Religious Argument

The following dialogue  resulted from a question I asked at The Huffington Post to believers in response to religious abuse.  I  reproduced it here at Water Scribe because it typifies many religious arguments and the problems involved.

Church Sex Abuse Exposed By Release Of Franciscan Files

“The question a believer must ask themselves –> what would it take for me to leave the church. If one can’t answer that question then fanaticism, either introverted or extroverted governs the thinking.
Although[sic] people think what follows might be a reason people stay no matter what.
“Give me a child till they are seven and i will give you the man”
–Francis Xavier – Jesuit Co-founder
The reality is some people convert and really like the candles, and ritual, and community, and, and, and…If you disregard or rationalize unpleasing facts you can condone anything.The few bad apples argument does not stand up to facts. As of march of last year the totals paid out in the US ONLY!
$2,486,897,033
Remember these are only the cases that have been tried and won or settled out of court.Human desire for authority has and still does cause us to endure much.”
photo HUFFPOST COMMUNITY MODERATOR

Believers should never entertain any question offered by non-believers and God haters that seek to separate and divide them from their Christian community. There may be instances when the community of one’s affiliation is not the correct fit. However, the appropriate response is to connect with another church and Christian community.
Believers have several resources to help work these issues through as any have occasion to explore them. They include the Holy Spirit, Jesus, God, the Bible, and other Believers.Resist the devil and the devil will flee. Beware of people seeking to separate you from your church and Christian community.
You appeal to fear and moreover introduce as your resources things often predicated upon the very church in question. These things can be annexed to any group with a church charter. But those things have been around a long time and haven’t spared the victims that were evidenced. You have confused criticism with hate and danger. To fear a reason is unreasonable. Criticism is error elimination.
Many people of faith have lost their lives criticizing the church.
Arnold of Brescia
Fra Dolcino
Savonarola
The Albigeois
The Lollards
The Hussites
A great many skeptical theologians paid with their lives for reforms they never enjoyed. The Reformation broke out 20 times before Luther and were put down by violence. William Occam persecuted, Bruno was burned, Rodger bacon imprisoned, etc. Not every skeptic has the fortune or eloquence of a Desiderius Erasmus, or Jonathan Swift. These fellows came close to heresy. These were religions men.  Skepticism also evolves to circumstances and logical conclusions.
Those of the past did a valuable part.
You can’t challenge facts. You dismiss me as evil. Without faulting reasoning you resort to personal attack. Ironically, I was critical of something that causes harm! Your reasoning is proof against all argument as such it’s worthless. It’s used by religions against each other with equal effect.
You say –“Believers should never entertain any question offered by non-believers”
The above statement presumes at least two things
1) Universal (omniscient) knowledge
2) Absolute authority
Two points strictly derived from your statement. If you don’t possess such knowledge or authority the statement is baseless. But then again such knowledge and authority are unfounded.
You say — “Resist the devil and the devil will flee. Beware of people seeking to separate you from your church and Christian community.”
The proposition above assumes much that has caused REAL harm.
1) The devil exists
2) People should beware of others under the influence of this malefactor.
3) The church is good other things bad.You probably wouldn’t support witch burning but that harm rested upon such reasoning.
Un-testable reasoning explains everything, take as example. Disease comes as gods punishment of the wicked unless of course it’s a partisan or oneself who is sick. Then it‘s the devil harming good people. Medicine is endeavoring to baffle a divine judgment. Medicine is the divine working through people. As you can see both propositions have the same explanatory power. Neither solves any problem -> explanation without content.
I firmly stand by my statement. Your arguments will be less effective on those who have at least been warned of this possibility. To seek to separate Believers from the Christian community is a very ugly thing.You have every right to your conceptions. Those who are Christian have another view, and I seek to counter your efforts to be a stumbling block in any Christian’s way.
Your argument has no foundation in reason. I’ll explain why. I attack your argument NOT you personally.
Imagine yourself in a court on one side of a dispute. The judge sides against you because the opposition says. “Judge, don’t listen to that other guy. His facts and logic (regardless of their merit) don’t count because he is bad.” A judge would only do this if he accepts your opponent’s authority as greater than his own. The authority is merely stated in words. In such a case the judge would be irrelevant.
You presume to help others by suggesting they abandon their judgment. This insolently suggests they (believers) lack judgment. They should accept your authority as greater than their own in this matter, because you “say so,” without displaying facts contrary to those of your opponent or exposing his reasoning as invalid. You may try to escape this by saying your authority rests upon a greater authority. But this is infinite regress and more importantly AUTHORITARIAN. Anyone can do it with equal effect in any argument.
The irony – saying people are evil to question others religion was used against Christians (who openly sought to separate people from their beliefs) by the Romans to justify persecution.You may not use the sword but those who do oft apply your authoritarian reasoning and you have (perhaps unknowingly) condoned such reasoning which is still used for and against Christians.

Authoritarianism hiding behind belief = now exposed.

Your ways are not God’s ways. This is not about you. It is about you seeking to peel away those who are of this faith to some other way of thinking. As you indulge in the idolatry of whatever it is you believe, you are not able to see how outrageous it is to those of the faith that you are seeking to remove people from the ark of safety.
This is more of your unfounded fiat reasoning. It means no more than it would if a fanatic of a belief contrary to yours was using it on you.
We are not speaking the same language, and are working out of divergent conceptual frameworks. And you know better, yet insist on haughtiness and that disdainful, contemptuous attitude and persona. I dialogue with folks who have different views. However, you are committed to maintaining the barrier of disrespect, which is an impediment to meaningful communication.
You have confused criticism with all these personal imputations – “haughtiness and that disdainful, contemptuous attitude”You have not countered the facts of the arguments I offer against you nor faulted reasoning. It is called ad hominem and it is a fallacy. Even if all those things were true it would not prove my facts wrong nor my reasoning from them. I must suspect it is for lack of better argument that you resort to these rhetorical tactics. You are the one who suggest motive. I have stayed with facts and reasoning.
End of argument
The quote used by Stephen  about resisting the devil was from the Bible.
James 4:7 – Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
It should not be passed over that the bible ascribes an opposing statement to Jesus.
Matthew 5:39 – But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil
There is a lot of wiggle room between those two statements.

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