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In search of a Fair and Balanced religion
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By cynsmith - Last updated: Friday, August 15, 2003 - Save & Share - 9 Comments

Nicolas Kristof on America’s current Great Awakening.

Posted in Life • • Top Of Page

9 Responses to “In search of a Fair and Balanced religion”

Comment from etrigan
Time August 15, 2003 at 10:56 am

I gotta stand up for my atheist friends here.

There are some really interesting points and statistics in Kristof’s OpEd. I am particularly intrigued by the juxtaposition of these two facts:

Americans believe in the Virgin Birth of Jesus (83 percent)

Americans believe that it is necessary to believe in God to be moral(58 percent)

This is the driving force behind the Christian Coalition’s wrongness. Most Atheists (should it be capital A or lower-case a?) believe that the social contract is necessary and are therefore moral. Of course, the CC extends this lack of morality to all other religions, too.

Kristof gets too bogged down in the Virgin Birth thing, though. I believe in the Virgin Birth, but I certainly don’t think people who don’t are immoral and I think even our BpB conservative brethren will agree me.

Comment from jank
Time August 15, 2003 at 12:01 pm

I’d echo a belief that it’s entirely possible to live a good and moral life as an athiest/agnostic. To me, the whole question seems to be another failure of the enforcement of language. Morality is simply a code of conduct. Religion is a complete system of beliefs, which often includes a social code. Religion may teach morality, but not the other way around.

My greatest fear is the failure of those on either side of the religion debate (athiests vs. believers of many stripes) to allow for a world view which allows both faith in a religion as written and the acceptance of science.

Evolution is the example I use most frequently: It’s clearly evidient that current science supports a universe that’s 12-13 billion years old, and some form of natural selection to explain the genesis of life. The bible, read literally, supports a world created in 7 days about 4,000 years ago. IMO, neither of these are inconsistient with the other, as my God, existing at a level far beyond what I can ever understand, is as easily capable of creating a world with the appearence of age and alternate explainations for its existance. Moreover, as faith without proof is a central tenet of my religion, it’s entirely consistient that God do so. To create a universe that included clear signs of the creator would negate the need for faith.

Comment from jank
Time August 15, 2003 at 12:21 pm

Rod Dreher (of the Dallas Morning News and NRO coined a new phrase – Talibaptist – to describe religious fundamentalists.

OK, maybe he didn’t coin it (found an older reference, on an Apple support site, curiously enough), but it’s the first time I’ve seen it…

Comment from KellyMc
Time August 18, 2003 at 10:43 am

“I believe in the Virgin Birth”

“is as easily capable of creating a world with the appearance of age and alternate explanations for its existance.”

This thread has gotten downright fundamentalist! I can’t wait to tell my East Coast lefty pals I was here!

More reasonable to me is the outlook that I think many scientists who are christians have — the Bible is largely allegorical, and therefore its version of natural history is not exclusive of scientific fact.

Comment from jank
Time August 18, 2003 at 11:01 am

“the Bible is largely allegorical, and therefore its version of natural history is not exclusive of scientific fact.”

To me, this approach, much like the fundamentalists who try to explain away science as fitting a literal interpretation, takes away from the wonder and mystery of faith.

Comment from etrigan
Time August 18, 2003 at 11:37 am

Becky and I went through a once-a-week-for-several-weeks class at the Episcopal church we joined (and got married in.) At the end of the class I came to the conclusion that there is an allegorical component to the bible and that this component increases proportionally to the age of the writing.

I believe that the (admittedly artificial) division of the old and new testaments represents the fulcrum of allegory. The stories of Jesus and following are more factual than allegorical.

Comment from KellyMc
Time August 18, 2003 at 1:19 pm

“[arguement that appears perfectly logical to me]…takes away from the wonder and mystery of faith.”

Here’s where we should call mutual respect and misunderstanding and have a beer. Faith — you either have it or you don’t.

“I believe that the (admittedly artificial) division of the old and new testaments represents the fulcrum of allegory.”

I might even draw that line at the end of Genesis, actually. But I likely have a much more cynical opinion of everything after.

Comment from jank
Time August 18, 2003 at 2:10 pm

Here’s where we should call mutual respect and misunderstanding and have a beer.

I’m one of those who disagree with the old adage that you shouldn’t discuss religion, politics, or money in polite company; however, I also believe is stepping back for some suds when agreement at the point of impasse is reached.

Comment from etrigan
Time August 20, 2003 at 8:05 am

Interesting adjacent article at Salon today (8/20/2003) about what to include in textbooks that just happens to take place at a Texas board of education public hearing.

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