Ignorance and illogic ARE Xtian “virtues”
Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-06-15
"baraholka1" asks in a comment on my post about Senator Fielding’s idiocy or hypocrisy (probably both):
Please provide one scripture from the Bible which says "Refusing to look for evidence is a virtue"
That’s pretty simple: we need only recall the common English phrase "Doubting Thomas":
Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."– John 20:29
The Gospel of John isn’t exactly non-core Christian scripture, however much the better classes of Xtian admit the inappropriateness of many parts of the Old Testament and the non-Gospel New Testament.
It would be an odd or malignant deity (the likes of Ares springs to mind) that bestows blessings for failings. A just deity bestows blessings for virtues, or at the very least, refusal to be evil.
But then, the imaginary friend of the Abrahamists was originally the Mesopotamian storm god, and even in the Abrahamist tradition, was heavily into smiting directly or indirectly, often with smiting of innocents (see the genocide verses of Joshua). It wasn’t merely an Old Testament thing, replaced by a touchy-feely Jeshua bar-Joseph, as the hero of the New Testament even smote a fig tree for obeying the laws of nature (bearing no fruit out-of-season).
Strangely, Judaists and Xtians claim the Koran argues for violence, even though the two epithets constantly associated with the Islamic god are "compassionate and merciful" – good honest virtues if there ever were any.
"Baraholka1" could be a skeptic seeking details to use when educating others of the inappropriateness of allowing people of faith to have influence over public policy, or , perhaps more likely, an Abrahamist with a typically poor knowledge of scripture and an inability or unwillingness to join the dots.
The far harder question is the obverse of that asked by "Baraholka1": "Please provide one scripture from the Bible where a thirst for evidence and logic is considered a virtue or worthy of receiving blessings?"
Note too that the Abrahamist deity would have preferred humanity to remain ignorant, even of the difference between good and evil. It is Lucifer (literally, "the bringer of light"), despised by the faithful, who provided humans with the capability to rise about brutish self-interest using an apple from the Tree of Knowledge. Indeed, throughout many religions there is the common theme of a deity (e.g. Loki and Prometheus) teaching humanity about the use of fire (the most fundamental technology we have), and as a result of this great benevolence, being condemned to perpetual torment by the other deities in the pantheon.
It wouldn’t be surprising if there was a key verse expurgated from the Sermon on the Mount:
Blessed are the wilfully ignorant and feeble-minded, for they are exactly where heaven wants them.
- It didn’t take long with Google to find another bit of the New Testament that expresses a clear preference for those who exhibit blind faith rather than look for supporting evidence:
Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: // Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.– 1 Peter 1:8-9
- A good way of finding parts of scripture that describe blind faith as a virtue is to find yourself a concordance and look up "faith".
- Of course there are many folk who self-identify as faithful Abrahamists who have risen above scripture, attempting to reconcile their human reason and their education with faith, asking not whether something is good or bad because it complies (or not) with scriptural prescriptions and proscriptions, but instead, using common sense and human value systems to ask whether a bit of scripture should be considered authentic or not. While such attitudes are infinitely preferable and admirable compared to blind acceptance of the selection of "convenient" canonical texts (to please the odious Constantine), it seems akin to all the complicated epicycles overlaid on the Ptolemaic geocentric system to account for observation rather than take the simpler approach of accepting the heliocentric solar system.
- Copernicus understood the nature of religious establishments, and pragmatically published posthumously. Galileo didn’t understand this until offered hell-on-earth, recanted, with (probably apocryphally) only the quiet protest "E pur si muove!".
- Mr. Deity and the Evil – and check out the rest of the Mr. Deity clips (Think of it as a cross between a crash course in Abrahamism and "The Office"