk about!”

    And so I knew she was a Christian Fundamentalist and managed to find myself busy all the days we could possibly meet up. See, the whole “Religion is an evil man made scheme to save ourselves” idea is very popular in fundamentalism. No, what they teach is “a relationship with God”. Totally different. Even if it does involve praying to God, going to church… sorry a ‘Christian Centre’ on a Sunday and believing literally in a bonkers book allegedly written by the almighty, it’s not ‘religion’.

    As a secular Buddhist, I feel I have a stronger argument for saying my beliefs are not a religion, but the thing is, that comes across as pompous and pedantic and so I gladly tick the box on the form under ‘religion’ and don’t claim to have a personal relationship with Buddha (which given he lived 4000 years ago, is probably just as well). So if I’m ‘religious’ she darn well is too!

  12. How to reach these people is indeed the magic question. But I’m beginning to think a lot of it comes down to ‘some people are born with inquiring minds, but many more aren’t.’

    • jesuswithoutbaggage

      You may be right about that, Aram.

      • It’s comfortable not questioning, accepting what you’re told and sticking to rigid rules about how to behave. You don’t have to agonise about the right thing to do, or worry about making mistakes. No fear of failure. It’s infantilising – especially for women. Don’t think, don’t question, just be submissive and humble and keep your head down.

        When you invite such a person to question, to take responsibility for their own thoughts, their own morality, that’s scary. When I first left the church I constantly wondered how I would know what the right thing was? I had been so brain-washed that without God, humans have no morality, I thought myself capable of *anything*. And I found I couldn’t *think* about moral questions without getting horribly stressed and confused. It’s that that woman wants to avoid. Better the devil you know, if you excuse the pun.

      • That’s very insightful, Anna. It’s ironic that you say that people don’t want to leave fundamentalism because they don’t want to take responsibility. Fundamentalists say exactly the opposite: Atheists reject God because they don’t want to have to accept responsibility for their sin.

        I keep meaning to compile a list of incidences of fundamentalists and atheists accusing each other of exactly the same things. I’ve seen loads. It’s an interesting phenomenon. The pop psychology explanation is projection, but I wonder if there’s something else at play as well.

      • I don’t want to believe that though, because it seems defeatist. Besides which, I’m much more inclined to think it’s nurture rather than nature, and if you can be nurtured into something, you can probably be nurtured out.

  13. I keep meaning to compile a list of incidences of fundamentalists and atheists accusing each other of exactly the same things. I’ve seen loads. It’s an interesting phenomenon. The pop psychology explanation is projection, but I wonder if there’s something else at play as well.

    Interesting point. I suspect it’s half the time bad phrasing, and half the time disagreement over definitions. My opinion, for what it’s worth…

    The latter first (’cause it’s easiest). As an example of the definitions problem, to an atheist/humanist, “morals” are a matter of how much harm/good an action causes. To a fundamentalist, they’re a matter of whether an action is sanctioned, commanded or banned by the god/scripture of their choice (allegedly, at least—I think the cart and horse of personal values and godly command get unconsciously swapped more often than they realise).

    The former. What’s actually being argued about is not really the taking of responsibilities, but what the priority of responsibilities should be. To an atheist, responsibility to appease a god is of a much lower priority than that to fix a worldly problem (for obvious reasons). To a fundamentalist, worldly problems are of lower priority than spiritual problems, given that the worldly life is but the precursor to a greater life.

    (Purely out of curiosity, I’d love to see how a person of more liberal religious views deals with this.)

  14. If you ask me, she sounds like a southern baptist and african american. I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with several. She doesn’t sound like a poe to me. They cannot reason without god in the mix. The only thing they know of their god is in the bible as preached at them from the pulpit. The perfect candidate for face to face questions of why they believe what they do. They very quickly end up saying that “it’s just what they believe” when you show them conradictions of the bible and their own morality. I suspect she will stick with her god delusion even if she understands that it makes her a bigot and ignorant of logic and fact.

    • I presume the relevance of your saying she sounds African American is that you think the non-standard English used is typical of African Americans. I’m not sure I agree, but I’m not massively familiar with non-standard English writing.

      As your comment stands, it sounds a bit racist. It’s as thought you are implying that African Americans are less capable of logic. I assume that’s not what you meant.

      • jonny,
        Why would race have anything to do with logic? You only have to look at Neil Degrasse Tyson to know that would be messed up thinking. No, when a person is stupid they do it all on their own. Some people inherit it, but that is not a racial thing.

        When I read the words it reminded me of some people and how they write/speak. I could of course be wrong, It just doesn’t sound like second language English.

      • That’s what I thought you meant. Thanks for clarifying.

      • I’m an equalist. My friends would laugh at hearing someone think I was racist… I am, however, pointedly caustic to stupidity when I see it walking and talking in the vicinity.

  1. Pingback: Guesting over at Jonny’s place again | David Waldock's Blog

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