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Friday, April 23, 2004                                                                                       View Comments

Leave no man behind

I have been reading through your website off and on during the last few months now - it's a fascinating place. I have a question you may wish to put to your forum. It is one specifically for those who seriously question the very foundation of Christianity. Before I ask, a brief synopsis;

Philosophers from Kant to Wittgenstein, Descartes to Russell, have all added their perspectives of religion, some damning others less so. There is a distinctive line in modern philosophy of religion between those who outwardly denounce the plausibility of Christianity or deities at all, and those who occupy themselves with defining the thought processes that lead to this type of conclusion rather than actually concluding.

Although not a philosopher, Thomas Paine's literary brilliance culminated in The Age of Reason - a truly masterful piece of writing and argumentation - in which he repeatedly states his respect for those whose opinion may differ from his (a not too surprising fact coming from the man who gave us the basis for the UN Declaration of Human Rights). But not unlike Bertrand Russell I feel, Paine also frequently flirts with the idea that we ought to fight the farce that is Christianity. In some instances he is quite belligerent (passionate?) in his rebuke of those choosing to emurse themselves in this "wretched scam".

Herein lies the dilemma: as people who believe that Christianity is at the very most a temporal contortion of pagan tradition and political happenstance, responsible for some of the worst atrcocities in man's histoy, is there not a concomitant moral/ humanist obligation to "de-convert" Christians we come into contact with?

Your site is designed to encourage and help exChristians to move on and build their lives without the religious crutch. But what about those left behind? Does the Humanist movement need to adopt a policy of engagement? And if so, what would be the nature of its approach and from where would it derive its ultimate legitimacy? I find these the most pressing and frustrating questions.

I thought I would throw it out there and see what thoughts come back.

Thanks

Wayne