Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective not the truth.
My friend Rom[ liberty of thinking] gave us a definition of truth that am willing to work with, that is,
In ancient Greek culture, 225 (alḗtheia) was synonymous for “reality” as the opposite of illusion, i.e. fact.
In her post, what is truth? Xandra gives the impression that we can each have our own truths and call it truth. Taken to its logical conclusion, we must accept that a donkey talked and snakes spoke and walked upright for this is held as true by some people. In the same vain we must accept that Mo, piss be upon him, went to heaven, Mecca and Jerusalem on a single night aboard a Pegasus because this is true for many people.
I think, she doesn’t do justice to the question when she writes
Truth by it’s very nature is ever elusive. To explain, for a believer in God, the tenets of their religion may be truth.
In my view this is akin to the argument by some religious apologists that religion has its own language and we can’t critique it with the same common everyday words.
If truth has to make any sense, I think as a quality it has to have a universal applicability. There is no world where I think 2+2=4. This is true regardless of if you are Muslim, Hindu or Christian, well maybe not for the christian for 3=1 and 1=3 but that is a discussion for another day.
While am not a defender of Dawkins, I think attacking him because you disagree is unnecessary. It makes no sense to say you personally don’t dislike him and then describe him in not so favourable terms. But that isn’t our point here.
I take her at her word that she has
actually been told by some atheists that paranormal research is incompatible with atheism
I know I wouldn’t tell her to not study any subject of her choice. For all it’s worth, I may want to study aliens and I don’t want anyone telling me it is incompatible with godlessness.
You will allow me, since she has moved from what truth is, to what other atheists do or say and as an atheist, I can have a word or two to say.
Equally there are atheists who try to say that you cannot be an atheist and spiritually-minded or a believer in spiritualism, ghosts, or hauntings. Equally bunkum, as they are immediately equating these subjects with belief in god(s), Heaven and Hell, which may not necessarily be the case.
and I grant that maybe but ask the atheist to tell me what they mean by spirit, ghost or haunting. And if possible, show me the evidence and I will believe. I want to know if the atheist who believes in ghosts, spiritualism and so on has ventured to find out the origins of such beliefs. Don’t get me wrong. Am not say anything about whether one is a true atheist or not, I want to know what they can tell me and others what they think the paranormal is.
Nobody denies that Sir Isaac Newton was religious. We know he was also an alchemist. In his Laws of motion, there is no room for gods to play. Citing him as an example of a religious person who was a scientist doesn’t do justice either to his science or his religion and further it doesn’t tell us anything about the truth value of his religious belief. All we can deduce from it is he was religious.
I am trying to wrap my head around
However, if it is, then it logically follows that to bring a child up as an atheist is equally indoctrination.
How would this be?
Do religions deserve respect. Of course not. They are ideas and ideas ought to be criticized, ridiculed if they are worthy of ridicule but never respected. The claim that religion should be respect is one of the major reasons it gets perpetuated as a virtue. I find
Some atheists ask whether we should even respect religions, and some downright refuse to do so. Their argument is that the religious faiths in the world have nothing of value to offer. I find such intransigence to be narrow-minded, arrogant, ignorant and confrontational. There are in fact many truths within faiths which are good guides for life, and which one need not believe in god(s) to follow.
to be an impediment to enquiry. It’s not any different from saying before you critique my bible, revere it. It can’t start from reverence to critique. I should, after reading, find the book worthy of reverence but not before.
And to claim
Christianity has given us the Golden Rule; “Do unto others as you would have them treat you.” Islam teaches that practising undue usury upon an individual is corrupt but charity unto others is fruitful. Hindu and Buddhist beliefs give us Karma – that we reap exactly that which we sow.
is to me to play with the facts.
In conclusion, I respectfully disagree with Xandra on most of her accommodationist views. I don’t begrudge her for being a pacifist. I want us to have more pacifists but while at it, we can’t get there by spreading half-truths. We can’t claim that truth is culturally dependent. I don’t claim to know what truth is or whether it is desirable. And the claim that religions have given us morality is not supported by fact. We agree on so many other things with Xandra and I was hoping she would elucidate more on truth than she did attacking atheists.
God in exodus tells its chosen people[ already a case of preferential treatment without basis] not to kill and shortly after to kill their neighbours.
If we can’t be truthful, let us at least be honest both in our beliefs and criticisms.