Slippery, obscurantist apologetics

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Jeff D
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Slippery, obscurantist apologetics

Post by Jeff D » Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:45 am

This made my morning, so far. Each of the following quotations appeared in a single post on August 30th at Butterflies and Wheels:

Karen Armstrong, in The Case for God:
Surely everybody knows what God is: the Supreme Being, a divine Personality, who created the world and everything in it. They look perplexed if you point out that it is inaccurate to call God the Supreme Being because God is not a being at all…

Paul Cliteur, commenting on this in a book titled The Secular Outlook:
Apparently Armstrong is opposed to clear definitions of the words she uses so profusely in her books. That results in a situation where “God,” “religion,” “Christianity,” and other key concepts are used interchangeably. This is done with an air of superiority and those who ask for more precision are censured as narrow-minded (if not “fundamentalist”) and asking for the impossible.

and commenter “Ebonmuse”:
It’s tactical, of course. When Karen Armstrong wants to claim commonality with her fellow believers, her definition of God expands into a large, amorphous cloud to accommodate her. When her beliefs are under attack, her definition of God shrinks down to a dimensionless point, so she can always claim that whatever’s being attacked isn’t what she believes. In both cases, her profession of faith is based not on any clear or consistent set of principles, but whatever suits the apologetic needs of the moment.

Say what you will about the cruelty, bigotry and irrationality of the old creeds: at least their devotees weren’t afraid to state clearly what it was they actually believed.
Jeff D

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Re: Slippery, obscurantist apologetics

Post by nmblum88 » Tue Aug 31, 2010 4:50 pm

Interesting thought in the above: "the good old days" of the Hebrew Bible, when "Smite thy neighbor" (mindlessly hating him first) was up front, the rule, the paradigm.
Supplanted by the "Love they neighbor as thyself," BS, and then having the arduous and time consuming need to work around it , in order to get done a good day's work of mayhem and slaughter.
How much easier, quicker, and probably cheaper to just get on with speaking out of only one corner of the pious mouth.

Thoroughly enjoyed the quote cited by Jeff, from Ebonmuse, and I will make no bones about it: Karen Armstrong gives me urticaria and anything that pokes fun at her mystique of double talk and pious pretense and her success(at least with book clubs) is better than all right with me.
And of course, in a serious vein it does point out that religion depends for the most part, if not entirely on the tenor and quality of the authoritarian VOICE... and not the minds of the speaker or the spoken to.
Some of us have it... Oprah, for instance, and Billy Graham, and in some mysterious (and posthumously!!) way that has attracted the attention of people who can't always satisfactorily define "physics," Albert Einstein... but most of us don't .
(I modestly acknowledge having no congregation, TV station, or aura of my own, but my mantra has always been that if you can't be a leader that doesn't mean you HAVE to be a follower...
There are alternatives, like keeping your own counsel, perhaps, for better or worse....... or simply asking a lot of questions.
(Or laughing at the patently preposterous..... )

" Norma, you poor sad lonely alcoholic. You entire life is devoted to interrupting other people's posts on this forum, regardless of the topic, to tell them what's wrong with them. The irony is, here you are doing it again, with this very post.
Your fanciful card games, movie sojourns and exciting overseas trips, that all take place within the four walls of an aged care retirement home, do not suggest your own children offered you the care, I gave my parents."