Best of AW

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Atheist Preacher Man

  photo 180px-Aronra-portrait_zpsa1dbb877.jpg
 AronRa

 ...A new category of being has emerged form the Internet atheist movement: the atheist preacher man. He's just like a Christian fundie preacher man but for atheism. Dan Barker was the first exampel of this form we saw. Fast talking, totally strident, knows all, totally opinionated. Another such character is found in Denton Texas, on the net  he calls himself Aron Ra. He has a Video on Youtube.
....He calls the authors of the Bible was written by "Bigoted and superstitious savages..." He makes the straw man argument that the Bible is the oldest book ever written. it's not so therefore it's a lie. But that is not a reflection upon the Bible, even if he was taguht that, it's just a reflection upon the person who taught him. He's not going to stop to make that kind of distinction. The open lines of his video are some of the most absurdly arrogant, stupid, and openly bigoted I've ever heard. the standard that he uses to hold the bible to sees the Bible as claiming on behalf of God:"I know everything I've always been there here's what hapepned in the past." That's a log of hog wash. It's not true God knows all that is knowable but the bible never makes such a claim for itself. It never presets itself as an accurate history book such that it says 'here's what happened in the past." That kind of blanket statement is the all-or-nothing bunk that atheists thrive on. That' the way they think themselves, for the most part. all or nothing. But they read that into the nature of the bible. Of course we can't blame them that much since it's the way fundies teach it. Yet we need to be aware of the truth. The Bible doesn't say that.
....He goes on to say the Bible "reads like man made mythology of uninformed deity with no  moral or factual relevance, no hint of factual information." It is true that in many places it reads like a man made mythology. That's not a problem.  I have expalined why that is and why it's not a problem.  Compare the fair blanket statements of Ra with my take on biblical revelation. The use to which the Bible  puts mythology is no disproof of divine input. No responsible Biblical schoalr today would make the sort hair brained blanket stamens that he's opposing, which really just amount to straw men. He's not the total Zealot mentality like we see in the most sincere fundamentalist preachers. He says "not even God can save the bible. if God exits the Bible can't be his word." Of cousre that assumes that one is dealing with the straw man all or nothing view of the Bible that we he was apparently brought up on. He asserts that the Bible was "not written by anyone who had any idea of what they were talking about on any subject." Not any subject, not even their own lives or cultures? such claims are childishly idiotic.
....He has a Wiki page, which obviously written by him.

 AronRa is an atheist vlogger and activist. His videos focus on biology, with an emphasis on countering creationist claims, and advocating rationalism in science education. He also posts written material on his website

 most of it is aimed at creationism. He says "science is kryptonite to creationists." here's everything he says under that heading:

AronRa's videos focus on the scientific evidence for evolution, normally avoiding the theological discussion. This is sensible, since scientists should not have to read Superman comics in order to refute the claim that a mild-mannered reporter took an unprotected stroll on the moon.
It's an advertizement for his Videos. His evolution website displays is an adequate understanding of evolution. He's had some kind of advanced training. Example:

Evolution never suggests that one thing ever turned into another fundamentally different thing.  Every new species or genus, (etc.) that ever evolved was just a modified version of whatever its ancestors were.  To understand evolutionary Theory, one must first understand that the transformation of fish-to-amphibians, dinosaurs-to-birds, or apes-to-men are each are just a matter of incremental, superficial changes slowly compiled atop various tiers of fundamental similarities. Those successive levels of similarity represent taxonomic clades which encompass all the descendants of that clade. For example, amphibians are still stegocephalian [fish], birds are still dinosaurs, and humans are still apes -the same way we are still mammals, and for the same reasons; according to all the characters which define each of those groups. 


that's who he spends his time debating so that's the level he's on intellectually. It's putting that understanding into use in a larger theological context that's his problem.


....Please read my whole article on Models of Biblical Revelation.

Part of what I say about Mythology in the Bible I include for those who are reticent to click on links:

 The most radical view will be that of mythology in the Bible. This is a difficult concept for most Christians to grasp, because most of us are taught that "myth" means a lie, that it's a dirty word, an insult, and that it is really debunking the Bible or rejecting it as God's word. The problem is in our understanding of myth. "Myth" does not mean lie; it does not mean something that is necessarily untrue. It is a literary genre—a way of telling a story. In Genesis, for example, the creation story and the story of the Garden are mythological. They are based on Babylonian and Sumerian myths that contain the same elements and follow the same outlines. But three things must be noted: 1) Myth is not a dirty word, not a lie. Myth is a very healthy thing. 2) The point of the myth is the point the story is making--not the literal historical events of the story. So the point of mythologizing creation is not to transmit historical events but to make a point. We will look more closely at these two points. 3) I don't assume mythology in the Bible out of any tendency to doubt miracles or the supernatural, I believe in them. I base this purely on the way the text is written.

The purpose of myth is often assumed to be the attempt of unscientific or superstitious people to explain scientific facts of nature in an unscientific way. That is not the purpose of myth. A whole new discipline has developed over the past 60 years called "history of religions." Its two major figures are C.G. Jung and Marcea Eliade. In addition to these two, another great scholarly figure arises in Carl Kerenyi. In addition to these three, the scholarly popularizer Joseph Campbell is important. Campbell is best known for his work The Hero with A Thousand Faces. This is a great book and I urge everyone to read it. Champbell, and Eliade both disliked Christianity intensely, but their views can be pressed into service for an understanding of the nature of myth. Myth is, according to Campbell a cultural transmission of symbols for the purpose of providing the members of the tribe with a sense of guidance through life. They are psychological, not explanatory of the physical world. This is easily seen in their elaborate natures. Why develop a whole story with so many elements when it will suffice as an explanation to say "we have fire because Prometheus stole it form the gods?" For example, Campbell demonstrates in The Hero that heroic myths chart the journey of the individual through life. They are not explanatory, but clinical and healing. They prepare the individual for the journey of life; that's why in so many cultures we meet the same hero over and over again; because people have much the same experiences as they journey though life, gaining adulthood, talking their place in the group, marriage, children, old age and death. The hero goes out, he experiences adventures, he proves himself, he returns, and he prepares the next hero for his journey. We meet this over and over in mythology.
Ultimately of course we have to blame the fundamentalists for creating an absurd model of the Bible in reaction to Darwin, a model that froze the Bible out of the modern world. We Chrsitains have to go about making for our own mistakes first, because we can expect to stop cranking out atheists. The appearance on the scene of the atheist preacher man can't be a negative sing for the fortunes on the Bible. It means that the atheist mentality has gone main stream. What was once an intellectual elite in the ivory tower of university life is not now part of the mob, the masses. That has to represent the degradation of atheist ranks. It means that atheist is subject to mass culture and what is the fad now will be laughed at tomorrow. In a couple of decades atheism will be in the same category with bell bottom blue jeans and rockabilly. 

Here is a good lecture by a real schoalr on the topic presumed in the video.


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