Creationist Wisdom #455: Teach Only Religion

Today’s second letter-to-the-editor appears in The Province of Vancouver, British Columbia. It’s titled I’ll take Christianity over atheism any day of the week.

We don’t like to embarrass people (unless they’re politicians, preachers, or other public figures), so we usually omit the writer’s full name and city. But there’s no need to be discreet in this case. The letter-writer is Bruce Milne, formerly Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Vancouver. We’ll give you a few excerpts from the rev’s letter, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

He starts out referring to an earlier letter which suggests, in the rev’s words, that “children ought not be taught Christianity, a rehash of the well critiqued views of Richard Dawkins.” We’ll get to that later. Then the rev says:

If a basic aim of any responsible educational curriculum is to enable students to develop awareness of the factors that shaped their cultural world, Christianity necessarily claims a significant place.

That’s a rather limited view of education. The rev is really describing Sunday school, not genuine education. Anyway, he’s just getting started. Then he tells us.

To cite the findings of Illinois College sociologist Alvin Schmidt: “Not only countless individual lives, but civilization itself was transformed by Jesus Christ. In the ancient world, his teachings elevated brutish standards of morality, halted infanticide, enhanced human life, emancipated women, abolished slavery, inspired charities and relief organizations, created hospitals, established orphanages and founded schools.

Jesus did all that? We didn’t know. The rev continues to quote the sociologist:

“In medieval times Christianity almost single-handedly kept classical culture alive … moderating warfare through truce days, and providing dispute arbitration … In the modern era, Christian teaching, properly expressed, advanced science, instilled concepts of political, social and economic freedom, fostered justice and provided the greatest single source of inspiration for the magnificent achievements in art, architecture, music and literature that we treasure to the present day. No other religion, philosophy, teaching, nation, movement — whatever — has so changed the world for the better as Christianity has done.”

Wow — science, political freedom, economic freedom — Jesus did everything! Let’s read on:

Not teach that to our children? How could we, how dare we, withhold it?

Yeah, how dare we? Here’s the last paragraph:

With [this earlier letter’s] alternative syllabus — atheism — what do we find? Atheist Stalin’s 20 million deaths, the murder of 70 million people by Mao’s atheist regime or atheist Hitler’s regime responsible for nine million deaths, six million of them Jews. The Brave New World of atheism! God help us!

Well! The rev leaves us no choice. We’re convinced. All schools should be Sunday schools, all the time. Why bother with anything else?

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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24 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #455: Teach Only Religion

  1. The latest in this series of whacky Rev’s claims

    In medieval times Christianity almost single-handedly kept classical culture alive

    Er, no.

    It was Arabic scholars–at a time when Baghdad was far more civilised than Rome, Paris, or London–that preserved virtually all that has survived of Aristotle, and other classical authors as well. That is, those works of Aristotle that had survived the earlier reign of Roman Emperor Theodosius–a militant Christian who worked tirelessly to purge paganism and classical learning.

  2. If every school’s a Sunday school, then ever day’s a Sunday, yielding the poverbial month of Sundays!

  3. The rev is a straight up moron, who is unaware of the 30 Years war, the crusades, the Catholic Inquisition, the thousands of “witches” who were burned at the stake for Jesus, the several hundred years when science, particularly medicine, were retarded by the Christian church, or most importantly, the Christians here in Texas that have kept me from being able to buy whiskey on Sundays.

    As the Great Claw correctly pointed out, it was the Arabs who preserved the learning of the Classical Greek civilization, not the Christians. Oh, and it was a Christian mob led by Cyril of Alexandria, who later was sainted by the Catholic Church, destroyed the Great Library in that city.

    The damage that Christianity has done to western civilization is incalculable and ongoing.

  4. Waldteufel, all examples you give were merely part of the great christian cleansing, efforts to remove those who would detract from the purifying efforts of the christian church to establish the one perfect world and voice so that jesus would promptly return and reward the cleansers. They’re still trying.

  5. The rev is a bit of a history revisionist and quoting Alvin Schmidt isn’t going to earn any points. Illinois college is not only a very Christian college, it is also partially to blame for William Jennings Bryan. As an Illinoisan, I apologize.

  6. Steven Weinberg said it best in 1999: “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

  7. This letter is typical of the school of religious thought that literally cannot distinguish their cherished beliefs from Civilization itself. Everything good and positive is monopolized by their particular faith, or at least inspired by it.

    Ever since Hitler achieved the status of Proverbial Historical Bogey, religious people have wanted to make him an “atheist”, though you can find plenty of religious references in his speeches and writings.

    Stalin and Mao were at least atheists in name, but were themselves surrounded by such an intense near-religious personality cult that their regimes are hardly good examples of “atheism”.

  8. I’m kinda disappointed that he didn’t once blame Darwin for anything. Not once!

  9. Mark Germano says: “I’m kinda disappointed that he didn’t once blame Darwin for anything.”

    True, but he was responding to a letter that supported Dawkins, so indirectly …

  10. As to the doltish rev’s claims about an “atheist Hitler,” he.was a nominal (though non-actively-practicing) Catholic, for whom the Catholic clergy in Germany offered the Nazi salute, and whose army wore belt buckles that said “Gott mit uns.” (God is with us). Hitler exploited centuries of Christian European anti-semitism to fuel his hate machine. After all, nearly all of the Germans who supported the Nazis were good believing Lutherans and Catholics. And right up until their cities were being destroyed by the Allied air forces, and the Allies were across the Rhine in the west and the Elbe in the east, the German population eagerly followed their Chancellor Hitler.

  11. Sure, SC, but it’s just not the same, gosh darnit.

  12. With . . . atheism — what do we find? Atheist Stalin’s 20 million deaths, the murder of 70 million people by Mao’s atheist regime or atheist Hitler’s regime responsible for nine million deaths, six million of them Jews. The Brave New World of atheism! God help us!

    These people can’t even agree among themselves how many people Stalin killed (‘ve seen right-wing estimates up to 60 million)–and get the documented figures for deaths in Hitler’s camps–six million Jews and five million non-Jews, including up to one and a half million Gypsies–wrong, so why should we assume they know what they’re talking about on any subject? In particular, the “70 million” figure for Mao seems plucked out of the air, though perhaps it was pieced together the way figures for Stalin often are: by starting with dubious figures from before the revolution, extrapolating what the population “should have been” later on and counting the difference, including wartime casualties and children simply not conceived, as “murdered.”

    And “atheist Stalin” had been a seminary student, for what that’s worth.

  13. “Where do we acquire the right to believe that man has not always been what he is now? The study of nature teaches us that, in the animal kingdom just as much as in the vegetable kingdom, variations have occurred. They’ve occurred within the species, but none of these variations has an importance comparable with that which separates man from the monkey — assuming that this transformation really took place.”
    This kind of argument sounds familiar, eh?

    Hitler’s Table Talk, page 248.

  14. @waldteufel concerning the destruction of the Library of Alexandria at Wikipedia.

  15. This Baptist Revver presumes to adjudicate what is and what is not Christian, so he should consider this: Many of his present-day “Christian” beliefs are the upshot of Martin Luther’s mutiny against the RCC. Without Luther, he might well be a Roman Catholic today. Without the Roman Catholics, he might well hold a very different faith today. Does he think of Roman Catholics as Christians? Probably not. Does he think of Luther as a Christian? Probably. Does he know what Luther wrote about the Jews? Does he know what Luther wrote about “Reason” in relation to “Faith”? Does he know Europe’s history of anti-Semitism? Does he know about the biblical literalist Arthur de Gobineau and the influence on Hitler of his ideology (published shortly before Darwin’s OOS)? Does he know what Hitler himself wrote in Mein Kampf about his religious beliefs? Does he know of the Nazis’ potpourri of pagan mysticism tacked onto more conventional beliefs, resulting in a tossed faith salad that negates any claims that they were indeed atheists?

    And he probably wonders why people laugh at the utter nonsense he pours forth with such unshakeable conviction. He should learn something new with an open mind. Repeating stale old falsehoods after they have been pointed out to him as being false will make of him a liar.

    (BTW Curmy, “But there’s no need to be discrete discreet in this case.”)

  16. Bah, HTML fault. 😦

    [*Voice from above*] No problem.

  17. I know little about Gobineau, so it interested me to hear about his being a Biblical literalist. His Wikipedia biography goes so far as to say that “Gobineau took the Bible to be a true telling of human history”, but that stops short of his being a literalist. I’d like to hear more about the Bible and his racism.

  18. Here’s a collection of extracts re Gobineau’s thinking that sheds a little light on the matter. It includes numerous citations and links to further material.

  19. Con-Tester proclaims: “Without Luther, he might well be a Roman Catholic today.”
    No chance. Johannes Huss came before Luther; Zwingli and Calvin after him. Somebody had to pull off the Reformation; it just happened to be Luther. He didn’t even intend to.

    “the biblical literalist Arthur de Gobineau”
    Ah, that’s an interesting piece of info.

  20. Thanks.
    Unfortunately, one must be a muck-raker.

  21. Thanks, Con-Tester, for discreetly correcting my improper use of discrete.

  22. TomS says: “I know little about Gobineau …”

    He’s been mentioned around here, e.g., Hey, Klinghoffer: How About Hitler & Gobineau?