Monday, February 27, 2006

Midnight-3

Adam Lee has responded to a small portion of what I’ve written. He begins by quoting me:

"Furthermore, I didn’t make a “comparison” with National Socialism. Rather, I cited National Socialism as an example of a secular humanist ideology, which is exactly what it is."

To this he says the following:

***QUOTE***

First, this is absolutely false. Whatever Hitler's true beliefs were, he was categorically not an atheist. Here are some things he said in public speeches:

"Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without religious foundation is built on air; consequently all character training and religion must be derived from faith..."

"We were convinced that the people need and require this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out."

And from Mein Kampf:

"I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews. I am doing the Lord's work."
(See http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mhitlerchristian.html for a more detailed look.)

***END-QUOTE***

This is painfully funny. He actually takes Hitler at face-value.

Hitler was a master propagandist. That’s what Mein Kampf is. A propaganda piece.

The Third Reich was a propaganda machine. Remember Goebbels? Remember Riefenstahl?

Naturally Hitler paid lip-service to conventional piety in his early writings and public speeches in his rise to power.

Hitler’s private table-talk is much more revealing of his true sentiments.

Lee betrays the very credulity of the German masses which made his rise to power possible in the first place. No one is more gullible than an unbeliever.

Moving on:

***QUOTE***

Now, let's talk a bit about Calvinism. Steve comments that, under atheism, he views life as a "trap" one cannot escape; and yet, he admits he is a Calvinist, and try as he might to avoid it, that commits him to *exactly the same* conclusion. If God has predestined someone for damnation, then no matter what they do, no matter what they desire, they are trapped, and doomed to undergo that fate. And if Steve is a consistent Calvinist, he must admit that, for all he knows, he might be one of the people who is thusly doomed. (Even if he professes faith at the moment, it might be "spurious faith"). I don't call that a very uplifting view of life.

***END-QUOTE***

No, it’s not “exactly the same conclusion.” For as I patiently explained in some detail, in Calvinism, if true, you have winners and losers whereas in atheism, if true, you only have losers.

The presence of losers in Calvinism in no way negates the distinction. To the contrary, it reinforces the distinction.

The believer has nothing to lose if Christianity is false, and everything to gain if Christianity is true, whereas the unbeliever is on the losing end either way. Atheism has no payoff. In the lottery of unbelief, every stick is the short end of the stick.

And, yes, it’s possible that I’m self-deluded, but that does nothing alter the principled distinction.

Moving along:

***QUOTE***

Steve's main criticism as I understand it is that even according to Calvinism there are some winners, whereas with atheism, there are none at all. I reject that conclusion. If I spend my life surrounded by friends and family, devoted to making my loved ones happy, learning about this magnificent and beautiful world we live in, and fighting for the good when I have the chance, that is more than enough for me. My life is no less meaningful because it is finite; in fact, its very finitude is what makes it so precious to me. I need no additional supernatural pie-in-the-sky to make it all worthwhile, nor do I need to live forever to be assured that my deeds were important and meaningful. They were important and meaningful *when I did them*, and that is enough.

# posted by Adam Lee : 2/27/2006 6:10 PM

***END-QUOTE***

I’ve already addressed this line of argument in my original reply to Lee. He has done nothing to move beyond his initial argument or mount a responsive counterargument.

3 comments:

  1. Hmm, sounds a lot like Kai Nielson.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This will have to be my last post on this blog for the time being, as I have my own site to manage. However, I appreciate those who've taken the time to ask me honest questions. You're welcome to e-mail me or comment on my blog if you feel I've left any points unaddressed.

    I think you're missing a rather obvious point, Steve: even if Hitler was good at talking out of both sides of his mouth (and he was, though even in the Table Talk he never claimed to be an atheist), when he wanted to *appeal to the masses* and gain their support, he discussed his evil, racist initiatives in specifically Christian terms. And to judge from history's record, it worked. Even if Hitler himself was using Christian talk cynically, an awful lot of people believed him and went along with him.

    Lest we forget, the issue was what kind of ideology Nazism was. You claimed it was a secular humanist ideology, which is most emphatically false; from the very beginning, it was always sold to the German populace using religious talk.

    I feel I've addressed the issue of a "payoff" in sufficient detail already, so I won't beat that dead horse.

    ReplyDelete
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