GuyInTaiwan wrote:The difference is that in the past couple of hundred years, as science has been tested (and no, it's not in the same way with religion, but more on that in a second), it has been updated.
Well I agree, but that doesn't affect the point I made, which was that 'Plenty of nutters have been created by entirely testable ideologies, some of which were informed by things which were completely true and some of which were informed by things which weren't true but appeared to be true when tested
Religion has done that only in as much as its followers conveniently ignore the parts that are unpalatable now. However, they haven't gone as far as to rewrite their holy books and cut out, for instance, huge slabs of the Old Testament.
Now you're changing the subject, but ok let's go there. What's the point of cutting it out? What does that achieve? It always staggers me when people ask me why I, as a 21st century Christian, don't follow commandments given to Bronze Age Hebrews. I usually ask them why they don't follow the commandments in the 7th century Germanic Edict of Rothari. It's about as relevant.
Whereas you may have once found theories of eugenics within mainstream science, if you open a high school biology textbook now, you're not going to find eugenics. There also isn't a large voting bloc informed by such ideas. However, in America, there is certainly a large voting bloc informed by the idea that homosexuality is wicked based upon ideas from the Bible.
I agree, but this wasn't the actual point originally under discussion. As for voting, well if you're going to give the vote to people who have ideas you don't like then what can you expect but that they'll vote for things you don't like? Seems pretty straightforward to me. If you want to fix that then you need to make a law which says something like 'People who have ideas I don't like aren't allowed to vote', then everything will be fine. Personally I believe religious people should be politically disenfranchised. I see no reason why they should be permitted to vote. Like many in the Christian peace churches
, I have always chosen not to exercise my political franchise; I don't vote at local, state, or federal level, and I don't lobby the government. I choose not to inflict my personal ideology on others through the political system, but I understand that the vast majority of Christians, and certainly all atheists, are bent on inflicting theirs on me and I'm prepared to live with that.
As for science and religion being testable, the whole reason the above has taken place in science, but has not taken place in religion, is because ultimately, even in the face of overwhelming contradictory evidence as to the events in the first book of the Bible, there's still the special escape clause of faith. There's no possibility of what Karl Popper referred to as falsifiability because any contradictory evidence can always be explained away in such a way that a sceptic has no way to challenge it.
That's not quite true either, is it? Mainstream Christian churches in the late 19th century had already accepted an old earth, old universe, and evolution, before the infamous 'Fundamentals
' were first written, putting the 'mental' back into 'fundamental'. In fact it was Christians who had led the way in every one of these advances (let me tell you some time about the systematic theory of evolution proposed by Chambers, which not only preceded Darwin's but to which Darwin expressed his gratitude), and the interpretation of Scripture was modified as a result. This is a process which had been continuing since the 2nd century CE. It was the famous theologian Augustine (De Genesi ad litteram libri duodecim), who wrote these words in the 4th century.
Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience.
Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn.
The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men.
If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason?
Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.
That's right, Augustine said that Christians who interpret the Bible as contradicting an established body of knowledge are ignorant and need to keep their mouths shut. He would have no time for today's Fundamentalists. But fortunately today's Fundamentalists are a tiny minority. There's a very long history of Christians testing the truth claims of their own holy literature, because the fact is that many of the truth claims of their holy literature are actually Popper-falsifiable. Whilst the Fideist defence ('just have blind faith!'), is still held by some Christians, it's far from representative. Look at the massive revolution which took place in Biblical archaeology in the 20th century, when it was demonstrated that the facts on the ground didn't support the interpretation of the text. No professional takes the Albrightean conquest thesis seriously anymore, and Gottwald has left his name to history as a term of ridicule ('Gottwaldian'). Similarly, how many churches are you aware of which are heliocentric?
Originally there was no papacy, and people were perfectly free to walk around and announce that they didn't accept Christian belief X, Y or Z, without any fear of being tortured or killed. Similarly, for the first fourteen hundred years of Christianity there were no witch hunts whatsoever, and the Church stated repeatedly that witchcraft was complete nonsense, real witches didn't exist, and people shouldn't be charged with witchcraft, let alone executed for it. This is the more remarkable since the early Roman empire suffered one of the worst witch hunt hysterias in recorded history, yet during the whole of the early Christian era, right up to the end of the medieval era (while the Church was in full power), there were no Christian witch hunts at all, and the Church repeatedly overturned existing pagan anti-witch legislation. The Early Modern witch hunts were a historical aberration, unfortunately perpetuated by the hilariously named 'Enlightenment'.
Except you're conveniently missing the point that their were forced conversions prior to the Enlightenment and they were at least tolerated by the organised Church.
That wasn't a point I missed
, it's a point which wasn't under discussion and isn't relevant to the point which was under discussion. Your original statement was 'We didn't suddenly get to the point where a person can walk around and announce that she doesn't accept Papal authority, let alone that she's wiccan, without fear of being tortured and killed', implying that this happened for centuries since the dawn of Christendom, until it was overturned by secular enlightenment. But the reality is that right from the start Christians weren't doing this at all
. It actually took time to get
to that point, as Christendom moved from its Jewish roots to a Greek philosophical synthesis and finally a Roman political institution. You know how the saying goes, 'Christianity was started as a religion in Judea, was made a philosophy when it moved to Greece, became a political institution after arriving in Italy, and became a marketed product in America', or something similar.
Of course, that is not to say that the Church was necessarily following the spirit of the Bible. Then again, maybe it was, since the Old Testament was pretty fond of putting non-believers and other assorted sinners to the sword.
Well, all you have to do is look at the commandments Jesus gave directly to Christians, and see how many 'Kill all the heathen or force them to convert' statements you can find. The fact is that the historic Chrisitan peace tradition has maintained a solid witness against violence for a good 2,000 years, despite having the rest of the planet (and the majority of other Christians), wipe their feet on us during the whole time. Churches in the historic peace tradition have consisted of Christians who had access to the same political and violent franchise as others, and chose not to use it. It took our protests to drag secular governments kicking and screaming to the point that they would recognize conscientious objection against military service. Before that, secular governments imprisoned or killed us just like their fanatical religious counterparts. Thanks for nothing.
Indeed we are way ahead of the U.S. in that it really doesn't matter what your religious views or marital status are if you can do the job well enough (or the majority of people think so at election time). Again, note the ridiculous meme about Obama being a Muslim. Remember when it came out a few years ago that Tony Abbott had a son (except it turned out not to be his son)? It was such a non-issue. Yet for all their postulating about "family values" those parts of America don't come off better when we actually look at said family values. Look at Sarah Palin's family, for instance.
The US was founded by a group of religious fanatics, Australia was founded by convicts. No wonder there's such a difference.
The gender issue isn't such an issue, since Obama and Clinton fought a pretty hard primary campaign, they finally got a female speaker of the House and so on.
Well to me it's a non-issue, but in these enlightened times he is oppressing women by occupying a position which has historically been denied to them. He is an oppressor of women.