A critique of Nietzsche’s case against Christian values

Image for post
Image for post

Unlike the new atheist’s main criticism of Christianity, which has to do merely with whether God exists, Nietzsche’s criticism goes to the heart of what Christians care about.

The question of God’s existence is a conceptual matter of whether an immaterial, eternal, transcendent but personified X could be said to exist in the same sense as a rock or a chair that occupies a point in time and space.

Nietzsche, however, condemned Christian values, especially the value of agape or charitable love of those who fail to flourish in worldly terms. …


Is either kind of religious faith on safe ground?

Image for post
Image for post

What happens when progressive Christians meet conservative evangelical ones?

The progressive Christian takes flagrant Americanism to be irrelevant to an ancient religion, and emphasizes Jesus’s socialist teachings and altruistic, world-renouncing practices, as presented in the gospels.

Meanwhile, the born-again fundamentalist Protestant leaps headfirst into Americanism, defining Christianity as a personal relationship with God that happens to be compatible with all manner of imperialism, nationalism, patriarchy, warmongering, consumerism, and libertarian selfishness.

How can a religion contain such multitudes?

Progressive Christianity

Liberal Christianity sprang from Enlightenment criticism of the Bible, when scientific facts were rigorously distinguished from myth, fantasy, and obscurantist propaganda. Instead of leaving Christianity altogether, once its dogmas had been naturalized and the literalistic readings of the Bible were discounted as naïve, self-serving, and tribal, the liberal Christian found existential meaning in the Christian myths. …


The wisdom or the folly of breaking nature’s political quarantine.

Image for post
Image for post

The most common societal power distribution aligns with the one most prevalent in social animal species. Power is concentrated in a single leader that settles the group’s affairs with the support of his (or sometimes her) strongest and most trusted lieutenants, each level in the hierarchy dominating the one below it.

Thus, throughout the animal kingdom, we have the dominance hierarchy or pecking order, and in most human societies in history we have the monarchy, the absolute rule of a king or queen over the masses. …


And how not to weasel out of the reckoning for evangelicals

Image for post
Image for post

What does political reality look like in the US from the perspective of a white, conservative, American evangelical Christian who supported Donald Trump’s presidency against the Democrats? The writings of evangelical strategist Tom Gilson showcase the casuistry that saves face for his “religion” that’s nevertheless been caught red-handed.

After the storming of Capitol Hill, Gilson put out two articles in rapid succession, one warning about a coming holy war because of the equal validity of conflicting liberal and conservative perspectives in the US, the other arguing for unity between pro-Trump and NeverTrump evangelicals.

Let’s examine these articles to learn about the evangelical mindset that helped put Trump in the White House. …


And is Western philosophy unpopular because it’s depressing?

Image for post
Image for post

Gathering dust on a shelf in the Ivory Tower’s basement is a ragged tome about the trouble with Western philosophy.

Moreover, some philosophy graduate students, who had been seduced by the chance of speculating for a living and who discovered the dark secret too late have whispered of the horrors within that haunted tower.

But do their devastating reports about the state of academic philosophy show that philosophy itself is rotten?

The Fraud of Academic Philosophy

The dark secret, in short, is that in North America at least, academic philosophy is a con — and in more ways than one. Undergraduates who dip their toe in philosophy expand their minds but are treated mostly to a superficial history of ideas or are guided by their teacher’s assistant in a series of intellectual jamming sessions as they opine on the big questions that have no straightforward answers. …


Authoritarian nationalism as an idol for white American evangelicals

Image for post
Image for post

Eventually, American conservative evangelicals will have to reckon with their zealous support of the Republican Party and of the Trump cult, both of which are antithetical to Jesus’s teachings in so far as the latter are presented in the gospels.

These misled Christians will have to tell their grandchildren which side they were on when thousands of delusional insurrectionists stormed the Capitol. Until then, we should hold up their dopey sermons and casuistic rationalizations as evidence of an ongoing Orwellian conspiracy against reality and decency.

See, for example, the writings of Tom Gilson who is an American evangelical writer and strategist.


And how natural societies have no divine approval

Image for post
Image for post

Edmund Burke, an eighteenth-century member of the British House of Commons is widely regarded as the founder of modern conservatism. He supported liberal principles of social reform with great rhetorical skill until the chaos of the French Revolution inclined him to be more skeptical about our rational capacity for revolutionary progress.

Burke foresaw the havoc that resulted from the overthrow of the French monarchy and he predicted that the French would lurch into a new dictatorship to escape the chaos they created for themselves.

Some of his contemporary critics like Karl Marx and Thomas Paine accused Burke of being opportunistic and transactional and as having no consistent adherence to philosophical principles. But I think Burke’s principles can be discerned from the positions he took on the three main issues faced by Britain at that time: the American Revolution, the British East India Company’s abuses in India, and the French Revolution. …


How a contemptible religion can have sane and moral members

Image for post
Image for post

In his article, “We May Disagree on Our Beliefs, But We’re Still Human,” the Christian apologist and strategist Tom Gilson takes me to task for insulting his god and thus, indirectly, for insulting the Christians that worship him.

Monstrous God, Monstrous Worshipper?

Gilson was referring to a lengthy comment I made on one of his blog’s articles in which he argued that Nietzsche’s point about the death of God really entails the death of man, since, Gilson said, without God we lose our privileged status in the universe or are no longer able to explain the rights we know we have.

According to Gilson, I said ‘the God Christians worship is a “human-like,” “monstrous,” “psychopathic,” “jealous, irrational, sadistic tyrant.” This God is a wizard-like figure waving the equivalent of a “magic wand.”’ …


And how to strengthen an atheistic worldview.

Image for post
Image for post

On the internet, Matt Dillahunty is one of the most formidable atheistic debaters against Christians. As capable as he is, though, I believe there’s a glaring weakness in his standard argument.

What I’d like to do here, then, is present a summary of Dillahunty’s case against Christian theism. Then I’ll give what I think is the best response to it, and I’ll end by considering where that response leaves both Christians and atheists.

Dillahunty’s Case Against Christian Apologetics

You can find Dillahunty’s go-to argument in this online debate. (Jump to his opening statement at the 16:00 minute mark.) The question that’s usually at issue for him, since he often debates Evangelical preachers and amateur Christian apologists, is whether Christianity is rational or indeed whether this religion makes for the most rational worldview. …


Cultish zeal, warped Christianity, and the emasculation of white America

Image for post
Image for post

Having been incited by “President” Donald Trump and his cronies in Congress, potentially as part of a coordinated coup attempt against President-Elect Joe Biden, a herd of rioting Trump supporters stormed the Capitol Building on January 6 to interfere with the certification of the electoral votes, leaving five people dead.

Realizing, though, that he lacks the backing of the military (because he insulted them at every turn in his four years in office, acting as a useful idiot for Russia, a rival of the US), Trump backed down and filmed a plea for his supporters to leave Capitol Hill in peace. …

About

Benjamin Cain

Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store