It turns out that it is extremely easy to demonstrate, by means of logical argument, that the Christian culture in American is dominated by liars and sophists – people who are morally impaired in their respect for truth and reason.
This is not to say that all Christians are liars and sophists, but that those who have a respect for truth and reason are so few and so impotent that liars and sophists dominate the culture.
An example of this can be found in a resolution passed yesterday in the House of Representatives “Recognizing the importance of Christians and the Christian Faith.”
Sophists and liars propose resolutions like this. Those who value truth and reason would condemn it.
The strategy behind resolutions such as this is simple.
Person A asserts a proposition “P and Q”. For example, Person A could say, “The sun is hot and grasshoppers are mammals.” He then asks Person B whether B agrees or disagrees with this statement. If B agrees with the statement, then A ridicules B for saying that grasshoppers are mammals. If B disagrees with the statement, then A ridicules B for denying that the sun is hot.
This demagoguery is nothing that an honest and fair person would ever endorse, let alone perform. The fact that only a morally impaired person would engage in such a trick is blatantly obvious. The fact that the Christian culture celebrates people who would engage in such a trick is proof that liars and sophists dominate the Christian culture – that honest Christians are too few and too impotent to do anything about it.
The resolution states, truthfully, that there are a lot of Christians in the country, and that Christians have done a lot of good. This is without a doubt since – merely because there are so many Christians in the country, if any good is done, then the chances are that it was done by a Christian. No sane person holds that Christians are 100% evil or that it is impossible for a Christian to do a good deed. Therefore, no sane person could reject these claims.
However, the resolution also calls upon its members to support Christianity. Of course, supporting Christianity means that one has a duty and obligation to promote the Christian religion, and to oppose anything that questions the truth of the Christian religion. That, of course, is not something that any Representative has any right to do – insofar as he is a Representative. Because, just as he represents Christians in this country, he also represents non-Christians, and he does so under contractual agreement (called The Constitution) that says that he will not use his political power to establish or favor one religion above others. This is how we keep the peace – compared to other countries torn by religious war.
So, now we have our two propositions, “P and Q”. P = “There are a lot of Christians and they have done a lot of good things,” and Q = “As a Congressman, I will support Christianity.” Furthermore, we know that this resolution has been proposed by liars and sophists that dominate the Christian culture in this country. Consequently, we know that we can expect the following demagoguery:
If a Representative says that this is true, then this will be used in public to say, “All of Congress has recognized that it is the duty of Congress to promote the Christian religion.” If, on the other hand, the Representative rejects this proposition, then the lying sophist will say, “This Representative denies that it is the case that there are a lot of Christians and that they do a lot of good things. This person, therefore, has insulted all of you Christians who vote.”
This is not even a hidden agenda. Those who proposed this resolution did not trip into it accidently. They planned to use lies and sophistry for political purposes to advance the Christian religion. The also fully expected (expect) to get away with it – to be cheered for their use of lies and sophistry, particularly by the Christian community. From this it follows that the Christian culture (and by this I mean the bulk, though not all, of the Christian community) are enthusiastic supporters of a morality of lies and sophistry. Of course, it is a hypocritical endorsement of lies and sophistry. In true hypocritical fashion, they would clearly condemn the use of lies and sophistry by others while, at the same time, cheering its use by those who ‘are on our side.’
If, instead, these same Representatives were working within a culture of respect for truth and reason, then they would not have dared to even try such blatant lies and sophistry. A culture of truth and reason would shun them and terminate their employment at the first opportunity. Since these Representatives are not dealing with a culture of truth and reason, they do not have to worry about the voters terminating their employment.
Technically, according to the rules of logic, the proposition “P and Q” is true if and only if P is true and Q is true. If somebody says, “The sun is hot and grasshoppers are mammals,” formal logic says that this is false – because grasshoppers are not mammals. This is the honest answer. However, the Christian culture in America likes nothing more than to expose honest representatives so that they can replace those honest representatives with liars and sophists. Consequently, the honest politician faces a dilemma – to come out of the closet as an honest politician and lose the support of a large portion of the Christian community, or give up his seat to a lying sophist.
Telling the truth is a virtue. However, helping to elect lying sophists to Congress is not. So, this is a true moral dilemma. No matter what the person does, he is forced to do something wrong. Of course, he is forced to do something wrong by lying sophists who, as a part of their moral impairment, love to force honest politicians into situations where they must do something wrong.
The argument is solid. Christianity in America today is a culture that celebrates lies and sophistry and empowers liars and sophists above all others. Their claim to moral superiority is simply another one of their lies. If they were in fact dedicated to doing the right thing, they would start by condemning lies and sophistry, rather than promoting it.
Of course, it is not the case that the Christian culture is the only culture dominated by liars and sophists. It would seem that the atheist culture (to the degree that there is one) suffers from the same problem. Just as the lovers of truth and reason in Christianity seem impotent when it comes to altering the behavior of their leaders, the lovers of truth and reason among atheists suffer from the same deficiency.
I argued in “Connecticut Valley Atheists: Imagine” that this sign represents lies and sophistry. It commits the informal logical fallacy of hasty generalization. People support the argument by saying, “If not for religion, the towers would still be up.” However it is just as true that “If not for airplane travel, the towers will still be up.” Yet, a sign that says, “Imagine no airplane travel” would quickly be recognized as absurd – a sophist’s assertion. The same is true of the sign, “Imagine: No Religion”.
Many Christians are fond of saying that atheists borrow their morality from Christians. One aspect of Christian morality (or, at least, the dominant form of it) that atheists do not need to copy is the practice of using sophistry to support fiction motivated by hate. The “Imagine: No Religion” sign commits the logical fallacy of hasty generalization to support a fiction (that if one is religious than one is disposed to destroy things such as the World Trade Center) motivated by hate. If the culture of atheism is a culture of truth and reason, than this culture should be strong enough to withdraw sophistry supporting fiction motivated by hate and replace it with something that is true and reasonable.
If atheists who live truth and reason are too impotent to affect these types of change, then the atheist culture itself is borrowing too much from the Christian culture that surrounds us.