Comment of the Moment

Theists —

Step back and try very hard to be objective. If I ask you why you don't believe there are fairies in my garden, should I be insulted or think you insane or immoral because you want me to show you evidence that there really are fairies in my garden? If you make a claim for a god and a god creating the world, the responsibility for providing believable evidence for that is yours. What evidence do you have for that claim? Feelings have no place in providing empirical evidence.

Deep down, you know that and must admit that. So, when we ask for evidence, we cause you to actually doubt because you know you have none. Then you react in a nasty emotional way to us as though we have wronged you in some way. You are projecting the responsibility for your doubt onto us and that is unfair and inappropriate. You, and only you, have ultimate control over what you believe. If you find you do not have credible, tangible reasons for your beliefs, then you should be honest enough with yourself to face that issue and do some serious study. If the results of that study change your beliefs, own it honestly. Don't be afraid.

Think for a minute. Christianity has all the answers for the problems only it has created. Fear and guilt are terrible reasons to follow any belief system. Fear of death is a big reason for that belief system with many. But I just have a hard time thinking that belief in a god and an afterlife really takes the fear out of dying. It's an unknown and we are often taught to be afraid of the unknown. There's no reason for that when you really think about it.

My past Christianity was never reinforced by a comfort in my "belief", but was maintained out of my instilled guilt and fear of what would happen if I didn't believe. When I realized I really didn't believe, it was an incredible freeing experience. I realized that without Christianity, I had nothing to fear. I am now free to enjoy this life for exactly what it is. I highly recommend this to everyone!

— Joan

Garden Fairies
  
Previous Comments

It’s not just that the overwhelming majority of scientists are now convinced that evolution is inscribed in the fossil record and the lineaments of molecular biology. It is more that evolutionists will say in advance which evidence, if found, would refute them and force them to reconsider. (“Rabbit fossils in the pre-Cambrian layer” was, I seem to remember, the response of Prof. J. B. S. Haldane) Try asking an “intelligent design” advocate to stipulate upfront what would constitute refutation of his world view and you easily see the difference between the scientific method and the pseudoscientific one.

But that is just my opinion. And I certainly do not want it said that my side denies a hearing to the opposing one. In the spirit of compromise, then, I propose the following. First, let the school debating societies restage the wonderful set-piece real-life dramas of Oxford and Dayton, Tenn. Let time also be set aside, in our increasingly multiethnic and multicultural school system, for children to be taught the huge variety of creation stories, from the Hindu to the Muslim to the Australian Aboriginal. This is always interesting (and it can’t be, can it, that the Texas board holdouts think that only Genesis ought to be honored?) Second, we can surely demand that the principle of “strengths and weaknesses” [of evolution] will be applied evenly. If any church in Texas receives a tax exemption, or if any religious institution is the beneficiary of any subvention from the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, we must be assured that it will devote a portion of its time laying bare the “strengths and weaknesses” of the religious world view, and also to teaching the works of Voltaire, David Hume, Benedict de Spinoza, Thomas Paine, and Thomas Jefferson. This is America. Let a hundred flowers bloom, and a thousand schools of thought contend. We may one day have cause to be grateful to the Texas Board of Education for lighting a candle that cannot be put out.

Christopher Hitchens, Newsweek, April 6, 2009

Christoper Hitchens