Cross posted from Left of Center
Last night I ran across yet another excercise in trying to disprove Christianity in favor of empiricism. That's it. From this point on, the next person that engages in this fruitless endeavor is getting a cap in his ass.
Over at the Political Animal you can expect at least once a week for one of these things to show up, and too many blogs out there under the guise of liberal news are little more than Christian bashing sites.
We of the Unpaid Punditry Corps don't do this, do we? Hell no, not even Shamanic, and she's among those that really do have a grievience against the Religious Right.
Now, I understand guys. I'm a secularist. Hell I'm as secular as they come. But what you guys too often do is take an argument that should be focusing on issue and policy, and you turn it into this emotional argument that can't be won.
So we're going to start with a clean slate, okay. I'm not going to call anyone out, except Kevin Drum, but he's big fish so I think he'll be okay. Instead, I'm going to go ahead and lay some groundwork here, and we can all go about our business doing things a little smarter. Okay?
Why we can't get into an argument over which is right; Christianity, or Science:
-The argument can't be won based on proof. Religion is based solely on faith, and while science is based on fact, it should be inherently obvious that science doesn't have all the answers, and the answers that we do have could at any one time be shattered by improvements in methodology, or technology.
-The argument will never convert anyone. Our belief in how the universe was created, grew into what it is now, and currently works is very emotional. When engaging someone with an opposing view, instead of listening to reasonable arguments, that person will only become more rigid in their own stance.
-The argument opens our entire political end of the spectrum open to attack. Understand that you represent liberals all over. When Michael Newdow embarked upon his crusade against the usage of "God," in the pledge of allegiance, he was not speaking for himself, but for all liberals. This makes it easy for the right wing machine to say that liberals hate God. This is bad because...
-Christians are the majority in America. While it is mostly fundamentalists that carry the flag in these arguments, it isn't hard to twist an argument that offends only a few into an argument that offends the majority.
I want to emphasize something that is directly related to this last thing. The fundamentalist Christians that are constantly trying to make our life a living hell are a MINORITY. The MAJORITY of Christians, I believe, are reasonable folks. But we have to tailor our arguments to address the issues at hand, and develop a dialogue that will appeal to the sensibilities of this majority. Because, let's face it, without thesupport of a majority, we're screwed.
-Teach evolution and scientific theory, instead of creationism and intelligent design.
-Maintain a seperation between Church and State.
In developing our rhetoric, we have to make a few things clear:
-We don't think God is bad, evil, wrong, detrimental, or any other negative adjective you can think of.
-We must arrange the debate so that those sensible Christians understand the benefits of our side that apply to them.
From here, we can develop rhetoric and talking points that can get the arguments away from the quicksand of fighting over who is right, and really start digging away at the issue of doing the right thing.
-Seperation of church and state protects religion, not stifles it.
-Public education is a forum where we teach our young the knowledge that we as a human race have obtained.
-By keeping religion out of our schools, we let the best people qualified to teach our youth about God do the job. Those people are of course our community's spiritual leaders and parents.
-In a multicultural society, it is important to understand that our population doesn't just tolerate different cultures, but depends upon them, and is in fact composed of them. Understanding that each culture has its own set of beliefs is the first step in respecting all of our citizens.
These are just a few, of course. But what I want you to take from this is that we need to be able to focus on an area where we can make up ground. If we don't, then the Dr. Dobsons, Pat Robertsons, Bob Jones, and Jerry Falwells of this country are going to continue to own us.