stupid atheist?

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Mary Grabar’s “Letter to a Stupid Atheist” at TownHall, ostensibly a rebuttal to Sam Harris’ Letter to a Christian Nation, is a rhetorical failure on many levels.

In attempting to denigrate the scientific method, Grabar refers to “how we scoff at the foolish scientific ideas of our father’s and grandfather’s times,” but misses the obvious parallel with the pre-scientific ideas which comprise the bible. I wouldn’t call the science of either one generation or one hundred ago “foolish,” but it is appropriate to use that word for those (such as the anti-Copernicans) who persist in propagating long-discredited ideas.

She criticizes Harris for his “ability to string together clichés and tired arguments,” but her piece does little else. Her caricature of his readers as “correct-minded, nipped and Botox-ed activists” who bought his book after “whipp[ing] out the credit cards from Louis Vitton bags” [sic, it’s actually Louis Vuitton] and read it during “trips to the salon, masseuse, and transcendental meditation retreat” says precious little about us but much about her.

Grabar claims that “historically Christianity was the first real democracy,” but this makes me wonder: Has she never heard of Athens? The Greek concept of democracy predates Christianity by five hundred years, as the word “democracy” itself (demos + kratos) suggests. While Athenian democracy was hardly perfect, it was very real.

She even attempts to misconstrue slavery as “an historical fact that Christians had to deal with, and not something they promoted.” This does not square with the fact that nowhere does the bible condemn slavery, although it does prohibit such practices as beating a slave to death. The New Testament is hardly better than the Old in this respect, especially considering Paul’s words in Ephesians that slaves are to be obedient to their masters. Contrary to the directive in Deuteronomy, Paul returns the runaway slave Onesimus to his master Philemon. What would Grabar call returning a slave to his servitude if not a “promotion” of slavery?

Grabar’s piece could scarcely have been worse if it had been typed in all caps.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on February 19, 2007 12:04 PM.

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