A.J. Ayer summarizing Bertrand Russell on Christianity does a splendid job in three sentences

This is not to argue that the moral failings, which Christians share with others, prove Christianity untrue. On the theological side, the grounds for not believing it are rational. On the moral side, the charge is that the moral failings find an apparent sanction in a part of Christian teaching; above all, in the doctrine of sin and retribution, and in the parable of the sheep and the goats, the restriction of salvation to the faithful, which has too often outweighed the noble idea of the brotherhood of man.

The parallelism is smart: Christians, others; sheep, goats; faithful, all humanity. Christianity stands condemned for the moral failings of its adherents who cannot or will not practice forgiveness. Pretty stern stuff. Not all of its adherents fail but enough do to taint the whole religion. That is a whole lot of chagrin for believers. And plenty of warning to to those that would curse the Christian. Hypocrisy in either direction is but a stone’s throw away. Look at the tenses: no future tense; failings are set in the past (but with a hint that failings are possible again in some future); doctrine and teaching occupy the present (which seems less likely than failings to wither away or be forgotten); no future.

A duty is upon freethinkers to be exemplary. Heavy stuff. Splendid and smart.

And so for day 483

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