Of God And Mangan

The thread has lengthened over at Dennis Mangan’s since I linked to his recent post about religion, and again I urge you all to go and read it. He has been engaged primarily with the conservative writer Lawrence Auster, who has been defending his Christianity against Mr. Mangan’s skeptical atheism. No, that is wrong: Mr. Auster is on the attack, and Dennis is demonstrating, with masterful skill and saintly patience, that religious arguments against the nonbeliever — and Mr. Auster mounts the assault as well as any I’ve ever seen — break harmlessly upon a rational, skeptical worldview. It is a lot to read, but very much worth your time.


  1. Kevin Kim says

    Good catalogue of scriptural contradictions here, within that thread. Many of these are known to Bib Lit students; it’s scriptural literalists who are rattled by them and/or strive to invent reasons for why these contradictions aren’t actually contradictions. Folks who prefer to view the gospels as symbolic narrative don’t really get that exercised about the matter.


    Posted December 21, 2008 at 9:26 pm | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Plenty more to get exercised about over there, of course, starting with “Darwinism is false”.

    This is a nice example, once again, of the special privilege religion gets: Dennis must bend over backwards to avoid “denigrating” the “deeply held beliefs” of his interlocutors, and they in turn flog him for threatening the cherished foundation of Civilization itself by daring even to question these obsolete ideas — but have no such compunctions of their own.

    Posted December 22, 2008 at 12:02 am | Permalink
  3. Kevin Kim says

    As someone who calls himself religious, I can no longer relate to why people get so exercised about perceived aspersions cast on religious beliefs. In a sense, the touchier religious people are getting a taste of their own medicine. Haven’t they, after all, argued that their belief in their belief-system’s superiority isn’t arrogance, but merely a sincere expression of their worldview? How is that different from what Mangan is doing?

    To be honest, I skipped a lot of that thread to concentrate on the Mangan/Auster exchanges, especially when I saw that loopier individuals were making claims like “Darwinism is false.” That’s one reason why I remain chary of the comments feature: without strict policing, you may be inviting the crazies in to your party.


    Posted December 22, 2008 at 12:10 am | Permalink
  4. Malcolm says

    Kevin, that was Auster himself who said that!

    Posted December 22, 2008 at 12:35 am | Permalink
  5. Malcolm, thanks for your kind words. Regarding the “special privilege” of religion, while you are of course correct, partly what is going on is that I’m trying to be polite to my guests who have taken the time and effort to respond. Another part is that I do agree with many of the other, non-religious views of my commentators; they are allies, generally speaking.

    Even so, as you say, they feel no compunction to behave similarly.

    Posted December 22, 2008 at 11:13 am | Permalink
  6. Kevin Kim says


    Whoops — true enough. Egads.


    Posted December 22, 2008 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

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