Which atheist are you?

Paul points to Andrew Brown who has some curious list of “New Atheist” points. I shall take up the suggestion of treating it as a quiz, and find that I score:

* There is something called “Faith” which can be defined as unjustified belief held in the teeth of the evidence. Faith is primarily a matter of false propositional belief. No. I have faith in, let us say, the validity of science. Faith doesn’t rest on the thing-you-have-faith-in being false. Score 0.
* The cure for faith is science Very badly wrong. If there is a cure, it is more likely history or luxury: anyone who finishes Russells “history of western philosophy” would find it very hard to defend any particular Christian doctrine, as does anyone with surplus money (i.e., anyone with a TV or who goes on holiday) who fails to give it to the poor. Score 0.
* Science is the opposite of religion Yes, but I wish you hadn’t added and will lead people into the clear sunlit uplands of reason. Science is more what you get once you’ve reached the uplands, I don’t think it gets you there. Score 1.
* In this great struggle, religion is doomed. Agree that religion is doomed on the long term, but it will be killed by increasing prosperity and worldliness, not by science (except insofar as science provides that properity). Score 0.
* Religion exists. Isn’t this the bleedin’ obvious? It is essentially something like American fundamentalist protestantism, or Islam. More moderate forms are false and treacherous. While I’m perfectly happy to say “*if* I believed in a religion, I’d believe in a proper one that made you smite people rather than give them cups of tea” I can’t quite see how atheists can dictate to religious folk what their religion is supposed to look like. All fundamentalist religions are doomed, because they cannot possibly produce a self-consistent message that makes any kind of philosophical sense. It is obvious, for example, that nothing that makes sense as a god could possibly require people to gather in special buildings to worship while speaking a dead language. This is why the C of E works. Score 0.
* Faith, as defined above, is the most dangerous and wicked force on earth today. This is just stupid. Score 0.

So, I score 1/6, which practically makes me a deist. Hey ho.

I rather like “most believers already know what excuses to make for the apparent absence of dragons or gods, even as they claim belief in them, so they’re keeping a map of the real world somewhere”.

Citation needed

Standard wikipedia joke. See how the meme spreads. Anyway:

I was listening to the renta-Odone, followed by the renta-Bishop, on R4 this morning after C4 last night broadcast a programme on assisted suicide. Everyone said all the obvious things all over again so it was a bit dull, but what I was struck by was the Bish’s words were all his personal opinion, and social conventions. There was no religious grounding there at all. At no point did he say “well our source text, chapter X, verse Y, specifically states that…”, and I presume thats (a) because his source text is (entirely?) silent on the issue, and perhaps (b) because he doesn’t much care what his source text says; thats not really where the C of E comes from in these days. As I understand it, the prohibition on suicide in christianity largely arises from the problem that life here on earth can be pretty grim (and was far far grimmer for a peasant in the old days), whereas those who believe get to live in paradise after death; so obviously you need a rule to stop people topping themselves (some extreme radical muslims seem to have solved that one recently, to our cost). Naturally enough the Bish can’t say that, so he is reduced to waffle.