Sunday, 23 October 2016

Question for the Day: “To terrify children with the image of hell, to consider women an inferior creation–is that good for the world?"


Question for the Day is from the late Christopher Hitchens: “To terrify children with the image of hell, to consider women an inferior creation–is that good for the world?"



  1. Replies
    1. Different questions, same source, same answer.

  2. under tNo, its not appropriate to deal with children in such brutal fashion that paints a picture that only foolish, simplistic literalists would embrace. The subject is far more complex than horned bogie men under the bed with tridents.

    The Bible, and New Testament teaching especially, does not teach that women are inferior, the NT was very counter cultural in its day in rating women equal. It is not confused about gender though and the recognition of a distinction between the sexes remains quite normal.

    This taking of poor critique about ancient writings and misusing them for effect is just as stupid as Christians being ignorant about what the Bible says when they ignore age and culture in translation.


    1. I have some sympathy for the Christians that say their ancient writings shouldn't be taken literally, that the bible stories are metaphors, that Christianity in general has moved on, and that it's reformed and found some accommodation with Enlightenment values - in spite of what the ancient writings say. But why is it that those same Christians (including yourself if I'm not mistaken) often deny the possibility of such reformation with Islam, and that we do need to take the Koran literally, even though we now live a much more connected world ( where it's much harder to hide your barbarity and put an embargo on opposing ideas)? To be sure there are many in the Islamic world who do take the Koran literally, and they are a big problem, but why do you believe Islam is not on the way to a similar reformation?

  3. Christianity says God will sort it out eventually so just suck up the bad stuff, be of good cheer and do your noble best (dib dib) whereas Islam says Muslims will conquer the world and then some Muslim head honcho will (from the surviving branch of Islam I guess) appear rule the world and those left in it. How do you reform the latter to make it palatable?

    The bible has many passages that are clearly written to be taken as historical records but likewise it contains allegories and poetry that are obviously that and should be read as such. Reading Genesis and Revelation for example shows this mix and once you put your cultural goggles to untangle the complex structures used at the time on they become less weird and you can see what ideas are being conveyed. If you don't treat them as the initial audience would have, its like reading something by Robert Rankin as scientific and thereby believing in steam powered fountain pens and hoping a boiler doesn't explode in your top pocket. Islam's writings seem crude to me, lacking the variety of style and richness found in the much older Bible and the development of the Islamic writings reveals the increasing levels of violence expected to be inflicted on non-believers to gain political control. Christianity fundamentally differs because it is born out of sacrifice by God rather than political conquest by men for Allah. That's all bollocks to atheists of course but the distinction, whether you believe or not, is important.

    I think Islam is reforming but it cannot evolve because of the theological claims it makes about its source. When it says kill or lie to non believers it simply means it because its all about political control - it was never intended to coexist with other systems. The bad behaviour you see from Muslims today is just a return to the roots where critical review cannot be tolerated and insult is a death sentence because Allah wrote this stuff. The moderate Muslims are only that because they are attached culturally but know little about what the Islamic teachings say. Many Christians are the same (hence some of the stupid stuff they say) but the Gospel message is not preaching world domination whereas Islam is a complete package of rules for day to day living and is very political because of that desire to control everything.

    Christianity does not need to fall into this trap because it is expressly apolitical irrespective of what the RC's, Anglicans etc ... may like or how they have behaved. Individuals will have views about how the world should work but that's just personal views which all of us have. The returning to the Gospel roots gave rise to the reformation that undid much of the damage done, particularly by the RC's who often treated the flock as a cash cow to be kept ignorant.

    Dr Bill Warner explains Islam's fundamental problems very well. I gather he's an atheist but, as Carla from Kremen of the Star Corps would say, that's just the way God made him.



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