Wednesday, December 8, 2010

God's Quality Control 3.0: Hitchens-Dembski Discussion Guide

On November 18, 2010, the Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano, Texas held a debate between superstitionist William Dembski and asuperstitionist Christopher Hitchens. I reviewed that debate in Part II of this collection. Here, in Part III, I will review Prestonwood's companion discussion guide for the debate.

For those who are confused by my numbering system, think of it like a TV show and let me know if you're still confused. The show is "God Needs A Quality Control Department." This series is Season III of the program, and this video is a special first episode of Season III. You could think of it as S3 E0, perhaps. For those who prefer not to think about it, I'll also make a playlist and link to it in the love bar. In general I recommend that you watch my videos with annotations turned on, because I occasionally add notes and corrections. Administrative stuff out of the way, now this is the part where Captain Kirk says, "Space...the final frontier..." If you have annotations turned on, you can easily skip it if you're tired of hearing it.

Outspoken skeptics are often criticized for mocking the beliefs of the religious, belittling that which is held sacred, blaspheming their supernatural being (or beings). What the religious never seem to realize is that their own apologists treat their beliefs, their sacred items and activities, and their god (or gods) with far more contempt than any irreligious person ever could. Consider all the religious people who, speaking publicly on behalf of their god, lie, dissemble, ignore the facts, present appallingly faulty and inconsistent reasoning in support of their arguments, and when shown to be flatly and utterly incorrect, abandon reason altogether and claim that the irreligious will never understand because we lack spiritual discernment, or because we have not felt the power of god in our hearts, or the most childish non-argument I've ever heard, because we just want to go on sinning.

Here I'll squeeze in some comments on the introduction of the discussion guide. 
  • On Page 3 we read, "For too many followers of Christ, questions about their faith are uncomfortable and, therefore, avoided at all costs." Right, "followers of Christ." As much as I object to most of the teachings of Jesus, I have to give him credit for at least occasionally mumbling against falsehood. If these guys were followers of Christ, they wouldn't have invited Dembski into their church, they wouldn't be charging $3 for people to view this debate, and they definitely wouldn't be charging $35 for their study guide. And don't get me wrong: although I mention the money, that's not my main point. My main point is that Prestonwood's position is entirely based on lies and falsehoods. How can they claim to follow a guy who, at least in their interpretation, cared a lot about truth?
  • Prestonwood hopes that "Christians will not back down nor be 'put to shame' as they contend for Truth in the marketplace of ideas." I pointed out this flawed thinking in Part II, but it bears repeating: contend for truth? This is one of the primary flaws among superstitionists: they think that they are fighting to preserve something valuable while asuperstitionists attempt to tear it down. That is absolutely not the case. Most of us want to find the truth, and in our honest search for truth, we've found that religion, especially those derived from Yahweh, comes up short: in general, it simply does not represent truth.
  • The guide claims that "[Hitchens'] problem is not with God Himself, but rather with what he sees as the image of God," i.e., religion. This is a lie. Hitchens very clearly articulates, both in his book and in his public discourse, that he has a serious problem with Yahweh. Yes, he definitely has a problem with religion, the institution, and the adherents, but it is totally dishonest for these people to claim that their abhorrent behavior is entirely due to their own human failings and has nothing to do with their god.
  • This seems to be an apology for the Fred Phelpses of the world: "Followers of Christ are not, and will never be, a perfect reflection of the grace, mercy, love and justice of an Almighty God." True, but you are an excellent reflection of its pettiness, small-mindedness, caprice, homophobia, bigotry, nihilism, intolerance, etc.
In closing, I have to express my offense at the number of times the word "truth" appears in this document. This is simply not truth. I have demonstrated that in my review of the debate, and I'll demonstrate it in this series as well. That's the prologue. Thanks for watching.

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