Wicked faith

Q: Can you be a feminist and oppose abortion in all circumstances? Can you be a person of faith and … Continued

Q: Can you be a feminist and oppose abortion in all circumstances? Can you be a person of faith and support abortion in some circumstances?

People of faith are right about one thing, there are more things in Heaven and Earth than Richard Dawkins is capable of dreaming, but that does not mean they are right about everything. Likewise, all atheists are wrong about something by definition, victims of limited experiences and a simple minded ontology, but atheists don’t have to be wrong about everything.

Having faith is a useful first step to a good life, but it is not enough. There is something “more” in the cosmos than matter and energy, but that does not mean that all of it is worth worshipping. A man cavorting with spirits that happen to be devils may be a person of faith, but much more wicked than an atheist.

The atheist is wrong about devils, but at least isn’t worshipping them.

That a man has faith may be good, but it may also be worse than having no faith: it depends on how his faith was achieved and the object of his belief. Faith should be the result of wholesome imagination, reason, and reflection on life experiences. Faith that is mere opinion or a wish might accidentally hit on the truth, but be toxic to the soul of the faithful man.

Hitting on a single truth by a lucky guess or an extraordinary event may make a person overly confident about their guesses and overly reliant on the spectacular. Getting metaphysics partially right, there is a supernatural world, is just enough truth to be very dangerous.

Irrational experimentation with metaphysics is at least as likely to cause harm as irrational mucking about with physics.

Atheists agree that all religions are wrong, but disagree amongst themselves about what is true. People of faith agree that some religious claims are true, but disagree about which ones. There are, in practice, three kinds of religion: false religions, wicked religions, and true religions.

False religions make central claims that are wrong. At their heart, they embrace a false picture of the way things are. If a “faith” claims that the gods live on top of Olympus, it worships non-existent beings. If a “faith” claims that people can perfect themselves or create a utopia in this life, it is so wrong as to be positively, even if inadvertently, dangerous.

Worse are religions that don’t merely make mistakes, but embrace evil practices. Of course, all of us fall short of our ideals, I certainly have. I am the last one to throw stones at those who try to do right, but fail. Evil religions, however, actively promote evil practices . . . to be a “good” member of these faiths one has to do wicked actions.

If your religion, like that of Moloch, requires burning babies to an idol, then it is a wicked religion. It may be in touch with real spirituality, but it is a diabolical and not divine spirit.

In the same way, some people of faith sacrifice the life of the unborn child to lesser goods. They may have faith, but it is a wicked faith. These faithful may in practice be better than their religion (a follower of Moloch may not kill babies), but his faith is still rotten at the core. Followers of a wicked religion may also practice other virtues and in many ways be better citizens than followers of a true, good, and beautiful religion.

Wicked ideas don’t always produce wicked men nor good ideas always perfect, but that does not mean wicked ideas are not dangerous.

Tyrants have their virtues and sometimes love their dogs. The blood of the babies, however, cries out against them. The difference between a tyrant and a common place sinner like the rest of us is that we regret our sins while he glories in them.

When people of faith sacramentalize abortion, they have joined a false and wicked religion. There are people of faith who do this. Some of them are inconsistent members of the true faith and we pray forgiveness for their error as we beg forgiveness for our own blindness, but other “faithful” rejoice in their evil and are proud of it.

Their wicked faith is damning them and not saving them. It would be better if they were an atheist with respect for life, than a spiritual man who kills the innocent.

Sarah Palin has correctly seen that any good feminism must embrace a true faith. Part of that faith will be the very American idea there is a God given right to life. An aborted female baby is the victim of a false faith or of faithlessness to the truth. A feminism that rejects the rights of unborn woman is a false and wicked faith and discounts at least some women.

All of us are ignorant in some way, but this is no excuse to abandon reason. All of us fall short of our goals and moral aspirations. We all desperately need forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation, but this is only available when we can call our errors “wrong” and our sins “wicked.”

God help us all to find an authentic, life affirming, true faith. . . and then to practice it.

John Mark Reynolds
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  • PSolus

    My my my, what fire and brimstone…I trust you feel equally strongly about short skirts, bobbed hair, jazz, and demon rum.

  • cianwn

    Professor Reynolds is all over the place with this one. Some religions are evil, but not his, of course, because he’s a member of the True Faithâ„¢.How dare people take their own lives, or the lives of fully grown, extant women into consideration when thinking about terminating a pregnancy! A fetus with two X chromosome is nowhere near the same thing as a born, let alone, an adult human woman.It is your right to hold whatever view you wish, of course, but you and people like you need to stop trying to force your morality on others. Women are intelligent, sophisticated moral agents whose right to determine whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term must be respected. You may not like the decisions some women make, but you are neither their father, nor their guardian and it is not your place to substitute your judgment for theirs.

  • lifeonmars

    “All of us are ignorant in some way, but this is no excuse to abandon reason.”What is your excuse? There is nothing here that even suggests reason.

  • haveaheart

    It’s possible that John Mark Reynolds could have written a more rambling, babbling, incomprehensible screed, but I can’t imagine how.He seems truly to have lost his marbles.

  • norriehoyt

    Professor Reynolds’s piece reminds of an old Vermont story:Two old Vermont farmers have gone to the Town Hall to listen to a political debate.A candidate for office is holding forth in full-strength oratory.”What’s he talking about?” whispers one farmer to the other.”He don’t say.” replies the other.

  • veolaluzporfa

    Multiple European countries have abortion rates of less than 10 per 1000 women annually – a couple have rates of less than 5. The US has a rate around 30. Conservatives who are hostile to education and contraceptives do increase the numbers of unwanted pregnancies, and therefore increase the number of abortions. There is story after story of women who could not get contraception thanks to conservatives shutting down family-planning clinics. Countries in Africa and Central America where abortion is completely illegal have the highest rates of abortions – which adds to the evidence that the more conservative the climate, the more abortions there are. The actual pro-life stance is FOR legal abortion, because that goes along with the atmosphere of rights for women that leads to effective education and contraception availability. The US will only achieve the lowest possible rate of abortion it can have when the majority of people acknowledge that to get there we need to do the things that lead to that low rate. There is no need for there to be sides on this issue, if people would just look at the facts. The combination of abortion being legal along with availability of effective education, contraception, and healthcare, leads to the lowest rates. As soon as conservatives can get off their one-track focus on making abortion illegal, and take a look at what actually makes the numbers of them as low as possible – we’ll make progress. There are, of course, conservatives who are against contraception and education, and merely hide behind the issue of legal/illegal abortion, hoping people will not start paying attention to the visible global evidence on what truly reduces the number of abortions.

  • tojby_2000

    Reynolds ex cathedrized: “…all atheists are wrong about something by definition…”Don’t get too cute here, pal. We know to what you reference. If you’d like to prove that your deity exists, please do so. Atheists and skeptics everywhere await the opportunity to place our fingers into that holy wound. But remember… extraordinary claims will require extraordinary proofs.One would have thought that, after all this time, an all-powerful god would have left a little undisputed evidence of its being, eh?

  • Athena4

    What. The. Frak. Is. He. Talking. About?

  • ebidel

    I totally agree with you, John Reynolds. I can’t understand why people don’t want to look at the whole picture. The right to live remains as long as you are not an obstacle to other people’s rights to live. Having a baby, regardless of how ill-prepared one is does not take away your right to live. If you are not ready to have babies, use birth control or abstain. There is also the ‘adoption option’. Besides, who says that teenage girls cannot abstain?

  • APaganplace

    This article is hate speech, pure and simple, and has little to nothing to do with whether or not Mr. Reynolds’ religion should be allowed to use the state to force pregnancies on women, whether they’re of his faith or belief or not. Mr. Reynolds’ ‘faith’ wants to call a couple of *cells* a human being, and even contraception to be tantamount to ‘murder,’ and too often thinks people of his religion have the right to ‘execute’ ‘murderers.’ I suppose the next step is to label all polytheists ‘wicked abortionists’ and thus murderers and ‘sacrifice’ us to his God’s ‘truth’ as in ‘the good old days?’There’s certainly nothing ‘feminist’ about what he claims, nor anything ‘true’ about claiming that others worship *his* religion’s devils, and saying that women not submitting their bodies to his religion’s political coercion are one and the same as some characters out of his book sacrificing babies. Hate-speech, that is: unvarnished hate speech, toward any religion not obeying Mr. Reynolds.

  • mono1