Fugitives from Fundamentalism

The Musings of Adult Missionary Kids (MKs) & Former Born-Again Believers

Archive for the ‘Faith vs. Evidence’ Category

Denying evolution is lying

Posted by Ann on March 12, 2011

My father is a charismatic preacher. He has an ability to convince people to trust him implicitly. Maybe my years of interacting with him contributed to my desire to research the operations of the brain, to study the science of psychology. Much of what he says doesn’t make practical sense. Yet his ideas were pushed on me as truth. I was ordered to follow his rules (and my mother’s) based in these ideas in order to live in his home as a child, as are most children living under the rule of parents. At the same time, something always seemed off, not only about my parent’s fundamentalism, but also their perception of the world. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Cognitive Science, Faith vs. Evidence, Reflections & Memories, Science, Testimonies | Leave a Comment »

Definite Fideism!

Posted by dsc01 on November 26, 2010

First of all, screw you, spell-check! “Fideism” is a word! This started as a response to Paulo’s comment on the “Evolutionary Metaphysics” entry, but then I realized my verbosity was turning my comment into a full-length take-down of Josh Thompson’s “MAN UP,” on his blog, the Outpost. You can find it here.

I think we’ve arrived at a point where fideism is the only alternative to ignorance, for fundamentalists.

If you do a little research, you quickly realize that mountains of evidence tell us that, even if they are in doubt, the origins of life bare little resemblance to what is described in the Bible.

One can only go so long dismissing scientific findings as being the intentional distortions of anti-theistic scientists.

The one thing fundamentalists have on their side (which Josh exploits in this blog) is that they have “unchanging Truth.” Of course, the intellectual dishonesty, there, is massive, but that is their claim–that God’s Truth never changes.

The nature of scientific inquiry is such that the scientist is free to (and should) change his mind as often as new evidence casts doubt on prior hypotheses. “Unchanging Truth” has little value (it only puts the cart ahead of the horse), and the possibility is always open that everything we know about the workings of the universe is not true.

Of course, that’s not a problem. The universe is very complex. What we know about it tells us that there is much more that we do not know and that we are almost certainly wrong–at least in some small way–about almost everything.

But Christians can make that a problem. They’ve got a long history of training their own to be unable to think logically. After all, “Jesus offers us eternal security,” is considered a valid argument for why we should believe in him.

So it’s no surprise that Josh says, “‘Being open to believing anything,’ sounds a lot like fear-based paralysis to me,” and challenges us to “man up” and pick a side.

Of course, he undermines his own position by quoting Rush and their assertion that refusing to choose is a choice. Josh assumes that this is passive, that fence-sitters are indecisive cowards, but it can be an active choice and a brave one, at that.

After all, definite answers are comforting. If sober analysis of the facts, independent of what one wants to be true, indicate that we don’t know what is going on for certain and likely never will, then why shouldn’t one choose to believe just that?

Now, the excerpt he quotes does sort of offer us a stupid dichotomy: either there is some kind of guiding force in the universe, or it’s all random and pointless, so we should remain open to both possibilities. It seems like the author is an agnostic who is afraid to go atheist because (s)he thinks that everything becomes meaningless without the possibility of a God. But who knows?

Anyway, Josh resorts, ultimately, to the odd doublethink that necessarily characterizes fundamentalist philosophy. Unless one chooses to believe in God, he says, “the most proudly open mind in the world is actually already blindly biased.” How does this work? Well, it doesn’t need to make sense, does it? Because faith is independent of reason, and these kinds of crazy non sequitors are like Escher’s impossible stairs to Christians–nonsensical but awesome (and God is awesome and makes the impossible possible, so whatever–proof!).

I suppose that the conclusion to all of this is that we can’t really hope to communicate with fundamentalists in a way that they will understand. Many of us went to school with Josh, and we probably agreed with him when we did. For me, moving away from fundamentalism was a long process, and Josh has spent that time getting deeper into it.

Even though we can’t reach him, I hope that the debate finds its way to those who, like we did, are moving away (or at least open to it).  I think that they’ll realize that our side is the reasonable one, we are not cowards, and disbelief can finally offer the happiness that we were always told Christ would bring, even though he never did.

Posted in Essays on Belief, Faith vs. Evidence, Opinion | 14 Comments »

Former Christian missionary challenged to rethink his faith after learning the Piraha’s concept of experiential liminality

Posted by prb3 on November 18, 2010

I was reminded of Daniel Everett’s book ‘Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes’ after a short discussion with a christian friend about people converting to Christianity.

Everett offers a great example, albeit rare, of a Christian missionary abandoning his faith due his experiences with the Amazonian tribe he was trying to convert. I particularly like this because he used to work for SIL (one of the organizations my father works for).

Check out these links to learn more, I guarantee that the Piraha tribe will fascinate you. I should also warn all you die hard Chomsky fans that some of Everett’s findings in the field of linguistics are challenging notions Chomsky has championed over the years…that said, I’m sure that if you are indeed a fan of Chomsky, it probably has little to do with his views on language and more to do with his political views, so you shouldn’t be upset 🙂

Full audio lecture:

Posted in Faith vs. Evidence, Video | 6 Comments »

Jesus’ Resurrection Debunked. In one page.

Posted by Ann on October 14, 2010

Okay, so I admit. I’m a John Loftus junkie. I go to his blog almost daily. Every once in a while a blogger catches my fancy, and Debunking Christianity got me hooked. At least a couple of times a week I read something on his blog I think of reproducing here. But…it would be a little silly to copy everything he puts up, no? This one I can’t resist though. His blog is a one stop blog for current atheist news and thoughts on-line, so I don’t feel guilty lifting this since he does the same thing a lot. Loftus got this from Chris Hallquist: Jesus’ Resurrection, Debunked in One Page. Nice.

Posted in Faith vs. Evidence | 24 Comments »

My first and final Facebook discussion on religion

Posted by Ann on September 5, 2010

A couple of days ago I had my first discussion on Facebook with “liberal Christians” about their religious beliefs. Somehow I had developed a belief that liberal Christians would actually be able to see through the irrationality of fundamentalism in a way fundamentalists can’t. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Dialogues, Faith vs. Evidence, Liberal Christians, Reflections & Memories, Science, Testimonies | 10 Comments »

“Missing links” are not missing anymore

Posted by Paulo on April 8, 2010

BBC News: “South African fossils could be new hominid species”

Yet another missing link has been found. This is the latest one in dozens found within the last few years. How many more “missing links” have to be found before people like Wendy Wright admit they exist?

But people like her will never admit these are in fact missing links. They will just say, “Oh, those aren’t missing links, they are just extinct ape species that somewhat resemble humans more than other apes, but they are not humans.”

Posted in Faith vs. Evidence, Science | 14 Comments »

The Not-So-Mysterious Self

Posted by Jerry on August 29, 2009

In the beginning, the Genesis story teaches that humans are made in the image of the divine. This godly image is the distinguishing feature of humankind compared to the rest of creation. Christianity generally teaches that humans were not only “special” to God, but were distinct from all other creatures because we had the freedom to choose and because we alone have souls that will live on forever.

Today, I would argue that those who believe in the human soul are mistaking their own limited self-consciousness for an extravagant wish to live forever. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Faith vs. Evidence, Science | 14 Comments »

Belief or Inquiry

Posted by Ann on July 26, 2009

I’m reading Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist by Walter Kaufmann. Nowadays I enjoy reading stuff that makes me think and question.  As an MK whose parents belonged to an ultra conservative, evangelical Christian mission, New Tribes Mission, it is a freeing experience to read authors whose ideas are so very non-fundamentalist.   Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Books, Faith vs. Evidence, Opinion, Philosophy/Theology, Quotes | 5 Comments »