How Reform Happens

In my July 5 post, I linked to an article discussing another article.  At the head of the train was a discussion on “the religion of atheism”.  Zac Alstin, who wrote the original piece, ended it with this bit:

In the end we can either reform religion or replace it; there is no third option. The anti-religious atheist is – unwittingly – the inspired prophet of a new religious movement. Whatever ideas he plants in the fertile soil of the human mind, we can rest assured that something religious will eventually grow. The answer to all the religious evils on the tip of an atheist’s tongue is perseverance in religious goods.

Bad religion, like bad science, bad ethics, bad politics and bad arguments must be challenged for being bad, not for being at all.

My friend Jeremy, especially appreciating the bolded portion, left this comment:

i like the last sentence, but how do you go about challenging or getting rid of “the bads”?

Great question, Jer!

So my friends, I pose it to you.  With so many “bads” in our world in need of critique, how does one go about challenging them?  What is fair?  What is effective?  What is possible?

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2 thoughts on “How Reform Happens

  1. i am not sure i can speak to any of these very well. and i am not sure if they can all be changed the same way, but as far as science goes, scientific illiteracy is a huge problem. people buy into a variety of ideas that are claimed as ‘scientific’ but have no basis in science at all. things such as not vaccinating children, “ionized water machines” and other similar things people sell as science, and even removing all talk of evolution from science curricula.

    so that is part of the problem, but how do you eliminate it? unfortunately, i think it is extremely hard. it seems that critical thinking is a skill that takes too much effort to develop so it gets left by the wayside. but i think critical thinking is a good place to start. it is crucial to do this when presented with a new idea.

    i think it becomes even harder with religion. it is easy to label someone else’s religion as ‘bad religion’ because it differs from one’s own, but does that really make it bad?

    anyway, i better stop here. i am interested to hear what other people think.

    • Thanks for starting things off, Jeremy.

      I’ll allow my scientifically trained friends to cover that realm of “bads” for us, but I imagine that discussions about illiteracy (in a given context) and poor critical thinking would factor into the critiquing/evaluating of numerous realms of human life.

      When it comes to religion, how does one go about tackling “the bads”. All sorts of “out there” examples could likely be drawn upon. I’ll start simple.

      Internal inconsistency is a big one. When a Christian group finds ways to organize, govern, and operate that essentially “steal life” from its participants, something has gone awry. How do we know? Because the New Testament, the foundational document of the whole thing, expressly says that Jesus is a bringer of freedom and the giver of life, to its extreme. Now it may be that those terms need defining, and critical dialog may involve that as one step along the way. But at the least, it will be the internal inconsistency which will be the first clue that something is off.

      Next up?

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