Re: [asa] Dawkins, religion, and children

From: <>
Date: Wed May 02 2007 - 00:00:09 EDT

Pim, I can't take your comments about the spaghetti monster seriously.
I'd also like to point out that there is actually some truth in the concepts of Zeus, Thor, Wodan, and the countless other gods. Anybody who has believed in them in the past was actually apprehending some portion of the truth. They had a ton of error mixed in, to be sure, but so does every belief system, including modern science (as we keep learning every time we make progress). The existence of error doesn't mean that there was no truth, or that they weren't actually rising above the level of their own culture's emptiness in seeing some portion of the truth in those labels for deity.
I can't say for sure that no pagan in ancient times ever heard the true God speak to him, or that for lack of a better revelation never addressed Him in reply as "Zeus". Do you make that claim? (I'm not talking about salvation, but about hearing God speak and apprehending some portion of truth.)
Indeed, even today millions of people call God by the name Zeus. That name is used universally in the French-speaking countries where it is pronounced "Dieu". In the English-speaking countries we translate that word into an equally polytheistic word "God", which comes from Germanic polytheism just as surely as "Dieu=Zeus" comes from Greek polytheism via the Latin "Jupiter=Dieu-pater=Zeus-Father". "Deity" and "Deism" are also derived from "Zeus", as is the name of the god Tiu, the Anglo-Saxon god for whom we get the name "Tuesday"=Zeus-day.
If you read Hesiod you get a low view of Zeus, but if you read Homer you get a high view in which he is addressed as "God" and almost seems to be sovereign. I wouldn't be so quick to say that ancient people were on the level of believing in a flying spaghetti monster. Comparing belief in a deity who fits that label to belief in almost any historical religion is crass and not worthy of discussion. Collins and Dawkins dishonor themselves by resorting to such vacuous emotional ploys. They prove that they aren't to be taken seriously.
God bless!
-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tue, 1 May 2007 12:17 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] Dawkins, religion, and children

I'd argue that there is as much basis to presuppose a spahjetti
monster, Zeus, Thor, Wodan, or the countless other Gods as there is to
presuppose a Christian God. Using Collin's logic, we are all guilty of
rejecting these based on insufficient evidence about their
probabilities. This seems exactly the flawed approach chosen by ID.
Until we know more, we should presuppose God as 'the best
So why is the Christian God far more 'reasonable'? Because you were
raised in this tradition, exposed to the relevant teachings and have
accepted His existence. However, others have come to very different
conclusions based on much of the same evidence and arguments.
I fail to see how one can claim that there is no reasonable basis to
presuppose a spaghetti monster, while implying that there is a
reasonable basis for presupposing other such entities. Is our faith in
our God so much different from the faith of others in different
The spaghetti monster may be 'tongue in cheek' but that does not make
appealing to the spaghetti monster somehow unreasonable. What about
On 5/1/07, David Opderbeck <> wrote:
> I'm not sure Collins' argument on this particular point is all that strong
> because it doesn't really address the pragmatist's epistemology. OTOH, the
> Spaghetti Monster response, IMHO, is just silly. There's a reasonable basis
> to presuppose God, defined fully and richly as the God revealed in
> scripture. There's no reasonable basis to presuppose a Spaghetti Monster,
> which is an entity so vastly different than God that the comparison is
> infantile. (Unless, of course, you define the Spaghetti Monster to have all
> the same properties and characteristics as God, in which case you've done
> nothing but a bit of sophistry in applying a silly name to God).
> On 5/1/07, PvM <> wrote:
> > This kind of logic leads to a simple conclusion: The Spaghetti
> > Monster, the flying teacup and fairies exist, after all, those
> > a-fairyists have a faith which "is the least rational of all choices
> > because that assumes that you know enough to assume the possibility of
> > fairies" and surely reject a perfectly good idea...
> >
> > Collins' argument seems illogical to say the least, especially when
> > applied to any other 'entity', such as Thor, Zeus, the flying
> > spaghetti monster etc.
> >
> > As Dawkins so aptly observes
> >
> > <quote>A friend, who was brought up a Jew and still observes the
> > sabbath and other Jewish customs out of loyalty to his heritage,
> > describes himself as a 'tooth fairy agnostic'. He regards God as no
> > more probable than the tooth fairy. You can't disprove either
> > hypothesis, and both are equally improbable. He is an a-theist to
> > exactly the same large extent that he is an a-fairyist. And agnostic
> > about both, to the same small extent. Russell's teapot, of course,
> > stands for an infinite number of
> > things whose existence is conceivable and cannot be disproved.</quote>
> >
> > You think atheists are a nuisance? Just imagine those a-fairyists....
> >
> > Pim
> >
> > On 5/1/07, Janice Matchett <> wrote:
> > >
> > > At 10:25 AM 5/1/2007, David Opderbeck wrote:
> > >
> > >
> > > Whenever anyone -- even an atheist -- says anything, he is presupposing
> a
> > > universe in which a thing called "truth" may be encoded and passed from
> mind
> > > to mind through a medium called language. These are huge
> presuppositions,
> > > and only serve to re-emphasize the crudity of the atheist mind. Unless
> an
> > > atheist is an abject nihilist, then he doesn't have the courage of his
> > > absence of convictions. ~ Janice
> > >
> > > Not to defend atheists, but is this really a fair characterization? I'm
> not
> > > so sure. Many atheists are pragmatists. They don't presume that they
> > > necessarily have access to universal truth or that their atheism is true
> in
> > > an "absolute" sense. They simply argue that, given what the human mind
> is
> > > capable of knowing, and given the limits of human language, atheism is
> the
> > > only epistemically justifiable alternative..."
> > > @ Francis Collins: "I would argue that atheism is the least rational of
> all
> > > choices because that assumes that you know enough to assume the
> possibility
> > > of God [in the first place]"
> > >
> > > ~ Janice ... More:
> > >
> > >
> >
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Received on Wed May 2 00:00:53 2007

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