Hate Mail

Michael Rennie #2

[Editor's note: Remember Michael Rennie's last exchange, where he started by arguing that America was founded as a "Christian Nation" and wound up making an ill-advised detour into evolution science? He's back, with the patented creationist "start over with a brand new argument as if the old one never took place" technique]

[Mar 3, 2006]:

I just saw this and thought I would forward it to you all. Its very good ammunition if you ever need to argue/convince yourself of the case for traditional Christian family values.

http://www.heritage.org/research/features/marriage/


[My response]:

What makes you think marriage is a "traditional Christian family value"? When Confucius wrote about the important role of the father in the family five centuries before Jesus was born, was he using "traditional Christian family values?"

It's pretty sad that you are reduced to falsely claiming exclusive Christian ownership of a nigh-universal human behaviour in order to pretend that America needs Christianity.


[His next message]:

Yeah OK Confucius heralded the same values too - no problem. The point is that the west, where we have lost those values, has traditionally been Christian.

Im not reduced by anyone. Those statistics show that what America needs right now is a return to morality - can atheism provide that? I think not.

If you dont like Christianity, try Confucianism then - I have no problem with that. Confucianism is also a very strong & family oriented religion.


[My response]:

Yeah OK Confucius heralded the same values too - no problem. The point is that the west, where we have lost those values, has traditionally been Christian.

A correlation, not a cause.

Im not reduced by anyone. Those statistics show that what America needs right now is a return to morality - can atheism provide that? I think not.

Of course not, because atheism is not a value system, any more than mathematics is. Do you tell people that we should stop using mathematics in order to "return to morality"?

Humanism, however, can most certainly provide morality, and is in fact the basis of much of the American Bill of Rights. But in any case, you have yet to prove your assertion that the divorce rate is a symptom of declining "morality" rather than an overstressed and dysfunctional society, increasing poverty, etc.

In fact, according to the Barna Research study, born-again Christians actually have the HIGHEST divorce rate, not the lowest as you would no doubt expect. How do you explain that?

If you dont like Christianity, try Confucianism then - I have no problem with that. Confucianism is also a very strong & family oriented religion.

And humanism isn't? What exactly is your problem with humanism?

[Editor's note: it is worth noting that he obviously has no idea what Confucianism is, since its moral teachings are not based on appeals to divine authority the way Christian teachings are, but rather, they are based on the personal philosophy of Confucius. And one of Confucius' teachings was that the strong should not use force to dominate the weak; this runs diametrically opposite to the beliefs of Christianity in which the strongest (God) is presumed to have unlimited authority to do whatever he wants to the weak (us)]:


[His next message]:

Look Im not advocating Christianity - thats not really the point. What I was trying to show by pointing out that website is that, the traditional values that are taught by religion, are essential for society. I only forwarded it to you because I remember you asked me "whats wrong with premarital sex?" Well there is your answer - have a look at those graphs and try to learn something instead of arguing.


[My response]:

Look Im not advocating Christianity - thats not really the point. What I was trying to show by pointing out that website is that, the traditional values that are taught by religion, are essential for society. I only forwarded it to you because I remember you asked me "whats wrong with premarital sex?" Well there is your answer - have a look at those graphs and try to learn something instead of arguing.

You obviously missed the point, so let me spell it out for you: the morality of premarital sex has NOTHING to do with the divorce rate. Try again.

[Editor's note: This point flew over his head, but if you examine his argument you can see that he clearly does not differentiate between premarital sex and adultery; to him, they are identical "sins" even though one involves the unethical act of oath-breaking and abuse of trust while the other does not].

I never said that - dont be silly.

Yes you did, by implying that atheism is somehow bad because it doesn't promote any value system. By this tortured logic, mathematics is bad too.

Those graphs show it - if you will only look.

No they don't. Do you even vaguely understand the concept of controlled and uncontrolled variables?

Humanism simply doesn't protect marriage. When was the last time you saw a humanist campaigning to strengthen marriage? Its the religious leaders that protect marriage. Its always the religious who protest against abortion.

I hate to break it to you, but "abortion" and "marriage" are actually two completely different concepts. Perhaps you should invest in a dictionary.

Its the femanists that campaign for the abolition of the traditional role of women. Its the humanists that campaign for the abolition of the traiditional family structure.

The sexist "traditional family structure" has nothing to do with the strength of marriage, which is why the most "traditional" Christians (the born-agains) actually have the highest divorce rates. Marriages are stronger when women and men interact as equals.

I dont particularly enjoy arguing with you - it always seems to be fruitless. Like I said I only included you from my address list because I thougth you could learn something from a conservative think tank. If you want to continue arguing with me about the benefits of religion, then read the heritage section on religion first.

I love the way people like you think you can win an argument by simply pointing at a website and saying "look, see!!!" I looked at the article, and it offered nothing more than the usual hopelessly unprofessional uncontrolled correlations and leaps in logic which I have come to expect.

I noticed you totally ignored a point I made in my last E-mail, so I will repeat it: according to the Barna Research study, born-again Christians actually have the HIGHEST divorce rate, not the lowest as you would no doubt expect. How do you explain that?


[Feb 4 (his next message)]:

You obviously missed the point, so let me spell it out for you: the morality of premarital sex has NOTHING to do with the divorce rate. Try again.

If someone hasnt got the self control to abstain before marriage, are they likely to have the self control to abstain from sex outside of their marriage? Probably not. Anyway what those graphs do prove is that premarital sex is linked with illigitamate children, which by the way is also linked to crime. Thats something even you cant deny.

Yes you did, by implying that atheism is somehow bad because it doesn't promote any value system. By this tortured logic, mathematics is bad too.

Mathematics is a science - it has nothing to do with morality whatsoever. Humanism is a belief system where one makes moral decicisions that have a tendancy to be very liberal and care free.

No they don't. Do you even vaguely understand the concept of controlled and uncontrolled variables?

What those graphs show is that the divorce rate is a cause of crime and social decay. They also show that children born of broken families are less likely to value the traditional family. So if they dont value the family, what do they value? Its a spiral of decay, as I pointed out on my blog: http://rennie84.blogspot.com

I hate to break it to you, but "abortion" and "marriage" are actually two completely different concepts. Perhaps you should invest in a dictionary.

Thats irrelevant. Abortion and premarital sex are two morality issues that the humanists want to push under the carpet, and the religious leaders want to campaign against.

The sexist "traditional family structure" has nothing to do with the strength of marriage, which is why the most "traditional" Christians (the born-agains) actually have the highest divorce rates. Marriages are stronger when women and men interact as equals.

There is nothing sexist about the traditional family structure. In this world there are roles that are played by the woman, and there are those played by the man. Its a simple biological and sociological fact. Its a feminist lie that the traditional family is sexist.

I love the way people like you think you can win an argument by simply pointing at a website and saying "look, see!!!" I looked at the article, and it offered nothing more than the usual hopelessly unprofessional uncontrolled correlations and leaps in logic which I have come to expect.

Thats nonsense. Its a very clear, logical site that states the traditional family and the values associated with it are essential for a healthy society.

I noticed you totally ignored a point I made in my last E-mail, so I will repeat it: according to the Barna Research study, born-again Christians actually have the HIGHEST divorce rate, not the lowest as you would no doubt expect. How do you explain that?

Is there any reason to suggest WHY someone of faith is more likely to divorce than someone who only thinks about the here and now? Didnt think so. Anyway, religion can strengthen marriage. Amongst the 1982 Unification Church Holy Marriage Blessing that my parents attended, 82% are still together. Thats much better than the American average. http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_dira.htm I myself am married, and my religion teaches me that to break my marriage is the worst thing I can do.

ps (with regards to my religion) How can that be a bad thing?


[My response]:

If someone hasnt got the self control to abstain before marriage, are they likely to have the self control to abstain from sex outside of their marriage? Probably not.

(sigh) yet again you demonstrate a failure to seriously think about the situation. It obviously hasn't occurred to you that premarital sex is not a failure of self-control if you don't think it's wrong.

Anyway what those graphs do prove is that premarital sex is linked with illigitamate children, which by the way is also linked to crime. Thats something even you cant deny.

You obviously don't understand the difference between a correlation and a cause. You should research logical fallacies sometime, because you rely heavily upon them.

Mathematics is a science - it has nothing to do with morality whatsoever. Humanism is a belief system where one makes moral decicisions that have a tendancy to be very liberal and care free.

Two errors:

1) Humanism and atheism are not the same thing.

2) You're clearly just making up your definitions as you go along. Do you even know what humanism teaches?

What those graphs show is that the divorce rate is a cause of crime and social decay. They also show that children born of broken families are less likely to value the traditional family. So if they dont value the family, what do they value? Its a spiral of decay, as I pointed out on my blog: http://rennie84.blogspot.com

Funny how born-again Christians are MORE likely to cause this problem through divorce then, isn't it? Does it ever occur to you that the primary cause of divorce is lousy relationship skills, not insufficient preaching about the importance of marriage?

Thats irrelevant. Abortion and premarital sex are two morality issues that the humanists want to push under the carpet, and the religious leaders want to campaign against.

It's "irrelevant" that you equate apples to oranges? Religious people are NOT "strengthening marriage" by campaigning against abortion. It is quite possible to have a very strong marriage without opposing abortion.

There is nothing sexist about the traditional family structure. In this world there are roles that are played by the woman, and there are those played by the man. Its a simple biological and sociological fact. Its a feminist lie that the traditional family is sexist.

What is your definition of "sexist"? It is clearly different from the one in the dictionary.

[Editor's note: I was hoping he would answer and I'd be able to explain this to him, but he never answered so I'll just briefly say this: I have observed that a lot of people who oppose the evil "feminist agenda" seem to think that making people return to "traditional roles" is somehow not sexist if you can show that women and men are biologically different. This is an interesting and very common mentality which is reminiscent of Calvinism: the notion of divine predestination. However, the fact that women are biologically better-suited to raising children does not mean they should be treated as inferiors, as Paul instructed in the Bible, or that they should be prohibited from doing non-traditional things]

Thats nonsense. Its a very clear, logical site that states the traditional family and the values associated with it are essential for a healthy society.

By massive use of the "false cause" fallacy. It is unfortunate that the American education system has failed you so completely that you honestly don't know how to differentiate between a correlation and a cause.

Is there any reason to suggest WHY someone of faith is more likely to divorce than someone who only thinks about the here and now? Didnt think so.

That's hilarious. I point you to a study showing that born-again Christians have a higher divorce rate, and you retort by saying that you think they SHOULDN'T have a higher divorce rate according to you, therefore this survey data must be wrong? I hate to break it you, but facts trump assumptions, and your assumptions have just been blown out of the water. Now it's time for you to start using a little more logic and a little less rhetoric, and asking yourself whether your arguments are flawed if they produce predictions that do not jive with reality.

Anyway, religion can strengthen marriage. Amongst the 1982 Unification Church Holy Marriage Blessing that my parents attended, 82% are still together. Thats much better than the American average.

And among the atheists I know who have gotten married, 100% are still together. So what? There's a reason that people use large sample sizes in order to generate sociological arguments.

http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_dira.htm

Do you even read your own links? That link says "Divorce rates among conservative Christians were significently higher than for other faith groups, and for Atheists and Agnostics." That's the exact OPPOSITE of what you're saying.

I myself am married, and my religion teaches me that to break my marriage is the worst thing I can do.

So? Humanism teaches you that breaking your oath is a terrible thing to do too, but I don't see you taking this as proof that humanists can't divorce or cheat.


[Unfortunately, he never replied. I say that's unfortunate because we were starting to get into the meat of his argument: his false assumptions about humanism. I was kind of looking forward to explaining what humanism really teaches, but he never gave me that chance. The messages weren't very long and it wouldn't have taken much effort to continue; I can't help but wonder if he just became uncomfortable with the direction the conversation was taking].


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