Let me ask you of what seems to be a random question on the surface of things: If some Christians can get passed the ghoulish costumes worn around the Halloween season and regard it simply as a cultural holiday of fun and candy, then can't atheists get passed the fact that Christianity does not have a monopoly over Easter and just consider it a Chocolate Bunny Rabbit Day instead?
I'm sure that some do. However, like the fundamentalists they used to be and still are today, some folk at Debunking Christianity just can't get over the fact that Easter has something to do with a religion they really don't like because they used to "belong". In their own little way, they make the situation out to be as if they just transitioned over from skinhead Nazism and had an epiphany about the origins of the different human races. Actually, in a way, the DC folks once did belong to a form of skinhead racist philosophy, if you account for the ignorance it bestows in much of the same fashion that fundamentalists have justified their own beliefs. The situation at hand clearly demonstrates that the ignorance of Loftus n' Friends are what made them deconvert and use a different style of ignorance to counter the ignorance they once had before. But as they say, you can't fight fire with fire....
Several recent posts on DC have all been revolving around the origins of the death and resurrection concept, or i.e., Easter. Now that DJ is a Christian-turned atheist as he claims, he's accustomed to accepting the contents of popular atheist writings and literature quite uncritically. It is similar in the manner of Acharya S' zeal after having come out with a fifth book dealing with the "mythological Christ", so to speak. Case in point: It's an unhealthy obsession, and whether people choose to admit it or not, there are lies and distortions coming from both sides of the plate. One such example comes from Loftus himself:
Even if someone is way out of bounds with what I think can be rationally defended, I can still say, "but she makes a good case against Christianity...she makes me think."
It's not worth saying this is a puzzling statement. What is there to "think" about something that is misconstrued and distortionally inaccurate? The provocativeness of it all amounts to how someone is able to connect the dots where none exist conclusively or substantially. That's the only provocativeness we need to be concerned with, because everything else is beyond the shadow of a doubt, false and misplaced, and is therefore not worth the time investment. Hence, there is already a preconceived bias to believe most anti-Christian notions of history, even if John willingly acknowledges them as false in their entirety.
Another example, not directly related to Easter, comes from a post about Acharya S and Dr. Robert Price a few years back:
John W. Loftus said...
I know about both of their views.
Let me state for the record that I am a freethinker first, and an atheist second. No freethinker faces a potential excommunication or heresy trial for not abiding by the party line as far as I'm concerned. I left Christianity partly over this party line attitude. Acharya S. was a Blog member here for a week until she recused herself because of her critics, and I have invited Bob to be a member here with no luck yet.
Where I agree with people, I agree. Where I disagree with people I disagree. That's it. For instance, I do believe Jesus was a historical figure in the 1st century unlike them. But I learn from everyone.
The goal here at DC is to Debunk evangelical Christianity. This could be done by a Deist, a new age pantheist, an agnostic or an atheist.
2:54 PM, September 02, 2006
The debunking of evangelical Christianity is open up to everyone, except for non-evangelical Christians. Hmmm. That's suspicious. Keep in mind that John's blog is titled "Debunking Christianity" not "Debunking Evangelism" or "Debunking Evangelical Christianity". The latter is a long title for a blog, but it does coincide with what John argues about in his already existent blog. Could this serve as proof that John not only has a clearly established and biased agenda, but that it is also related to his narrow scope based on his lack of experience with general Christianity? These are questions that need answering. I want to see if John (or any DC poster) can answer them directly and straightforwardly. If not, DC does not have a case for anything it proposes. Zero...nada...zip.
Keep this in mind when you happen to come across some bogus argument based on a discontent for Christianity's relation to Easter and a desire to link the New Testament resurrection with Sumerian paganism directly: http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2009/04/valerie-tarico-on-ancient-sumerian.html (The person mentioned in the article's title is a DC contributor, which, for some unknown reason, was unable to post this herself):
"Some stories speak to people in a deep spiritual way. These sacred stories are what are called "myths" in the field of religious studies. Despite our common usage, a myth traditionally is not just a false tale. Rather, it is a story that, at least at one point in time, had a very powerful spiritual resonance. The story of death and resurrection is one such story. In the Sumerian tradition, in which much of the Bible is rooted, the story is called, "From the Great Above to the Great Below" or "The Descent of Inanna." There is also a Babylonian version of the myth, which is called "The Descent of Ishtar," and she is known elsewhere as Astarte."I would think there would be three factors to take into consideration before making direct connections with these: Time period, context, and technical details. It's an obvious fact that most if not all dying and rising pagan myths are centered around the symbolic represenation of the withering and blossoming of cultivated plantation. This is an extremely pantheistic view and not one that I don't think fits well with meaning of the Christ story. Christ's resurrection is one of salvaging his followers from the afterlife torments of death, not a symbolism of Mother Nature. Perhaps there are some cultural influences and assimilations involved, but to me this resembles the dilemma of fitting a square peg into a round hole.
Another thing I think is more to the point than merely assuming a copy cat thesis are the similarities in cultural language. So some of the linguistics and literary figures such as the numeric similarities between Mesopotamian myths and the counterpart tales found in the Bible are due to similar cultural exposure, rather than deliberate plagarism. These similarities could get fused together and thus end up in the unconcious assimilating of these stories that we modern people today would perceive as religion carrying on and refining the traditions of much older religions that today no one practices. I can't argue against that on all accounts, but I believe in order to truly understand the languages and contexts of these myths and their belief systems, we must understand the culture and psychology that was present at that relative point in time.Like previously before with John's arguments on Christianity being a "cult", the article John references is one big gunshot to the foot:
"If the resurrection of Christ didn't literally happen, that shouldn't have any bearing on whether life now is worth living or how we live. From my vantage point, where values and practices are the heart of Christianity, the contradiction lies in people like our recent president who think it's ok to practice torture and yet call themselves Christians. Who would Jesus waterboard? Christ's torture and execution remind us that we are called to put an end to such practices in human affairs. From the standpoint of my Christianity, right-wing evangelical fundamentalism is really the opposite of what Christ was about. Those who subscribe to an intolerant, arrogant, inhumane form of Christianity are following a religion that is literally antichrist."
I think it's time for John to rename his blog to a much more appropriate title. He also needs to broaden his staff to the non-evangelical, if indeed he is so bent on exterminating evangelism from this country. Will John do this? Probably not. Is it possible that he uses Debunking Christianity to gain a wider web traffic and to get better marketing? Possibly so. In the end, only John truly knows. ;)