The Electric Commentary

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Quiz

In light of all of the controversy regarding the teaching of intelligent design in public schools and the general attacks on reason made by the Christian Right, here is a fun little quote:

"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..."

Who said it?

Need a hint? Okay, he abhorred pornography and homosexuality. He did not smoke or drink. He advocated tithing. He was devoted to the Ten Commandments, saying: "The Ten Commandments are a code of living to which there is no refutation. These precepts correspond to irrefutable needs of the human soul." He spoke out against atheism. Still not sure? Some would consider him the most well known Christian of the 20th Century. And, oh yeah, he tried to take over the world.

(Hat tip tRA)

18 Comments:

  • fair enough account of facts. Although, he did some pretty terrible stuff in the name of science as well. Granted he was trying to prove his zany theories of Arian superiority, but it was still "science." The Tuskeegee experiments also come to mind. There are many avowed secular and aetheist bad peaple, including world leaders, too.

    Just because a whack-job calls himself one thing does not mean all who call themselves the same thing are also whack-jobs. I know that wasn't your point, but I sensed that was an undercurrent of the post.

    On a side note, how many truly subjective scientists do you think are out their looking for the origins of life? I think more are looking for either the missing link or Noahs Ark, instead of keeping all options open, like aliens maybe sent out a packet of seeds to Earth or something.

    side-side note:
    I watched a documentary called "Shortcut to Nirvana" about this big religous ceremony in India. It was interesting. Some of it seemed more or less consistent with a PBS special on string theory I saw, everything is energy, and it keeps being recycled and everything is recycled, or something like that.

    By Anonymous Phil, at 1:30 PM  

  • "Just because a whack-job calls himself one thing does not mean all who call themselves the same thing are also whack-jobs."

    Unless the whack-job calls himself a whack-job.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:44 PM  

  • No, all that would mean is that someone is calling themselves a whack-job, he or she might not really be one.

    By Anonymous Phil, at 1:50 PM  

  • You are right. One crazy Christian does not make all Christians crazy and that was not my point. A lot of people make the claim that you can't have morality if it isn't based on faith. See Brian Haggedorn's blog for example. I think that this is incredibly wrong. I think this quote illustrates that. The most immoral person ever took the same position as those that tie morality to religion.

    By Blogger DannyNoonan, at 1:58 PM  

  • Danny, it appears that your definition of a Christian is one who calls himself a Christian. What makes you think that's an accurate definition?

    "A lot of people make the claim that you can't have morality if it isn't based on faith. See Brian Haggedorn's blog for example. I think that this is incredibly wrong. I think this quote illustrates that. The most immoral person ever took the same position as those that tie morality to religion."

    Danny, that's just poor logic (and spelling of my name). It simply does not follow that because bad person A believes in X, therefore anyone who believes in X must be stupid or wrong on that point. In fact, your quote illustrates nothing except that those who claim to be Christians may not be moral or even be Christians at all. It still may be true (and I believe it is) that there cannot be any binding objective morality without God. Your post does not address this in the least.

    By Blogger Brian Hagedorn, at 12:53 PM  

  • Sorry I spelled your name wrong. My point was not "because bad person A believes in X, therefore anyone who believes in X must be stupid or wrong on that point."

    It's more like, "because bad person A believes in X, not everyone that believes in X is smart or right."

    By Blogger DannyNoonan, at 1:02 PM  

  • J/k about the name thing.

    "It's more like, because bad person A believes in X, not everyone that believes in X is smart or right."

    Well, they could be right and not smart. If your point is that some who take my position are not smart people, you will get no argument from me. I would assume that's true of just about every position in every debate. But your post does NOT illustrate: 1) that Hitler was a Christian, or 2) that morality without God is an incorrect, incoherent, or invalid philosophical position. Hitler was also a rabid Social Darwinist, for example, but that does not say anything about the merits of Darwinism.

    By Blogger Brian Hagedorn, at 1:18 PM  

  • My post attempts to illustrate that Hitler stood for the position that morality must come from god. The point is that many people who hold this position should stop and examine who they are in agreement with. Someone who professes to be moral because they believe in god is often the furthest thing from moral. I think we see a lot of this going on in the world right now. People do horrible things under the guise of Christian morality.

    By Blogger DannyNoonan, at 1:27 PM  

  • "My post attempts to illustrate that Hitler stood for the position that morality must come from god. The point is that many people who hold this position should stop and examine who they are in agreement with."

    I read recently that Hitler was absolutely wonderful to his dog. He was also a firm supporter of gun control. Does this mean that those who believe owners should be wonderful to their pets or believe in gun control should "stop and examine who they are in agreement with"? Of course not. The fact that Hitler held position X says nothing substantive about position X. I will re-examine my position when I hear a good argument against X, not because Hitler apparently wasn't wrong about everything he believed in.


    "Someone who professes to be moral because they believe in god is often the furthest thing from moral....People do horrible things under the guise of Christian morality."

    Agreed. Someone who professes to be moral because they don't believe in god or because they are "tolerant" or whatever else may also be the furthest thing from moral. Many people have done and continue to do horrible things in the name of Christianity. The same can be said for those who have acted in the name of secular humanism (think French Revolution). This says nothing about Christianity or secular humanism.

    By Blogger Brian Hagedorn, at 1:45 PM  

  • He killed his dog with cyanide.

    My point was only that we should be careful when people claim to do something for Christian moral reasons. Often, these people are not really moral. Believing in god and being a good person are not related. I am by no means saying that they are mutually exclusive, just unrelated.

    By Blogger DannyNoonan, at 1:56 PM  

  • "He killed his dog with cyanide."

    Guess what I was reading was wrong.


    "My point was only that we should be careful when people claim to do something for Christian moral reasons. Often, these people are not really moral."

    Not sure about "often", but fair enough.


    "Believing in god and being a good person are not related. I am by no means saying that they are mutually exclusive, just unrelated."

    This may or may not be true, but your post doesn't establish this.

    By Blogger Brian Hagedorn, at 2:07 PM  

  • I think it establishes at least half of it: a very bad Christian. I think I could come up with a pretty expansive list of good non-Christians to establish the other half if you wanted me to. But I think you're just being difficult. Or do you think non-Christians can't be good or moral?

    By Blogger DannyNoonan, at 2:24 PM  

  • I'm not making an argument here one way or the other on the substance of your claim, and I'm not trying to be difficult. My point is a narrow, but important one-the fact that someone who professes to be a Christian was an awful human being does not have any bearing on whether Christianity is related to being a moral person. Your post only establishes that one can claim to be Christian and be an awful person.

    By Blogger Brian Hagedorn, at 2:34 PM  

  • Oh, I get it. The moment a Christian does something bad or immoral he is no longer a Christian. Is that what you are saying?

    By Blogger DannyNoonan, at 3:24 PM  

  • No, I'm not saying that. I am saying that not all those who claim to be Christians actually are. The Bible says this and cautions that true Christians are known by the their fruit-that is, their good works. While it is God who decides who is a Christian and who is not, there is good reason to believe that a man like Hitler is not in fact in heaven.

    By Blogger Brian Hagedorn, at 3:29 PM  

  • I see. So basically we just have different definitions of Christians. Fair enough.

    By Blogger DannyNoonan, at 3:34 PM  

  • I think the posting of the quote by Hitler can be used to make valid points. True, any argument should be overcome using rational logic, not solely by tactics such as citing an undesireable supporter, however, I do not believe Dan was trying to completely defeat the argument, just to make a point.

    As Dan's point has been questioned, I will suggest some that I took from the post.

    Overall, because of the extremity of Hitler's views and his reasoning used to reach them, it suggests we should critically examine the reasoning of those making the same argument because they may share the same shortcomings. In short, the argument has kept bad company in the past, so be wary of it.

    Second, it also demonstrates that the viewpoint has a history of being used by those who seek to impose their views on others without true regard for the rights of others.

    Third, it is an example of someone using this argument who has fervent beliefs who embraces viewpoints based on those beliefs rather than actual evidence or logic. Such an example suggests that other using this argument may also be arriving at this conclusion based on fervent beliefs rather than unbiased rational thought.

    There's more, but it is pretty easy to go on and on about what was wrong with Hitler.

    By Anonymous Scott H, at 3:49 PM  

  • The immediatley preceding post was in response to:
    "The fact that Hitler held position X says nothing substantive about position X. I will re-examine my position when I hear a good argument against X, not because Hitler apparently wasn't wrong about everything he believed in."
    which is a valid point, but misses the point.

    By Anonymous Scott H, at 3:52 PM  

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