The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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A rebuttal to the truth of religion

I wish I could fit my full rebuttal into the word limit, but unfortunately I don’t think that this is possible. Ms. Myers is a little bit mistaken in her opinions. These are some of the objections I have, written in response to her article.

“In one such argument, Plantinga concludes that if there is an omnibenevolent and omnipotent God, then he must allow us to have free will, which is how we have evil. It would be a greater evil to not allow free will. This particular theodicy would then conclude that if God had not granted us free will then you and I might be off happily never suffering, but also never having this debate. So you can see that evil can be rationally justified.”

This is a terrible argument. For one, not all things have to do with free will. It doesn’t seem like the whole host of natural disasters have anything to do with free will. It’s not as if someone chooses that a tsunami kills thousands of people. And remember, you can’t say that God can’t intervene for natural disasters because the premise was that God is omnipotent and omnibenevolent. See, that’s the problem with theodicies and this omnipotent, ominbenevolent God. Something has to give: either his omnipotence or his omnibenevolence. There are problems even within the realm of free will with Plantinga’s argument.

“Instead of chastising people for what they do or do not believe in, I think we need to realize the importance of understanding why people think what they think.”

I’m not making judgment calls before I have listened to many religious people. Personal anecdotes do not count as evidence. Eyewitness testimonies are terribly unreliable. Saying it makes me feel good is not a very good reason. Being afraid of the consequences of disbelief without even knowing if the consequences exist is a fallacious argument. Finding identity in a religion is no more a reason to be a part of one than to be part of the Hitler Youth or a bowling team. Fallacy after fallacy, I have yet to hear a justified belief for religion. I think it’s important for people to constantly keep giving reasons for what they believe in and understand that it’s dangerous to believe something simply based on faith.

“What we need is to have a greater understanding of all religions, why they are important and how they affect society.”

I actually agree with you on this. I think it’s a disservice that a lot of children study just one religion and are not exposed to others. In fact, the Jesus myth has many common themes that have been taken from a lot of hero figures in pagan religions. I think that this is very important for a child to understand. We study archetypes all the time in English class, why not in religion? I think it is also important to teach people how religion impacts society. This has to include a comprehensive history, not just the good stuff but also the bad stuff: how religious wars started, how religious policies have often gone awry and how certain cultures are shaped because of their religion.

“We need to have a little respect. We have to realize that not everyone is going to think like us and that is perfectly OK.”

I think people deserve respect when they believe something with good justifications (remember, justifications must be transferable to other people). If somebody says that women are inferior, I don’t think that person deserves my respect. I respect that person in so far as they have the freedom of speech, but that is the bare minimum. Under freedom of speech, any hate speech is protected, but I don’t condone that sort of belief nor think that it deserves any sort of respect, other than the purely legal sense. It’s not OK because these people vote. They have children. How would you feel if some parent was brainwashing his or her child by making the child believe that they will go to hell if they don’t do what their parents say? Bad example, I guess. Our country is a democracy, thankfully, but this requires an educated mass of people. We can no longer get away with believing without evidence. National policy is affected by people who believe that the second coming of Jesus Christ is going to happen in their lifetime. Is the future of this Earth, our society, our culture and our freedom, really important to these kinds of people? They are protected by the Constitution; that is respect enough.

Ken Ueda is a senior math, physics and philosophy major. He can be reached for contact at [email protected].

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