Confessions of an Anonymous Coward

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

An Unread Book

So. I figured that, while I'm not going to be posting every day, I'd at least post about anything I went to at the Center For Inquiry. Such as the Skeptics' Book Club meeting tonight.

Unfortunately, there's...not much to write about. This was the second month devoted to American Theocracy, the idea being that it was a long enough book to justify devoting two meetings to it. I already blogged about the first meeting. And...well...there's not much new to say. Especially since very little of the meeting was actually devoted to discussing the book...since few members of the book club ended up reading the whole thing. Which is unfortunate, because I was kind of looking forward to discussing the third part, the part about the financialization of America's economy--this was something that was new to me, and I was curious about the others' take on it.

Eh. Oh well. There was still plenty of interesting discussion; it just didn't have much to do with the book. And there's little point in just reiterating it all here.

So, in lieu of that, I'll just remark on one thing.

I've mentioned many times that, despite my disbelief in the church, there are still plenty of church members I like, and hope to remains friends with once I come out with my atheism. They're good people, and I don't want to lose touch with them.

I've kind of anticipated that some commenter might try to claim this as evidence of the church's truth. See? You've said yourself that the church is full of good people! If good people are drawn to the church--or if the church makes people good--there must be some truth and value to it, right?

So far, fortunately, nobody has tried that argument. However, I suppose I might as well anticipate it with the obvious rejoinder: Yes, I know good people in the church. But I also know good people outside the church. The church has no monopoly on good people, and I've seen no evidence that the proportion is any higher inside the church than outside--it's just that, having been active in the church for thirty years, I know a lot of people in the church.

And, in fact, it seems to me that on balance the people I've met at the Center For Inquiry West, most if not all of whom are avowed atheists, are just as good and decent people as those I know in the church. These are people I like and enjoy spending time with.

Sure, there are good people in the church, but that doesn't mean that they're good people because they're in the church, or that they're in the church because they're good people. If anything, in some ways I suspect they'd be better people if they didn't have the church guiding their actions...but in any case the fact that there are people I like in the church is in no way evidence that the church is true.

Um...okay, I guess all that was kind of stating the obvious. But hey, like I said, there wasn't much to write about the Skeptics' Book Club meeting this month, so I figured I might as well post about something at least tangentially related.


At 3/15/2007 5:56 AM, Blogger vjack said...

Man, I would love to have something like a skeptics book club. Of course, I never seem to have enough time to read a book quickly enough to be of much use to a book club. Still, I am envious.

At 3/15/2007 1:19 PM, Blogger King Aardvark said...

I get most of my skeptic reading done online these days. In our soundbite culture, even the best of us can have a hard time finishing a long book on the same topic. I once read a book on the history of Europe that was well over 1000 pages of fine print and it took me 11 months. Believe me, I did not want to discuss it afterwards.

When roughly 80% of the population is religious, it's not surprising that there are some cool people you can meet at church. Still a very crappy argument for truth. There are lots of cool Buddhists too.

What book are you going to be tackling next?

At 3/16/2007 4:01 PM, Blogger An Anonymous Coward said...

Next month's book is Freakonomics, by Steven J. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner.

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