Links and Comments: Religious Matters, 27Mar21:

Jerry Coyne on David Brooks; Nicholas Kristof on progressive Christians; Evangelicals’ false doctrine.

Jerry Coyne, 23 March 2021: Religious treacle from David Brooks

He responds to an op-ed article by NYT columnist David Brooks, A Christian Vision of Social Justice, subtitled, “Social change can be pursued with mercy and hope.”

It’s dreck—dreck covered liberally with the maple syrup of feel-good words. It carries no weight, is dubious in its argument, and will lead to no results. I think part of Brooks’s job is to hold down the Be Nice to Religion desk at the paper. But this column is simply a waste of words—a bit of chest-thumping by Brooks about the wonder of faith.

Coyne objects, as I do, to the notion that Christianity is true, in a fundamental sense, rather than merely a set of cultural myths. Brooks claims “It is based on the idea that we are all made in the image of God.” Coyne responds:

But we weren’t made in the image of God! Doesn’t Brooks accept evolution? And if this God-given equality just a metaphor, then it’s meaningless. A metaphor for what?

One can better ground equal treatment of people on humanistic morality. Granted, that morality, like all morality, must in the end be subjective, but I’m a consequentialist and happen to believe that accepting equal dignity of each person is the notion that works best for society.

And Coyne finishes by quoting Steven Weinberg:

But remember the words of Steven Weinberg:

“With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil—that takes religion.”

Humanism is enough, Mr. Brooks!

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NYT, 20 March 21, Nicholas Kristof: Progressive Christians Arise! Hallelujah!, subtitled, “With a churchgoing Democrat in the White House, faith becomes more complicated in America. Thank God.”

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Salon, 20 March 21, Nathaniel Manderson: Evangelicals are teaching false doctrine. Who says so? Jesus Christ, subtitled, “I’ve spent my life around evangelical theology — and most of it is exactly the hypocrisy Christ warned us about”

Isn’t this obvious?

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