Today VenomFangx posted a video entitled “Separation of Church and State from Secular Propaganda”. The main premise of this video is that if you have science without religion you have no morals (what he says is the new secularism) and that if you have religion without science the religion is not factual(he says he dares not mention the name of this religion but he’s talking about Islam). He then says Christianity is the one true middle ground and makes lots of claims as to why having just science is bad. But before we begin let me say that I am sorry if this rambles some, he made so many claims and I wanted to respond to them all. But let us begin:
Shawn does make a correct statement here, the term separation of Church and State was coined in a letter by Thomas Jefferson but he endorsed it saying this: “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law regarding an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.”
Venom then claims that George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were both devout Christians and they were hugely important in American history (this is never brought up again but for arguments sake I shall respond). George Washington was a Christian but on his death bed he specially said he didn’t want a Christian funeral and Abraham Lincoln said many things regarding Christianity with one of the most famous being: “The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession”, he also said the following: “My earlier views of the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation and the human origin of the scriptures, have become clearer and stronger with advancing years and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change them”
So as we can see George Washington may well have been a Christian but Abraham Lincoln was most certainly not.
VenomFangx then claims that secularism was started by Augustine but this is utterly not true. Secularism was started by Epicurus, Aurelius and other ancient thinkers. It was then expanded upon greatly by famous Enlightenment thinkers such as Diderot, Voltaire and Locke. So yes Shawn, secularism WAS mostly born during the Enlightenment.
The next claim he makes is that we shouldn’t let the state take over the making of policies. Well…..state is defined as: a politically organized body of people under a single government. So with that being said why should the state not take over the making of policies? Policies govern the people and a state consists of the people being governed. But who do you propose should make the policies instead. (Never mind I already know his answer.)
He then says that secularism is the deeming of religion and religious people as dangerous when that is not true at all. Secularism is merely the rejection of religion not the hatred of it, there is a very big difference there Shawn.
The next point Shawn makes is that we are deciding what is right and wrong for ourselves. What is defined as right or wrong evolves with our society. I would like to take an excerpt from a previous post I wrote where I talk about this same issue:
Shawn claims that objective morality should be good but people with “standards” as he calls them, are seen as bigoted and closed minded. Well let’s entertain the hypothetical, say there was a person named X who was timeless and lived forever. His moral standard consisted primarily of the slogan “I hate black people”. If he lived in the 1920’s that would be a fine position to hold. America was racist then. Then fast forward to the 1950’s. The position is still ok, not many people will argue him, but if we jump to present day we would have people harassing him, calling him names ect and all because he kept the same moral standard that said “I hate black people”. Societies evolve and values change. People change and along with them their sense of right and wrong. Moral standards must change as well or the society will falter, so if anything the changing of morals speaks to their strength not weakness.
Now the claim is made that science is using us as experiments and having a moral code is just getting in the way and that the Bible is the true moral code. What of all the other holy books that claim they have the true moral code? What of the Book of Mormon or the Koran? If we are going to base our morals off of a religious text why not take all of them and have them work together? Taking one book and using it for all of humanities morals is the control of the many by the few. The church leaders interpret the Bible and say “God means this” and the masses will follow it. We’ve seen it before such as the time of the Crusades. Basically the only people who could read were the Church leaders and they said “Spread Christianity!” and thus the Crusades ensued (of course this is a major over simplification but it is the basic premise). That was control of the many by the few just like Shawn said science would do.
This next claim is brought up again so many times throughout this video and we must clear it up here and now! Shawn says that science is man attempting to conquer nature when that is so far from the truth. Science strives to understand the natural world and to learn how things work. It is not to make it bow to us as he says later in the video.
The claim is also made that we were designed and that if we can know our purpose we can find our optimal condition. The way the purpose is known is because it’s written in the Bible but again, to even begin that argument you must assume the Bible is true and since he makes no claim to prove it is we must disregard this argument.
Now we come to the part that pisses me off. He says that ever since the invention of science the world has gotten worse. So first off let me state this: Shawn, the systems that filter the water you drink came about by scientific advancement. The food you eat was farmed more efficiently because of scientific advancements. The microphone you are using to record this video entails technology that science gave rise to. You owe every part of your life to science, hell you even owe the Bible to science! It was science and the expansion of knowledge that allowed people to write down things and the advent of the printing press was brought about through scientific development. You literally owe everything to science so saying the world has gotten worse since the invention of science is utter nonsense! Before the enlightenment era there was a time called the Dark Ages which was brought about by the collapse of European civilization. It was one of the worst times in history and rightfully so. There was literally no science in Europe, only religion. And did religion help Europe get out of the Dark Ages? No. Europe got out of the Dark Ages because the knowledge of the Greeks and the Romans was preserved by the Muslims and that was the source of the Enlightenment. So Shawn, everything you have you owe to science. You live in luxury tucked away from all the wars and famine and violence whereas if you lived in the time before science you would most likely be dead.
Now, of course, the Nazis are mentioned. Shawn claims that they were very scientific but they had no morals and that is why the killing of 6 million Jews occurred. Well first let’s start with Hitler’s religion and then move on to the Nazis in general. Hitler was raised a Roman Catholic and stayed so. In a proclamation to the German Nation on February 1, 1933 Hitler said, “The National Government will regard it as it’s first and foremost duty to revive the nation in the spirit of unity and co-operation. It will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built. It regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality, and the family as the basis of national life.”
He said Christianity is the foundation of Nazi Germany’s morals? The same morals that led them to the killing of 6 million Jews were derived from Christianity? Hmmmmmmm
At the Burgerbraukeller on April 12, 1922 Hitler said “I would like here to appeal to a greater than I, Count Lerchenfeld. He said in the last session of the Landtag that his feeling as a man and a Christian prevented him from being an anti-Semite. I say: My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter…How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison.
It’s hard to know what to say to that except it is quite easy to tell that Hitler was no atheist.
And as I said I would, I shall touch on the Nazis briefly. Let it be known that on Nazi soldiers’ belt buckles were inscribed the words “Gott Mit Uns”, God with us.
Now back to Shawn’s arguments. He claims that the Nazi’s were un-hindered by morals because they were a scientific group but that is not true. They didn’t go around killing everyone. They didn’t kill the Aryan men women and children. They didn’t kill German Christians. That was their moral guide line. It may not have been very good but it was there none the less and to deny that is the most intellectually dishonest thing you can do.
Again I must state that science’s goal is not to make nature “bend to our wills” merely to understand it but I digress. Let’s continue, we’re almost done just bear with me.
Shawn then claims that science without religion is immoral and religion must be used to determine the ethics of science. But which religion? There are so many different religions each making their own moral code and saying it’s from God how do we know which is correct. How do we know which interpretation of “do not kill” is the correct one especially since there have been religious wars over which is right and yet they all claim to be peaceful why trust any of them? There is no reason to and considering the fact that when there was just religion in civilizations major atrocities have been committed, it really discredits the notion that science needs religion to remain moral.
Towards the end of the video Shawn claims that America is becoming increasingly hostile and intolerant of Christians yet the fact remains that 78.5% of America is a part of some Christian denomination. That is greater than 3/4ths of the entire country. That leaves only ¼ who are “intolerant” of Christians.
Now the last point I would like to address is the claim that Atheism is a religion.
Shawn says Atheists are getting their agenda pushed through the schools and by teaching the kids evolution we are indoctrinating them with the religion of atheism yet the fact remains that 78.5% of America is affiliated with some form of Christianity and only a messily 16.1% of America is without a religion. But I really want to confront the claim that Atheism is a religion. Atheism by definition is: the doctrine or belief that there is no God
where as the definition of religion is: a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny.
God is supernatural and atheists reject him thus rejecting the supernatural and they do NOT fit in the category of a religion.
A good comparison is that Atheism is a religion just like not collecting stamps is a hobby… (Thank you ThinkingAtheist
) that argument is utterly pointless and even IF Atheism were a religion, what we teach kids in schools is what has passed the scrutiny of the scientific forum (If you are unaware of what that is I mention it here
or you can Google it)
So Shawn, I hope you read this and everyone have a lovely New Year!