Re: [asa] Re: Considerable agreement with regards to christians across the spectrum?

From: Schwarzwald <>
Date: Tue Oct 21 2008 - 23:17:20 EDT

Come to think of it, David - and on a topic closer to what ASA is meant for
- I think it bears a similarity to some science discussions. The 'look at
all these disagreements among common proponents, clearly what they believe
in must be nonsense' line is often used with regards to - surprise, surprise
- evolution. And certainly, a lot of fairly deep and even fundamental
disagreements can be highlighted. At the same time, the response would be
that there's agreement in play, considerable agreement, in spite of any
apparent divisions, such that the core idea remains intact.

While they're two distinct issues, I think the comparison does have some
merit. I'm in perhaps a unique situation due to this as a Byzantine-rite
Catholic - so from growing up, I was able to see things somewhat from an
eastern orthodox perspective, as well as from a roman catholic perspective.
From that and other experiences with those of other faiths, I can't do more
than shake my head in response to the picture Ed wants to paint of
Christianity. It simply does not hold up.

On Tue, Oct 21, 2008 at 11:05 PM, David Opderbeck <>wrote:

> So what? The point is, we continue to affirm together these basic, central
> beliefs. The notion that Christianity is so fragmented that it's incoherent
> just isn't true. A better argument is "why would God establish a people
> that would become so fractured notwithstanding its common areas of
> agreement." Sure, there's some traction to that argument. I think it's
> well answered by the humanity of the Church -- both in terms of legitimate
> human diversity, which is good for any movement, and in terms of sinful
> failure to set differences aside. I think it's also well answered by the
> realization that God doesn't have to act like we think he should act. But
> this is the basis for an interesting and civil discussion -- not for the
> snarky, pompous tone of the new atheism.
> On Tue, Oct 21, 2008 at 9:48 PM, Edward T. Babinski <>wrote:
>> Dave,
>> The Apostle's Creed did nothing to prevent the Great Schism b/w Catholics
>> and Eastern Orthodox, whole halves of the Christianized Roman Empire
>> excommunicating each other. To hell with each other. It did nothing to
>> prevent Catholics and Protestants from rioting and killing each other during
>> the fourth century Arian-Athanasian riots, nor during the Reformations many
>> wars, nor did it keep Protestants cursing, rioting and killing each other,
>> Lutherans vs. Calvinists in various towns where princes enforced rival
>> Protestant beliefs. Neither did the Apostle's Creed prevent Catholics and
>> Protestants from both persecuting and torturing any other rival groups who
>> accepted that Creed but who were members of smaller sects that lacked the
>> backing of a prince and for whom it was not permitted to evangelize in towns
>> that already were alligned with major Protestant bodies.
>> The Apostle's Creed to this day does not prevent churches from continuing
>> to split, not once, but time and time again and the process continues, like
>> the division of one species into two over time. Maybe that's because
>> reciting "We BELIEVE in One God, etc." isn't enough, you have to be
>> convinced that you have the truth, found the true way to salvation,
>> including particular books and rituals and even subsidiary beliefs, all of
>> which seemingly will guarrantee YOUR church's authority and it's ability to
>> ensure your eternal salvation, while the rest are "less satisfactory"
>> (that's putting it mildly and liberally of course, the result of a liberal
>> recognition that was hard won after centuries of people's fears of hell --
>> hell for them, their country or their neighbor -- getting the better of
>> them).
>> Also, early first century interpretations of the Apostle's Creed differ
>> from some modern interpretations like that of moderate-to-liberal Catholic,
>> Gary Wills, who interprets it a little bit differently than first-century
>> people did, or like Crossan and Kung on the Catholic side, or Barth and
>> Tillich on the Protestant side understand "The Apostle's Creed."
>> And how many churches repeat "The Apostle's Creed" at services each week?
>> Mostly mainstream churches, I suppose. For others it's merely implied and
>> they take pride in their differences from other churches, and their own
>> litany of truth.
>> Heck just go into a church of young-earth creationists and see how fast
>> they call you a heretic for merely mentioning you agree with Darwin about a
>> lot of things.
>> __________________________________________________
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> --
> David W. Opderbeck
> Associate Professor of Law
> Seton Hall University Law School
> Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology

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Received on Tue, 21 Oct 2008 23:17:20 -0400

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