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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Taking Credit for Other's Work

In the current eSkeptic newsletter put out by Michael Shermer's Skeptic Society, Shermer has made his notes available from a recent debate with Dinesh D’Souza at Oregon State University on the topic "Is Christianity Good for the World?" Shermer's basic argument is that "It Depends". It's good when it does good and it's bad when it does bad. And in particular, one argument he makes is that often it is bad, even very bad, before it is good.

"Mark my words. Here is what is going to happen. Within a decade, maybe two or three, Christians will come around to treating gays no differently than they now treat other groups whom they previously persecuted — women, Jews, blacks — but not because of some new interpretation of a biblical passage, or because of a new revelation from God. These changes will come about the same way that they always do: by the oppressed minority fighting for the right to be treated equally, and by a few enlightened members of the oppressing majority supporting their cause.

Then what will happen is that Christians will take credit for the civil liberation of gays, dig through the historical record and find a few Christian bloggers or preachers who had the courage and the character to stand up for Gay rights when their fellow Christians would not, and then cite those as evidence that were it not for Christianity gays would not be equal."

Yep. That about sums it up. Attitudes toward gays have slowly been evolving toward tolerance and acceptance for decades now. Although the lunatic religious fringe still clings on to homophobia as a last resort to keep their weakening stranglehold on the sheep among us, just like we now shake our heads in disbelief at the treatment of Blacks pre-civil rights era, soon (and not fast enough) we will wonder what the big deal was over two people of the same sex loving each other.

Granted, this hasn't come easy. It has taken a lot of hard work to get to the point we are today and will continue to take just as much to get to the point where we should be. Many people have made sacrifices, and some have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the battle for equality. And though there is no doubt that many Christians have been a positive force in this struggle, while Christianity will try to claim credit for the ultimate victory, we should always remember that religion has been the primary oppressive force in this struggle. The driving force behind the gay rights movement is an appeal to fairness, equality and human rights, things that are completely and totally independent of religion. Meanwhile the driving force behind homophobia has been an appeal to "God's word".

My guess is that those words written in the Bible aren't going to change any time soon. Funny how in a few decades most Christians will read them differently though.

2 Comments:

Blogger Heathen Dan said...

A good observation by Michael Shermer. Indeed, christians have been taking credit for most of the progress that secularism have brought about. It's not too long ago that the churches would deny equal rights to women and non-whites in America. But when change became inevitable, they shift gears and claim it was their effort all along.

As Bertrand Russell once quipped: I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.

Mon Jan 07, 06:54:00 PM 2008  
Blogger MICKY said...

Greetings Bruce,
You are obviously in a lot of pain! I suggest you get down on your knees & ask JESUS CHRIST to forgive you for the above DIATRIBE (sins).

I love you Brucy! Do you love me?

I, MICKY, AM THE LORD'S LIGHT & SALVATION FOR OTHER PEOPLE>

Tue Jan 08, 11:56:00 AM 2008  

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